Reclaim the networks

By Niko Komin

Last November, coincidentally a couple of days after Twitter was sold to Elon Musk, SANDSWA met in a local brewery and the question came up: should we stay on Twitter or should we go? If we do leave, where would we go? We didn’t delve into alternatives but it kept nagging me.

Mastodon had already been on my radar—first as a little child when I saw beautiful illustrations of the extinct Mammoth species by Czech illustrator Zdeněk Burian, and later, in 2017, when I learned about the alternative microblogging service named after this creature on the German technology news site Heise. I had already signed up some time ago, but I was using an alias and I wasn’t even posting, just like how I started on the bird site. About a week after our meeting at the brewery I decided to use Mastodon and finally made a new account with my real name. Why?

“Herd of Mammoths in Ice and Snow” by Zdeněk Burian in the 1962 edition of Weltall Erde Mensch , a book that fed my interest in science since early childhood.
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Too Much Good Stuff


Several SANDSWA members recently visited the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, in Escondido next to the Safari Park. I’d say the tour was amazing, but that would be underselling it.

We were led by Maggie Reinbold, director of Community Engagement. Maggie talks fast – we had to keep up – but there was a lot to cover: conservation genetics, reproductive sciences, population sustainability, disease investigations, plant conservation, recovery ecology, biodiversity banking.

Let’s start with the last one. We got to check out the Frozen Zoo – a comprehensive cell sample collection covering hundreds of species. We happened to pass by when the zoo team was pulling Northern White Rhinoceros cells for further study.

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SANDSWA book club recap: Citizen Canine by David Grimm

By Mike Price

I didn’t grow up a dog person. For the majority of my life, the closest things I had to pets were short-lived betta fish (I graduated to aquatic frogs in college). I married a dog person though—when my wife and I moved to San Diego, getting a dog was her top priority. And so it was that Pico, a small Chihuahua mix with a big, grumpy personality, entered our lives and I found myself doting on him as a father dotes on a child. A few years later, we added Winnie, a German Shepherd–Chihuahua mix, and ventured further into the “crazy dog people” category. Continue reading “SANDSWA book club recap: Citizen Canine by David Grimm”

How I moved from academia to industry, thanks to SANDSWA

By Deb Bright

It was a stunningly bright summer afternoon by the ocean, and the breeze was cool. SANDSWA was holding its inaugural happy hour at The Farmer and the Seahorse restaurant in La Jolla, and I didn’t feel like going. Work had been rough lately. But I went anyway because a number of my colleagues were going to be there, and I thought perhaps I’d have a chance to share some successes—and challenges—with them. Little did I know, that afternoon would mark the start of a new era in my career. Continue reading “How I moved from academia to industry, thanks to SANDSWA”

December Updates


Sorry for the prosaic title, things are hectic.

First, you may have noticed the groovy new SANDSWA logo. Many thanks to Sanford Burnham Prebys science writer Monica May for the concept and graphic designer Priyanka Paurana for the finished product. For her creativity, Monica won a year’s membership in SANDSWA – nice.

On January 3, SANDSWA members are getting a free Ruben H. Fleet Science Center tour, featuring CEO Steven Snyder, PhD, and marketing director Wendy Grant. Not a member? That’s easily remedied: JOIN NOW.

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