Episode 13 of The Informed Life podcast features a conversation with NASA advisor and communicator Ariel Waldman. Ariel recently spent some time researching microscopic life in Antartica, and she’s documented her sojourn in a series of amazing YouTube videos. Our conversation centered on this expedition and what it takes to manage and produce information in such a remote location:
I’m just old enough where I remember when pagers were a thing when I was a kid, but yeah the whole like you have to agree when you’re going to meet up with someone, but if you’re running late you really don’t have a way of telling them unless you page them or something of that nature and… Yeah it just a much slower method of doing everything. And they keep calendars and notes and notebooks with pencils so that they can erase them. And yeah, it was a very different way of organizing information there and I found myself getting a little stressed out about if plans change just how much effort you would have to put into contacting someone so that you just didn’t leave them stranded waiting for you somewhere.
Being effective in these conditions requires preparation and self-reliance. For example, Ariel took lessons in microscopy before her trip. She also had a framework for the videos which allowed her to get the shots she needed. The results are amazing.
I was inspired by our conversation; I hope you like it too. And if you like what you hear, consider supporting Ariel’s Patreon. Beside helping advance science, you could also receive one of her beautiful tardigrade prints.