Author Archive | Susan L. Young

Tulip Two-step

I’m having a lot of fun in our multimedia class this quarter. I love mixing together a voice over, a touch of music and eye-catching images to tell a story. The hard part has been getting the courage to take pictures and video of people. Personally, I hate being on film, so I sometimes feel…

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Snow Leopard at the Bronx Zoo. Credit: joshbousel on


As any pet owner will tell you, lots of non-human animals have their own personalities. Even within the same species, individual animals can have specific behavioral traits, such as tendency to be shy or playful. In the case of zoo animals, knowing a creature’s personality could help zoo keepers improve its well-being in captivity and…

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The Sweater Tree. Yes, this is what "winter weather" looks like in Santa Cruz.

Sweater Tree

We had some relatively cold weather here on the central coast of California this weekend. There was even some talk of snow down in Santa Cruz, but I think that fantasy melted by Saturday afternoon. Not everybody in the area was hoping for flurries. Some growers in the Salinas Valley, the Salad Bowl of the…

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Levitating Sea Lions

The title might be a bit of a stretch, but the punch of it approximates how astonished I was to see the sea lions of the Santa Cruz Wharf this past weekend. Before a sunset dinner on Sunday, I was dazzled by a group of sea lions resting on the horizontal structural beams that lay…

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big fish little fish logo

Download Firefox, help cute cubs

I love red pandas. These house-cat-sized cuties spend most of their lives in trees of the temperate forests of the Himalayas. Despite their name and a penchant for bamboo, red pandas are thought to be more closely related to weasels or dogs than they are to Giant pandas. The exact placement of the red panda…

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Faking flight

Yesterday, my boyfriend and I went to the iFly Indoor Skydiving Vertical Wind Tunnel in the East Bay for his birthday. I was a little nervous on our way there, but it turned out to be pretty easy and a lot of fun. After a quick lesson on body position, visitors get suited up in…

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The worst travel day of the year

Anyone flying on November 24th this year should probably plan to get to the airport extra early: A group of travelers’-rights advocates are organizing a nationwide boycott of the full-body scanners used in security checks in airports. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is usually the busiest travel day of the year, and an organized protests of…

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Dall's porpoises can be found off the coast of Southern California. Perhaps they are responsible for getting the beloved Mary Poppins star?

Porpoise protectors?

From today’s Twitterverse: Apparently Dick Van Dyke fell asleep on a surfboard and woke up to no land in sight, but fins all around. The fins belonged to a group of porpoises that pushed the actor back to dry land. ~~ What’s the news here, that Dick Van Dyke was surfing at 84, or porpoises…

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Use a thermometer goal graphic to track your monthly income goals. If it's not high enough, you need more stories! Image credit: bourgeoisbee at

Greetings from ScienceWriters 2010

There’s lots of great workshops here at ScienceWriters 2010, with topics ranging from being an effective Public Information Officer, to the social web and online commenting, and how to write great science books. My first workshop today was Profitable freelancing: Starting a business and keeping it productive. I found it very practical and informative, with…

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Four fun facts about sea otters

1.     Sea otters have the densest hair of any mammal – around 900,000 hairs per square inch (140,000 hairs/cm2)[1]. That’s more than 500X denser than the hair on the human scalp, which averages at 1600 hairs per square inch (250 hairs/cm2).[2] 2     Sea otters have individual preferences for prey. Some sea otters prefer to crunch…

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