Wehey! We’re a month into 2016, is it looking bright? Did all your Januarys stay dry? Are you holding strong at the top of your Fit Bit leaderboard? If so, congratulations, cos you’re staying strong through the hardest part of the year – the bit where the joys of Christmas like mince pies and mulled wine have been culturally removed from us, but the mornings are still as dark and drizzly as Robert Plant’s cover of Hey Joe.
Environmentally we’ve been off to a hell of a start, with an almost immediate go-ahead to build on last-year’s governmental damnation of bees, which makes as little sense now as it did last summer. But moreover, ‘we’ as a nation made some big pledges last year before Christmas, as all...Read the full article.
Where just last week what has been hailed as one of the most monumental global agreements in history was made… but we maybe can’t relax just yet.
COP 21 is now concluded &, it would seem, the fate of our planet decided. By and large, people seem happy that we have achieved what was set out to do: To agree to a less than 2ºC temperature rise (above pre-industrial levels), by reducing our emissions, phasing out fossil fuels, wealthy, developed nations giving $100Billion to developing nations by 2020 to help them do that, and the nice establishment of a 5-year-review where everyone can get together to see how we’re doing. Hurrah!
Main-stream media seems very...Read the full article.
Wales are the eighth best men’s football team in the world – one place behind the mighty Brazil – according to this month’s publication of the FIFA/Coca Cola World Rankings. Y Dreigiau have leapfrogged cross-border rivals England to achieve their highest ever ranking. This is a fantastic achievement for a team who were outside the top 100 only a couple of years ago.... Read the full article.
I’m involved in a Plenary Workshop this year, organized by some great folks at UNC-Chapel Hill. I’m privileged to have been asked by these students, al of whom are currently Ph.D candidates. They’ve taken a great idea and turned it into something that will be an excellent Plenary Session, with some (hopefully) long lasting impact. Given the subject (the future of interdisciplinary ecology) it’s also perfectly well suited to the centennial ESA meeting. They’ve just posted this to ECOLOG so I wanted to share it here, since many of my readers are likely involved in interdisciplinary research themselves.
Dear members and friends of the Ecological Society of America (ESA): This survey is relevant to all ecologists, especially those engaged in interdisciplinary research. In celebration of the Centennial of ESA, a team of doctoral students at UNC Chapel Hill are...Read the full article.
Ecologist? Check. Enjoy card games? Check. Why not play EcoFluxx to celebrate your membership of this niche subculture?
EcoFluxx is an ecology-themed version of Fluxx: “the card game with ever-changing rules” by Looney Labs. Simply put, you draw and play cards featuring organisms and environmental features, then create winning combinations that represent ecological processes, taxonomic groupings and so on.... Read the full article.
If you’ve ever been in doubt about whether you chose the right programming language to learn I want to lay those concerns to rest here.
For many scientists, particularly in Biology or the Earth Sciences, there is often a question about whether you should be learning R, Python, Matlab or something else. Especially when you’re coming into scientific programming in grad school with little prior experience this might seem like a daunting proposal. You already don’t know anything about anything, and ultimately you wind up learning whatever you’re taught, or whatever your advisor is using and you wonder. . . Is the grass greener over in Python-land? Those figures look nice, if only I had learned R. . . Why did I learn on an expensive closed platform?
I am here to say “Don’t worry about it”, and I want to emphasize that with an example centered around academic outreach:
The Neotoma...Read the full article.
I am by no means an expert on the subject of under-representation in the sciences. There are some excellent academic bloggers who have done some great work in discussing issues around race and gender in academia (including DNLee, the tweeters at and using #BlackandSTEM – EDIT: this is an amazing post by Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein over at medium.com). This post is intended to highlight what I’ve observed and experienced over the past year or so, with a specific observation surrounding the EarthCube Early Career Travel Grant.
The issue of diversity is tricky in...Read the full article.
I’m approaching thesis write-up mania.
Actually, I’ve been approaching it for a while, but with the mania also comes self-delusion. I figured that a very productive way to put off writing would be to learn LaTeχ, a document preparation system that has many advantages over word processors for scientific publications. In particular, snippets of R code can be integrated to provide self-updating outputs in the document (magic!). I told myself that this would undoubtedly save me time later on. For once, this procrastination actually worked out pretty well.Read the full article.