Category Archives: Science

General scientific topics or issues

“Cosmos” and the Bruno Flap

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s rebooted “Cosmos” series spent a chunk of time relating a version of the life of Giordano Bruno, including his interactions with the Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church and subsequent burning at the stake. This has proven unpopular with the heirs of the Inquisition and other nit-pickers. From the Discovery Institute’s “Evolution […]

Florida: Teaching Animal Behavior

I was notified today that a course proposal I put in with the Lifelong Learning Academy is approved for the summer term. Course topic: animal behavior. I’ll be doing this as a seven-session course, taking an early morning slot. Hopefully the course will make. I will be bringing in some bits of the behavior and […]

Evolutionary Computation, Evolvability, and Python

Funnily enough, an antievolutionist brought a recent article on evolvability to my attention. The paper, “Evolvability Is Inevitable: Increasing Evolvability without the Pressure to Adapt”, by Joel Lehman and Kenneth O. Stanley, is on PLOS One. Here’s their abstract: Why evolvability appears to have increased over evolutionary time is an important unresolved biological question. Unlike […]

Raspberry Pi: An Update on Sound

Life has been a bit demanding lately, so it has been a while since I last worked on the Raspberry Pis. I had a notion that I might dragoon the Pis into serving as compute engines for a simulation I wrote in Python, and that got me motivated to get new Raspbian images and set […]

A New Year

The Mayan apocalypse failed to appear, so I had a nice New Year’s day here in Florida. The temperature got into the 70s here, and not too breezy, so Diane and I worked on various things that all too recently would have been too hot to do comfortably. But here in the evening, I’m reflecting […]

Florida: Marco Rubio is Not A Scientist, Man

US Senator from Florida Marco Rubio gave an interview to GQ recently. Rubio was asked a question that Republican politicians simply hate to field: How old is the earth? (Hat tip: Talking Points Memo.) Why is this a difficult question? It isn’t because the science hasn’t been disseminated; this is a part of any middle […]

Population Modeling in Python

One of the courses I enjoyed most in my Ph.D. program was taught by Prof. Kirk Winemiller on population dynamics. There are various collections of models in various languages out there, and multi-model population dynamic applications. But I still think that there is some utility to rolling my own. Since 2009, I’ve gotten more into […]

Raspberry Pi First Run

I checked the UPS tracking number periodically today. My Raspberry Pi was marked as delivered at about 2:30 today. When I got home, I found the package. I still needed to prepare the SD card, so I brought up the RasPi Wiki instructions for SD card setup and went with the Debian Squeeze distribution to […]

Official Interference in Biology

We’ve heard tales of officialdom greasing the way for people to profit over the consideration of species and ecosystems. Now we’ve got a home-grown Florida tale along those lines. Craig Pittman wrote an article appearing in the Tampa Bay Times that goes into the details. Department of Environmental Protection employee Connie Bersok has been suspended […]

Raspberry Pi On Its Way

I got email from Newark today saying that they had shipped my Raspberry Pi. I should get it this week. They also sent an invoice, having charged my credit card. The item itself is $35.00, shipping is $5.00, and tax is $2.28, for a total of $42.28. Way back in early March, I called Newark […]

Personal Research and the Budget

Diane and I are working on a personal project to put together an acoustic sampling system that could yield information about the activity levels of snapping shrimp. Whitlow Au and his group have done this sort of thing out in the Pacific. Of course, they’ve gotten research funding to do it. We’re looking to do […]

Python and the STFT

I’ve been going through biosonar data and while the SciPy specgram method is serviceable, I was interested in a short-time Fourier transform (STFT) implementation. There are a couple of ad hoc routines on Stack Overflow and the like, but I’ve started off with the Google Code PyTFD module. There are others out there as well, […]

A Brief Monty Hall Problem Digression

At lunch at the Spoonbill Bowl on Saturday, I was privileged to volunteer with a group of students, faculty, and researchers. It was a long day. Lunch was provided, and I got to sit down with a colleague and a couple of faculty members from USF St. Petersburg. One of them posed a brain-teaser question. […]

Biological History: Strickland on Zoological Systematics

In looking at the Wallace biogeography flap, I came across an interesting passage in Wallace’s 1855 Sarawak paper: We shall thus find ourselves obliged to reject all those systems of classification which arrange species or groups in circles, as well as those which fix a definite number for the divisions of each group. The latter […]

Some Data Analysis and Visualization

As noted here before, I’m working through refreshing archived data, mostly from CD-ROM media. I’ve run into a whole batch of CD-ROM disks that are in good physical condition, but which mostly cannot be read. I’m trying some tools that I’ve seen recommended, but would be open to suggestions. But the whole point of getting […]

The Weekend

I don’t know what other people got up to this weekend, but mine has been pretty well filled with computing projects. I’ve been working with my friend Marc to try to get to the bottom of the Verizon FIOS connection foul-up. We each ran TCPDUMP on our respective machines while making a request that could […]

No One Expects the Comparative Anatomist

Upcoming television series on PBS: Inside Nature’s Giants, begins January 18th at 10 PM. Professor Joy Reidenberg is an unlikely TV star. She’s a comparative anatomist with the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Physically, she is diminutive, dark-haired and dark-eyed, and not the sort of slender sylph in morphotype that TV producers […]

SMM 2011: Sirenian Workshop

I’m attending the Society for Marine Mammalogy biennial conference this year. The location is the Tampa Convention Center, making this pretty simple to get to. Saturday and Sunday are when various workshops are held. Today, I’m attending the Sirenian workshop. It is an all-day affair, with 33 speakers and over 200 attendees. My early connectivity […]

Multiple Sound Sources in the Bottlenose Dolphin

It’s been a long time coming, but the paper on evidence for multiple sound sources in the bottlenose dolphin appears in the October 15th issue of the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. I’ve been told that the PDF will be freely available soon, hopefully in the next week or so. The abstract is: […]