July 14, 2014

8:00 AM | “One of the great migration stories of the world” – Shrimp in the mighty Mississippi.
The Mississippi River that we know today is a creation of the army corps of engineers. Before they got to levying, dredging and damming it into submission, it was a wild and meandering thing that harbored great concentrations of wildlife. One component of that was a massively abundant shrimp with an amazing life cycle: It turned […]
1:34 AM | You Should Know: Stephani Page and #BLACKandSTEM
Welcome to the ninth installment of You Should Know, where I give my own #ScholarSunday salute to Science Bloggers and Blogs you may not yet know about. Introducing … Stephani Page and #BLACKandSTEM.... -- Read more on

July 13, 2014

11:38 PM | World Open, Part Three
Ever wonder what it looks like to have 300 games of chess going on in one room? There was a second ballroom, almost as large, which was also filled with players. Well, we have arrived at round eight. In the prior seven rounds I had scored three wins, two losses, one draw, and one win…
4:03 PM | Solely Mates (2008–)
Online dating sites (and London Underground) are awash with gushing testimonials from people who claim to have found the love of their life at the click of a mouse. In the interests of balance, I thought I’d offer some testimonials of my own. A new chapter I’d been on Solely Mates for about three months […]
2:58 PM | Birdbooker Report 328-9
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 […]
3:40 AM | “Endangered”—You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
This past week was supposed to be a happy week for Rosie O’Donnell. She was ecstatic to announce that she’s re-hooked her old job on The View, and will be joining its cast next year. But instead, Rosie is being scrutinized for a different catch—one made two years ago. In early 2012, photos began circulating […]The post “Endangered”—You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. appeared first on Science Sushi.

July 12, 2014

8:31 PM | Hamsters, pizzas and playgrounds
SUMMARY: Dwarf hamsters are small but they have an outsized effect on one's life. Phodopus sungorus. Image: Ko1 (CC by SA 2.5). Once again, it's caturday, which means it's time for us to relax and recover from that most recent post-World Cup game hangover by watching animals doing fun stuff! This week's cute animal videos were inspired by a piece I wrote a little while ago, about a study of wheel-running behaviour in wild mice. Although that study focused on... Read more
6:32 PM | Notes from France
I’ve just returned from two weeks in France, the first week on the International Statistical Ecology Conference 2014 in Montpellier, and the second at the Laboratoire d’Écologie Alpine (LECA) in Grenoble, visiting the groups of Wilfried Thuiller and Sébastien Lavergne, which was both great. Some impressions from the ISEC: First of all, my compliments to…
1:47 PM | Is this a new form of #OpenAccess Spam - spammy blog comments pointing to Bentham
Well, this is very very weird and not sure what to make of it.  In the last week the filter that Google runs for Blogger Comments has picked up a slew of highly spammy comments coming from one account.  And all of the comments include a link to Bentham Science publishers - one of the annoying Spammy new publishers. See some of them below (note I have removed the links to Bentham but trust me, this went to a Bentham site).  Anyone else getting Spam comments pointing to Bentham? […]
1:15 AM | Outdoor Annoyances and the Perils of Urban Fieldwork
Fieldwork can be wonderful for many reasons. But every field site invariably has something–an organism, a certain confluence of weather conditions, particular people–that make it difficult to do research at that site. And in this context, difficult is different from … Continue reading →

July 11, 2014

11:53 PM | Modern YEC is Not An Aberration of Traditional Christianity, Part Two
As it happens, the previous post was mostly a digression from what I really wanted to discuss. The set-up here is that back in 2007, philosopher Mary Midgley published a pamphlet discussing creationism, intelligent design, education, and various related topics. Philosopher Nicholas Everitt has just published a critical review (subscription required) of Midgley’s pamphlet. Glenn…
7:28 PM | Humanity on a high
Altitude sickness comes from lack of oxygen in the atmosphere, but lack of oxygen can cause other complications. Despite this, some specific populations across the globe compensate through biochemical specialisations in the way their bodies operate. This is particularly obvious in tribes living the Andes or high up on the Tibetan plateau, some 4000m above […]
1:00 PM | What we’re reading: Sexual selection and fish placentas, SNPs versus observational pedigrees, and the stupidest statement ever on replication
In the journals Pollux BJA, RW Meredith, MS Springer, DN Reznick. 2014. The evolution of the placenta drives a shift in sexual selection in livebearing fish. Nature. doi: 10.1038/nature13451. We show that post-zygotic maternal provisioning by means of a placenta … Continue reading →
1:00 PM | Stuff online, vampire barnacles edition
This week, at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! No, some human populations aren’t more genetically prone to violence than others. Take note, Runkeeper. A crowd-sourced algorithm to find the scenic route between point A and point B. Pretty much. Evolutionary … Continue reading →
1:00 PM | Friday coffee break: Meeting David Attenborough, the best case ever for keeping your samples organized, and hope against the frog-killing fungus
Here’s what we’ll be talking about while we’re waiting in line for a latte. From Noah: The BBC’s new nature documentary host had an embarrassing meeting with her most famous predecessor. From Sarah: A proposed bill of rights for science students, and terrifying news about increasing use of the strongest antibiotics as bacteria evolve to […]
5:57 AM | Wooster’s Fossils of the Week: Silicified chonetid brachiopods from the Permian of West Texas
Above are four valves of the chonetid brachiopod Dyoros planiextensus Cooper and Grant, 1975. They are preserved by silicification and were recovered from a block of the Road Canyon Formation (Roadian Stage of the Guadalupian Series of the Permian System) from the Glass Mountains of southwestern Texas. It is from the same unit and location […]
3:44 AM | MSiX: Marketing Science Ideas Xchange
For those in or near Sydney at the end of July, there’s an interesting conference in the works – the Marketing Science Ideas Exchange. From the blurb: The Marketing Science Ideas Xchange (MSiX) is the first event of its type in Australia dedicated to the interface between behavioural science and marketing. The conference will demonstrate why […]

July 10, 2014

7:44 PM | Dzień dobry!
Dzień dobry! Greetings from Poland! Czy mówisz po polsku? Do you speak Polish? This summer Katie Lee and Mary Rogers (that’s us!) from LEE are doing field work in Southern Poland. We will have a few blog posts over the summer about our experiences. Jedziemy do Polski!  Poland was chosen as our field site for a variety of reasons. Our badania (research) asks questions about life experiences and reproductive health. The area of Poland in which we are recruiting study […]
5:33 PM | A small mammal with an outsized impact
[ This post is by Craig W. Benkman; I am just putting it up.  –B. ]When we think of species having large and disproportionate impacts on communities, animals like sea otters come to mind. By eating and depleting sea urchins, sea otters prevent urchins from eating and depleting kelp. The huge difference between having kelp forests and their diverse community of fishes, sea lions, and eagles, versus largely kelp-less barrens arises simply from contemporary ecological processes; otters […]
5:23 PM | Oh, no, she's back!
Conservatives' fascination with Sarah Palindrone is a puzzling phenomenon. TPP has never heard the woman say anything interesting, clear, or remotely profound. Her chatter consists of political sound bites strung together, as if anything intellectually deeper than a TV commercial is beyond her mental grasp.  Her sentences are a word-salad of phrases that literally make her a Palindrone, (someone who sounds just as dumb forward as backward), a term TPP coined just […]
2:05 PM | Paper of interest: Whole genome and exome sequencing of monozygotic twins discordant for Crohn's disease
For those interested in microbiomes it is definitely worth looking at this paper: BMC Genomics | Abstract | Whole genome and exome sequencing of monozygotic twins discordant for Crohn's diseaseSimple summary - they have sets of identical twins where one twin has Crohn's and the other does not.  They looked for somatic mutations that could like the ones with Crohn's and did not find any.  Sure - a negative result.  Could be anything.  But the next obvious thing to do […]
9:04 AM | A Biological Basis for Sexual Morality
What's the problem with promiscuity?
7:54 AM | John Dewey: The First Evolutionary Educational Philosopher
No summary available for this post.
6:35 AM | Modern YEC is Not An Aberration of Traditional Christianity, Part One
I will conclude my series on the World Open in the next day or two, but I would not readers to think that I have converted this into a chess blog. So let’s go back to our more traditional fare by pondering this pamphlet, by philosopher Mary Midgley. It is called, “Intelligent Design Theory and…
2:20 AM | Mrs. Phactor's gardens
A number of readers have requested that TPP feature Mrs. Phactor's gardens in some of his blogs. Well, they are completely right; he should and will. A number of the flowers have been featured on various Fridays, but not the garden as a whole, or even small portions thereof.  Mostly these gardens are intended to be viewed as a whole, a melange of flowers and colors and textures that change through the seasons. Right now there are some pretty vivid colors which are quite a change from early […]

July 09, 2014

8:14 PM | Forget Communication; Study Cognition
Leonard Talmy is an interesting fellow who has spent the past several decades exploring the way languages express thoughts. Can we have thoughts that we cannot express verbally? Many poets spend their lives trying to express the inexpressible. We know...
6:19 PM | Goodbye Florida; so long NOLA
A warming global climate will result in a sea level rise, period.  How much of a rise depends upon lots of variables.  But in many areas even a fraction of the potential rise will endanger really stupid shore-line development, and people just don't want to hear about it.  Unfortunately, the USA seems to have fewer and fewer politicians who are willing and able to take a longer view of any topic. When you have politicians claiming that scientific reports of global warming and sea […]
12:58 PM | The Kingdom of Rarities by Eric Dinerstein | review | @GrrlScientist
In this engaging and thought-provoking narrative, Eric Dinerstein shares his journeys to exotic and remote places, as he explores and explains the many nuanced reasons why some species rare and why rare species are important. Why are some species naturally rare whilst others are common? Do rare species make any difference in the larger scheme? These questions have puzzled biologists for centuries. Truth be told, even today, scientists have uncovered just a few pieces within this complex puzzle […]
12:00 PM | What’s So Repelling About Repellents?
Biology concepts – thermosensing, repellent, odor receptors, gustatory receptors, semiochemcialsScience explains our world, and then technology and engineering build a model of that for our use. The better we know how our universe works, the better we can make use of it. In the 1985 film Real Genius, this difference is stated when the scientist students ask what a 6 megawatt laser might be for, one student says, “Let the engineers figure out a use for it.” In this case, they […]

DeGennaro M, McBride CS, Seeholzer L, Nakagawa T, Dennis EJ, Goldman C, Jasinskiene N, James AA & Vosshall LB (2013). orco mutant mosquitoes lose strong preference for humans and are not repelled by volatile DEET., Nature, 498 (7455) 487-91. PMID:

Stanczyk NM, Brookfield JF, Field LM & Logan JG (2013). Aedes aegypti mosquitoes exhibit decreased repellency by DEET following previous exposure., PloS one, 8 (2) PMID:

Klun JA, Kramer M & Debboun M (2013). Four simple stimuli that induce host-seeking and blood-feeding behaviors in two mosquito species, with a clue to DEET's mode of action., Journal of vector ecology : journal of the Society for Vector Ecology, 38 (1) 143-53. PMID:

10:57 AM | We’re all away, at TetZooCon
Things here at Tet Zoo will be quiet for a while since I’m preparing for, or away at, TetZooCon, the first ever Tetrapod Zoology-themed convention. Booking is now closed, but you can read about... -- Read more on
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