Category Archives: Science

General scientific topics or issues

Springer Offers Books for Free PDF Download

Lifehacker notes thousands of scientific titles are available for free PDF download from Springer. LifeHacker article There’s a bunch of titles on evolution. And they even have Whit Au’s “The Sonar of Dolphins” available. I don’t mind paying $130 for my 1993 print copy, but a free PDF is a fine thing, too. Update: It… Read More »

Programming is Presbyterian

There’s a mind-expanding post at Coding Horror from 2006. Hey, can’t a guy have a nine-year backlog? The title: “Separating Programming Sheep from Non-Programming Goats”. The first link in that article does not work; use this link instead. This discusses work on incoming computer science students, finding that there is a bimodal distribution of performance… Read More »

Government Granting Agencies and Wastin’ Time

NPR some time back had an article on scientists leaving science, mostly because government funding of research has become more like a sweepstakes than a well. I had posted a couple of comments in the following thread, and I’d rather those didn’t get lost, as Google seems not to take note of or index comments… Read More »

Nutonian’s Eureqa and Concerns of Overfitting

I’ve been using Nutonian’s Eureqa symbolic regression product extensively since early 2013. Back in late 2013, there was an article about Nutonian’s Eureqa that elicited comments. An “A.E. Bartholomew” weighed in with a comment that the title, “Nutonian raises $4M to extract ‘laws of physics’ from data”, was “hyperbolic and misleading”. That led me to… Read More »

“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… Read More »

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… Read More »

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… Read More »

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… Read More »

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… Read More »

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… Read More »

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… Read More »

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… Read More »