lost notes of royal society

Wow. The 1661-1682 minutes of The Royal Society were found in a Hampshire home and are up for auction at Bonhams on the 28th of March. They’re expected to fetch a million pounds, which the Royal Society doesn’t have. The unnamed family in whose home they were found didn’t know what they had, and claim … Read more

peer reviewing

Two articles about peer reviewing from The Scientist: Is Peer Review Broken: a state-of-the-system report. The table with odds for publication is especially interesting, for a given value of interesting = argh. Truth or Myth: 3 common complaints about the peer review process examined. The discussion regarding signing reviews is thought-provoking: Nature journals let reviewers … Read more

paper: blondes have more… fear?

That’ll be the newspaper taglines, at least. Behavioural inhibition in young children appears to be more frequent in blue-irised American children, and now in blond(er) German children. The putative link is made between melanocyte-stimulating hormones and cortisol (stress-related) stimulators as the underlying mechanism. Interesting stuff, and will no doubt be picked up on for its … Read more

paper: echolocation in bats

Once upon a time I considered becoming an evolutionary bat biologist1. Bats are cool. They’re close to primates on the mammal phylogeny, they have interesting social systems, and some of them have astoundingly sophisticated echolocation systems. Gareth Jones and Emma Teeling have a paper in TREE: The evolution of echolocation in bats, discussing the phylogenetic … Read more

articles from PNAS

Of interest: 1. A modelling paper demonstrating the effects of the global airline network on the spread of epidemic diseases such as SARS. Colizza et al, abstract here. 2. Population genetics paper demonstrating the clustering of human genetic gradients in ancient centres of agricultural origin, and clustering near to coastlines. Amos & Manica, abstract here.

follow-up on Lawrence

Re yesterday’s post: It’s an interesting essay. I think Science were right to reject it on the basis that it presented no positive suggestions for action. One could be left with only the message that the status quo is acceptable in some situations, if we accept that men and women bring different plates to the … Read more

paper: men, women + ghosts in science

The leaky pipeline in science, or why 60% of biology undergrads are female yet only 10% of professors are. Science rejected this after long consideration, but it got published by PLoS Biology. I am just linking to the paper by Peter Lawrence: haven’t read it yet, haven’t read this commentary in The Telegraph, but will … Read more

phylogeny comparison applet

A nifty little web-based applet for comparing the topology of two phylogenies and identifying where the differences lie. Could be useful in the future. Works for me on a G5 with Firefox. The paper referring to it is: Nye, T. M. W., Lio, P. & Gilks, W. R. (2006) A novel algorithm and web-based tool … Read more

alumni events

The University of Auckland is having an alumni event in London next month. I’m vaguely interested in the proposal (for a Centre for NZ Studies in the University of London system), but more importantly, I’m wondering about networking opportunities. I’ve not made an effort with alumni events so far (granted, they’re limited on the other … Read more