Posts

July 15, 2014

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11:55 PM | Psychic Animals and Football-Playing Bees
Working in the field of animal behaviour means that around World Cup season it’s hard to avoid being sent links to so-called ‘psychic’ animals that predict the outcome of matches,... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

July 14, 2014

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7:12 PM | New Thoughts about Barking
Have you seen the stage play, Sylvia, in which a man brings a stray dog home from the park and adopts it?  The dog is always played by a woman, who often barks at appropriate (and inappropriate) moments . Except, as a person playing a dog, she doesn’t say BARRR RARRR or WOOF. She says […]

July 13, 2014

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2:58 PM | Birdbooker Report 328-9
SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read […]

July 12, 2014

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8:31 PM | Hamsters, pizzas and playgrounds
SUMMARY: Dwarf hamsters are small but they have an outsized effect on one's life. Phodopus sungorus. Image: Ko1 (CC by SA 2.5). Once again, it's caturday, which means it's time for us to relax and recover from that most recent post-World Cup game hangover by watching animals doing fun stuff! This week's cute animal videos were inspired by a piece I wrote a little while ago, about a study of wheel-running behaviour in wild mice. Although that study focused on... Read more

July 11, 2014

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10:49 AM | Fluffy Friday – Peer Review Rings and MOOCs
You’ll have to forgive the lack of original content in this week’s Fluffy Friday (and lack of content entirely in last week’s). The MOOC launches on Monday at 11 AM and this week has been spent polishing the course and obsessing … Continue reading →

July 10, 2014

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11:59 PM | Weekly Weinersmith is back!
Zach and I are making an effort to get The Weekly Weinersmith back off the ground on a fortnightly or monthly […]
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5:46 PM | New on Zoologic: Monkeys Show the Hot-Hand Bias
The hot-hand bias was first noticed in basketball. Both fans and players erroneously believe a player’s chance of making a basket are greater following a hit than following a miss. But studies show each shot is statistically independent from the previous one. The hot-hand bias appears to be universal in humans, found across cultures. New research shows it’s also demonstrated by monkeys, suggesting is may serve an adaptive purpose. Read the story here: Monkeys, Like People, Believe […]
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1:07 PM | Why Misophonia Needs a New Ad Agency
The mental illness buzzkillread more
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2:57 AM | Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Eggs
It’s blackberry time in North Carolina!  Blackberries all over the Triangle Area are currently laden with ripe fruit, so I went out picking at work before we opened last weekend.  We’d been finding little groups of metallic gold insect eggs all over the grounds for a few weeks, and I found another little group of […]

July 09, 2014

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7:46 PM | Watch a Curious Octopus Dismantle a Camera
Joe Kistel, an underwater videographer for the marine-conservation nonprofit  TISIRI , was filming at an artificial reef on July 6 when he came across an inquisitive octopus. In my latest post for Nat Geo’s Weird & Wild blog, watch Joe’s video and read my Q&A with marine biologist James Wood to learn more about these intelligent and curious invertebrates. Watch: Sneaky Octopus Dismantles Camera .
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6:37 PM | Statistics Continued
Interestingly enough after last week’s post there is a brilliant article in the BBC magazine about doctors and their understanding of statistics. Gerd Gigerenzer is one of those names in statistics I trust. His discussion of risk is fascinating. Take … Continue reading →
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9:04 AM | Brésiliens, voici pourquoi ce n’est pas la fin du monde
Traumatisme, cataclysme, désastre, humiliation. Hier, le Brésil a été éliminé de sa coupe du monde par l’Allemagne sur le score de 7 buts à 1. Tout s’est écroulé. Pour les Brésiliens, un seul mot : tristesse. On comprend la douleur des Brésiliens. Ils l'ont dit après le match. Ils vivent un drame. Quelque chose s’effondre dans le cœur des supporters. Quelque chose, disent-ils […]

July 08, 2014

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3:48 PM | Pistorius : la vidéo assassine
L’image est saisissante. Un homme amputé des deux jambes court sur ses moignons dans un appartement, un pistolet imaginaire à la main. Sa démarche est agile. Son aspect est celui d’un amputé : inhabituel, à la fois diminué mais étonnamment vif. Il va tuer. Il se précipite. Il est déterminé. Cette image, les sud-Africains l’ont vue en boucle depuis qu’elle a été diffusée […]
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1:00 PM | Beepcast, June 2014
Professor Robert Hinde, the Emeritus Royal Society Research Professor of Zoology at the University of Cambridge is this month's Scientific Spark. Robert talks about the early days of ornithology research just after the war, and his memories of David Lack and Niko Tinbergen. The rest of the episode is an anti-predator defence special! I talk to Jolyon Troscianko from project nightjar about his research on the camouflage of eggs and chicks of African birds. I also find out about an animal that […]
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12:01 AM | Holiday Weekend Fun
True confessions: I’m just back to work, after a lovely holiday weekend with Jim, Maggie and Willie. (Tootsie got to stay home with a farm sitter and be Dog #1 all weekend. I suspect she loved it.) No time then to do research on this week’s blog, but here’s a scrap book of some of […]

July 07, 2014

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1:47 PM | Mazes, What are They Good for?: The Morris Water Maze & the Barnes Maze
I want to welcome everyone back the MazeEngineer Blog. This week I’m going to introduce the Morris Water Maze and the Barnes Maze. Like the Y-maze and the T-maze, these... The post Mazes, What are They Good for?: The Morris Water Maze & the Barnes Maze appeared first on Maze Engineers.
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1:47 PM | Maze Basics: Morris Water Maze
I want to welcome everyone back the MazeEngineer Blog. This week I’m going to introduce the Morris Water Maze. Like the Y-maze, this maze is often used to test reference... The post Maze Basics: Morris Water Maze appeared first on Maze Engineers.
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12:47 PM | The Extreme Life of the Sea – review
SUMMARY: Marine biologist Stephen Palumbi and his science writer son Anthony Palumbi's engaging book beautifully captures the long history and immense diversity of life in the world's oceans As you may know, yesterday was World Oceans Day so I spent part of the day reading a newly-published book about the world's oceans: The Extreme Life of the Sea [Princeton University Press, 2014; Amazon UK/audio download UK; Amazon US/kindle US/Audible book US]. Written by marine biologist Stephen Palumbi […]

July 06, 2014

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3:24 PM | Swarm Sunday: 6/11/14 to 7/5/14
I didn’t have a chance to post last week, so what you see here represents two weeks of data.  Swarm reports came from the following locations: USA: Leesburg, FL Miami Beach, FL Milton, FL Parkland, FL Livermore, ME Marbury, MD West Bend, MD Lakeway, TX Ogden, UT Williamsburg, VA And here are the maps for the […]

July 05, 2014

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1:22 PM | True Facts About The Fruit Bat
SUMMARY: This amusing video shares a few facts about the amazing megabats -- the largest flying mammals alive in the world today. Orphaned baby fruit bats. Screen capture. Once again, it's caturday, so let's watch some animals doing stuff! Today's animals are megachiropterans, or "big winged" bats -- more commonly known as megabats or fruit bats. Unlike the bats that pop into most people's minds when they hear the word, the megabats are frugivorous (fruit-eaters) or nectarivorous […]

July 04, 2014

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12:09 AM | Mazes, What are They Good for?: The Morris Water Maze & the Barnes Maze
I want to welcome everyone back the MazeEngineer Blog. This week I’m going to introduce the Morris Water Maze and the Barnes Maze. Like the Y-maze and the T-maze, these... The post Mazes, What are They Good for?: The Morris Water Maze & the Barnes Maze appeared first on Maze Engineers.

July 03, 2014

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9:45 PM | Igniting Sparks, Surviving Fireworks and Dog Science July!
Hey Julie, well, here I am, back in chilly, wintry Melbourne. #SPARCS2014 was an amazing event - such an intense three days of canine science, excitement, wonderful researchers and inspiration!  You've done a great job capturing the essence and feedback of this international conference over at DogSpies on the Scientific American Blog Network. I'm so pleased someone took photos, or I think I would have convinced myself it was all just a rather lovely dream! I loved our […]
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2:09 PM | New Creature Feature: The Echidna
The echidna has spines like a porcupine, a beak like a bird, a pouch like a kangaroo, and lays eggs like a reptile. Also known as spiny anteaters, they’re small, solitary mammals native to Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. These animal oddities are elusive, but the more scientists discover about echidnas, the weirder it gets. Read the latest “Creature Feature” on my Zoologic Blog to see for yourself: The Creature Feature: 10 Fun Facts About the Echidna .  
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6:25 AM | Journal Club: DNA analysis indicates Bigfoot may be a big fake
SUMMARY: A newly-published genetic analysis of hair samples suspected as being from a cryptic primate known by various names such as "bigfoot" or "yeti", has revealed they actually originated from dogs, horses, bears or other well known mammals. A newly-published genetic analysis of hair samples suspected as being from a cryptic primate known by various names such as "bigfoot" or "yeti", has revealed they actually originated from dogs, horses, bears or other well known mammals. The analysis was […]
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4:10 AM | Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Rosy Maples
Well, it’s officially July!  I’ve got a few lovely days off this week (woo!) and I’ve already started to get excited about this year’s National Moth Week.  I love Moth Week!  I wrote about it for the blog at my museum last week and I am going on a local news morning show on Saturday to talk about the event […]

July 02, 2014

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6:29 PM | How To Teach Me Statistics
A few weeks ago I was swearing at my computer and had to go buy a Twix bar from the canteen to calm myself. There was some frantic chocolate scoffing that afternoon. The source of my irritation? Statistics. I am … Continue reading →
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1:55 PM | Sarkozy : l’impossible présomption d’innocence
Au moment de son placement en garde à vue hier, des photos de Nicolas Sarkozy ont été publiées dans les journaux. Regardons celle-ci. Une image de faits divers C'est une photo pas comme les autres. Prise dans l'habitacle d'une voiture, plan coupé par le tableau de bord, on y voit un Sarkozy au regard absent et le teint hâlé. Le grain du cliché est épais, la luminosité particulière. L'ensemble suggère la photo de […]

July 01, 2014

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8:12 AM | Pourquoi se sent-on plus fort quand les bleus ont gagné?
Une victoire au mondial, une qualification pour les quarts de finale, et le moral remonte en flèche. Pourtant, cela ne donnera pas du travail à ceux qui n'en ont pas, cela ne résoudra pas les problèmes de la SNCF ni la dette de la France, mais ça fait quand même du bien. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNPTx5Ujqs0 Le foot comme antidépresseur Les scènes de liesse ne se sont pas fait attendre, et on nous parle déjà d'un nouveau […]
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8:12 AM | Pourquoi se sent-on plus fort quand notre équipe gagne ?
Une victoire au mondial, une qualification pour les quarts de finale, et le moral remonte en flèche. Pourtant, cela ne donnera pas du travail à ceux qui n'en ont pas, cela ne résoudra pas les problèmes de la SNCF ni la dette de la France, mais ça fait quand même du bien. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvsYc8jovl4 Le foot comme antidépresseur Les scènes de liesse ne se sont pas fait attendre, et on nous parle déjà d'un nouveau […]
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8:12 AM | Pourquoi se sent-on plus fort quand la France gagne ?
Une victoire au mondial, une qualification pour les quarts de finale, et le moral remonte en flèche. Pourtant, cela ne donnera pas du travail à ceux qui n'en ont pas, cela ne résoudra pas les problèmes de la SNCF ni la dette de la France, mais ça fait quand même du bien. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvsYc8jovl4 Le foot comme antidépresseur Les scènes de liesse ne se sont pas fait attendre, et on nous parle déjà d'un nouveau […]
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