Monthly Archives: April 2008

How To Escape Flashing Ad Annoyance

Maybe you have an ad blocker. There are reasons, though, to NOT use an ad blocker. One reason might be that they don’t work for you, for some reason. Another is that you use Windoze, and every now and then you have to totally wipe your hard drive and reinstall your system and all your software, and you get tired of re-configuring every stupid thing every time this happens and have fallen into the pattern of living with the defaults. Or, maybe, like me, none of those things are issues because you use Linux, but you still don’t blotto out the ads because as a responsible blogger you feel that you kind of need to see the ads. They are part of the landscape you work in. How can you effectively complain about something that you can’t see? So you live with the ads because you need to see what is showing up on your own blog, and because you don’t want to dampen your peripheral vision.For me, one thing this means is that if a page has really annoying behavior (usually, but not always, as part of the ads) I’ll avoid linking to it. If it has something I might want to blog about, but that is not too important, I just skip it. I try to not point my readers to sites that make noise when you open them, for instance. If I blocked the ads, I could not know to avoid certaiin sites.Still, there are these ads that are really annoying because they flash a lot. Like this ad here: Continue reading How To Escape Flashing Ad Annoyance

Cambrian Food Webs

i-bc4f9890e7ab4aeab604660e4845ff10-food_chain.jpgFood webs — the network of trophic (eating) interaction among the many species sharing a habitat or biome — is a much studied aspect of ecology. Food web and other similar phenomena such as dispersal syndromes are epiphenomena of evolution, resulting from the negotiation of competitive and cooperative interactions among many individuals. Indeed, the food web is the gross-level movement of energy within the ebb and flow of entropy and life-based energy capture. This flow of energy is fundamental to all life systems.ResearchBlogging.orgThe delicacy or vulnerability of a particular habitat … the potential susceptibility or resistance to perturbation … may depend on the details of this network of interactions. If everything ultimately depends on a basal food type that goes extinct, for example, there could be big trouble.So, just as understanding any aspect of life requires that we examine historically ancient, no longer extant systems, we need to understand ancient food webs. But, a valid study of food webs requires a certain level of detail that is often absent from the data available for ancient systems.Moments ago, a study of Cambrian food webs came out in PLoS Biology. Continue reading Cambrian Food Webs

Nature and Conservation News

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Canadian panel: Climate change is threat to polar bears from PhysOrg.com
(AP) — A scientific committee that advises Canada’s government on endangered species said Friday that climate change is a threat to the survival of the polar bear, but the species does not face extinction.
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Narwhals more at risk to Arctic warming than polar bears from PhysOrg.com
(AP) — The polar bear has become an icon of global warming vulnerability, but a new study found an Arctic mammal that may be even more at risk to climate change: the narwhal.
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Continue reading Nature and Conservation News

What is the most compelling science movie?

… and why.The Page 3.14 readers poll asks this question, with a selected number of choices. The choices given in the poll are interesting, but I think one could add quite a few more. In part, this would depend on why one thinks a certain film is compelling.Is a film compelling because it engages people in an interest in or love of science that goes beyond the film itself? Because it raises deep or at least interesting questions about science, or about other aspects of the world but from a scientific perspective?I think Jurassic Park had the influence of making people interested in science, and it raised some interesting questions. GATTICA is not only a very well made film, but it fairly starkly addresses important ethical areas, even if doing so in what one hopes is a somewhat unrealistic setting.Well, comment here with your choice and/or go over to 3.14 and vote! If we get enough interesting commentary, I’ll submit this post to the next Carnival of Cinema!

Unsurprising link between anti-gay and anti-science education policies emerges in Florida’s academic freedom frey

This is described in UDreamOfJanie:Ronda R. Storms is a Florida sate senator (Republican) who has spearheaded efforts against Planned Parenthood, against her local LGBTA community, and so on, is now linked to the Discovery Institute in regards to her latest project, the Florida “Academic Freedom” bill.In regards to Academic Freedom, Storms …

…took the age-old ethical high-road known as ‘Lying for Jesus’. She insists that this bill is about the freedom to inquire about all `scientific information relevant to the full range of scientific views regarding biological and chemical evolution in connection with teaching any prescribed curriculum regarding chemical or biological evolution.’ When asked if this is just a backdoor for sneaking in ‘Intelligent Design’, she wouldn’t answer the question.