Posts

July 20, 2014

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5:14 PM | Many measurements and few observations
Our University colleague Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter has written a brief opinion piece in the latest issue of Science on the future of probabilistic models, particularly for big datasets (think images or genomes). Two points jumped out at me: (1) Statistical problems have shifted from many observations (large n) and few parameters (small p) to small n […]
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5:10 PM | Creature Feature VI: Bee-eaters
Here is my next piece in the Creature Feature series, on the social lives of bee-eaters. The only thing I have to add is this delightful video of a Rainbow Bee-Eater digging its tunnel nest to the accompaniment of cheerful … Continue reading →
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12:21 PM | Damn, That’s Some Big Kelp!
I’m not sure what it is this year, but the kelp we’re seeing in the Southern Gulf of Maine is just fracking huge. Last year, yeah, there were kelpy areas, and there were kelps that were ~1-1.5 meters long, which, … Continue reading →

July 19, 2014

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6:10 PM | The greenheads are coming, the greenheads are coming!
I wanted to take her picture so I let her bite me. I’ve had stranger dates. She finds a suitable spot near my elbow. She cuts with her mouthparts that look like ragged handsaws. I resist the urge to slap her. Once she has cut and shredded my capillaries she pulls herself as close to […]
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5:23 PM | Recent advancements on the “consensus” science front
Real good news from the world of science, just last week. Science as we all know, is all about “pushing the envelope”, about stretching the frontiers of knowledge, about intrepid explorations right on that knife-edged ridge that typically divides brilliance … Continue reading →
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12:50 PM | On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Well now the gravity of trouble was more than I could bear At times my luck was so bad, I had to fold my hand I almost lost my soul, rarely could I find my head Wake up early in … Continue reading →
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3:24 AM | Ask USFWS and the Department of Interior To Give Panthers Room To Roam!
ask-usfws-and-the-department-of-interior-to-give-panthers-room-to-roam Continue reading →

July 18, 2014

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8:44 PM | Mapping the lives and deaths of workers: An emerging way to tell the story of occupational health and safety
When Bethany Boggess first debuted her online mapping project, she didn’t expect it to attract so much attention. But within just six months of its launch, people from all over the world are sending in reports and helping her build a dynamic picture of the lives and deaths of workers.
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7:27 PM | Before They Were Scientists: Jiri Hulcr
In hearing about Jiri Hulcr‘s childhood growing up during the revolution in the Czech Republic, I gained some insight into how he approaches science. He can be seen in the above picture (the only photo of him during his middle school years) wearing the blue cap; this photo was taken at a traditional pig killing. The person steaming and shaving the pig was the butcher, and every single piece of the pig is utilized. For Jiri, these pig killings (and subsequent butcherings) were essential […]
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4:25 PM | Why would robots have heads?
Or conversely, why is your head near your brain? Sensory organs came before or after cephalization? In other words, do we have a head because it is advantageous to be able to respond quickly to quickly changing incoming sensations (vision, audition)? This is interesting: However, flatworms differ from more advanced animals in that their mouths are in […]
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3:29 PM | NEON presents its first higher education video
NEON is excited to present its first video in a series of multimedia resources. The Story of LiDAR Data provides a general overview of LiDAR data and highlights how LiDAR data is used to measure structural characteristics of trees. Education is an important part of the NEON project design. NEON’s higher education program provides a … Continue reading »
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2:32 PM | Passport required to reproduce: Local adaptation persists despite frequent dispersal
[ This post is by Daniel Peterson; I am just putting it up.  –B. ]Alaska contains roughly half of the wilderness in the United States. That’s over 230,000 square kilometers of pristine habitat – a place where ecosystem processes disrupted almost everywhere else can be observed in a natural state. Of course, that also means a large proportion of the state isn’t accessible by road, a fact I could barely comprehend as a brand-new grad student stepping off a plane from […]
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2:12 PM | Gordon Research Conference on Speciation: March 15–20, 2015
Hi everybody.  An upcoming conference on speciation has just been announced:Gordon Research Conference on SpeciationModes of Diversification, Ecological Mechanisms, and Genomic SignaturesMarch 15–20, 2015Ventura, California, USAA preliminary program is up with a great list of speakers.  More information is available at the conference’s home page.  Save the date!
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1:00 PM | What we’re reading: Experimental evolution of beetles’ immunity, adaptive introgression in mussels, and sexual harassment in the field
In the journals Joop G., O. Roth, P. Schmid-Hempel, and J. Kurtz. 2014. Experimental evolution of external immune defences in the red flour beetle. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 27: 1562–1571. doi: 10.1111/jeb.12406. Intriguingly, we found indication for an interme- diate … Continue reading →
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11:35 AM | Friday links: revisiting old papers, life after lab closure, and more
Also this week: how being a cyclist is like being a woman, scads of advice for navigating the tenure track, against rejection without review, and more. Oh, and the National Science Foundation has been reading our old posts. At least, … Continue reading →
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11:30 AM | Flump – Scorpion burrows, J-lo mites, and Darwin’s library
It’s Friday and that means that it’s time for our Friday link dump, where we highlight some recent papers (and . . .
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1:46 AM | Mail order mystics
Can’t you just go out and see the stars at night Without asking someone “lucky” how to “see” them right? You know these mail order mystics–they never had it so good You go ahead, you listen like I knew you … Continue reading →
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1:00 AM | The Harmonograph
Anita Chowdry is an artist based in London. While many are exploring electronic media and computers, she’s going in the opposite direction, exploring craftsmanship and the hands-on manipulation of matter. I find this exciting, perhaps because I spend most of my days working on my laptop, becoming starved for richer sensations. She writes: Today, saturated […]

July 17, 2014

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11:15 PM | OSHA gave me a reason to visit at Recovery.gov
An OSHA news release about a cell tower inspection gave me reason to visit the White House's Recovery.gov website.
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10:26 PM | What can I do with maps…?
I’m trying to learn a little about Github (because, well, I don’t know. I feel like I should). A few random clicks brought me to the Leaflet project. And it got me thinking about what I could – and should … Continue reading →
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10:16 PM | Photo of the Week – July 17, 2014
A couple weeks ago, I posted a photo of a sunset from the Niobrara Valley Preserve.  In the post, I talked about having to scramble to get into position for the photo before the color left the sky.  Barely a … Continue reading →
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8:33 PM | Naked mole rats, star-nosed moles, and tentacled snakes: the research of Ken Catania
A classic paper about Naked Mole Rats was passed around on twitter recently and I thought that it would be a good time to revisit some of the greatest hits of Ken Catania, wonder neuroethologist. There is tons of interesting neuroscience questions that pertain to the strange animals you’ll find in the wild but very […]
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5:51 PM | Federal efforts underway to streamline research grant review process
  A recent report from the National Science Board […]
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5:20 PM | Meet the 2014 Students Discover Fellows
As readers of our blog and Twitter feed well know, we’ve spent the last three weeks working side-by-side with 12 North Carolina middle school teachers at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. These teacher-scientists and Museum researchers have been busy in the field and at the lab bench, co-creating citizen science projects and lesson plans that the teachers will take back to their classrooms in the fall. The goal: Create opportunities for kids to do REAL science, to make new and exciting […]
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4:27 PM | Sexual harassment and rape in field sciences, part II
A new paper by Kate Clancy and colleagues came out in PLoS One this week, and it paints an alarming picture regarding field work: 64% of survey respondents had personally experienced sexual harassment and 21.7% had been sexually assaulted while … Continue reading →
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11:54 AM | The Launch of the R/V Botryllid
Woohoo! It’s another amazing research season out here at the Shoals Marine Lab. We’re in the midst of our push to sample SML, Salem Sound, and the Boston Harbor Islands. The weather is glorious, and the water is…ok, not warm. … Continue reading →
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10:58 AM | The Frustrating World of Dangerous Living
When I first heard about the show I was very excited. Hollywood finally giving climate change the treatment, yay! I really wanted to like it. And I did - to some extent.
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7:36 AM | We have work to do
I’m not a linguist, but I think the theory that swearing and other “taboo” words came about to express extreme emotion.  Regular readers of The Lab & Field will know that I rarely (never?) use such words.  Similarly, in scientific writing, we couch emotion in verbose syntactical constructions, often devoid of feeling. Such will not be the case […]
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6:01 AM | The House of Dung
We gathered around the specimen with hand lenses, expensive cameras, and intent interest.  After some initial documentation, it was reverently placed in a basket and carried back to the main hall to be further examined and identified.  Pieces were placed under microscopes, and hefty field guides and computer programs referenced.  Read more »

July 16, 2014

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5:27 PM | Peer review, reviewed
Rebecca Schuman, who has almost single-handedly turned Slate into one of best big websites for coverage of the many trials and tribulations of academia, turns to peer review for scholarly journals, in which an author’s academic peers volunteer to weigh … Continue reading →
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