Posts

April 13, 2015

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9:00 PM | The Call of the Terror Bird
When you think of a scary dinosaur, what comes to mind? The agile, sickle-clawed Utahraptor? A towering Tyrannosaurus? …
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5:32 PM | The pan-genome of Emiliania huxleyi
Emiliania huxleyi has more going for it than just a beautiful name. Despite bei...
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5:25 PM | It's a miracle! It's chocolate!
This recent revelation explains a lot about the Easter bunny. As a kid, there were a couple of German chocolate makers in our little town who came out of hiding once a year to fill their soda fountain shop with chocolate rabbits like you only dream about because no matter how big none of them were hollow! This was definitely a spiritual thing to receive one of these bunnies. Theologically some more time spent with the Chronicles of Cadbury are definitely in order.  […]
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4:53 PM | Birdbooker Report 368
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 […]
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4:26 PM | Spotlight on 2014 research
From animal domestication to human genome variation, from loblolly genomes to lager genomes, from wild zebrafish sex to untangled metagenomes, last year brought plenty of high points for the GSA journals. So gathering a small selection of those high points … Read MoreThe post Spotlight on 2014 research appeared first on Genes to Genomes.
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2:14 PM | Birth of the blue morphos | @GrrlScientist
Today’s “Museum Monday” features a visit to the Natural History Museum’s new Sensational Butterflies exhibition, where we watch a time-lapse video of their blue morpho butterflies emerging from chrysalisesWhilst many people were searching for Easter eggs, the Natural History Museum’s filmmakers were capturing a time-lapse video of the first of their blue morpho butterflies emerging from their chrysalises. These butterflies are now on view in their […]
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2:00 PM | Literature does not mean “big pile of facts”
As scientist we tend to take what has been done before at face value. If a publication demonstrates a result, it is often tucked away into a mental file: or “big pile of scientific facts”. While Stephen Heard doesn’t advocate repeating all experiments, he does note that this may not always be the case. For example: […]
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1:50 PM | Are laboratory studies useful for understanding the “real world"?
“It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us.” (Darwin 1859)Some of what we hope to understand.I just returned from an […]
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1:21 PM | Plastic and evolved responses to host fruit in apple maggot flies
The apple maggot fly, Rhagoletis pomonella, is a prominent system for the study of sympatric speciation. Sister taxa in the R. pomonella species complex, the apple-infesting race of R. pomonella and the snowberry-infesting R. zephyria, have sympatric distributions and the fruiting time of their preferred hosts widely overlaps. … Continue reading →
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11:32 AM | How disruptive are MOOCs? Hopkins launches new genomic data science series.
If you could visit a college classroom a hundred years from now, would you expect it to look just like one of today's classrooms?I suspect not.Yet if you walked into almost any college classroom today, you’d see a scene right out of the 19th century: students sitting in a classroom listening to a professor talk. Perhaps the professor is using a laptop to project slides, rather than writing on a chalkboard, but other signs of the 21st century can be hard to find. Of course the content […]
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10:50 AM | Phylogenies support out-of-equilibrium models of biodiversity
Manceau et al. 2015 Phylogenies support out-of-equilibrium models of biodiversity. Ecology Letters 18 (4): 347-356 It’s been a good few months for Neutral Theory in Ecology Letters (…and so, by extension, PEGE!). In this paper, Manceau et al. put forward an extension of Neutral Theory, including a new model of speciation (Speciation by Genetic Differentation), and relax […]
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9:00 AM | Uncertainty and understanding behaviour
From Cameron Murray on the trolley problem: In Scenario A a trolley is barreling down the tacks toward five people who will be killed unless the trolley is stopped. Luckily, there is a fork in the tracks, and by simply pulling a lever, the trolley can be diverted onto a second set of tracks. Unfortunately there […]
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7:22 AM | Shelf Life: How to time travel to a star
SUMMARY: It might surprise you to learn that astronomers maintain collections, although these collections are quite different to those maintained by other departments in natural history museums, as we learn in today’s “Museum Monday” video Since today is “Museum Monday”, I am sharing the next instalment in the Shelf Life video series created by the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). Today’s video captures the methods developed by a team of scientists […]
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1:52 AM | Spring cleaning
One problem with herbaceous perennials is the spring cleanup. Most herbaceous perennials need to have last years aerial shoots pruned off before this season's new shoots really get going. This process is complicated in our gardens by all the leaves collected by all of last year's shoots. The amount of plant litter that needs to be removed and gotten out of the way is quite voluminous both because of the number of herbaceous perennials, the size of the gardens, and the amount of leaves […]
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1:04 AM | Recapitating Apatosaurus
You may have felt rumblings reverberating through the Internet this week, like the roll of distant thunder. That’s …

April 12, 2015

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9:26 PM | You Should Know: Irene Mathieu and Maladi Kache Pa Gen Remed
Welcome to the twenty-seventh installment of You Should Know, where I give my own #ScholarSunday salute to Science Bloggers and Blogs you may not yet know about. I love how this series not only... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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3:27 PM | The Turcana and Other Valachians
I’m about as interested in domestic animals as I am in non-domesticated ones. Sheep of various kinds have been discussed on Tet Zoo a few times, and right now I want to say a few brief things about a... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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11:25 AM | Geomorphology at Fern Valley and along the Little Killbuck
The group at Fern Valley. Gaging Wilkin Run and measuring water levels in wells. We are fortunate to be able to monitor the streamflow, climate and geomorphic changes along Wilkin Run. Thanks again to Betty and David Wilkin for donating Fern Valley to the College. Leo examining the Ice Contact stratified drift of the terminal […]
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7:41 AM | Sunday Chess Problem
Okay, I’m back from Tennessee. The talk went pretty well, and the conference was a lot of fun. So let’s celebrate with another installment of Sunday Chess Problem! Our last entry featured a series mover. It seemed to be well-received, and they happen to be fairly easy to blog. So let’s try another one! The…

April 11, 2015

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9:20 PM | Causality in linguistics: Nodes and edges in causal graphs
This coming week I’ll be at the Causality in the Language Sciences conference.  One of the topics of discussion will be how to integrate theories of causality into linguistic work.  Bayesian Causal Graphs are a core approach to causality, and seem like a useful framework for thinking about linguistic problems.  However, it’s not entirely clear […]
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11:38 AM | Sleeping hummingbird "snores" | @GrrlScientist
In today’s “Caturday” video, we watch a hummingbird “snoring” as she awakens from torpor in a small environmental chamber at a research station in PeruA few weeks ago, a twitter follower asked me if birds snore. I told her that snoring in birds is a sign of trouble requiring immediate veterinary intervention. But that question did make me ponder “snoring” in birds because, depending upon how you define “snoring”, you could claim that […]

April 10, 2015

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8:25 PM | Glossary of Terms for Cultural Evolution
This is a short list of terms that I have come to treat as terms of art in thinking about cultural evolution. I have no idea how stable these terms and definition will prove to be. I am posting them to a page at New Savanna so that they can be readily referenced. Most of […]
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7:49 PM | Google is, like, 13
Talking to my newly mustachioed son, with his increasing levels of testosterone, can be very frustrating. It’s not as though we have nothing in common. Clearly we are both geeks. We watched Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley in The Imitation Game on Friday for Family Movie Night, in celebration of the beginning of spring break and the complete lack of homework. We both enjoyed it, but it seems we got entirely different things out of it. He sees details and I see […]
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6:25 PM | Friday Fabulous Flower - Liverleaf
Liverleaf is one of TPP's favorite early spring woodland wildflowers.  Interestingly enough the common name liverleaf, and it's genus, Hepatica, derive from the similarity between the plant's three-lobed leaf (H. acutifolia), which is a dark reddish-purple color in the early spring having persisted from the previous season, and a liver. One of such leaf appears just below the flowering stalks at the lower left.  Such associations were actively sought based on a traditional medicine […]
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5:21 PM | Book in Brief: How to Clone a Mammoth
“Will there ever be a real Jurassic Park?” I’ve heard this question more times than I can count. …
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5:00 PM | Gorillas (genomes) in the mist
Mountain gorillas are an endangered great ape subspecies that number around 800 individuals, inhabiting mountain ranges in central Africa. They have been the subject of numerous field studies, but few genetic analyses have been carried out. Xue et al. (2015) sequenced … Continue reading →
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4:04 PM | Quick Tip for NSF DDIG Appliers
I just got back my NSF DDIG reviews, and I learnt something about the process that I think might be useful for others to know–do NOT expect reviewers to read anything more than the Project Description, or integrate information provided … Continue reading →
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2:56 PM | New Books Party: books that arrived recently | @GrrlScientist
This week’s books include a biochemist’s reasoning that protons are the fundamental reason that life evolved in the way it did; a botanist’s assertion that plants are intelligent beings; and an exploration of one of the basic principles of geology, plate tectonicsThe Vital Question: Why is life the way it is? by Nick Lane [352 pages, Profile Books; 2015; Guardian Bookshop; Amazon UK hardcover/Kindle UK; Amazon US hardcover/Kindle] Continue reading...
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1:18 PM | Meeting report: Defending Drosophila
Fruit flies suffer from an image problem. Maybe it’s the alliteration in the name, or the association with bananas, but Drosophila have become a go-to target for politicians looking to ridicule wasteful public spending. In February, presidential candidate and US … Read MoreThe post Meeting report: Defending Drosophila appeared first on Genes to Genomes.
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11:33 AM | A week of links
Links this week: Behavioral Public Choice: The Behavioral Paradox of Government Policy. HT: Ryan Murphy Happiness and growth. The genetic component of sex offending. “[I]is growth mindset the one concept in psychology which throws up gigantic effect sizes and always works? Or did Carol Dweck really, honest-to-goodness, make a pact with the Devil in which she offered […]
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