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Karen Emslie

Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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About Karen
Freelance journalist: science, culture, technology, travel, education & personal essays for National Geographic, SmithsonianMag, Aeon, GOOD, Discover, BBC Wildlife, Psychologies, Huck, Matador Network and more. Digital media professional: video, photography and web. I am location independent and work for publications internationally. BA (hons.) Fine Art, MLitt in Writing (Distinction) and CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults). I have regional expertise within Scotland, UK, Spain and South America.
Feature Stories Content Writing Research
Politics Current Affairs Technology

How do sea turtles find their way home?

19 Apr 2024  |  www.discoverwildlife.com
Sea turtles return to their natal beach to lay eggs, relying on the unique magnetic signatures of the coast. A study by the University of North Carolina found that turtles imprint on the magnetic field of their birthplace as hatchlings and use this to navigate back as adults. The exact mechanism of how they detect the geomagnetic field remains unknown, but it may involve magnetic particles in the brain.

How to Expand the Geographical Boundaries of Your Source List

09 May 2023
The article discusses the importance of including geographically diverse sources in scientific journalism to avoid narrative biases and ensure a more accurate representation of global science. It highlights the challenges journalists face, such as language barriers and cultural differences, and offers strategies for overcoming these obstacles, such as leveraging existing contacts, utilizing academic databases, and being creative with communication methods. The piece emphasizes the value of patience and open-mindedness in reporting and the benefits of expanding one's international network to improve journalism.

Haggis, Cullen Skink and Deep-Fried Mars Bars: Edinburgh’s Scottish Food Game Is Strong

27 Feb 2018
Edinburgh boasts a rich array of traditional Scottish cuisine, with restaurants like Arcade Haggis & Whisky House, Monteiths, The Witchery by The Castle, and The Café Royal offering dishes ranging from haggis to cullen skink and cranachan pudding. These eateries highlight Scotland's bountiful natural produce, including fresh seafood, Aberdeen Angus beef, and wild game, while also providing a selection of over 100 whiskies and other local delicacies. The city's food scene reflects a revival of traditional Scottish food with a modern twist, catering to both locals and visitors.

A Whisky Lover's Guide to Edinburgh

14 Feb 2018
Edinburgh offers a rich experience for whisky enthusiasts, with a variety of bars such as The Bow Bar, The Canny Man’s, Teuchters Landing, and Whiski Rooms, each providing a unique atmosphere and an extensive selection of single malts and blends. The Bow Bar is known for its cozy ambiance and over 310 single malts, while The Canny Man’s, established in 1871, is celebrated for its quirky decor and celebrity patrons. Teuchters Landing, with its historical connection to steamboat travel, and Whiski Rooms in the Old Town, offer tastings and food pairings for connoisseurs. The guide highlights the importance of whisky in Scottish culture and the distinctive flavors influenced by regional landscapes and climates.

You've Probably Seen An Emergency Alert On Your Phone. But Did You Notice How It Was Worded?

01 Feb 2018
In 2015 and 2017, emergency alerts for hurricanes Joaquin and Harvey were criticized for their complex language. By 2018, alerts became clearer, but false alarms in Hawaii and the U.S. coasts raised concerns. Emergency managers, aiming to prepare communities for natural disasters, are challenged by the public's varying literacy levels. Thomas Phelan, a late researcher and professor, highlighted the literacy gap in emergency notifications and taught FEMA's Emergency Management Institute. Phelan's research suggested improving readability, numeracy, and computer-based problem-solving in emergency communications. The article suggests that enhancing the accessibility of emergency messages can increase public learning and safety.

Hostal El Anón

01 Sep 2016
Hostal El Anón is a hotel located in Jimena de la Frontera, a hilltop pueblo blanco within Los Alcornocales Natural Park, Spain. It offers a rustic and intimate vibe with patios, terraces, and a rooftop pool with views of the Moorish castle. The hotel is run by Suzana Odell, who has created a place with a family feel and long-time staff. The 12 rooms feature Spanish and Moroccan décor, and the restaurant serves a blend of Andalusian and international cuisine. Despite basic facilities, the hotel is praised for its ambience and value for money, especially as rates do not increase during high season.

Portfolio of clips including National Geographic, SmithsonianMag, GOOD, Aeon, BBC Wildlife, Discover, Psychologies and more

22 Apr 2016  |  Journo Portfolio
The article discusses the unique way in which speakers of the Yupno language in Papua New Guinea conceptualize indoor space. Unlike many languages that use cardinal directions or relative positions to describe space, the Yupno people use imaginary slopes within their homes. This linguistic feature is distinct and separate from the actual physical environment outside their homes. The language is spoken by about 8,000 people in the Finisterre mountain range. The article highlights the fascinating way in which language and culture can shape one's perception and navigation of space.

How the wind blows us on and off life’s course

21 Jan 2016
The essay explores the profound impact of wind on human emotions, moods, and behaviors, drawing on personal experiences in the Shetland Islands and Tarifa, Spain. It delves into the folklore and mythology surrounding various winds across cultures, the scientific attempts to explain wind's psychological effects, and the concept of embodiment, which suggests a deep connection between physical sensations and mental states. The author reflects on the nomadic nature of life, metaphorically tied to the winds that have influenced their journey.

Why broken sleep is a golden time for creativity

07 Nov 2014
The article explores the concept of segmented sleep and its connection to creativity. Historically, people experienced two distinct sleep cycles with a period of wakefulness in between, a pattern that has been disrupted by modern lighting and lifestyles. Research by A Roger Ekirch and Thomas Wehr supports the idea that this natural sleep pattern enhances creativity and reflection. The article discusses how certain creative individuals, such as writers and artists, have found ways to adapt their routines to accommodate segmented sleep, thereby tapping into a more dreamlike and creative state of mind.

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