Northern California Science Writers Association

February 2012 Newsletter for the Northern California Science Writers Association

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 10:28 PM | Anonymous

NCSWA’S Coming Attraction: Save the Date

March 21 Spring Dinner Meeting

Wednesday, March 21,
join NCSWA members for our spring dinner event to hear Stanford neuroscientist Tom Rando talk about whether we can reset the aging clock. Rando is pursuing evidence that we mortals might someday be able to rejuvenate our aging bodies with substances found in the blood of youngsters. Doors open at the Basque Cultural Center in South San Francisco at 6:30 p.m. For more information and to register, visit

Miss the Annual Holiday Dinner with Cris Benton? Read about it here:

NCSWA members gathered  at Jannah restaurant in San Francisco for the annual holiday event featuring our science trivia contest and a presentation from UC Berkeley professor Cris Benton, who showed the spectacular results of his pioneering work in kite aerial photography. Benton has been documenting the restoration of wetlands in San Francisco Bay following the purchase of 15,000 acres of salt ponds from Cargill in 2003.   

Awards, Fellowships and Coming Deadlines

Entries are due March 15 for the Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism. The prize is given for journalism in any media that best illuminates an environmental issue or story in western Canada, the United States or Mexico. Entries must be focused on an environmental subject occurring in or affecting the North American West, and must have been published, broadcast or posted during 2011. Entry forms for the Knight-Risser Prize are available at

Entries are due April 2 for the Society of Environmental Journalists Awards for Reporting on the Environment. SEJ has added a category for photojournalism. Cash prizes are award for seven categories including books, print, online and broadcast. For more information, visit

Applications are due May 15 for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Ocean Science Journalism Fellowships. The one-week program introduces science journalists to the fields of oceanography and ocean engineering. Ideal candidates should have at least two years of writing, producing, or editing experience for a general-interest audience. For more information, see

NCSWA About Town

Jascha Hoffman, a science writer, is also a songwriter and he will release his new album, “The Future Limited,” on March 6. It is available for free download at There is also a science-fiction music video from the album , titled “Jascha – ‘Limited,’” by filmmaker and fellow science journalist John Pavlus, with mashed-up scenes from five classic science fiction films including “2001,” “Robocop” and “Tron.” They depict a lonely machine searching for human contact. See it at

Norm Sperling, editor of the Journal of Irreproducible Results, is getting ready to embark on his several-year, cross-country “Great Science Trek” in fall 2012. He describes it on his blog in “Tell Me Where to Go, And What to Do When I Get There,” at In preparation for his move from a 2,000-square-foot house to a 200-square-foot RV, he’ll be selling a few thousand science books, if anyone is interested.

David Gilbert,
public affairs manager at DOE’s Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, writes to say NCSWA members can have free registration to the Genomics of Energy & Environment meeting. For more information, visit

Christine Heinrichs
was off to Gainesville, Florida, on Feb. 22 to attend Cinema Verde,, for a showing of “Mad City Chickens,” a documentary in which she was interviewed. She’ll talk about chickens and sell her book, ”How to Raise Chickens.”

Diane Kern has a new blog at She is posting frequently to outline the framework of a new psychology that is cross-fertilized by neuroscience, particularly the treatment of the brain as an information management system. She invites visitors to look at “mind stuff” in ways that are scientifically accurate and beneficial.

Danna Staaf
has joined the science blogging team at KQED Quest.  She writes about the intersection of science and art – and sometimes food, too. Danna is a cephalopodiatrist and she has blogs at and

 Joe Devney has started teaching an undergraduate class in linguistics at Holy Names University.

Christina Deptula is an editor at Synchronized Chaos magazine who is recruiting nonfiction and sci-fi writers. She also gives personal tours of Oakland’s Chabot Space and Science Center and pursues freelance writing while caring for her elderly grandmother.

Kris Novak is now blogging about GI disorders at /. She also still works as science editor of the American Gastroenterological Association, editing research and review articles as well as writing news.

New Members

Hemai Parthasarathy, a senior partner at Torch Communications in San Francisco, specializes in scientific communications for biotech companies and research institutes.

Eric Katz  of Oakland.

Cat Aboudara, a freelance blogger for KQED Quest who is interested in starting a bi-weekly writing salon in San Francisco.


Jon Weiner, manager of communications & media relations for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and former head of media relations at Caltech. Prior to that, he served as executive director of public relations for USC's Health Sciences Campus in Los Angeles and, for 10 years, worked in the broadcast news business at CBS News and CBS and NBC affiliates around the country.


Michael Coren of San Francisco, a reporter covering science, economics and the environment for FastCompany, Foreign Policy and other magazines. He co-founded MajorPlanet Studios to produce multimedia narratives for tablets and the Web. He was a science editor of, managing editor of Cambodia's Phnom Penh Post and a Jakarta-based correspondent for Newsweek and the Christian Science Monitor.


Elizabeth Devitt of Capitola, a veterinarian and freelance writer.


Alexander Mayer of Oakland.


Michael Woods of Menlo Park, a Public Information Officer at the Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC).


Emily Coren of Santa Cruz, a science writer and illustrator at, an interactive, informal science education platform. She is using new media to improve accessibility to science through an exploratory illustrated medium.


Katherine Bourzac, a freelancer in San Francisco.


Norma VelazquezUlloa of San Francisco.


Ann Thryft of Boulder Creek, a freelance writer specializing in technology, environment and technology features.


Anne Stauffer of San Jose.


Phyllis Brown of Sacramento.


Monique Inciarte of El Cerrito.


Quynh Tran of Castro Valley.

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