Thursday, January 21, 2010

Some notes for today:

  • This study annoys me:  Favorable fragmentation: river reservoirs can impede downstream expansion of riparian weeds.  Why does this annoy me?  A number of reasons:  1) there are individuals who are going to take this as evidence that dams are beneficial to the environment, regardless of the context (If you don't believe me, you just don't know), 2) There doesn't appear to be anything novel here.  Yes, these impoundments are barriers to biota....we knew that.  So the novelty is that they are also barriers to non-native biota?  Really?  That's novel?,  and finally 3)  Why does this study get published in  Ecological Applications?  What is the standard there?  I can't get my random thoughts published in a crappy journal, and these guys quantify something everyone already knew and they get an Eco Aps citation?  I'm not angry, but really?  
  • I really am beginning to like the Public Library of Science (PLoSONE).  The articles are written in a manner that invites everyone to understand them.  The abstracts include a 'background' and 'conclusions' that makes it a lot easier to digest.  Which is all a nice way of saying that if it weren't for PLoSONE I probably wouldn't care about a remnant population of a plant I've never heard of before, but because of PLoSONE I found out that someone stumbled on a relic, clonal population of Palmer's Oak in Southern California and discovered it predates the receding of the glaciers.  I find that pretty cool.  I imagine being the student who stumbled on that tree thinking to himself: Man, I thought I knew my trees!  What the hell is this!?
  • If you didn't understand the magnitude of global climate change, this post probably won't help.  But the idea does:  The world's ice is melting!  
  • The Ehrenfest paradox.  Gosh...I don't think about this stuff very much anymore.  If you've got a couple hours to puzzle over relativity...well, you could do worse than thinking about the rotation of a rigid object at near-light speeds.  I think the reality is that nothing stays rigid at near-light speed, but I always wonder if that is true.  And then I start to wonder what rigid/solid means, given that atoms are mostly open space....and I need to stop thinking about this or give up the rest of my day.
  • I'm not sure I totally buy the points in this article, but the grass-fed animal can be an extremely sustainable meat option.  

No comments: