Overheard on the Trolley Ride Home

A mentally ill janitor:

Wow! Look at you! Look at how beautiful you are! And you! You are beautiful! And…oh my goodness! YOU are such a beautiful woman! And all these couples! So many perfect, beautiful couples! Look at how beautiful you all are! This has been a perfect day! And the Phillies will win the World Series!

And later:

People, listen to me! If you do not have joy in your life..make joy! Make joy! I truly believe in this, I am a very Christian man.

I think he would be very happy to know that after leaving the trolley, I was indeed full of happiness. Honestly and truly.

Footnote – aside from these proclomations, the man tried to engage the woman sitting next to him in conversation, but she seemed absolutely repulsed by him, and refused to even make eye contact with him. She was on her way to the nail salon.

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Designing a Scientific Poster

In August, I’ll be heading to Milwaukee to present the research I did in Australia at the Ecological Society of America’s annual conference. Perhaps because I’m a foolish and naive young academic, I’m incredibly excited about this conference, and the idea of being surrounded by hundreds of other people with similar interests, and new knowledge to present within those interests, has me really stoked. And it’s not just presentations, there’s workshops and field trips, and I want to attend every single one! Of course, that’s not possible for both financial and temporal reasons, but it shows how excited I am.

I’m presenting my research in the form of a poster, so I’m currently working on designing it. I already made one in Australia, but Australian scientific posters are very different from American ones. The Australians prefer extremely concise posters, with large amounts of empty space for important images, and a concise take-home message. Here’s the poster I made for my research, in the Australian style: Continue reading

The Future of Voucher Specimens

Kannan, R. 2007. New bird descriptions without proper voucher specimens: reflections after the Bugun Liocichla case. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 104: 12-18.

This story begins with the discovery of the Bugun Liocichla, a spectacular but possibly rare bird discovered recently in India. The formal description of the bird stirred up a lot of controvery, as no type specimen was sent to a museum or examination, as is the formal procedure. Rather, the authors decided to take photographs and feather samples, as they believed that the species was too rare to allow for the taking of an individual. This raises some important questions about the current state of museum specimens, and whether they remain relevant in biology today, and if traditional practices are conservationally unadvised. Continue reading

1001 Books and Movies

A series of books has recently been released, listing the Top 1001 Books, Movies, and Paintings to _____ before you die. Obviously I don’t want to list all of them here, but you can find the complete list of books and movies on various blogs (with the movies list updated every now and then). It’s fun to go through and see exactly how many of these works you’ve read or seen, so that’s what I’m going to do here. Feel free to post your own lists in the comments! Continue reading

Strat-o-matic Update

Actual vs. Expected Wins for the Raleigh Rockstars

Here’s my Strat-o-matic team’s winning percentage, graphed by date. Actual winning percentage, in blue, is obviously the team’s actual Win-Loss record. The expected winning percentage, in green, is calculated using the Pythagorean Expectation based on Runs Scored vs. Runs Allowed.

I’ve loved watching my actual vs. expected records fluctuating together, and gradually converging towards the mean. Though hopefully that mean will get higher.

Moving in!

WordPress is the new blogger. Everything has been moved over.

Overheard at the Bubble House

Some stoned philosopher, rambling endlessly one table over:

I am the sum of all my lovers.

I am light. I believe in God, yes.

You have as much potential for growth as I have ability to make a PDF document.

What am I gonna do, form a charity of sperm capitalism?