August 31, 2014

9:21 AM | The Conscience of an Asteroid by Madhusudan Katti
My new contribution to the series “The Moral Is” (hear my previous essays in their archives, or read them here) on Valley Public Radio was broadcast during Valley Edition a couple of weeks ago. Here’s my original, extended version of the essay, before it was pared down for broadcast. You can imagine me reading it in your head, or listen to the broadcast version […]
1:54 AM | Soldiering on
  Newbury, Massachusetts The goldenrod trumpets with its bursting bright yellow flowers. To these golden trumpets of color, the soldier beetles are called. They busy themselves collecting the nectar-bribe given by the goldenrod in exchange for carrying pollen to other flowers. For me, these trumpets of color and the arrival of the solider beetles herald […]

August 30, 2014

6:33 PM | Filesnakes, Wartsnakes, or Elephant Trunksnakes
Arafura Filesnake (Acrochordus arafurae)In the swamps, marshes, streams, and estuaries of northern Australia and southeastern Asia live ancient snakes as thick as your arm, with tongues as thin as a thread, skin as rough as a file, and a disposition as gentle as a lamb. These snakes comprise the family Acrochordidae (from the Greek akrochordon, wart), and are known as filesnakes1, wartsnakes, or elephant trunksnakes. In Indonesian they are known as karung, which means 'sack'; in Thai, […]
5:41 PM | Animals Rights is the Greatest Social Justice Issue Since the Abolition of Slavery
Originally posted on Our Compass:Source Free From HarmBy Free From Harm Staff Writers Philip Wollen shakes the rafters of the auditorium with this 10-minute speech to the St James Ethics Centre and the Wheeler Centre debate in Australia on…
5:39 PM | World Ocean Temps Spike to +1.26 Positive Anomaly as Antarctic Polar Amplification Ramps Up
Originally posted on robertscribbler:Prospects for a moderate to strong El Nino are fading even as the eventual emergence of El Nino this year grows increasingly in doubt. But despite the failure of a weather system which tends to both…
4:38 PM | Unrelated to all that, 8/30 edition
Humanity’s Longest Lasting Legacy May Be The Miles Of Holes We’ve Dug The distance to the center of the Earth is roughly 3,960 miles (6,373 kilometers). Animal life stops 1.2 miles (2 km) below the surface — the depth where … Continue reading →
3:14 PM | Continuing the Conversation: The Role of Theory in Conservation, a follow-up with Justin Kitzes
In my conversation with John Harte, he mentions work by his post-doc, Justin Kitzes, who is interested in how ecological . . .
9:35 AM | About Martha, the last of the passenger pigeons | @GrrlScientist
This caturday arrived just in time to share a few videos about Martha, the last passenger pigeon known to have lived.Its caturday once again, which means its that one day each week when we take a step back from our busy lives to honour animals and nature and our special relationship with them. Since the centenary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon is only a couple days away, I thought Id share some video about these birds. Continue reading...

August 29, 2014

7:29 PM | Disappointing summer for progress by OSHA on new worker safety regulations
Around Memorial Day, OSHA set expectations in its regulatory agenda of what it would accomplish over the summer months. Now Labor Day is upon us and OSHA is 0 for 7 on the progress it said it would make on new worker safety regulations.
6:56 PM | Before They Were Scientists: Peter Bijl
My second installment in a series of interviews from the Netherlands is with geoscientist and climate change expert, Dr. Peter Bijl. He recalls constantly observing his surroundings as a child and questioning why he didn’t get to use his ice skates as much as his parents. This childhood curiosity translated to a career trying to understand how the Earth works. Read on to learn about how being a scientist is more than just being the smartest person in class, the role of chance in science, […]
4:14 PM | Spiders get bigger in the big city
Wild ThingsAnimals by Sarah Zielinski 12:16pm, August 29, 2014 Golden orb weaving spiders living in urban areas of Sydney tend to be bigger than their country-dwelling brethren, a new study finds.Karora/Wikimedia Commons Bad news for city-dwelling arachnophobes: Some spiders may be bigger in your neck of the woods. Or at least one species of arachnid appears to be. Golden orb-weaving […]
1:46 PM | New books party | @GrrlScientist
What good is a weekend without a good book to read? Take a look at these books -- hot off the presses -- that you may enjoy! Continue reading...
1:00 PM | What we’re reading: Genomic selection scans, local adaptation, and the grass is actually pretty green on this side of the publishing fence
In the journals Cadzow M, J Boocock, HT Nguyen, P Wilcox, TR Merriman and MA Black. 2014. A bioinformatics workflow for detecting signatures of selection in genomic data. Front. Genet. 5:293. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2014.00293. Here we describe a basic workflow, constructed … Continue reading →
11:30 AM | Friday links: Lego academics vs. admin, ESA vs. other summer conferences, greatest syllabus ever, a taxonomy of papers, and more
Also this week: Contrarianism! Academia isn’t broken! It’s not actually that important for the vast majority of data to be made available and accessible in a standardized form! And also lots of things that aren’t contrarianism but are still thought-provoking! … Continue reading →
10:55 AM | Secrets of animal camouflage research | @GrrlScientist
This interesting video, courtesy of the BBSRC and Project Nightjar, reveals the secrets of animal camouflage research.Last night, I was contacted by Arran Frood, a digital content producer for the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), after hed read this piece I wrote about the evolution of camouflage in avian eggs. He invited me to share this interesting video that he produced. This video provides a visual context for animal camouflage research: Continue reading...
6:51 AM | The future body: An exhibit in the Science Centre Singapore
While walking along the rows of exhibits in the Science Centre Singapore, my gaze fell upon a small, interesting exhibit called the Future Body. Intrigued, I took a few steps closer and I started reading the description of it (on the info panel) and I watched the accompanying short video. The exhibit delved into the… Continue reading »
3:48 AM | A Map to Build Roads to a Better Future
When I learned that the pesticide DDT–widely toxic and now widely banned–has snaked its way into polar bears and beluga whales, I questioned if any environment remains pristine on terrestrial Earth. Perhaps, the thick, hostile and unyielding rainforests of Borneo might prove a bastion? Then in 2013, satellite images showed roads penetrating deep into Borneo. […]

Laurance, W., Clements, G., Sloan, S., O’Connell, C., Mueller, N., Goosem, M., Venter, O., Edwards, D., Phalan, B., Balmford, A. & Van Der Ree, R. (2014). A global strategy for road building, Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature13717

2:00 AM | The New Is Well Forgotten Old: Scandinavian Vernacular Experience on Biodiverse Green Roofs
Green roofs are becoming more popular around the globe and are considered to be a very progressive landscape design devise in urban areas. The green roof has started to become fashionable—it is even considered as one of the “compulsory” sustainable … Continue reading →

August 28, 2014

9:59 PM | San Jose Mercury News investigates the drugging of California foster children
The San Jose Mercury News has begun publishing a multi-part series on the alarming use of psychotropic medications among youth in California's foster-care system. Among the findings: 60% of foster children have been prescribed an antipsychotic, and 12% of those who received a psychotropic drug were prescribed two to four psychotropic medications at a time.
6:43 PM | Photo of the Week – August 28, 2014
I made a quick run out to our family prairie this week to see how our grazing management was looking.  It was a beautiful evening for a stroll, as the sun went down through layers of diffuse clouds.  The abundant rain this year … Continue reading →
6:16 PM | Looking at the Past to Understand the Future
No question, our planet is heating up. So what impact will global climate change have on biodiversity and ecosystems? This BIG question, as you’ve undoubtedly read here on our blog, is near and dear to many Your Wild Life-affiliated researchers. Over the years, they’ve taken several different approaches to studying the consequences of global climate change on organisms and ecosystems. One approach is to do experiments. Heat something up and see what happens to say, ants living on […]
5:55 PM | Trapjaw ants, filmed at 600 frames per second
By Adrian Smith; taken from Myrmecos.
5:40 PM | The smell of rain: what is petrichor?
pet·ri·chor ˈpeˌtrīkôr/ noun a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather. “other than the petrichor emanating from the rapidly drying grass, there was not a trace of evidence that it had … Continue reading →
11:00 AM | Do you allow laptops in class?
As we gear up for the start of the semester (we don’t start until next week), I am once again considering whether to allow laptops in class. My recent musings on this were sparked by Anne Curzan’s post in the … Continue reading →
5:44 AM | The Stochastic Resonance Program (Part 2)
guest post by David Tanzer Last time we introduced the concept of stochastic resonance. Briefly, it’s a way that noise can amplify a signal, by giving an extra nudge that helps a system receiving that signal make the jump from one state to another. Today we’ll describe a program that demonstrates this concept. But first, […]
4:03 AM | Carnival of Evolution #74
Well, it’s a couple of weeks late, but Carnival of Evolution #74 is now out.  Our contribution was Craig Benkman’s fascinating post about “A small mammal with an outsized impact”.  With more than 500 views already, it’s one of our most popular posts ever, and deservedly so.  So if you haven’t read it, check it out!  There are lots of other goodies in the carnival; I was very interested in the discussion of ring species by Jerry Coyne, for […]

August 27, 2014

10:37 PM | Wordless Wednesday August 27
Tagged: Ecology, light, nature, photography, trees, Wordless Wednesdays
9:15 PM | Occupational Health News Roundup
Texas workers face higher workplace fatality risks; Washington state court ruling holds parent company liable for wage violations; rail workers dismayed by union deal that threatens safety; and transgender workers receive new workplace protections.
7:01 PM | Recommended reads #34
Here is an especially gorgeous and fascination-inducing natural history site called Corner of the Cabinet. This essay called Change the Tenure System came out at the start of the year but was just brought to my attention. I think it’s the most concise and spot-on definition of the problems and false assumptions built into how…
6:32 PM | Good News: We’ve all got mites!
Over the last year and a half, hundreds of you volunteered to have your faces scraped for science. In looking at the contents of your face goop, we’ve uncovered some of the mysteries of the tiny, some might even say charming, arthropod that lives within the hair follicles and glands of your skin — your Demodex mites. Today we’re pleased to announce the publication of our first research paper from the Meet Your Mites project: Thoemmes MS, Fergus DJ, Urban J, Trautwein M, Dunn […]
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