Posts

December 18, 2014

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11:56 AM | Hoisted from the comments: what do ecologists have Big Data on, and what don’t they?
It’s often said that we’re in, or will soon enter, the era of Big Data. We’ll have all the data we could possibly want, and so we’ll no longer be data-limited. Instead, the rate of scientific progress will be limited … Continue reading →
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10:39 AM | The best science books of 2014: chemistry, physics, maths | @GrrlScientist
Today, I share a list of what I consider to be the best popular physical sciences books of the year, hoping that you’ll find lots of interesting and unusual ideas for all the maths-astro-physics-chemistry buffs on your holiday gift-giving list!Today, I continue my series of “best of 2014” books lists by sharing the maths, physics, astronomy, chemistry and earth sciences books that I consider to be amongst the best published this year in this genre of popular sciences. […]
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1:08 AM | Favorite Photos From 2014
As we near the end of another year, I’ve put together a collection of my favorite images from 2014.  I hope you enjoy them.  Though I traveled to prairies in several other states this year, all of my favorite images … Continue reading →

December 17, 2014

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11:44 PM | Senator Boxer calls US chemical facility safety “outrageous” and “unacceptable”
“In the 602 days since the West, Texas tragedy there have been 355 chemical accidents resulting in 79 deaths and 1500 hospitalizations,” said Committee Chair Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) opening the hearing. “Essentially,” said Boxer, since the West, Texas accident, there’s been a U.S. incident involving hazardous chemicals every other day. “This,” she said, “is absolutely outrageous.”
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10:43 PM | Science Book Club: Ice Whale
It's time again for an installment of the STS Book Club! This time, it's a novel of the young adult variety. Perhaps a perfect stocking stuffer for the 11-year-old, nature-lover in your life? Or, you know, your story-loving 20-something PhD student. My co-conspirators, then and now.  Notice that I have grown in myappreciation of pants-wearing. I grew up on a farm in south central Kentucky with a small expanse of second growth forest rimming the yard and cultivated fields.  My […]
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8:43 PM | ESA Policy News December 17: Congress passes “CRomnibus” spending bill, Senate committee chairs announced, US Census public comment opportunity
Here are some highlights from the latest ESA Policy New […]
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7:30 PM | OSHA ignores poultry workers’ petition, sixteen months and counting
Poultry and meatpacking workers submitted a petition to OSHA in September 2013 asking the agency to issue a regulation to address line speed and other hazards that lead to musculoskeletal injuries. Sixteen months later, they're still waiting for a response.
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6:38 PM | Control Major Anti-Nature Corporations (CEFIM)
It is time to divest in the largest chemical, energy, finance, insurance, military corporations (CEFIM). #DIVEST Continue reading →
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6:13 PM | What is the future of the brain?
I recently read Gary Marcus and Jeremy Freeman’s new book, The Future of the Brain and was so enthusiastic about it I decided to write a review. And got a bit carried away. Oh well. Hopefully it makes sense: The past … Continue reading →
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5:24 PM | The best science books of 2014: Biology | @GrrlScientist
Today, I share a list of what I consider to be the best popular biological sciences books of the year, hoping that you’ll find lots of interesting and unusual ideas for all the biology buffs on your holiday gift-giving list!Continuing on with the theme I started recently, I am naming some of the popular science books in the biological sciences that I think are the best of 2014. The biological sciences are an even larger genre and more difficult-to-define than is nature writing, but it […]
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5:00 PM | Magical Thinking in the Age of Green
We are not in the Age of Aquarius that had brought—to some of us—radical hope about societal change and a turn toward ecology, steady state growth, and different GDP metrics, including happiness. The age was about love, unity, integrity, sympathy, … Continue reading →
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3:42 PM | A molecular how-to for hibernating this winter
As the academic semester ends, I see the tell-tale signs of the upcoming holiday hibernation. The weary eyes of teaching assistants peeking over piles of final exams. Students who may have mentally been on break before finals even started. A little … Continue reading →
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2:27 PM | Tell the President to #BeeKindObama and suspend bee-toxic neonics!
In June, the President called on federal agencies to create a plan to “promote the health of honey bees and other pollinators.” To show appreciation for all that bees and wild pollinators provide, it is essential that this plan address … Continue reading →
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2:08 PM | Several Hours of Code
The Hour of Code is a global initiative intended to demystify code (ie computer programming) and show that anybody can learn the basics. The idea is to get kids (or anyone, really) to do at least one hour of coding,  in a fun and relaxed way that many won’t even recognise as coding. This provides them with an… Continue reading »
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1:46 PM | Study: Reduced emissions from electric cars could prevent thousands of deaths
When compared with gasoline-powered cars, vehicles fueled with electricity from renewable sources could cut air pollution-related deaths by 70 percent, according to a new study, which noted that air pollution is the country’s greatest environmental health threat.
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11:23 AM | Preferring a preference index
I’ve been reading about preference indexes lately, specifically for characterising pollinator preferences for plants, so here is what I learnt. Preference is defined as using an item (e.g. plant) more than expected given the item abundance. First I like to use … Continue reading →
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11:21 AM | Update: Plant Health News (17 Dec 14)
Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including small-scale women farmers delivering pioneering efforts in food security in Tanzania, Witches’ Broom Disease affecting cassava in Cambodia and an initiative in Africa which is strengthening food systems while raising awareness of Ebola. Click on the link to read more of the latest […]
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11:14 AM | Ecologists who are awesome at things besides ecology
In this old post asking readers “What were you, or what were you going to be, before you became an ecologist?”, several examples came up of ecologists who were or are very accomplished at something besides ecology or some related … Continue reading →
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6:00 AM | How to Catch a Wolf (and Make Sure it Doesn’t Get Hurt)
Find out how our researchers are able to study eastern wolves in the wild.

December 16, 2014

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8:53 PM | Occupational Health News Roundup
Petrochemical companies spend millions to undermine the science on benzene; in-depth series sheds light on the horrific working conditions in Mexico's agricultural sector; National Labor Relations Board rules in favor of worker organizing; and federal officials grilled on response to West fertilizer explosion.
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4:26 PM | Strange underwater sex– sexual strategies of the bone-eating worm
Going deep today, folks. When you’re a bone-eating worm without a gut or an anus, and you live 10,000 feet under the ocean where it is big, dark and you’re stuck in one place, it can be hard to not only eat, but to mate. In such an instance one sexual strategy is for males … Continue reading Strange underwater sex– sexual strategies of the bone-eating worm →
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3:07 PM | The best nature books of 2014 | @GrrlScientist
Today, I share a list of what I consider to be the best nature books of the year, hoping that you’ll find lots of interesting and unusual ideas for all the naturalists on your holiday gift-giving list!Yesterday, when I was tearing through my bookshelves hoping to discover books to include on my Best Bird Books of 2014 list, I ran across a number of wonderful nature books that I had to share with you, too. In retrospect, it is interesting to note that I had a much more difficult time […]
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1:40 PM | What's the big deal about these snake genomes anyway?
This post will soon become available in SpanishKing Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah; top) andBurmese Python (Python bivittatus; bottom), the two snake species whose genomes were fully sequenced in 2013One year ago today, the first snake genomes ever sequenced hit the newsstands. OK, so two papers in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences isn't exactly the cover of Time magazine to most people, but it was big enough news that it was covered by The Huffington Post and the […]
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1:00 PM | Be a gracious winner and not a sore loser (or don’t be a jerk)
There are a bunch of life skills that come in handy in academia. Some are obvious and discussed a lot like time management, setting goals, getting stuff completed, etc. Others fly under the radar but maybe shouldn’t. One of those things is how you handle competition. Academia is one of those careers where competition is…
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1:00 PM | Readers Write In: Can You Help Them Figure Out The Identities of These Snakes?
Here are some recent snake identification requests. Can you help these folks out? Hello, My neighbor's cat brought this into her garage today. She killed it because she was afraid it was going to get her cat. The vet said it was an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake. After doing some googling, I found your site and hoax page. We are located about 45 miles north of Little Rock in
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12:30 PM | This post is for the birds
Darwin’s favorite bird, the pigeon, has a new sister (species) – the flamingo. This somewhat surprising result came from a recent phylogenomic analysis of 48 bird species published last week in Science. This analysis and its 27 companion papers were … Continue reading →
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11:37 AM | Some talks that surprised me from #BESSfe
I have a quick post about the joint BES-Sfe meeting in Lille at Journal of Ecology Blog. My talk went very well and if interested you can find the slides here.
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1:39 AM | The dinosaurs in the backyard
Chickens are some of the closest dino relatives Wild ThingsAnimals,Evolution by Sarah Zielinski 8:30am, December 16, 2014 Chickens look pretty harmless, but add teeth and a tail, and you might come out with “chickenosaurus,” as noted paleontologist Jack Horner has proposed.S. ZielinskiSYDNEY — Last week, scientists published a new bird “family […]

December 15, 2014

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11:15 PM | The new climate denialism: More carbon dioxide is a good thing
For years, the fossil-fuel industries have been telling us that global warming is a hoax based on junk science. But now these industries are floating a new argument: They’re admitting that human use of coal, oil and gas is causing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to rise — but they’re saying this is a good thing. Continue reading →
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10:40 PM | Contrasting Approaches to Prairie Management: Leopold, Land Health and Cabbages.
“A Land Ethic” is the concluding essay in Aldo Leopold’s 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac, and is the most powerful and relevant piece of conservation writing I’ve ever read.   Leopold’s essay spells out the changes we need to make in … Continue reading →
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