Posts

November 04, 2014

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11:45 PM | How to be a reviewer/editor
Many articles have been written about how to be a good/responsible/fair/rigorous/timely reviewer or editor. Having now reviewed more than 400 papers and having been an editor for 100 more, I find myself developing rather strong opinions on the subject. If those opinions meshed nicely with the ones previously published, a blog wouldn’t be needed – but they don’t. Instead, I find myself holding rather different views on how to be a reviewer and editor. As time has gone on, these […]
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10:58 PM | Occupational Health News Roundup
Dangerous workplace speedups a hidden side of the economic recovery; California recycling workers vote to unionize; emergency responders in west Texas face new challenges during energy boom; and the U.S. lags in eliminating the gender pay gap.
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9:10 PM | Hubbard Fellowship Post – Grasshopper Mice
This post was written by Jasmine Cutter, one of our Hubbard Fellows.  Jasmine has written earlier about her independent research project looking at small mammals (or s’mammals, as she calls them) in our Platte River Prairies.  All photos are by Jasmine … Continue reading →
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7:28 PM | How many smells can a smelly person smell? 1 trillion or 10?
Earlier this year, a paper in Science attempted to answer the question: how many smells can we actually smell? At least one trillion, they claimed. Recently, Markus Meister posted a paper on arxiv which made the bold claim that we can … Continue reading →
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7:00 PM | New faces: Melissa DeBiasse
This week we’re pleased to welcome a big group of new contributors to the blog. By way of introduction, I asked each of them to answer a few quick questions about him- or herself. —Jeremy My name is Melissa DeBiasse … Continue reading →
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6:00 PM | Animal Bill of Rights Week
Help us reach one million signatures to tell Congress that animals deserve basic rights. Continue reading →
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5:00 PM | New faces: Noah Snyder-Mackler
This week we’re pleased to welcome a big group of new contributors to the blog. By way of introduction, I asked each of them to answer a few quick questions about him- or herself. —Jeremy Who are you? Is this … Continue reading →
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4:26 PM | Interns Summer in Review, Part 5: Learning (and teaching) the art of scientific investigations
It has been over two years since I was last in the woods of New Hampshire collecting invasive plant data for my undergraduate research. From then to now, I have thought little about data sets or statistical variability. Instead, I have focused on getting thirteen-year-old kids to simply grasp the concept that Earth has seasons … Continue reading »
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4:06 PM | Lam Dong launches biodiversity conservation action plan
Lam Dong is the most biodiversity-rich province in the Central Highlands and south-central region. It comprises 512,000ha of natural forest and 68.8ha of planted forest, which are home to a number of rare flora and fauna species listed in Vietnam’s Red Book.-VNA Continue reading →
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3:00 PM | New faces: Stacy Krueger-Hadfield
This week we’re pleased to welcome a big group of new contributors to the blog. By way of introduction, I asked each of them to answer a few quick questions about him- or herself. —Jeremy Who are you? Stacy A. … Continue reading →
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2:34 PM | Your next Mission is just around the corner!
Find out when the next Mission is launching!
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12:28 PM | Birdbooker Report 345
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 […]
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12:19 PM | WTF (What’s The Function?)
Jay Shendure’s editorial, “Life after genetics”, points out that we, as geneticists, should shift our focus from variant-finding (e.g., GWAS) to understanding the functional implications of disease-associated variants: “We are in a period of rich discovery in human genetics and genomics. The … Continue reading →
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11:23 AM | Anybody out there teaching a successful intro biostats course? Tell us about it!
This is a bleg.* A while back I asked your help in choosing a textbook for an introductory biostats course I co-teach. We settled on Whitlock & Schluter, which fits our needs quite well. The course covers a pretty traditional … Continue reading →
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2:19 AM | Network Theory (Part 33)
Last time I came close to describing the ‘black box functor’, which takes an electrical circuit made of resistors and sends it to its behavior as viewed from outside. From outside, all you can see is the relation between currents and potentials at the ‘terminals’—the little bits of wire that poke out of the black […]

November 03, 2014

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11:06 PM | Not an “accident”: Milton Hernandez, 22 suffers fatal work-related injury in Scott, Louisiana
This week’s snapshot of just one work-related fatality in the U.S. This one occurred on October 28 in Scott, Louisiana.
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9:03 PM | Dog disease threatens Siberian tigers
Wild ThingsAnimals,Conservation by Sarah Zielinski 7:30am, November 4, 2014 The world’s dwindling tiger population is threatened by poaching and humans encroaching on the big cats’ habitat, but canine distemper virus may also be a problem, a new study finds.Stuck with my Camera/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)Despite its name, canine distemper virus can infect plenty of non-dog species, […]
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7:52 PM | What to do if you’re facing tenure denial
A nontrivial fraction of tenure-track faculty are denied tenure, well over the standard 5% threshold for Type I errors that we use in the sciences. Even though academia has a love for self-scrutiny, we overlook the consequences of tenure denial. Tenure denial is not rare, but thoughtful information about tenure denial is rare. Since I wrote…
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7:00 PM | New faces: Rob Denton
This week we’re pleased to welcome a big group of new contributors to the blog. By way of introduction, I asked each of them to answer a few quick questions about him- or herself. —Jeremy Who are you? I’m a … Continue reading →
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5:54 PM | New faces: Arun Sethuraman
This week we’re pleased to welcome a big group of new contributors to the blog. By way of introduction, I asked each of them to answer a few quick questions about him- or herself. —Jeremy Who are you? Arun Sethuraman, … Continue reading →
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1:30 PM | Navel-gazing in NYC
We’re headed back to the Big Apple this week – this time, not in search of ants, but BELLY BUTTONS. We’re launching a new research project investigating how belly button microbes – and skin microbes more generally – produce chemical signals, particularly odors, that may signal our attractiveness to mosquitoes. And so we need a few good belly button samples. We’ll use those samples to study the composition of microbes, the odors they produce, and their […]
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11:42 AM | A hypothesis about why some ecologists don’t like “pure theory”
As we’ve discussed several times (e.g., this comment thread), ecologists as a whole may be increasingly skeptical of the value in “pure theory”, meaning theory that is at best only loosely connected to “reality” or “nature”. The evidence for that … Continue reading →
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11:23 AM | Combatting the “black spot” on citrus production in Ghana
Contributed by Melanie Bateman, Integrated Crop Management Adviser, CABI in Switzerland Not long ago, farmers in the Ashanti region of Ghana had seen citrus as a potential money-maker but now many are now giving up in despair as pathogens such as citrus angular leaf spot (Pseudocercospora angolensis) and citrus black spot (Guignarida citricarpa) diminish yields […]
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11:08 AM | Factsheet of the month: November – Brown planthopper of rice
Last week, Nature published an article on the story of rice, from a wild grass to the stable crop we know today. Rice is one of the most important crops in the world as it forms the basis of the diet of a large portion of the human population. Due to the high importance of […]
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10:04 AM | Is dispersal neutral?
Winsor Lowe & Mark McPeek. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 29(8): 444-450. Is dispersal neutral? I picked this paper because I don’t think dispersal is neutral and I had a hunch that the authors didn’t think so either. Perhaps because I already agreed with the main thrust of their argument – that we need to consider […]
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9:23 AM | Size isn’t everything: organising small conferences
The late afternoon sky drizzled softly on Manchester. The pubs along Oxford Road gently creaked with the weight of workers sinking pints following a long week of doing whatever it is that people who work in Manchester do.  Sat in a beer garden, I relaxed and pondered the exceptionally busy previous 48 hours, the main feature of which had been the effective and successful running of a small conference. Having waved goodbye to 50 happy delegates, I had the time to reflect on what had made it […]
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5:34 AM | Artists cultivating Food Systems
When I’m asked how Lanchonete.org is art by a curator, I often feel like it’s a test to see whether I’ll reference Gordon Matta-Clark’s FOOD, a restaurant the artist/ architect and colleagues started in lower Manhattan in the 1970. Sometimes … Continue reading →
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2:44 AM | IPCC Final Report: We’ve Blown Two-Thirds of Our Carbon Budget
"Given the massive wealth and political power of a fossil fuel industry intent upon preserving its $27 trillion stock value, it's no wonder that the dire messages on climate change given by the Nobel prize-winning IPCC, a volunteer organization with almost no PR budget, are drowned out by a stupendous amount of industry-funded misinformation, echoed by politicians they help elect and sympathetic media outlets" (Dr. Jeff Masters). Continue reading →
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1:30 AM | Chain-Free Elephant Volunteer Program 2015
In an unprecedented gesture of faith in a US-based nonprofit organization, Nepalese government officials invited Elephant Aid International (EAI) to create the country’s first-ever chain-free corrals at Chitwan National Park where 63 working elephants now live, shackled in painful leg chains. These elephants engage in anti-poaching patrols and are essential to the government’s ongoing conservation work to protect endangered tigers and rhinos. To date, 31 chain-free corrals have […]
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