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Posts

April 11, 2014

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9:46 PM | Eat the weeds?
Generally TPP like the articles posted at Treehugger, but not this one on edible weeds so much.  The reasons are the usual ones: dubious advice.  OK here's the list of 9 weeds they recommend: dandelion, purslane, clover, lamb's quarters, plantain, chickweed, mallow, wild amaranth (pigweed), curly dock.  The best of the bunch are very young dandelion leaves, but they are better if you get the more upright growing meadow race rather than the very flat rosette lawn-mower selected […]
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5:18 PM | Google Doodle Honors Chemist Dr. Percy Julian
April 11, 2014 would have been Dr. Julian Percy’s 115th Birthday and it was a beautiful site to behold – seeing today’s Google Doodle honoring the man and his science. Dr. Julian’s... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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4:32 PM | Cretaceous fieldwork around Mitzpe Ramon
MITZPE RAMON, ISRAEL–Today Yoav and I worked on the outskirts if his hometown. This was a field trip that began in his garden and then we wandered into the hills behind his house, eventually circling this little city to return to his house. About half the journey was along the cliff of Makhtesh Ramon, so […]
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3:46 PM | Shorter list for gamma-ray telescope sites, but no home yet
Where will host the world’s next generation ground-based γ-ray detector, the Cherenkov Telescope Array? The answer is, still no one knows. But a panel of funders have narrowed the field following a meeting in Munich, Germany, this week.  Read more
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3:27 PM | Friday Fabulous Future Flowers - the blue lawn
The Phactors' blue lawn is almost upon us (which TPP has reported on before); the peak flowering of the thousands of Scilla bulbs that actually form a major component of our lawn in the spring. Dang, if we aren't going to be so busy that it'll be tough to find the time to enjoy the display. All that blue will be a minor pain in a few weeks, but right now all those blue flowers are a cheerful reminder than spring has sprung (and fortunately or unfortunately bunnies don't eat it).  It […]
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2:10 PM | Paleoartist John Gurche on Recreating Prehistoric Life: Part II
Paleoartist John Gurche has worked on the movie Jurassic Park, designed stamps for the US Postal Service, and recently crafted the sculptures for the Smithsonian Museum’s Hall of Human Origins. In his new book Shaping Humanity, Gurche delves into the data, research, creativity, and emotion employed in constructing the Smithsonian exhibit.
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2:00 PM | Friday Coffee Break
  Documenting butterfly life cycles through paintings, long before such things were done. Especially by women! (From CJ) Whales eat a lot. So if there were a 100x more whales in the ocean than there are now, where did all their food come from? Turns out whales create a more fertile ocean using their own […]
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1:44 PM | New Books Party: books received this week | @GrrlScientist
What good is a weekend without a good book to read? Take a look at these books -- hot off the presses -- that you may enjoy!Below the jump, I mention the books that I received recently. They are gifts, review copies that arrived in the mail, or that I purchased in London. These are the books that I may review in more depth later, either here or in print somewhere in the world. Perhaps the most starting finding is that those boobies bullied as chicks are more likely to go on to torment […]
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1:42 PM | Humbling wingnuts
I have just read Cass Sunstein’s short collection of essays How to Humble a Wingnut and Other Lessons from Behavioral Economics. It is a decent summary of the behavioural science literature on political bias, although there are few surprises and not a lot of fresh opinion. The one piece new to me concerned the moderation […] The post Humbling wingnuts appeared first on Evolving Economics.
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1:19 PM | World Wildlife Fund’s Dr Brendan Fraser on improving fish diversity and conservation agriculture in Mozambique
Dr. Brendan Fisher is a research scientist at the World Wildlife Fund. His research and fieldwork lie at the nexus of conservation, development, and natural resource economics. Brendan is the author of over 50 peer-reviewed articles on topics such as poverty, human welfare, ecosystem services and biological conservation, and the co-author of two books, Valuing Ecosystem Services (Earthscan, London, 2008) and A Field Guide to Economics for Conservationists (Forthcoming, Roberts and […]
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1:00 PM | What we’re reading: Polygenic mutation-selection balance, demographics of invading mice, and the U.S. consensus on climate change
In the journals de Vladar HP, N Barton. 2014. Stability and response of polygenic traits to stabilizing selection and mutation. Genetics. doi: 10.1534/genetics.113.159111. The interplay between stabilizing selection and mutation leads to a sharp transition: alleles with effects smaller than … Continue reading →
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1:00 PM | Science online, surprising consensus edition
This week, at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! Do sloths benefit from carrying around poop-eating moths?And, at The Molecular Ecologist: Readers explain their views for and against anonymous peer review.Because non-monophylly. Manta rays aren't a thing anymore.Wow. Actually, Americans are pretty strongly agreed on climate change.But mostly: big garbage is still garbage. An itemized list of problems with big data.With a little help from William Hamilton's aunt. A look back on the kin selection […]
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12:23 PM | Away from home: Collaboration in a global organisation
The ‘Away from home‘ blogging series features Indian postdocs working in foreign labs recounting their experience of working there, the triumphs and challenges, the cultural differences and what they miss about India. They also offer useful tips for their Indian postdocs headed abroad. You can join in the online conversation using the #postdochat hashtag.  Read more
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11:03 AM | Being Adrian Mole (1983 – present)
I attempted a pastiche of Adrian Mole in one of my early posts. But as tributes go, it’s pretty lame, so I thought I’d tell this story instead.  Christmas, 1983. I’m still just young enough to feel that full-body thrill, … Continue reading →
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10:06 AM | Under the covers (Nature revealed) – 10 April 2014
In the latest Under the covers (Nature revealed) blog, Nature’s Art Director Kelly Krause discusses the inspiration behind this week’s front cover choice on brain-wide axonal projection patterns.  Read more
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7:44 AM | So this is where capers come from
MITZPE RAMON, ISRAEL–Early Wednesday morning Yoav had a special mission to perform before we began our fieldwork. He had been asked by a botanist to get a sample of a new species of plant endemic to Makhtesh Ramon. The botanist needed it for a DNA study to confirm the species designation and link it to […]

April 10, 2014

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9:47 PM | Former NIH stem-cell chief joins New York foundation
Stem-cell biologist Mahendra Rao, who resigned last week as director of the US National Institutes of Health’s Center for Regenerative Medicine (CRM), has a new job. On April 9, he was appointed vice-president for regenerative medicine at the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF), a non-profit organization that funds embryonic stem cell research.  Read more
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9:41 PM | Colbert is dangerous and bad for our country?
If the big, blustering Bully O’Really thinks Stephen Colbert is dangerous for our country, then TPP is more than certain that Colbert is doing exactly the right thing.  In this case, demonstrating through satire the flawed and often simplistic thought that passes for intellectualism among today’s political conservatives. Airbags like O’Really need to be regularly deflated by punching holes in their arguments, by making fun of their pretentious proclamations, and no […]
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8:55 PM | Measurement and Accountability
One of the recent trends of the last few decades has been to measure things and hold people accountable for those measurements. As a culture, we measure everything and then punish people for not living up to some arbitrary standard.  Or worse, we base a person’s income on those performance measures. Anyone who thinks about […]
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5:39 PM | Go Big Red!! I’m at Cornell and I want to meet you at Yuri’s Night
I mostly dropped some hints on Twitter and Facebook, but now I am officially announcing it: Trumpet blares: I have transferred to Cornell University. I’m doing the same work, continuing my post... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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4:57 PM | Field trip to the lesser known makhteshim at Har ‘Arif
MITZPE RAMON, ISRAEL–We’ve talked a lot about makhteshim in this blog, with so much of our geological work located in Hamakhtesh Hagadol and Makhtesh Ramon. A makhtesh is essentially a breached anticline, usually with a single drainage running from it. There are two small makhteshim at Har ‘Arif that are rarely seen because it takes […]
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3:13 PM | And let the microbiology word play begin (re Entamoeba feeding)
New paper out about feeding by the parasitic amoeba Entamoeba histolytica.  Apparently, the work shows that this organism feeds by in essence taking bites out of cells.  (I say apparently because the paper is not open access and I don't have access to it from where I am writing).Anyway - there are a lot of news stories about this.  And for some reason (I am not quite sure why) this has inspired headline writers to get out their pun pens and creative thinking caps.  Here are […]
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3:10 PM | What a batting average!
.280, a respectable, although not great major league baseball batting average. Oh, but this isn't about baseball, it's about accurate reporting of climate science news on PHLOX News.  Yes, that's right, good old PHLOX News is presenting inaccurate information about climate news over 70% of the time, and just like in baseball that's how many times you strike out.  So, if you're a PHLOX News fan, a regular listener who relies on the PHLOX network for information, then you probably […]
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2:50 PM | The Molecular Ecologist: Why we do, and don't, conduct peer review anonymously
Over at The Molecular Ecologist, we're continuing last week's examination of anonymity in peer review with comments from our readers. A number of folks sent in thoughtful remarks in favor of anonymous peer review:I’ve actually done an entirely open review [for Faculty of 1000] and I found the whole experience rather jarring; I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t already like the software in question, and I think that could be unethical. Scott’s a nice guy and a good […]
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2:00 PM | As gene therapy technologies blossom, ddRNAi tries to take root
Before there was Twitter, there was Facebook, and before that, Friendster. And who can forget MySpace? There’s a similar trend of successive usurping technologies in the fast-moving quest to develop therapeutics capable of modifying the genome. Since the late nineties, we’ve witnessed the rise of several gene-silencing approaches, from “antisense” oligonucleotides and RNA interference (RNAi) to the latest targeted genome-editing techniques, such as those based on zinc […]
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1:15 PM | Entrepreneurship with Steve Blank
In this month’s Windback Wednesday series, we’re exploring entrepreneurship: how to brush up on your business skills, where to get venture capital funding and more. In this podcast, I speak to Steve Blank, an associate professor at Stanford University engineering school, a lecturer at UC Berkeley Haas Business School, Columbia Business School and the University of California in San Fransisco (UCSF). On top of all of that, he is also a thought leader of […]
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7:42 AM | Anatomy: Dynamic, Not Defunct
This post was just published yesterday in a shorter, edited form in The Conversation UK, with the addition of some of my latest thoughts and the application of the editor’s keen scalpel. Check that out, but check this out too if you really like the topic and want the raw original version! I’ve changed some images, just […]
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2:28 AM | And in non shocking news of the day - more overselling of the microbiome
Well, just read this story: Possible link between bacteria and breast cancer: study | CTV London News.  Serious overselling of the microbiome going on here.  As far as I can tell, all that was shown in the work discussed here (for which there is no publication or presentation of any kind reported) is that the bacteria found in canecrous breast tissue differs from that in non cancerous tissue.  Interesting perhaps.  But not really that informative as just about every […]
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12:51 AM | Fungal Ecology Evolution Metagenomics Postdoc (University of Illinois)
A postdoctoral position is available in the department of Plant Biology, in the School of Integrative Biology, at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. PIs Astrid Ferrer (aquatic mycologist), Katy Heath (plant and microbe evolution), and Jim Dalling (plant and fungal community ecology) are looking for a highly motivated postdoc to work on a NSF-funded […]

April 09, 2014

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9:46 PM | Why we sign our peer reviews
Last week I posted the results from a brief survey of our readers, asking whether they usually sign their peer reviews. In that small sample of evolutionary ecologists, the overwhelming majority said they review anonymously, though many participants seem to … Continue reading →
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