October 25, 2014

12:41 PM | John Lawler on Generative Grammar
From a Facebook conversation with Dan Everett (about slide rules, aka slipsticks, no less) and others: The constant revision and consequent redefining and renaming of concepts – some imaginary and some very obvious – has led to a multi-dimensional spectrum of heresy in generative grammar, so complex that one practically needs chromatography to distinguish variants. […]
8:55 AM | A hummingbird and his man | video | @GrrlScientist
An elderly man takes pleasure in the small things, by sharing his kitchen with a hungry hummingbird in Brasil.Todays caturday video is an amateur video featuring João Silvestrini, a retiree who lives alone in Barretos, Brasil. Seeking to expand his circle of friends, Mr Silvestrini recently joined Facebook. Although he lacks human companions, he clearly has a close relationship with the local hummingbirds. In this video, youll watch as he invites a wild swallow-tailed hummingbird, […]
8:07 AM | A week of links
Links this week: Cooperation in humans versus apes. In praise of pilots. Are women better decision makers? You can ask about some sex differences. Amazon is doing us a favour. Goodbye book publishers. The logic of failure. The Behavioural Insights Team has lunch with Walter Mischel. Mischel’s work is fantastic and his new book is on […]
3:03 AM | Apparently, the National Academy of Sciences thinks only one sex is qualified to talk about alternatives to sex #YAMMM
Just got this email from Francisco Ayala:January 9-10, 2015 In the Light of Evolution IX. Clonal Reproduction: Alternatives to Sex Organizers: Michel Tibayrenc, John C. Avise and Francisco J. Ayala Beckman Center of the National Academies, Irvine, CA Evolutionary studies of clonal organisms have advanced considerably in recent years, but are still fledgling. Although recent textbooks on evolution and genetics might give the impression that nonsexual reproduction is an […]

October 24, 2014

7:46 PM | Information and Structure in Complex Systems
Eight years ago, I had finished my first year of graduate school in math, and I was at a loss as to what to research.  My original focus, differential geometry, was a beautiful subject to learn about, but the open research questions were too abstract and technical to sustain my interest.  I wanted something more relevant to the real world, something I could talk to people about.Looking for new ideas, I took a course in complex systems, run by the New England Complex Systems […]
5:26 PM | Celebrating Alfred Russel Wallace with … a symposium of straight white men?
2014 marks a century since the death of Alfred Russel Wallace, who is recognized as co-discoverer, with Charles Darwin, of evolution by natural selection. Appropriately, the University of California Los Angeles is holding a symposium of biologists and natural historians to celebrate Wallace’s life and work. Unfortunately, the panel of speakers chosen for the symposium […]
2:36 PM | New books party: Books that arrived recently | @GrrlScientist
Heres a few more books to help you become that modern polymath you want to become.These books arrived recently, either because I purchased them, because a publisher sent them as review copies, or they were gifts from people who know I love books (but who have never seen my groaning bookshelves!). Continue reading...
2:21 PM | PHLOX news tells it like it isn't
PHLOX news tells it like it isn't because conservatives prefer to hear conservative ideology and rhetoric rather than facts, and as a result the political debate is getting more polarized because the other end of the political spectrum prefers more factual reporting of the news. Too bad this means conservatives are ignoring reality, living in their own Reaganland, itself a fantasy construct. Perhaps you suspected this, or else you think this another conspiracy by the left-wing media elite, […]
1:00 PM | What we’re reading: The color of cichlids, projected genomes, and simplifying NSF proposals
In the journals Albertson RC, KE Powder, Y Hu, KP Coyle, RB Roberts, and KJ Parsons. 2014. Genetic basis of continuous variation in the levels and modular inheritance of pigmentation in cichlid fishes. Molecular Ecology, 23: 5135–5150. doi: 10.1111/mec.12900. … … Continue reading →
1:00 PM | Stuff online, “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to be naturally selected” edition
This week at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense: In the movies and on TV, only bad guys evolve. Because it’s what you do, not what you are. Why douchebag is the anti-white-supremacist slur for our time. Is Minneapolis the new … Continue reading →
4:48 AM | Wooster’s Fossils of the Week: A pair of molded nautiloids from the Upper Ordovician of northern Kentucky
Two nautiloids are preserved in the above image of a slab from the Upper Ordovician of northern Kentucky. (I wish I knew which specific locality. This is why paleontologists are such fanatics about labeling specimens.) The top internal mold (meaning it is sediment that infilled a shell now dissolved away) has been covered in a […]

October 23, 2014

8:49 PM | Dinosaur Noses Are Cool
Nearly a century ago, while working in the 75 million year old rock of Alberta, Canada, the professional …
8:39 PM | Evolution: A Third Way? slide presentation/video
Or watch on youtube? Filed under: alternative evolution Tagged: a third way, alternative to Darwinism, epigenetic caterpillar, epigenetics, evolution, Lamarck
5:41 PM | Wild life? OK, so why is it just animals?
Apparently the Wildlife Photography of the year contest is only open to people who suffer from plant blindness.  Plants apparently are neither wild nor alive. Maybe these guys used to work for the Department of Natural Resources here in Lincolnland who told TPP's academic counterpart that the wild life preservation grant program wasn't going to fund any grants to preserve tall grass prairie because native plants aren't wildlife!  Even though there's less than 1% of the prairie […]
5:33 PM | I want to see Season 3 of The Fab Lab with Crazy Aunt Lindsey!
I began blogging – at Urban Science Adventures ! © as an outlet and tester for my bigger, bolder dream – to create and star in my own Science Television program. At the time, 2006, there were no... -- Read more on
5:24 PM | Grad Student: Synthetic Ecology and the Evolution of Symbiosis
Graduate Assistantships in Synthetic Ecology and the Evolution of Symbiosis Graduate assistantships are available to support Masters or PhD students in Erik Hom’s laboratory at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss).  The Hom lab is generally interested in understanding how biotic and abiotic factors facilitate the formation, persistence, and evolution of species interactions, notably those […]
5:24 PM | Just in time for Halloween
Yes, it's Tom Tomorrow's Right Wing House of Fear!  Be afraid, be very afraid, and of course, vote accordingly.
1:13 PM | Microbiology Book for Kids: It's Catching by Jennifer Gardy and Josh Holinaty
A few days ago I wrote about how I wanted to share some information about what I have found to be good childrens' science books (based on reading books to my kids).  Well, here is another one: It's Catching: The Infectious World of Germs and Microbes by Jennifer Gardy and Josh Holinaty. I first became aware of Jennifer Gardy's talents in making catchy microbe-themed kids material when she released the Youtube video "The A-Z of Epidemiology: germs from Anthrax to Zoonoses. A disturbing […]
The next event in the ways to (proto)language conference series has been announced and is being held in Rome! Call for Papers below: 24-26 SEPTEMBER 2015 Roma Tre University SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 1 FEBRUARY 2015 WEBSITE: CONTACT: INVITED SPEAKERS: Michael C. Corballis (University of Auckland) Dan Dediu (Max Plank Institute for Psycholinguistics) Francesco D’Errico (University […]
12:00 PM | We’re Not Going To Take It ( #NAWD )
“Adjunct” is the word for non-tenure track faculty positions at universities. They are generally low-paying (without benefits), utterly lacking in job security and can even lead to questionable hires (further reviewed here). The reliance on and mistreatment of cheap PhDs to teach undergraduate courses may have finally reached some sort of tipping point – February […]
11:12 AM | Male aggression as a reproductive strategy
Origins of aggression can be better understood if viewed through the lens of sexual benefits that it provides. Combative behavior finds its justification in the need for males to protect their territory and resources, and to conquer the female and to reproduce – these are the adaptive and evolutionary significances of aggression. Namely because of […] The post Male aggression as a reproductive strategy appeared first on Social Ethology.
10:17 AM | Finding taxis on rainy days
A classic story on the play-list of many behavioural economics presentations is why you can’t find taxis on rainy days. The story is based on the idea that taxi drivers work to an income target. If driver wages are high due to high demand for taxis, such as when it rains, they will reach their income […]

October 22, 2014

7:55 PM | Python: Pandas 0.15.0 is available
Last week, Wes McKinney gave a presentation on new features in a forthcoming release of Pandas, version 0.15.0. The big news is the inclusion of a new data type for columns in Series and DataFrame, the Categorical type. This permits the use of nominal data in analyses with Pandas now, which is a huge change, […]
3:36 PM | Wordless Wednesdays: Pouched Rats enjoying treats
I was preparing a post and suddenly realized I prepared the EXACT same post 6 months ago! So here it is. A sentiment so nice, I present it to you twice: Wordless Wednesday: Pouched Rat having a... -- Read more on
3:28 PM | Why I Abandoned Chomskian Linguistics, with Links to 2 FB Discussions with Dan Everett
It wasn’t a matter of deep and well-thought princple. It was simpler than that. Chomsky’s approach to linguistics didn’t have the tools I was looking for. Let me explain. * * * * * Dan Everett’s kicked off two discussions on Facebook about Chomksy. This one takes Christina Behme’s recent review article, A ‘Galilean’ science […]
3:00 PM | Beware the Corporate Takeover of Seed under Many Guises
Protect our humble seeds
2:52 PM | Microbe-themed art of the month: Seung-Hwan Oh portraits w/ mold
OK this is pretty cool (from a microbe-art-science point of view): An Artist Who Paints Portraits With Mold | WIRED.  Seung-Hwan Oh "had to set up a micro-fungus farm in his studio" and he puts film in a warm wet environment (note to self - there could be a new human microbiome aspect of this project depending on what warm wet environment is chosen) and sometimes seeds the system with some mold.  And then he lets nature do its work.See more about his Impermanence works here. […]
2:00 PM | Why women leave academia?
UK Resource Centre for Women in SET recently posted a study that found that only 12% of female late stage PhD students intend to pursue a career in academia. The Guardian does an excellent job summarizing the findings, as well as explaining why this is a terrible thing.  
12:00 PM | Natural selection at the movies: Only the bad guys evolve
It’s almost Halloween, and if you’re anything like me, you celebrate the season by watching scary movies. Although the horror movie marathon is a typical annual tradition of mine, this year I set out with a specific task: to identify as many movies as possible where the villain is somehow associated with evolution by natural […]
12:00 PM | Death By Haunted House
Halloween is a time when fear is invited. The rush of adrenaline in a controlled environment is life-affirming. Not much else to comment on here, except that he seems to have excellent oral hygiene for a chainsaw-wielding maniac.A big man with the chainsaw and the gaping wound on his face jumps out from around the corner and growls. You leap backward and scream, your heart pounding in your ears. You’re ready to either take that power tool and teach him a lesson or to run like the kid from […]

Greek, R. (2012). Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing. By Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers. Knopf Doubleday Publishing: New York, NY, USA, 2012; Hardback, 320 pp; $16.23; ISBN-10: 0307593487, Animals, 2 (4) 559-563. DOI: 10.3390/ani2040559

Volchan, E., Souza, G., Franklin, C., Norte, C., Rocha-Rego, V., Oliveira, J., David, I., Mendlowicz, M., Coutinho, E., Fiszman, A. & Berger, W. (2011). Is there tonic immobility in humans? Biological evidence from victims of traumatic stress, Biological Psychology, 88 (1) 13-19. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2011.06.002

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