Science Marching On

Diane will be heading out today on the first stage toward the field season in Wyoming. The research group is setting up camp, so we now have an RV, a trailer. We’ve been hurriedly getting it outfitted. The other big thing is getting gear to produce sound for playback to the sage grouse. Here’s the desiderata:

– Use 12V power
– On 24/7
– Reproduce frequencies from low audio (starting somewhere between 20 and 40 Hz) to over 5kHz
– Produce 76 dB re 20 µPa SPL at 16 to 32 m from the speakers
– Components are portable (i.e., no single component too heavy for one person to move)
– Weather-resistant speakers (Wyoming outdoors from February to April)

So far, it looks like the combination is infeasible. We’ve got car audio components that do most of the above, but getting to the “on 24/7” figure is a problem. It looks like each setup would use several fully-charged deep cycle batteries per day, making this a big logistical problem for servicing each of four sites and keeping them running.

We’ve also set up a house-sitter, since I will also be travelling from time to time while Diane is in the field. The first such travel is for me to man the NCSE booth at the AAAS conference in St. Louis on the 16th through 20th. AAAS is the scientific society that publishes the journal, Science. Dr. Eugenie Scott has several talks and panels that she is participating in at the conference, so Nick Matzke and I will handle the exhibition hall work.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.