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Every day, hundreds of thousands of oil and gas wells in Texas siphon fossil fuel from the ground, sending it on to dozens of refineries and processing plants across the state. Yet it's not enough: The biggest energy hog and carbon emitter in the nation, Texas has to import additional oil to satisfy its fuel needs. "We're the China of America," Michael Webber, a mechanical engineer at the University of Texas, told the 40 attendees at the 2009 CASW New Horizons in Science briefing in Austin. "We're the dirty, industrial heavy lifter."

Angry red trapezoids kill and eat the carcasses of their green kin. Critters turn blue to signal their desire to mate. Adults gobble their young. Welcome to Polyworld, the purported answer to one of the biggest unsolved problems in science: a theory of consciousness.

Recent research in nematodes, mice, and primates has shown that living on a severely reduced diet results in an unexpected benefit: longer lifespan. The constant, low-intensity stress from such diets might actually be helpful, shielding against even worse troubles, such as cancer. The downside is that, to enjoy these boons, an organism must cut its food consumption by a third.

Why should science reporters who've mastered the use of the printed word bother to "embrace cheap video cameras, YouTube and Final Cut Pro?" The multitalented panel for this workshop session at ScienceWriters 2009 came up with plenty of reasons — ranging, from hooking in additional readers to pleasing Web advertisers to covering topics that are far more compelling when shown than told. But perhaps the best argument was the videos and slide shows created by panel members that were, used as examples.

Download an MP3 audio file of this session.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what's the value of an entire slide show of compelling images, complete with sound effects, music and narration? In the "Visual Journalism for Science Writers" workshop at ScienceWriters 2009, three multimedia mavens shared their tips for creating informative visuals to stand alone or complement the written word. Then, the workshop panelists guided participants in building their own narrated slideshows.

The first rule of on-camera interviews: "casting, casting, casting." That bit of advice — from Mary Miller, a writer, producer and webhost at The Exploratorium in San Francisco — was one of several suggestions offered to the audience at "The Art of the Interview — Extreme Edition," organized and moderated by freelance science journalist, Jill U. Adams, at ScienceWriters 2009 in Austin, Texas.