Posts

October 14, 2014

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11:01 PM | Demonstrating: getting the most out of undergraduate teaching
One of the benefits of doing research in an academic institution is the opportunity to interact with undergraduate students. Students benefit from being taught by leading researchers while staff have the opportunity to inspire the next generation of scientists. Practical lab classes are usually a focal point of this direct interaction between student and researcher. However, due to the logistics and practicalities of managing large class sizes, PhD students are playing an increasingly important […]
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9:37 PM | Study: Public views of drug addiction much more negative than views of mental illness
When it comes to substance abuse disorders, public health and the public at-large are hardly on the same page — in fact, they’re not even reading the same book. And that’s a serious problem for sustaining and strengthening efforts to treat addiction and advancing effective public health policy.
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9:00 PM | STS and the Super Science Side of Tumblr TA Tips for Teaching
We here at STS have TAed a lot.  We both taught lab sections when we were juniors and seniors in undergrad and then we taught more sections during our master's work.  I also taught during my first year in PhD land.  As a graduate student, TAing is often non-optional (gotta' pay those bills), exciting (young minds!  oh golly!), frustrating (it's ON THE SYLLABUS!), and intimidating (wait, so I have to be in charge of 20+ other legal adults for an hour or more?).  So, what […]
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5:03 PM | Quick-moving toads take the straight and narrow path
Wild ThingsAnimals,Evolution BY Sarah Zielinski 1:04pm, October 14, 2014 Cane toads have been spreading faster and faster across northern Australia since their arrival on the Queensland coast in 1935. This increase in speed is due in part to toads at the forefront of the invasion, which have evolved to move in […]
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4:29 PM | So Similar, Yet So Different
It’s wrong to assume that successful restoration or management tactics from one prairie will work in another.  Instead, every prairie has its own “personality” and responds accordingly.  The key to success is experimentation and adaptive management. Bill Kleiman is one … Continue reading →
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4:27 PM | Emodiversity: why a mix of emotions is good for you
Neuroskeptic covered a paper (pdf) that postulates that it is healthiest to have a mix of emotions: It turns out that emotional diversity was a good thing (in terms of being associated with less depression etc.) for both positive and for negative emotions. … Continue reading →
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2:22 PM | Treating school uniforms to reduce dengue: the Finances
 [A shorter version of this article first appeared on SciDev.Net] Scientists working to reduce dengue among school children in Thailand are testing something new: insecticide-treated school uniforms. A recent model published in PLoS One suggests that this intervention can be economically attractive in the context of Thailand. Using data from dengue studies in Thailand, the […]

Tozan Y, Ratanawong P, Louis VR, Kittayapong P & Wilder-Smith A (2014). Use of insecticide-treated school uniforms for prevention of dengue in schoolchildren: a cost-effectiveness analysis., PloS one, 9 (9) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25247556

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11:31 AM | How to get a postdoc position (guest post)
Note from Jeremy: This is a guest post by Margaret Kosmala, a postdoc in Organismal and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard. It’s the first in a planned series on life as a postdoc. ************************************** I did not start thinking about getting … Continue reading →
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1:05 AM | Go ahead and peep. I won’t tell.
The North Shore, Massachusetts The autumnal paintbrush has dabbed the trees here north of Boston. The red maples scream, me first, me first with their red and sometimes ghostly oranges – colors I cannot adequately describe nor capture on film. For those of you who can’t make it up this way for a little leaf peeping […]
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12:07 AM | El Nino Project (Part 8)
This time I’d like to compare a different paper on climate networks: • Y. Berezin, A. Gozolchiani, O. Guez and S. Havlin, Stability of climate networks with time, Scientific Reports 2 (2012). The goal of this paper is to see how stable over time climate networks over time. They divide the world into 9 zones: […]
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12:07 AM | El Niño Project (Part 8)
This time I’d like to compare a different paper on climate networks: • Y. Berezin, A. Gozolchiani, O. Guez and S. Havlin, Stability of climate networks with time, Scientific Reports 2 (2012). The goal of this paper is to see how stable over time climate networks over time. They divide the world into 9 zones: […]

October 13, 2014

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8:09 PM | Network Theory (Part 31)
Last time we came up with a category of labelled graphs and described circuits as ‘cospans’ in this category. Cospans may sound scary, but they’re not. A cospan is just a diagram consisting of an object with two morphisms going into it: We can talk about cospans in any category. A cospan is an abstract […]
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5:16 PM | Imperfect generalism in Darwin’s finches
[ This post is by Luis Fernando De León; I am just putting it up. –B. ]How species coexist in nature is one of the long-standing questions in evolutionary ecology. This is particularly relevant for understanding the process of adaptive radiation, which is thought to explain a large portion of the Earth’s biodiversity.Adaptive radiation often results in a large number of coexisting, closely-related species that share (or compete for) similar resources, environments, or […]
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3:52 PM | BioBlitz at the New York Botanical Gardens
How many plant, mammal or invertebrate species live in the New York Botanical Garden? While it seems like there should be a straightforward answer – it is a well-known, carefully maintained and studied garden, after all – the truth is, nobody really knows. Along with the plants and animals that are deliberately planted, maintained and tracked, there are a slew of other organisms, including other plants, insects, fungi, mammals and microbes that might take up residence without being […]
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3:41 PM | Monday open question: Which neuroscientists have most influenced your thinking?
With the release of the NIH BRAIN Initiative grants, it’s become clear that there’s a big disconnect between members of the different subfields: people working molecular neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, systems neuroscience, etc. I’m just as bad as anyone else so I … Continue reading →
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2:00 PM | How technology can help scientists with chronic illnesses (or Technology FTW!)
This is a guest post by Elita Baldridge (@elitabaldridge) I am currently the remotely working member of Weecology, finishing up my PhD in the lower elevation and better air of Kansas, while the rest of my colleagues are still in Utah, due to developing a chronic illness and finally getting diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  The relocation is […]
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1:57 PM | Birdbooker Report 342
SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read […]
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12:00 PM | The Church of High Impact Practices
Educational fads come, and educational fads go. A dominant fad at the moment is “High Impact Practices.” Several years ago, George Kuh wrote a book about High Impact Practices that has come to dominate discussion in universities throughout the United States. If you want the nutshell version of the book, this seems to be a…
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11:17 AM | WHO Confirm Ebola can Spread via Coughing, Sneezing and Surface Contamination
The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed that Ebola (also known as Ebola Virus Disease, or EVD) can spread via coughing, sneezing, and previously contaminated surfaces.While technically not an airborne virus, Ebola can be transmitted through the air when carriers cough or sneeze in the close vicinity of other people. The virus can also remain as an infectious agent on surfaces or objects hours after they have been in contact with a sufferer.In a situation assesment issued 6th October […]
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11:00 AM | Expanding the right to know: California workers gain additional access to workplace toxics information as new hazards emerge
"If the California Public Health Department had been able to find out that my company was using a chemical that was killing people, I might never have gotten so sick that I had to have a lung transplant," Ricardo Corona told a California Judiciary Committee last April, testifying in favor of California Senate Bill (SB) 193 that Governor Jerry Brown signed into law on September 29th.
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11:00 AM | How I quit academia and vowed to never come back (for a month)
I am currently going through the Instructor Training for Software Carpentry. It is a really rich and transformative experience, and besides the software side of things, full of useful elements for teaching in any context. As we are currently discussing how motivation affects learning, our weekly assignment is to write the story of our biggest de-motivation, how it affected us, and what happened (and should have happened) next. Here’s mine. Very few people know it, even fewer know the name […]

October 12, 2014

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11:01 PM | PhD – Positive, Happy, Developments
When wrong is right part 2 This post follows on directly from my previous discussion of my PhD going wrong. As a brief summary of the previous episode: I ran time consuming simulations that took me around 6 month to design and another 6 months to run. The simulation failed in the end because of a bug in some of the software I was using. Therefore, I had to run them all over again!  That took me one day (at least to relaunch it, the simulations are actually still running). In this post […]
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6:06 PM | As the Population of Humans Doubles, the Number of Animals Halves
Across the land you can hear the battle cry: "Out of the way, animals, we’ve got diapers and baby carriages to buy.” Continue reading →
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5:37 PM | China Is Selling Off Vital Panda Habitat To The Highest Bidder
Melissa Cronin:  “There are an estimated 1,600 pandas left in the wild in China, and thanks to new legislation, that number may change very soon — for the worse. “The Chinese government is currently in the midst of introducing its “forest … Continue reading →
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5:37 PM | Panda Habitat Threatened
We estimate that $1,229 million in effective eco-compensation payments could prevent an estimated 15% decline in the giant panda population, whereas an additional $3,707 million for effective eco-compensation and restoration of potential habitat could restore the giant panda population to an estimated 40% above current levels. Continue reading →
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4:10 PM | Unrelated to all that, 10/12 edition
The Big Problem With Mini-Pigs In 2012, as a favor to a friend, Canadians Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter adopted a three-pound (1.4-kilogram) “mini-pig” named Esther. Or so they thought. Within two years Esther wasn’t so mini. In fact, she … Continue reading →
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12:40 AM | The Ghost in the GMO Machine – Cascadia TimesCascadia Times
Of course, other species are harmed as well, making it unacceptable to use these pesticides and the GMOs bred for compatibility. Continue reading →

October 11, 2014

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6:44 PM | Alaska’s stranded walruses face a new threat: oil drillers
Shell's wells will be upstream of Hanna Shoals, a biologically rich shallow shelf that tends to hold sea ice longer than other areas. Continue reading →
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5:37 PM | These 14 states have a plan for climate change. The rest of you are screwed.
Most states are still failing to prepare for the impacts of climate change, and there has been mixed progress among states with concrete plans, according to a first-of-its-kind compilation of data released Thursday by the Georgetown Climate Center. Continue reading →
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4:44 PM | Network Theory Seminar (Part 1)
  With luck, this video will be the first of a series. I’m giving a seminar on network theory at U.C. Riverside this fall. I’ll start by sketching the results in this new paper: • John Baez and Brendan Fong, A compositional framework for passive linear networks. It’s a big paper, and I also want […]
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