Friday, May 28, 2010

Notes for May 28

  • The amount of ice in Greenland.  Um...ok.  I don't feel great about this.
  • I went to the 'science' page of the LA Times, and saw this article on Steve Ballmer not giving a talk at an Apple conference there.  Really?  What?  Science?
  • That oil spill is definitely a lot worse than initially thought.
  • Another fun Tet Zoo article, this one part of a series on the "deer-pig".  
  • I spent yesterday searching for Plains Minnows, Ark Darters and the extremely elusive Ark River Shiner.  How elusive?  Well, none have been seen in Kansas since the late-80s.  That's elusive bordering on extirpated, which is what we all assume has happened.  Still, you never know.  We were looking for them in the Cimarron River (scroll down to see range).

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Notes for May 27

  • The domestication of maize (or corn as some call it).  My interest in domestication extends beyond animals, in case you didn't know.
  • The land use in surrounding areas is an important predictor of the bird diversity in wetlands.  Although this is pretty intuitive, I don't think it is reflected in regulation or has had much evidence to support it.  
  • Based on the photo accompanying this article...the space shuttle has done some serious work.
  • 7,100 miles in 9 days...non-stop.  Whoa.  Hello godwits!  Another example of dinosaur evolution.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Notes for May 25th

  • Not new, apparently, but new to me about how manatee's apparently crossed the Atlantic. (Tet Zoo)
  • Assessing the impacts of flow-alteration to rivers.  Canadian rivers.  Note to self:  Create similar method for U.S. streams.
  • The story of a terrestrial, stalking pterosaur
  • Investigating the ecology of long-dead organisms by examining fossilized feces.  Wonderful.  Not actually as enlightening as I had hoped.  
  • Sifting through the mass of weird bodies to figure out if any terrifying monsters from the deep are real.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Notes for May 24th

  • Fats are bad for you heart, right?  No...not really.  Or, at least, not as bad as processed sugars and other carbs.
  • Pesticides are apparently linked to increased likelihood of getting ADHD.  I wish I understood enough about the physiology and biochemistry of this pesticide to know if this seems viable.
  • The role of armor and bones in ankylosaurs.  
  • I've been unable to update as much lately because I haven't had much time to read.  And that's because I've been looking for fulfillment in another job.  I don't really hate my job, but I am not professionally satisfied.  The process of finding a job, however, is more intense than I expected.
  • Tet Zoo is awesome.  And this article on leaf-tailed geckos is one of a series that is fascinating.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Notes for May 10th

  • So, Neanderthal DNA is in the human genome, implying that at some point we interbred with Neanderthals.  This always seemed like the most likely scenario (if a Neanderthal was dressed with a full head of hair in modern society, it isn't clear that he would really look much different than modern humans).  But some previous evidence suggested that it wasn't the case.  
  • More on the Neanderthal-human connection by Carl Zimmer, who seems to have forgotten that blog entries are light, airy, minor affairs that lack depth and re-readability.  What I mean is that he's written something amazing and interesting.
  • How far can a bird fly without stopping?  A long, long ways.  (via DC Birding Blog).
  • Choosing the best animal to represent conservation.  Personally, I've always thought the panda was an odd choice for the WWF.
  • Apparently there are always people who want to be contrary and denial reality (example with regards to HIV/AIDS connection).  Hopefully, we can marginalize those people.  

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Notes for May 5th

  • Letting your kids watch TV:  Not good.
  • Not science, but I totally covet a droid.
  • Apparently scientists have produced Mammoth hemoglobin.  I'm amazed.  Reconstructing the mammoth from DNA has always seemed semi-plausible (much more so than dinosaurs), but that's always seemed silly (What are we going to do with a huge and isolated mammoth?  What are we going to learn?).  Reconstructing individual components is pretty weird too, but at least it is done to answer specific questions.
  • In a sexually reproducing population of vertebrates, the number of males and females born is generally about the same.  However, in bone deposits of extinct Moas from New Zealand, about 5 females are found for every male.  Why?  This article is rich in speculation, but I've always wondered if some populations would evolve to simply produce less males (I can't think of how this could be accomplished mechanistically, but...).  There's certainly no lack of species where a small number of males impregnate a very large number of females, is there any reason a sex ratio of 5-1 wouldn't work?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Notes for May 3rd

  • Cephalopods and pain.
  • How effective is land use zoning on conserving ecosystems?  Well, if your index of ecosystem health is bluegills (and large woody debris), the answer is moderately effective, but highly variable.
  • I'm not sure why anyone is at all surprised that cougars get caught in wolf snares.  The question is how could you prevent this while still allowing wolf trapping.  Another question might be:  Why do we need to trap wolves anyway?
  • Everyone seems to be talking about this paper on the transfer of genes from fungi to aphids, making aphids the only (known) animal to produce carotenoids.  Unfortunately, I can't read this paper because Science requires money for knowledge, but you can read about it elsewhere if you like.