Posts

August 19, 2014

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11:52 AM | Notes and impressions from the ESA meeting
I enjoyed the meeting and got a lot out of it. Thanks very much to the organizers for working so hard to make it happen. Some random thoughts and impressions: I screwed up my Ignite talk, but it was fine. … Continue reading →
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10:07 AM | The amazing world of flyingfish by Steve Howell – review
SUMMARY: Written by a professional pelagic birding tour guide and photographer, this book presents a popular account of what is known about the enigmatic flyingfishes, and it’s illustrated with an abundance of breathtaking full-colour photographs. After browsing through shelves and shelves of field guides in a typical nature bookshop, you might suspect there’s a field guide for absolutely every group of anything you can find on the planet -- birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, […]
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9:23 AM | More ways of living on a bush than on a bluebell
Some years ago, a fascinating article in the National Geographic described the exceptional diversity of bat species to be found in Barro Colorado Island, Panama – incidentally where Ed Tanner is currently with some of his PhD students. Research by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and others had described 74 species, which managed to coexist […]
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3:28 AM | The Story of Jerusalem’s Railway Park: Getting the City Back on Track, Economically, Environmentally and Socially
Sharing local experience is always important. However in the case of the Jerusalem Railway Park, both the process and the outcome have the level of universal relevance that make so many of the themes presented in “The Nature of Cities” … Continue reading →
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1:30 AM | “Alcohol was the weapon of choice for these men”: Peer groups may be key to stopping campus rape
Some men think it's okay to rape if they do it by getting their victims too drunk to offer much resistance. Can their peers change such behavior by speaking up?
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1:10 AM | High Risk of Major Iceland Volcano Eruption, Aviation Sector Warned
Eyjafjallajökull erupted in 2010, affecting millions of people. Credit: REUTERS/Lucas JacksonIceland's Met Office has raised Bardarbunga's eruption risk level to orange. This means that a volcanic eruption is possible, and is the fourth highest risk level. The fifth and final level, color-coded red, would indicate that an eruption is imminent, or that it had occurred. Also spelled Bárðarbunga, the volcano is larger than Eyjafjallajökull, a small ice cap, which […]

August 18, 2014

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3:44 PM | Is Popper responsible for this mess?
OK, admittedly this is a bit of a weird post, but otherwise I’d have to be actually working. It’s just a question post really, because admittedly I’ve read very little of Karl Popper’s writings, and whatever little that was, it … Continue reading →
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3:24 PM | Monday Open Question: What do neuroscientists know that the average person doesn’t?
Science helps us explain the world, often in ways that we wouldn’t necessarily be able to from every day experience. What is it that we know about ourselves and our nervous system that most people don’t realize? Specifically, what aspect of … Continue reading →
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12:00 PM | Why I teach on the first day of class
The semester is about to start. When your class meets for the first time, do you just go over syllabus, schedule, policies, and such? If you have some extra time, do you let your students go early or do you teach? I teach, for a few reasons. The preliminaries don’t take a whole class session. I’m done with the…
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11:33 AM | The amazing world of flyingfish by Steve NG Howell | review | @GrrlScientist
Written by a professional pelagic birding tour guide and photographer, this book presents a popular account of what is known about the enigmatic flyingfishes, and its illustrated with an abundance of breathtaking full-colour photographs.After browsing through shelves and shelves of field guides in a typical nature bookshop, you might suspect theres a field guide for absolutely every group of anything you can find on the planet -- birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, insects, plants, […]
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11:29 AM | Book review: Experimental Evolution and the Nature of Biodiversity by Rees Kassen
Here’s something new for this blog: a timely book review. Rees Kassen‘s Experimental Evolution and the Nature of Biodiversity has just been published. Here’s my review. Full disclosure: Rees is a friend, I spent a semester visiting his lab back … Continue reading →
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9:00 AM | How do you envisage the new Science Centre Singapore to be?
Re-imagining Jurong – That’s the title of Minister Khaw Boon Wan’s blogpost explaining Jurong’s transformation since Singapore’s industrialisation days and the impending transformation described by PM Lee during the National Day Rally on 17 August. Of particular interest to us at Science Centre Singapore (SCS) would be the announcement about the new Science Centre being… Continue reading »
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6:07 AM | El Nino Project (Part 7)
So, we’ve seen that Ludescher et al have a way to predict El Niños. But there’s something a bit funny: their definition of El Niño is not the standard one! Precisely defining a complicated climate phenomenon like El Niño is a tricky business. Lots of different things tend to happen when an El Niño occurs. […]

August 17, 2014

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7:41 PM | Wind Turbines Pose Risk to Bats
The Drive for Green Energy We need sustainable, affordable and clean energy production to fuel the economy, and the drive towards more environmentally friendly energy production versus coal and peat burning energy production has seen a large number of wind … Continue reading →

Lehnert LS, Kramer-Schadt S, Schönborn S, Lindecke O, Niermann I & Voigt CC (2014). Wind farm facilities in Germany kill noctule bats from near and far., PloS one, 9 (8) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25118805

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5:22 PM | Zebra finches go mad with mercury, and other animal updates
Wild ThingsAnimals by Sarah Zielinski 1:26pm, August 17, 2014 A study of zebra finches found that the birds get hyperactive when exposed to toxic mercury.Julie anne Johnson/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)PRINCETON, N.J. — I spent this week at the Animal Behavior Society meeting at Princeton University, which, when you're an animal blogger, is something like releasing a kid in a candy store. […]
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3:14 PM | Promiscuity Breeds Efficiency: Mouse Mating Systems Affect Sperm Sprints
Sperm is constant joke-fodder. From the opening credits of the movie "Look Who's Talking" to various Shakespeare passages, we humans never seem to tire of laughing at hordes of competitive little sperm powering past each other in the race towards their final destination. They're unbelievably tiny, simple entities, and yet the outcome of their performance is huge. Or perhaps we just stay fascinated by the dramatic fact that all of our lives began when one of […]
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4:00 AM | The use of Twitter at ESA and IMCC
August is conference season. But for the last few years, not being able to attend does not mean that you can’t partake in the global discussion, as more and more scientific meetings have been using twitter hashtags to keep the discussion going online. Being both a fervent twitter user, and interested in all things networks, I decided to explore the assembly of the graph of interactions among scientists over time. A bunch of us are doing a more formal analysis of the Ecological Society of […]
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2:47 AM | Let’s Start Caring About Kelp and Seagrass Like We Care About Rainforest
Seagrass and kelp form critical habitats within marine ecosystems. Both grow in shallow water where they serve as critical habitat for animals, and important nutrient recyclers. Continue reading →

August 16, 2014

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4:29 PM | The Divide: a survey about interactions between theoretical and empirical researchers
What is the proper role of theoretical versus empirical work in biology?  I self-identify as a theorist, and I do pretty much all of my work sitting at my Mac Pro.  However, I did my Ph.D. in Andrew Hendry’s lab, surrounded by empirical biologists working on stickleback, guppies, salmon, and other slimy real-world critters.  This was somewhat of an accident; initially, I was interested in doing an empirical Ph.D., but my past as a software engineer meant that I soon shifted […]
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2:42 PM | Friday Roundup: The Week's Wildlife Links (August 15th, 2014) SHARK WEEK EDITION
Zombie Sharks show harasses sharks for no good reason. Shark of Darkness: Wrath of Submarine is a fake documentary. Shark Week lied to scientists to get them to appear in their fake "documentaries". Megalodon: The monster shark is dead. Sharkageddon may be the worst Shark Week show *ever*. Shark Week is making stuff up again. Ooh, even I made it into this one:
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10:27 AM | True facts about anglerfish | @GrrlScientist
To the female anglerfish, the human male is a very loud, annoying and unnecessarily complicated pair of gonads.Caturday has arrived once again, so it is time to watch some animals doing stuff! Today's caturday animal is the anglerfish, an ancient taxonomic order of bony fishes that arose sometime between 100 and 130 million years ago. (In contrast, humans are mere evolutionary babies, having appeared sometime between just 2 and 6 million years ago.)Anglerfishes got their name from their method […]

Miya M., James W Orr, Rachel J Arnold, Takashi P Satoh, Andrew M Shedlock, Hsuan-Ching Ho, Mitsuomi Shimazaki, Mamoru Yabe & Mutsumi Nishida (2010). Evolutionary history of anglerfishes (Teleostei: Lophiiformes): a mitogenomic perspective, BMC Evolutionary Biology, 10 (1) 58. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2148-10-58

Widder E.A. (2010). Bioluminescence in the Ocean: Origins of Biological, Chemical, and Ecological Diversity, Science, 328 (5979) 704-708. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1174269

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4:47 AM | Let’s Start Caring About Kelp and Seagrass Like We Care About Rainforest
Seagrass and kelp form critical habitats within marine ecosystems. Both grow in shallow water where they serve as critical habitat for animals, and important nutrient recyclers. Continue reading →

August 15, 2014

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10:57 PM | Stop The Pebble Mine and Save Alaskan Brown Bear Habitat
Add your name to the opposition to the Pebble Mine. Continue reading →
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9:01 PM | Twenty-three years and millions served: CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
Next time someone asks you what exactly public health does, repeat this number: 4.3 million. That’s the number of women — mothers, sisters, wives, aunts, grandmothers, daughters and friends — who might have otherwise gone without timely breast and cervical cancer screenings if it weren’t for public health and its commitment to prevention.
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7:33 PM | The Fate of Grand Cayman’s Blue Iguanas
We learned that once thousands of blue iguanas had lived on the island, basking on the beaches and sleeping in the woods across. By 2002, the year before we came, hunting, habitat destruction, and introduced predators eroded the population down to less than 25 individuals. Continue reading →
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3:35 PM | Unrelated to all that, 8/15 edition
Where people in each state are born Click through for all the states Fifty Years of Fun You might imagine that glow-in-the-dark bacteria is some sort of trippy side-show to Mainstream Molecular Biology, but in fact the Hastings Lab’s studies of bioluminescence led to a baffling number of fundamental biological breakthroughs. Most famously, the Hastings […]
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3:27 PM | Pasture Raised Eggs: the Humane, Sustainable Fiction
Here's a review of the issues and problems with hen eggs. Interesting to consider that chickens evolved in tropical forests, and are not at home in pens or pastures, and certainly not hen houses. Continue reading →
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3:19 PM | Problematic Humour In Academic Talks
I recently attended a large academic conference, and I had an excellent time—I met fantastic colleagues, learnt a lot of state-of-the-art science, and heard some wonderful senior scientists talk about their decades of work. But there were a few moments … Continue reading →
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3:13 PM | Read Aloud
I should have known, but did not, that being read aloud to was a learned skill. It never occurred to me to think about it from my privileged place in the world of literacy. I was, for a time, though a teacher of writing, a fish who swam in words without thinking of the water.…
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3:09 PM | Abused Elephants Forced to Perform in Canada Need Your Help!
Please ask Karnak Shriners to require that Tarzan Zerbini Circus stage its performances without elephants! Continue reading →
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