Become a citizen scientist in San Diego!

Would you like to make contributions to science? But you’re not a trained scientist?

You can easily become a citizen scientist!

Opportunities are available for ordinary people who’d like to use their passion or particular talents to help broaden our understanding of the natural world.

I discovered several great ideas while visiting the San Diego Natural History Museum recently. Signs spotted around the exhibition Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People: A History of Citizen Science provide details.

Most of the following ideas apply not just to San Diego residents, but to anyone anywhere. Here they are:

Become a member of iNaturalist and post photographs you’ve taken of living things in nature. Scientists will identify what you recorded. Nature lovers around the world can discuss your observations. You’ll contribute to our shared understanding of biodiversity. To learn more click here.

Participate in the Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count or Great Backyard Bird Count. Critically important data collected during these events is used by scientists to study bird populations across the country. To learn more click here.

Participate in the Celebrate Urban Birds project. Spend ten minutes helping scientists understand how common birds are doing in urban settings. More than a quarter of a million ordinary people have already made observations! To learn more click here. (Balboa Park’s own WorldBeat Center has participated in this project. Read about that here!)

Become a summer camper at the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park. Over the years, people walking around Balboa Park have observed green anole lizards, which aren’t native to San Diego. It was determined by the museum’s young summer campers that the green anoles were the descendants of escapees. These lizards had once been used as food for other animals at the San Diego Zoo! To learn more about attending summer camp at theNAT, click here. (Scholarships are available!)

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Star III submersible outside Birch Aquarium.

Should you walk from the parking lot by Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography to the popular attraction’s entrance, you’ll see what looks like a small submarine. On its side is written Star III.

Star III is actually a submersible that was used for undersea studies back in the mid-20th century.

I looked at the cool little marvel of technology and wondered about its history.

A nearby sign provides interesting information concerning the submersible, which was built by General Dynamics.

When I got home, I found a book published in 1968 by the Naval Oceanographic Office titled Undersea Studies With the Deep Research Vehicle Star III which you can preview here. It concerns a series of 21 dives off Key West Florida in March 1967…to evaluate the Star III system as a platform from which to conduct underwater photogrammetric and various surveying tasks.

I also found the following old public domain photograph of Star III suspended above the water from a seagoing vessel.

Launched in 1966, Star III was capable of carrying a two-person crew and as much as 1,000 pounds of scientific equipment to a depth of 2,000 feet. The sub and its occupants could remain underwater for up to 120 hours…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Tour of new UC San Diego Park & Market!

A sneak peek was enjoyed yesterday inside the new UC San Diego Park & Market building, in downtown’s East Village neighborhood!

The special public tour was part of the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s big annual Open House event.

UC San Diego Park & Market is designed to be a collaborative hub where students, researchers, community organizations and business partners will interact in the heart of the city. It will also feature space for private conferences and events, and high quality entertainment venues for the public.

Once completed, the building will be home to a digital movie theater, a top notch black box theater, a small art gallery, a bistro, and a huge two-sided video wall that can be enjoyed inside on the ground floor and from the Market Street sidewalk!

This unique, truly visionary multi-use facility will have its grand opening in a couple months during Cinco de Mayo. It sounds like the celebration will be epic!

During yesterday’s tour led by Mary Walshok, UC San Diego Associate Vice Chancellor, several floors of the innovative building were explored. We learned about its conception and development. One of its most important qualities is its location next to a UC San Diego Blue Line trolley station, connecting this extension of UCSD to the main La Jolla campus, providing students easy accessibility.

As you can see from my upcoming photographs, Park & Market will certainly become a stimulating cultural destination for people living downtown and around San Diego. Numerous future events and festivals are being planned. I can’t wait!

Please read my photo captions to learn a little more about this amazing project!

The next photo shows the public plaza north of the building, adjacent to the new The Merian apartment tower. It’s where our tour group gathered.

Two fantastic murals by regional artists can be found in the inviting space. I posted photos of both murals back in January here.

Standing on the second floor terrace north of the building, with downtown views in several directions. (I didn’t photograph it, but one can see Balboa Park’s California Tower in the distance from here, too!)
About to enter the second floor of the glassy building.
Outside art is by Tammy Matthews, artist from New South Wales, Australia. Taranora, 2020. Original painting adapted to steel screen.
The second floor was busy! A private conference had been booked, even before the building’s official opening! We next headed left to the digital movie theater.
Inside the cozy theater, which will be operated by acclaimed Digital Gym Cinema.
A small gallery on the second floor, near the top of a grand staircase leading to the ground floor. The debut exhibition concerns UC San Diego’s Stuart Collection. (I’ve blogged about many of these outdoor UCSD public artworks in the past.)
Nearby windows look down on downtown San Diego’s busy Market Street.
Mary Walshok addresses the group as we stand near the top of the fantastic staircase.
Looking down!
Now we’re downstairs on the ground floor, after taking the elevators. This big black door is the entrance to the black box theater, where there will be concerts and diverse performances. Unfortunately, we couldn’t go inside.
Emerging near the bottom of the spiraling staircase!
A bistro will be located here. People can come off the street, dine, sip and hang out. The bistro operator, we were told, has one of the largest vinyl record collections in San Diego!
Making our way across the large space near the Market Street entrance. That big black thing is a two-sided computerized video screen! Events can be streamed live from the UCSD amphitheater and other venues. Proposed users include Comic-Con and the San Diego Symphony! Folks walking down the sidewalk can stop to watch outside, too!
Pretty cool, huh?
Chairs and tables can be set up here. UC San Diego Park & Market will utilize technology to connect people in new and stimulating ways.
Finally, we headed to the fourth floor, the research center, where students engaged in projects, and people from academia, non-profits and private business will rub elbows, interact and collaborate. There are many small offices for faculty and community organizations. We didn’t visit the third floor, where classrooms are located.
A view up Park Boulevard from one extraordinary new building!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Beautiful photos from the foot of Scripps Pier.

Today I went for a very long walk through La Jolla. I started at the San Diego VA Medical Center and proceeded through the UC San Diego campus, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla Shores, and finally into the Village of La Jolla. I have loads of photos to share in the days ahead!

I’ll start off with photos that were taken during the middle part of my walk. As you can see, I had reached the foot of the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier, which juts into the Pacific Ocean at the world-famous Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

This pier is an important tool that is used for carrying out ocean research. It has a variety of environmental monitoring stations and supports small boats and scientific diving operations. It also pipes seawater to laboratories on the campus. You can read more about the history of Scripps Pier here.

It was a perfect day. Surfers were out on the waves. Families played on the sunny beach below, or in the shade under the pier. Sunbathers lay on the sand.

A welcoming platform near the foot of the pier is a place where people can relax in chairs and enjoy the view.

A gift to honor Jim Ax, Mathematician-Mariner who loved the “Savage Sea” – Kevin and Brian Keating
Urban runoff biofilter. The rocks, gravel, soil and plants filter runoff so it does not pollute the beach and ocean.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Students reveal genealogy, humanity at History Center.

An exhibition at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park assembles the genealogical research of students at High Tech High.

The High Tech High “Rubber Duckies” have discovered the fascinating stories of their ancestors, and have shared them online. The stories contain joys, struggles, successes and failures–they are memories of complex lives filled with humanity whose echoes still touch the living.

At the museum, visitors can scan QR codes to read the stories. Or you can read them now by clicking Pre 1900, 1901-1950, or 1951-Present. Then click Family History at the top of each story summary to read the student report.

Many of the students have immigrant ancestors with stories that will break or lift your heart. Some distant ancestors are quite surprising, such as William the Conqueror.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Shark research vessel in San Diego.

Look at those two big shark cages! I spotted them during my early morning walk along San Diego’s Embarcadero.

The Sharkwater marine research vessel of the organization Fins Attached is now docked in San Diego!

I didn’t see any crewmembers on deck, and when I looked at their social media this evening, I couldn’t tell whether they’re in San Diego for a particular reason. I did see on their website that a special online fundraising event is coming up.

The mission of Fins Attached is primarily the study of sharks and their preservation. If you’d like to help this cause, visit their website to learn more!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Help build a new environmental field station!

Want to do something tangible to help the environment? Here’s an idea!

UC San Diego is working to fund a new Kendall-Frost Field Station on the north side of Mission Bay. They are raising funds for a much improved education, research and outreach center at the edge of the Kendall-Frost Marsh Reserve.

I passed their old trailer today during my long walk through Pacific Beach, and I happened to see the following information on the fence. It includes a rendering of the proposed field station…

Join our fundraising campaign to build a new field research and education building to replace the 55-year-old trailer. The new building will feature a large multi-purpose classroom and community room, roll-up windows and a large deck, bird-watching overlook, and reception area.

Five years ago I visited the old trailer and the working area adjacent to it during Love Your Wetlands Day.

If you want to see the wetland restoration that is done here, and fun photos of that educational event, check out my past blog post.

If you want to help build the new field station, or learn more about this project, visit the UC San Diego web page here!

The trailer is covered with colorful art, but is getting very old.
The environmentally important Kendall-Frost Marsh Reserve in Mission Bay.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Exhibit illuminates intersection of art and science.

More, 2019, by Sheena Rae Dowling. Luminous sculpture in a darkened space depicts the scan of a healthy brain with normal rhythmic functions.
More, 2019, by Sheena Rae Dowling. Luminous sculpture in a darkened space depicts the scan of a healthy brain with normal rhythmic functions.

Art and science have much in common. Both explore deep mysteries and seek essential truths. Both often take paths that are complex. Both produce results that are often surprising.

A new exhibition at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park explores the intersection of art and science. Illumination, 21st Century Interactions With Art and Science and Technology features thought-provoking pieces by 26 artists, many of whom were inspired by personal interactions with local scientists and technologists. Themes explored include Global Health and Discovery, Climate Change and Sustainability, and Technology and the Touch Screen.

Many of the pieces concern biology and biotechnology. That isn’t surprising. San Diego is a world center of biotech research. Many of the scientists who’ve inspired this artwork are making breakthrough discoveries at local institutions, like UC San Diego and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

If you want to be stimulated, step through the door of the San Diego Art Institute. Bop about this exhibition like a particle undergoing Brownian motion or a dawning Artificial Intelligence. You’ll encounter illuminating artwork that really opens your eyes and mind.

Don’t be left in the dark! Illumination turns off after May 3, 2020.

Illumination, 21st Century Interactions With Art and Science and Technology, lights up the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park.
Illumination, 21st Century Interactions With Art and Science and Technology, lights up the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park.

Moving through a gallery full of strangeness. Complex mysteries and unseen realities surround and penetrate each of us.
Moving through a gallery full of strangeness. Complex mysteries and unseen realities surround and penetrate us all.

Nucleus 1, 2019, by Anne Mudge. Artistic wire representation of folded strands of DNA, which in reality are about 6.5 feet long and packed inside a cell's microscopic nucleus.
Nucleus 1, 2019, by Anne Mudge. Artistic wire representation of folded strands of DNA, which in reality are about 6.5 feet long and packed inside a cell’s microscopic nucleus.

Leap of Faith, 2019, by Becky Robbins. Art, like science, begins with an idea that leads to questions. Links between considered elements appear. Some connections are obvious, others are vague.
Leap of Faith, 2019, by Becky Robbins. Art, like science, begins with an idea that leads to questions. Links between considered elements appear. Some connections are obvious, others are vague.

building, 2019, by Beliz Iristay. Deaf adults without a linguistic foundation early in life have altered neural structure, with long-term effects on mastery of complex grammar.
building, 2019, by Beliz Iristay. Deaf adults without a linguistic foundation early in life have altered neural structure, with long-term effects on mastery of complex grammar.

Chromosome 22, 2020, by Cy Kuckenbaker. The artwork includes a book-like printout of some 10,000 pages of a data sequence in the smallest of 23 human chromosomes.
Chromosome 22, 2020, by Cy Kuckenbaker. The artwork includes a book-like printout of some 10,000 pages of a data sequence in the smallest of 23 human chromosomes.

Shining Palimpsest, by Young Joon Kwak. I, you, she, he, they, we, it--tangled, twisted, uncertain. Who we are and how we are viewed depends on perspective.
Shining Palimpsest, by Young Joon Kwak. I, you, she, he, they, we, it–words that are tangled, twisted, sometimes uncertain. Who we are and how we are viewed depends on perspective.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Classic baseball publications anticipate new season!

Official baseball Yearbooks on display include one featuring the National League pennant winning 1984 Padres!
Official baseball Yearbooks on display include one featuring the National League pennant winning 1984 San Diego Padres!

There’s a new exhibition on the first floor of San Diego’s Central Library that anticipates the 2018 Major League Baseball season–now just days away! Examples of classic baseball publications remind visitors to the public library why this popular sport is considered America’s Pastime.

These notable publications are selected from the Bill Weiss Archive, of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Collection. The huge collection is housed within the Sullivan Family Baseball Research Center, located in San Diego’s downtown Central Library. The people of San Diego have easy access to the largest baseball research collection outside of Cooperstown, New York’s incredible National Baseball Hall of Fame!

If you love sports history, Americana or baseball collectibles, you might enjoy this small but very cool exhibit!

Notable Publications from the Sullivan Family Baseball Research Collection are now on display on the first floor of the San Diego Central Library.
Notable Publications from the Sullivan Family Baseball Research Collection are now on display on the first floor of the San Diego Central Library.

Issues of Who's Who in Baseball on display at the San Diego Central Library.
Various old issues of Who’s Who in Baseball on display at the San Diego Central Library.

Who's Who in Baseball was first published in 1912. It was a popular reference for professional baseball stats for over a century.
Who’s Who in Baseball was first published in 1912. It was a popular reference for professional baseball stats for over a century.

Examples of Reach's Official Base Ball Guides and Spalding's Official Base Ball Guides, dating as far back as 1876!
Examples of Reach’s Official Base Ball Guides and Spalding’s Official Base Ball Guides, dating as far back as 1876!

Some classic examples of Baseball Magazine, which was published from 1908 to 1957.
Illustrated covers of Baseball Magazine, which was published from 1908 to 1957.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

GO PADRES!

Science questions that curious kids can ask.

How was Earth made. How many skin cells do we have.
How was the Earth made? How many skin cells do we have?

Thousands of kids attended the 2018 San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering EXPO Day event today at Petco Park. The annual festival of STEM learning features all sorts of fun activities and demonstrations presented by dozens of local schools, universities, businesses and organizations.

Kids wandering from booth to booth were encouraged to ask a variety of fascinating questions. Young minds learned about physics, medical research, information technology, space exploration, environmental science . . . The number of scientific subjects seemed unlimited.

Fun experiments were performed. Conclusions resulted. More questions arose.

That’s how science works!

As I wandered about the festival I discovered some questions that curious kids might ask…

Thousands of curious kids attend EXPO Day at Petco Park during the 2018 San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering.
Thousands of curious kids attended EXPO Day at Petco Park during the 2018 San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering.

To help support STEM learning in San Diego and the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering, read this banner.
To help support STEM learning in San Diego and the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering, read this banner.

How is curiosity a driving force behind human progress and development.
How is curiosity a driving force behind human progress and development?

What is in snot. How does mucus neutralize an invading virus.
What is in snot? How does mucus neutralize an invading virus?

How does a snake move.
How does a snake move?

Why is math important. Why are puzzles so much fun.
Why is math important? Why are puzzles so stimulating?

What are amino acids.
What are amino acids?

What is symmetry. Why is it found in plants and animals.
What is symmetry? Why is it found in plants and animals?

Can creative people and scientists be superheroes
Can creative people and scientists be real superheroes?

Can science be fun. Can you make a rap song about something scientific.
Can science be entertaining? Can you invent a rap song about something scientific?

What is a molecule.
What is a molecule? What is an atom? Is anything smaller than an atom?

What is oobleck. Where did the word come from. How do you make it.
What is oobleck? What Dr. Seuss book did the word come from?

How do you make a secret code. How do you decipher a code.
How do you make a secret code? How do you decipher a code?

Can little robots destroy cancer. Why do earthquakes become so strong in some cases.
Can little robots destroy cancer? Why do earthquakes become so strong in some cases?

What is light.
What is light?

How does a flamingo become pink.
How does a flamingo become pink?

What is static electricity.
What is static electricity?

What are comets made of.
What are comets made of?

How was the first cell created. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.
How was the first cell created? How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

What is the extracellular matrix.
What is the extracellular matrix?

How does your heart work. How do you keep it healthy.
How does your heart work? How do you keep it healthy?

How do we stop pollution.
How do we stop pollution?

Is fusion the energy for the future of mankind.
Is fusion the energy for the future of mankind?

How can we remember many things like language. Why are some people so tall when their parents are so short.
How can we remember many things like language? Why are some people so tall when their parents are so short?

Why does a jellyfish glow.
Why does a jellyfish glow?

Why is this silly guy acting like a jellyfish.
Why is this silly guy acting like a jellyfish?

How does the Earth stay in orbit. How can people help the Earth stay healthy.
How does the Earth stay in orbit? How can people help the Earth stay healthy?

What is it like to be in space. How do you become an astronaut.
What does it feel like to be in outer space? How do you become an astronaut?

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!