Friday, October 28, 2011

Interesting papers: Wind in Kansas and spider-hopping rivers

  • I wrestle quite often with whether or not to use this blog space to criticize individual papers or presentations.  On the one hand, I feel that scrutiny is a critical part of science, and we should point out all the problems with studies that make them questionable.  On the other hand, actual people are really sensitive to criticism.  I most cases, irrationally sensitive.  I can't count the number of people who got upset about criticisms they received, even when (as far as I can tell) those criticisms were both justified and constructive.  I'm certainly not immune to this myself.  Anyway, thinking about this kind of thing occasionally keeps me from posting.
  • I'm a little too close to this issue, but Kansas Chapter of the Nature Conservancy has published a paper in PLoS ONE mapping out areas where wind development in Kansas will and will not cause environmental problems.  I imagine this paper (and analysis) will become very politicized.
  • River-crossing spiders in Madagascar.  Are they catching bats and birds?  Holy cow.  The paper is actually about the evolution of this ability.
  • Here's a connection I've seen people talk about but never really quantify.  How does the source of carbon to stream biota (allo vs. auto) affect their mercury load?  Since mercury is associated with carbon, you would think the kind of carbon is important.

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