Posts

September 27, 2014

+
2:37 AM | Steller’s sea cow – candidate for de-extinction?
Today in Evolunch, we discussed de-extinction.  One species we evaluated for post-extinction-reintroduction via the magic of genetics is the Steller’s sea cow, extinct in the wild since 1768 (less than 30 years after it was “discovered”) . Below is an excerpt from The Unnatural History of the Sea by Callum Roberts that describes the discovery and subsequent […]
+
1:45 AM | Matching steps
My latest feature piece for The Hindu BLink, on the different ways to watch nature.

September 26, 2014

+
11:28 PM | Protect Wildlife from Killing Contests
The practice of hunting non-game fur-bearing mammals in contests is still alive and well in California. Continue reading →
+
9:09 PM | Blind cavefish got no (circadian) rhythm
Wild ThingsAnimals by Sarah Zielinski 7:30am, September 29, 2014 Blind, cave-dwelling cavefish have an advantage over their sighted brethren in the form of a more efficient metabolism, a new study finds.Joachim S. Müller/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)Small, silver fish called Mexican tetra (Astyanax mexicanus) live in some Texas and Mexican rivers. Some members of the species — […]
+
8:21 PM | Study: People who work long hours in low-wage jobs experience higher risk of diabetes
A recent study has uncovered another possible risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes: working long hours in low-paying jobs.
+
8:14 PM | Our fossil fueled world
While I sat at home in Mount Rainier, Maryland writing this essay, dozens of my friends and hundreds of thousands of fellow humans were in New York for the People’s Climate March. That I was not there is perhaps strange, because I believe climate change is probably humanity’s most serious problem—in other words, the one most...»
+
7:20 PM | Center for Food Safety | Blog | A Sticky Situation for EPA on Pollinators and Pesticides
There’s been quite a bit of buzz about bees lately. Two weeks ago, the White House released a Presidential Memorandum establishing a “Pollinator Health Task Force” with plans to improve pollinator health and habitat. Many people (including the Pollinator Team … Continue reading →
+
6:56 PM | Killing Elephants for Fun and Profit
Originally posted on strange behaviors:A game guard points out where the poacher’s bullit killed this young elephant. This is a hard photograph to look at, but it’s what ivory poachers do, and what we are complicit in when we…
+
6:48 PM | How A Fur Coat Is Helping Save an Endangered Cat
Originally posted on strange behaviors:My latest for Takepart. Everybody has some dreadful bit of family history stashed away in the attic and preferably forgotten. For the Rockefeller heirs last week, it was their investment in the fossil fuel industry,…
+
2:46 PM | Before They Were Scientists: Julie Hecht
Julie Hecht began our interview by admitting she was nervous because, to her, middle school was horribly awkward. I assured her that she would never have to go back, but just had to share a few memories with me. Our interview, punctuated by lots of laughter, reinforced that even if you’re not into science as a middle school student, it doesn’t mean that you won’t end up a scientist. Learn how she eventually found her way into researching human’s best friend after being […]
+
1:00 PM | What we’re reading: A guide to Bioconductor, Latin American admixture, and the sordid truth about academic job hunting
In the journals Lawrence M., M. Morgan. 2014. Scalable genomics with R and Bioconductor. arXiv:1409.2864. This paper reviews strategies for solving problems encountered when analyzing large genomic data sets and describes the implementation of those strategies in R by packages … Continue reading →
+
12:00 PM | Recommended reads #36
One Woman’s Life in Science. This came out almost twenty years ago in the Sigma Xi magazine, but it reads as if could have been written yesterday. When universities sell their souls, why do they have to sell so cheaply? “Student course evaluations are often misused statistically and shed little light on the quality of…
+
11:53 AM | Friday links: climate change (for women and the planet), yeast mail, grumpy frog, and more (UPDATED)
Also this week: questioning the evidence for p-hacking, hamster wheel desks, are academics becoming more selfish, new faculty advice, resources for modelers, 35 years of “Spandrels”, zombie ideas in other fields, making nerd fury work for you, and more. From … Continue reading →
+
11:30 AM | FLUMP – Sargasso Sea biodiversity, penguin citizen science, criticism and more!
It’s Friday and that means that it’s time for our Friday link dump, where we highlight some recent papers (and . . .
+
9:16 AM | Fossils Rock! How Birds Evolved From Tyrannosaurus Rex
From T. rex to treecreepers in one handy graphic. Picture credit: University of Edinburgh.Tens of millions of years of gradual evolution turned a family of dinosaurs called therapods  into modern birds, new research by the University of Edinburgh has confirmed.Led by Dr Steve Brusatte, the research highlights how the largest terrestrial carnivore took to the skies, acquiring feathers, wings and wishbones along the way.The findings were published in Current Biology with the title […]

September 25, 2014

+
11:05 PM | PhD students and the cult of busy
  Academics often remind me of the Four Yorkshire Men in the old sketch (not actually originally a Monty Python sketch, but famously performed by them in their live shows – comedy nerd out over, carry on), except rather than trying to outdo each with how deprived we were as kids, we’re always trying to outdo each other with tales of how busy we are. We do it so often that it becomes hard to draw the line between how much this reflects how busy we really are, and how much is […]
+
7:49 PM | Photo of the Week – September 25, 2014
Some people have the mistaken impression that I know a lot about bees.  Those who know me better understand that while I have a decent understanding of the ecology of bees and other pollinators, my identification skills are very rudimentary.  … Continue reading →
+
7:15 PM | Positive Multifunctionality ≠ All Functions Are Positive
Positive Multifunctionality ≠ All Functions Are Positive I was dismayed this morning to read Bradford et al.’s recently accepted paper Discontinuity in the responses of ecosystem processes and multifunctionality to altered soil community composition in PNAS for several reasons. The … Continue reading →
+
5:43 PM | Ferocious Beauty
Carnivorous plants have turned the tables on food webs. Rather than insects munching on plants, these plants chow down on insects. The “traps” of yellow pitcher plants (Sarracenia flava) – one of several carnivorous plant species native to the Southeast — are actually modified leaves. The flap (or operculum) prevents rain from entering the pitcher. The opening to the pitcher lures insects with nectar, but any bug that reaps the sweet reward will find a very slippery […]
+
4:03 PM | Treatment, Not Prison: Reforming Sentences for Low-Level Crimes Will Boost Health and Safety for All Californians
By Kim Gilhuly Reforming California’s sentences for low-level crimes would alleviate prison and jail overcrowding, make communities safer, strengthen families, and shift resources from imprisoning people to treating them for the addictions and mental health problems at the root of many crimes, according to a study by Human Impact Partners. Rehabilitating Corrections in California, a…
+
11:40 AM | Detection probability survey results
Last week, I highlighted some new results from a paper on detection probabilities and placed detection probabilities in the context of estimator theory. This in turn led to a a reader poll to try to get a sense of how people … Continue reading →

September 24, 2014

+
9:56 PM | ESA Policy News September 24: Congress extends federal funding through Dec., Obama urges global climate action, comment periods extended for power plant rule, groundwater plan
Here are some highlights from the latest ESA Policy New […]
+
6:50 PM | Football and brain trauma: a workplace health issue
Is NFL football a sport or gladiatorial combat to entertain the masses?
+
3:53 PM | Interns Summer in Review, Part 2: Sharing Across Cultures
I am Stephanie Cortes, a summer intern in NEON’s terrestrial instrument group (also known as the Fundamental Instrumentation Unit, or FIU). FIU is a science department whose purpose is to facilitate instrument-based collection of abiotic terrestrial, atmospheric, and soil data in a standardized way across all of the NEON terrestrial sites. I worked on building … Continue reading »
+
3:53 PM | Back from Bayes IV
As announced a while ago, we had moved our now already traditional summer school in Bayesian Statistics to Bergen, Norway this year. Maybe fitting for such a course, the weather turned out to be very different from the long-term frequency, in what must be the upper 1% quantile of sun intensity for the region at…
+
3:31 PM | Weather Radar Captures Flocks of Birds Taking Off
Several times a week, if not every day, I look at Doppler radar maps so I know whether to take an umbrella when I leave the house. These maps, shown on TV weather reports or websites, are commonplace... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
+
12:00 PM | How to write a paper
I must make a confession. Through no one’s fault bu my own, I made it through my PhD without a writing method. Not that I knew how to write, and did not have a routine. I had no method. When it was time to write a paper, I opened a text editor and started writing a paper. It now sounds head-bashingly stupid; it is. It is a wonder that I managed to get any writing done. I started developping an idea of how to write during my post-doc. Mostly by osmosis, and in part because I needed to do […]
+
11:31 AM | What belongs in the appendices vs. the main text in scientific papers?
So, how do you decide what material to include in the main text of your papers, vs. in appendices? Some things are easy. Raw data, code, and lengthy derivations belong in appendices.* Alternative ways of running the analysis that lead … Continue reading →
+
11:21 AM | For all the Nature Lovers out there who missed out our Nature Calls Event!
How do you crack a funny and get a blood-red smile? All you need is the kernel and leaves of betel palm nuts, and a ticklish old fogie!Chewing the betel palm stains your teeth. Scientists have recently discovered that palm trees may have once grown all over Antarctica! Did you know that the African Raffia… Continue reading »
+
10:43 AM | Talking about the end of life
Ezekiel Emanuel hopes to die at age 75, and is willing to forego certain medical care in order to do so. The Institute of Medicine recommends that we do more to ensure that our healthcare system honors such individual preferences about end-of-life healthcare.
123456789
310 Results