Posts

December 10, 2014

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12:57 PM | Take Earth Rangers EVERYWHERE!
Download the free Earth Rangers App and get animal pictures, news, videos and so much more.
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11:45 AM | Musings on the the reward structure of science
The reward structure of science varies a lot across different fields and countries. It’s worth thinking about how different reward structures affect the behavior of scientists and thus the direction of science as a whole. For instance, in the past … Continue reading →
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10:25 AM | Update: New Pest & Disease Records (10 Dec 14)
We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include the first record of Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzicola causing bacterial leaf streak of rice in Uganda, the first record of Chickpea chlorotic dwarf virus infecting hot pepper in India and a […]
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10:00 AM | OSHA announces new effort to protect oil & gas workers: Industry investigates silica exposure
“Too many oil and gas industry workers are being hurt or killed on the job,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, David Michaels in remarks delivered to the more than 2,000 people who gathered last week in Houston for the 2014 OSHA Oil & Gas Safety and Health Conference. As part…
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8:11 AM | Fatal work injury that killed Ricardo Ramos, 49, was preventable, Michigan OSHA cites Hillshire Brands
The fatal work-related injuries that killed Ricardo Ramos could have been prevented had his employer followed worker safety regulations.

December 09, 2014

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11:11 PM | How do ideas spread?
Cultural transmission is something I’ve written about before. An arXiv paper has a clever way of studying it on twitter: follow the creation of electronic language. For example, the abbreviation ikr, meaning “I know, right?” occurs six times more frequently … Continue reading →
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9:31 PM | The more you know: Study finds calorie signs do influence sugary beverage purchases among youth
In ongoing public health efforts to curb the obesity epidemic, better menu and nutrition labeling is often tapped as a low-cost way to help make the healthy choice, the easy choice. And while the evidence on the effectiveness of such interventions is still emerging, a recent study found that educating young people on the calories in sugar-sweetened beverages did make a positive difference.
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8:54 PM | The Bat with the Identity Crisis
The Bat with the Identity Crisis or “Will the real Myotis nattereri please stand up?”  By Andrew Harrington. There is a misfortunate bat species that is going through a bit of an identity crisis at the moment. This poor creature is Natterer’s bat, or Myotis nattereri to give it its formal name (named after the distinguished […]
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8:31 PM | How to Look for Squirrels
The Eurasian red squirrel is, in my opinion at least, one of the cutest additions to the Irish countryside. The little ear tufts of the red squirrel help differentiate it from the invasive grey squirrel, the North American competitor of the red squirrel introduced here about 100 years ago. Other features include the size difference, […]
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2:12 PM | What I Look For When I Walk Through My Prairies
Back in August, I posted some questions to readers about what they look for when evaluating their own prairies.  I got some excellent responses, which I really appreciated.  If you missed them, you can re-read that post and those comments … Continue reading →
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1:46 PM | Engaging Students with eMammal
Check out this new video featuring Students Discover Kenan Fellow, Kelsie Armentrout, sharing her experiences about engaging students in science with eMammal camera traps! Inspired by her experience with the North Carolina Environmental Education program, she has continued to implement wildlife-based lessons in her classroom with eMammal. To find out more about becoming a certified North Carolina Environmental Educator, visit their website or watch the video below: Video courtesy of North […]
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12:24 PM | Identifying and correcting errors in draft genomes
Over the past decade we have seen an exponential increase in the number of sequenced, assembled, and annotated genomes. These these genomes are essential for pretty much any genomics research. If you want to sequence the genome, transcriptome, epigenome, or … Continue reading →
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11:45 AM | One stop shop for information on internationally restricted chemicals
Contributed by Melanie Bateman, CABI Switzerland Together, the three conventions that govern chemicals and hazardous waste safety at the global level (the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions) have launched an online search tool for finding technical and scientific publications to support sound management of chemicals and waste: http://synergies.pops.int/Implementation/Publications/ScientificandTechnicalPublications/tabid/3790/language/en-US/Default.aspx In particular, the member […]

December 08, 2014

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7:30 PM | That puffed-up pufferfish isn’t holding its breath
Wild ThingsAnimals by Sarah Zielinski 3:30pm, December 8, 2014 This black-saddled pufferfish is full of water, not air. The fish puff out to prevent themselves from being eaten.© Philip MercurioPufferfish have a couple of ways to defend themselves: They have an incredibly potent toxin in their flesh, and they can puff themselves out into a spine-covered ball that’s pretty difficult […]
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4:27 PM | New FDA rules mean better drug info for pregnant women
Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration published a final rule that updates requirements for what prescription-drug information must disclose about potential effects for pregnant and breastfeeding women and their babies. And last month, the agency released Drug Trials Snapshots, which is part of a pilot project to help consumers learn more about the clinical trials upon which new drugs' approvals are based.
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4:22 PM | Et tu, Brute? Black-legged ticks use genes co-opted from bacteria to fight bacterial infection
Horizontal gene transfer occurs when genes are passed between individuals by mechanisms other than reproduction. It is common in bacteria and occasionally happens between highly divergent groups (for example, monocot genes transferred to eudicots, fungal genes transferred to aphids, bacterial genes transferred … Continue reading →
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4:00 PM | “Hurrah! Hurrah!” DNA barcoding and the lost story of Darwin’s meadow
Five years ago, I was a co-author on a consortium paper in PNAS that recommended two genes to serve as universal markers for DNA-based identification (DNA barcoding*) of plants. Five years ago, the world celebrated Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday. You … Continue reading →
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1:00 PM | Efficient teaching: 5-second wait time
I’m not a fan of asking questions in the middle of a lesson that are designed to elicit raised hands. But once in a while, it makes sense. For example, at the start of class, I often ask if anybody has any particular questions or concerns, or some cool science they’d like to share. In the middle of…
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11:13 AM | Tips for relieving student anxiety about exams
In a recent post Meg noted that undergraduate students often are anxious about their performance in courses, especially on exams. Like all instructors, I wish I had a magic wand to relieve that anxiety. Anxiety can be useful as a … Continue reading →
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9:24 AM | When Worlds Collide – Science Vs Hollywood
Film directors often call on scientific experts to lend some legitimacy to their production. A recent, notable example was that of the theoretical physicist Kip Thorne advising Christopher Nolan on the realism of the physics in Interstellar. I think directors ask for the counsel of scientists in cases where they seek to make a film with at least one foot in reality rather than an outright fantasy.  In Jurassic Park, a more biologically relevant movie, director Stephen Spielberg had […]

December 06, 2014

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8:07 PM | Climate Change, Drought, and the Fall of California Agriculture
In a way, we have to get back to the land ourselves. Planting community gardens, growing our own vegetables, shopping at local Farmer's Markets - these are all ways we can survive without relying on the bounty California has provided. We have no choice, so may as well get started now. Continue reading →
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6:19 PM | Collaborative conservation plan eyed for Wyoming toad
Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:A Wyoming toad. Photo via USFWS. Voluntary conservation easements would protect habitat and traditional land use Staff Report FRISCO — Federal biologists are seeking input on a draft plan to protect habitat for…
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5:50 PM | Top Ten Birds That Winter in Canada
You can help these birds out by building your own bird feeder and filling it with tasty treats!
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3:00 PM | Week in review, 6 December 2014
It’s been a busy week at The Molecular Ecologist! Here’s a roundup of our latest posts: Melissa pointed out a study of compensatory evolution in yeast, in which natural selection found a way around the loss of many different genes. … Continue reading →
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10:42 AM | Christmas Bird Count: Citizen science for the birds | @GrrlScientist
At 115 years old, the Christmas Bird Count is the “granddaddy of them all” -- of all citizen science projects. Learn a little about the history of this grand project, why it matters and why so many people participate.Long before television and the internet existed, people started to organise and participate in citizen science projects. The first formal citizen science project in the world was the Christmas Bird Count. This is an annual event that was started in 115 years ago, when […]

December 05, 2014

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9:49 PM | Resilience protects corals from hurricanes — and climate change
Wild ThingsClimate,Oceans,Ecology,Facing Disaster by Sarah Zielinski 4:54pm, December 5, 2014 Healthy coral reefs usually bounce back after a hurricane passes through, but climate change can make reefs less resilient, scientists say.Oregon State University/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)Many events that humans call disaster rarely are for plants, animals and other organisms, at least in the long term. […]
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7:46 PM | A mixed bag in Labor Department’s latest agenda for new worker safety rules
The latest edition of the Labor Department's regulatory agenda offers a mixed bag of unaddressed workplace hazards and slipped deadlines, as well as a few new topics for possible regulatory action to protect workers.
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6:16 PM | ESA Policy News December 5: House floats FY 2015 spending deal, NEON scrutinized, Apply for 2015 GSPA
Here are some highlights from the latest ESA Policy New […]
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3:16 PM | Before They Were Scientists: Chris Schell
While interviewing scientists about their middle school lives, I often encounter a recurring them: scientists didn’t realize until they were much older that they could spend their lives researching something that fascinated them as a kid. They perceived the job of “scientist” as something held by dead and gone people from decades before. My hope is that these interviews serve as inspiration for students who would otherwise struggle to see themselves in the scientific field. […]
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2:30 PM | Exotic gene flow surveillance
Exotic forest plantations often cover large areas and, as such, may contribute female gametes, male gametes and/or zygotes to native stands. In seed plants, these three components of exotic gene flow have not been distinguished, though they will have different … Continue reading →
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