Posts

February 20, 2015

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7:27 PM | Five surprising animals that play
Wild ThingsAnimals by Sarah Zielinski 2:33pm, February 20, 2015 A captive crocodile gives his female partner a piggyback ride. Crocs are just one of the many animals in which scientists have documented playful behaviors.VLADIMIR DINETSNo one would be shocked to find play behavior in a mammal species. Humans love to play — as do our cats and dogs. It’s not such a leap to believe […]
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7:23 PM | Before They Were Scientists: Mette Olufsen
Dr. Mette Olufsen found mathematics very easy in middle school and had an interest in biology. Yet, she never predicted that she would grow up to become a biomathematician, working in an interdisciplinary field that uses math to solve big biological questions. She describes a middle school experience that is very typical of Denmark in the 1970s: very free and focused on the importance of play and project-based learning, picking up three foreign languages, and adhering to Jante Law. Where were […]
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3:11 PM | Photo of the Week – February 20, 2015
Nebraska’s Central Platte River always becomes a focus of attention about this time of year as migratory ducks and geese descend upon the river by the thousands and millions, followed shortly after by a half million sandhill cranes.  This year, … Continue reading →
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3:07 PM | Urgent: Reserves and parks not enough to protect nature – David Attenborough
“Where in 1945 it was thought that the way to solve the problem was to create wildlife parks and nature reserves, that is no longer an option. They are not enough now. The whole countryside should be available for wildlife. The suburban garden, roadside verges ... all must be used." Continue reading →
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2:50 PM | New books party: books that arrived recently | @GrrlScientist
This week, I share my thoughts about four books that span a number of non-fiction genres; science and nature, atheism, philosophy and politicsIt’s been a long time since I’ve shared anything here because my prized desktop computer with the 27-inch screen melted down more than a month ago. (This hard drive melt-down was preceded by my external back-up drive melt down, and followed by the melt-down of my smartphone.) The local shop, where I purchased this computer, took three weeks to […]
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1:13 PM | Winter paradoxes
I live, I’ve come to realize, in a strange place—a forgotten pocket of inner-ring DC suburb, a sleepy suburb forever believing itself on the brink of becoming something else, but that may have already had its big moment, more than 200 years ago during the War of 1812, when the British army defeated the Americans and...»
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11:59 AM | FLUMP- Endangered Museums, Statistics for Biologists, Apex Predators and More
It’s Friday and that means that it’s time for our Friday link dump, where we highlight some recent papers (and . . .
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11:37 AM | Friday links: sharks and pythons and unicorns, oh my!
Also: articles about women in science, economics as the most confusing subject, and risk-reward tradeoffs in grants Mammal March Madness is about to return! The four divisions are Mighty Mini Mammals, Mythical Mammals (the photo seems to indicate unicorns will … Continue reading →
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11:03 AM | Ostrich Knees
Dear Dr. Jeal, Why is it that when a mammal kneels down its legs bend forwards, but when an ostrich bends down its legs bend back? – Junior Sophs. The question you ask is quite curious, but I don’t think you’re on the right track, Saying “knees of a mammal bend forward, while knees of an ostrich bend back.” But I quite see the cause of your problem, and it’s really quite simple you see, As the bend in the leg of an ostrich is more like an ankle than knee, The […]
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12:55 AM | Not an “accident”: Norberto Galicia Romero, 49, suffers fatal work-related injury in Marrietta, GA
This week’s snapshot of just one work-related fatality in the US. This one occurred on February 16, 2015 in Marrietta, GA.

February 19, 2015

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11:36 PM | Illuminating New York Harbor
A review of Heartbeats in the Muck: The History, Sea Life, and Environment of New York Harbor, Revised Edition. John Waldman. Fordham University Press. November. 2012. ISBN: 9780823249855. 160 Pages. 38 Black and White Illustrations New York Harbor is a murky place by nature. The mixing of fresh and salt waters, combined with a rich flow of nutrients from its watershed, … Continue reading Illuminating New York Harbor →
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10:34 PM | ESA Policy News February 19: President’s FY 2016 budget request, NRC examines geoengineering, ESA scientists talk climate on the Hill
Here are some highlights from the latest ESA Policy New […]
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6:54 PM | Les terriers des renards véloces en bref
Lorsque février arrive, les renards véloces que nous protégeons dans le cadre du programme Restaurer la nature se cherchent un terrier dans lequel ils peuvent donner naissance à leurs petits
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5:26 PM | Scholz’s Star
100,000 years ago, some of my ancestors came out of Africa and arrived in the Middle East. 50,000 years ago, some of them reached Asia. But between those dates, two stars passed through the outer reaches of the Solar System, where icy comets float in dark space! One is a tiny red dwarf called Scholz’s […]
Editor's Pick
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5:15 PM | Poll: What is your risk/reward preference in science funding?
Funding rates in the US are declining. Even if NSF gets a little boost to its budget, the situation will remain grim in the United States and many places beyond. For every funded project, there are many other meritorious and important projects that go unfunded. At least in my subfields in the USA, government funding tends to…
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4:32 PM | Fast Facts about Swift Fox Dens
Buckle up for a speedy dive into the underground world of swift fox dens
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3:01 PM | Life at the Margins
Some discoveries and innovations come from big labs funded incredibly well by governments in affluent countries. They come from those in the mainstream, freighters plowing ahead, forward, straight, with ever better technologies and ever, larger groups of young minds. I tend to write about the other discoveries, the insights and revelations made by the folks at the edge of this mainstream, those in the oxbows and edge riffles. Even in the era of “big science,” discovery still depends […]
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3:00 PM | Twice Mixed? Testing hypotheses of Neanderthal Introgression
Human migration in, and out of Africa was wrought with complex patterns of admixture (see my previous post summarizing the story so far). Of note were some recent findings on the disparity in amounts of Neanderthal introgression/ancestry between East Asians … Continue reading →
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3:00 PM | The Effects of Noise Pollution on National Parks and Wildlife
Think your neighborhood in the city is too loud? Do you ever get woken up at night by the sounds of traffic or airplanes or trains? Source: www.ecorazzi.com Noise is one of the reasons we must keep recreation out of … Continue reading →
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2:55 PM | English ivy: berry good for birds
Shelter, foodstuff, pollen source … ivy is so valuable to wildlife, even though it is maligned by many a gardenerOn Sunday I watched a blackbird almost strip an ivy of its berries, gobbling each one whole in a few, satisfying … Continue reading →
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2:40 PM | Rainbow cat collars may save birds
It might resemble a flashback to early 90s fashion but a scrunchie-like collar cover could be the key to reducing the amount of wildlife your cat kills. Source: phys.org First the laser, now this.Filed under: Nature Conservation
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11:55 AM | How do you learn new skills in R?
As I wrote about yesterday, I have slowly shifted from using Systat and SAS to using R. I now do all of my analyses and make my figures in R, but still regularly bump up against things I don’t know … Continue reading →
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11:29 AM | Tuta absoluta, a new invasive invading India
Tuta absoluta (commonly known as tomato leaf miner) is a devastating pest of tomato which originated from South America. It can breed between 10-12 generations a year and each female can lay upto 250-300 eggs in her life time.  This pest has been very quickly crossing borders and devastating tomato production in both protected and open fields. […]
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11:14 AM | Are These the Best Ads Raising Awareness of Climate Change?
Climate change is a hot topic for world leaders. While the scientific community has finally come to the general consensus that anthropogenic climate change is really happening, some governments and corporations have been a little slow on the uptake, with some (arguably those with a vested interest in keeping the vast machinery of consumerism running just the way they want it to) denying outright that we humans are responsible for the global shifts in climate that we are now witnessing.The […]
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1:50 AM | The Nature of Holy Cities
While it is undoubtedly true that thousands of cities around the world share a wide spectrum of common denominators, from garbage to biodiversity, from air pollution to sophisticated bike-path networks, or from unemployment to entrepreneurship (to mention only a sample few) it is perhaps important to examine common urban denominators that are not universal, but … Continue reading The Nature of Holy Cities →

February 18, 2015

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9:51 PM | Higher-Dimensional Rewriting in Warsaw
This summer there will be a conference on higher-dimensional algebra and rewrite rules in Warsaw. They want people to submit papers! I’ll give a talk about presentations of symmetric monoidal categories that arise in electrical engineering and control theory. This is part of the network theory program, which we talk about so often here on […]
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4:21 PM | Cliff swallow breeding thwarted by bird version of bedbugs
Wild ThingsAnimals by Sarah Zielinski 12:15pm, February 18, 2015 Cliff swallows in Nebraska rarely breed twice in a year when parasitic swallow bugs infest a nest, a new study finds.Ingrid Taylar/Flickr (CC-BY 2.0)Bedbugs are no fun, even when you’re a bird.The species that bothers humans — Cimex lectularius — only feasts on us. But other animals have to deal with their […]
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3:56 PM | Comparing runs and counting K
If you are someone who has any interaction with population genetics, the letter K may cause you a distinct feeling of uneasiness. Identifying the number of distinct genetic clusters (often represented as K) in a data set is a primary component in … Continue reading →
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3:43 PM | DeLauro and Murray re-introduce Healthy Families Act; Philly finally gets paid sick days
Last week, US Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) reintroduced the Healthy Families Act, which would allow US workers to earn paid sick time.
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1:00 PM | Should ecologists teach writing?
I could start this post with a back-in-my-day story and bemoan the state of student writing today but I think you can probably fill in the blanks without me hashing out a familiar tale*. Sufficed to say for a ecological methods course I team teach, we’re finding that the quality of writing from the students…
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