Daily Archives: March 6, 2009

75% of common European birds at risk from climate change

Climate change is already having a detectable impact on birds across Europe. This is the message from a group of scientists who have created the world’s first indicator of the impacts of climate change on wildlife at a continental scale. “We hear a lot about climate change, but our paper shows that its effects are being felt right now”, said lead author Dr Richard Gregory from the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK).

Of the 122 common species included in the analysis, 75% are predicted to experience declines across their ranges if they continue to respond to climatic warming in the way the models predict, and in the absence of other barriers. The remaining 25% are projected to increase.

Continue reading 75% of common European birds at risk from climate change

Dear Mn Progressive Project and Michele Bachmann

I hope you can see this. Your site is borked. A previously registered user name and comment does not work. Getting a new user name and comment does not work. Your “security code” words are usually illegible. Your “Email us” link is incorrectly configured. You can’t do it the way you’ve done it for many system to read it. Borked.

So, I have a comment on this post of yours regarding this statement by Michele Bachmann:

If you want to look at economic history over the last 100 years. I call it punctuated equilibrium. If you look at FDR, LBJ, and Barack Obama, this is really the final leap to socialism. … But we all know that we could turn this around and we can turn this around fairly quickly. We’re still a free country.

And as the Democrats are about to institutionalize cartels – that’s what they’re very good at

My comment is: Is this a threat? What exactly is Bachmann suggesting here? Exactly???

Scribbling in the Margins

Perfectionism is the least of the behaviors that are encouraged in art but need to be set aside if the artist wants to be fully accepted in “polite society.” Artists need the obsessiveness to see a project through with little feedback (or despite feedback). They need enough pride to believe that their ideas are worth executing. They need to be mercurial enough to suit their thinking to a new and very different project from their last. They need to ask uncomfortable questions and set aside polite fictions. They need to be willing to upset people. They need to be willing to manipulate their audience.

… New post by Stephanie Zvan at Quiche Moraine

The Controversy of Richard Dawkins. Rather routine, don’t you think?

I had been having thoughts regarding the larger context of Richard Dawkins‘ visit to the University of Minnesota (in which he gave this talk), and the socio-political context of this visit, but had not decided if I would write about them. Then I read, at Pharyngula (the other Minnesota scienceblogs.com blog – you probably have not heard of it, but it’s pretty good) this post: Richard Dawkins: banned in Oklahoma? Indeed, a legislator of that wayward state is trying to ban the man from the U. As if.

What I was thinking about requires some historical background regarding Dawkins’ visit.

Some time back a discussion began among people here at the U, including the student atheist group CASH, myself, and a few other people. At that time, there was no prospect of getting Dawkins, or a least, little more than a hope, and to investigate one possibility, I spoke to top people at the College of Continuing Education, which brings in a lot of outside speaker. For instance, the CCE has a series called “Great Conversations” which has had Jared Diamond, Desmond Tutu, and others on stage. The idea with Great Conversations is that a U faculty person and a famous mucky-muck visitor sit around on comfy chairs on a stage with four thousand people watching, and they have a conversation. It actually workes out quite well (at least the one’s I’ve attended).

So I approached the people in charge at the CCE about Dawkins, and had a “great conversation” about the idea of having Dawkins visit. I was wondering in advance if the whole Godless Atheist thing would be an issue, or what. I also intended to mention that PZ Myers should be the faculty member talking to him. With Crackergate still echoing in the halls of this little corner or Academia, and PZ not being a faculty member on this campus, I wondered how that would go.

And I was quite surprised. It went something like this:

Continue reading The Controversy of Richard Dawkins. Rather routine, don’t you think?

Santeli Bails on Stewart

Hat Tip Miss Cellania

The curious case of penile vaginal intercourse and depression in women

I’m starting to worry that the last few Friday Weird Science write-ups by Scicurious (who seems, these days, to be the primary blogger at Neurotopia) have been of papers that I happen to have read. Just so you know: Thousands of papers are published per week across the diverse sciences, and although Scicurious tends to deal with life science and I tend to read life science, the chances of this particular harmonic convergence across bloggers regarding papers published over the last decade is statistically almost zero. More likely, Scicurious and I just have similar taste … or lack thereof.

The latest paper written up by Sci is on the relationship between certain kinds of sexual intercourse and reduction of depression in women, suggested by a study by Gordon Gallup and others.

Continue reading The curious case of penile vaginal intercourse and depression in women

Open Source Musings

Putting Open Source to the Mom Test

I stumbled across Amber’s blog by accident today – she’s writing a series of posts that document her experience installing and using Linux distros and a variety of open source applications.

I hope open source developers are following along as stay-at-home-mom Amber shares her adventures in Linux and open source. She eloquently points out usability issues that make it hard for your average mom to race out and embrace open source. Developers: Take note. For that matter, publishers should take note – I hope Amber gets a book deal out of her blog series.


Open Source, it is not just for Linux anymore

I was involved in an email discussion the other day with a fellow Amateur Radio operator about a program called UI-View, a Windows-based application for the Automatic Position Reporting System. In the course of our discussion I inquired into the state of the source code, having pointed out that some of the interfaces should be reviewed to take advantage of some of the newer mapping tools. I was informed that the source code had been destroyed on the author’s death, at his request. This made me pause.

Wow. More here.