Posts

July 21, 2014

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6:57 PM | Students Discover: The third week
Time flies when you’re having fun (and working hard)! Last week marked the third and final week of our time with the Students Discover Kenan Fellows at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. The week was jam-packed with lab work, lesson planning, more small mammal trapping, visits behind-the-scenes to the Museum’s collections and Arthropod Zoo, and a special lunch with Dr. Emlyn Koster, the Museum’s director. Here are some highlights from his remarks to the group: […]
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6:04 PM | South African park considers rhino evacuation
south-african-park-considers-rhino-evacuation Continue reading →
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4:09 PM | Piketty & Public Health
Thomas Piketty’s prediction that wealth inequality will grow in the future has been everywhere in the media. Piketty’s methods would help public health efforts to reduce health inequality.
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3:59 PM | Do “I” exist?
I think therefore I am; or rather, I am currently thinking, therefore I currently am. But where does the “I” come from? Much has been made of clinical cases where the self seems to malfunction spectacularly: like Cotard syndrome, whose victims believe they do not exist, even though they admit to having a life history; or […]
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3:55 PM | Watching Wetland Water Levels – Timelapse Photography
It’s timelapse photography time again…  I downloaded more photos from the cameras at our restored wetland in the Platte River Prairies a couple weeks ago, and have been looking through the images for stories.  One theme that stood out in … Continue reading →
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1:00 PM | Organizing a Gender Balanced Conference
There is a lot of discussion on the internet about highly skewed speaker lists at symposia and conferences. For the past year, I’ve been co-organizing a small conference (~110 people) with Michael Angilletta where we’ve been practicing some of the approaches I developed and blogged about earlier for organizing a seminar series. However, in ecology […]
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12:59 PM | Help crowd source better science communication methods
Recently, studies aimed at better quantifying and communicating the “consensus” on climate change have become more popular. To take advantage of the increasing monetary flow in this direction, and to advance the science even further, our institute, meaning me, have … Continue reading →
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12:00 PM | Charging a cover for lab participation
I am considering implementing a new policy this fall in the lab portion of my primary course. The short version is: students would need to read/watch certain things before coming to lab that would prepare them for the day’s activity. Before entering the lab classroom, they would be handed a (relatively easy) quiz on those…
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11:51 AM | Don’t worry (too much) about whether you’ll get tenure, because you probably will
A while back, Terry McGlynn came out of the tenure denial closet, revealing that he was denied tenure at his previous job (he’s now tenured). Terry’s far from alone. I know, or know of, several people who were denied tenure, … Continue reading →
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8:45 AM | How to update and backup a MySQL database under version control and all within Rstudio
I am trying to have better workflows to ensure data quality and two important things for me are first, scripting as much as posible the data manipulation process, and second, backing up the database we use under version control (e.g. … Continue reading →
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3:07 AM | Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Doomsday climate scenario no longer far-fetched
Growing concern doomsday brought on by climate change. Continue reading →

July 20, 2014

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11:17 PM | Is There Any Type of Urban Greenspace that Addresses the Urban-Rural Continuum? Urban Agriculture
In my last post, I wrote that efficient urban sustainability policy should be inclusive, in the sense that it should address sustainability in an area large enough to encompass urban centers, but suburban, periurban and dependent rural, or natural places. … Continue reading →
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10:21 PM | Global Warming and Fire
Increasing fire occurrence means that a site is more likely to be burned a second time before the vegetation can recover. This quickly leads to a reduction in diversity and stability. Continue reading →
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10:12 PM | Ohio Collecting 2: Buzzard's Roost Preserve
After collecting in Marietta, I headed towards Chillicothe, Ohio, where Buzzard's Roost Nature Preserve is located. I had never been to Buzzard's Roost before, but was invited by Joe Letsche, a ranger with the Ross County Park District, to give a public program about millipedes. It was an offer I couldn't refuse--collecting millipedes AND teaching other people about them? Yes please.So, I drove through a few storms and met Joe for a pre-millipede hunting dinner. On the way, I stopped to take […]
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10:07 PM | President Obama: Keep fighting poaching! – Wildlife Conservation Society
President Obama just made an unprecedented move in the fight against illegal wildlife trafficking. In a visit to Tanzania, the President launched a poaching crackdown, dedicating the United States to fighting back against poachers and criminal wildlife traffickers. His new $10 million initiative is devoted to protecting Africa's iconic species from the threat of the bloody trade in illegal ivory. Continue reading →
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8:03 PM | Feds move to restrict neonic pesticides — well, one fed at least
Pressure mounts for EPA to ban neonicotinoid insecticides. Continue reading →
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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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