Daily Archives: July 20, 2009

The Facebook 15 book meme.

Because some of you are not my facebook friends ….

Here are the instructions….

Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you.
First 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.
Copy the instructions into your own note, and be sure to tag the person who tagged you.
If you can’t read, just list the picture books you looked at.

  1. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (Signet Classics)

  2. Welcome to the Monkey House: Stories

  3. The Voyage of the Beagle: Charles Darwin’s Journal of Researches (Penguin Classics)

  4. The Golden Book Encyclopedia by Various Authors

  5. Moment in the Sun

  6. Deschooling Society (Open Forum)

  7. Once and Future Spy, The

  8. The Lord of the Rings (Trilogy)

  9. A Canticle for Leibowitz

  10. Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Collection (Every Sherlock Holmes story written by Doyle!)

  11. The Great Gatsby

  12. The Storm: an African Exploration

  13. All Quiet On The Western Front

  14. The Archaeology of Human Origins: Papers by Glynn Isaac

  15. Man the Hunter

Memetics of Meaning, Memory and Me: The minefield of the annoying or endearing mannerism

Did you ever notice how some verbal expressions have an extra meaning for you, just you, because of history? In reflecting on this, it is impossible to not consider such lofty topics as memes, cultural transmission, and … well, meaning. A particular expression might invoke a memory of an event, or of a person who often uses that expression. That can be a pleasant experience, or an unpleasant one. If you know what I mean.

Continue reading Memetics of Meaning, Memory and Me: The minefield of the annoying or endearing mannerism

A true ghost story: The Slide Show


The McGregor Museum is a complex building with several wings surrounding an inner court yard, a multi-layered roof, balconies everywhere, and numerous trees in the court yard close in to the building. So, a cat can spend the heat of the day in the shaded crown of a tree, and the cool of the evening up on the building’s sun-warmed metal roof.



The interior of the McGregor museum houses numerious exhibits. The old period rooms and hallways focus on the late 19th century, and other newer areas (not shown) have an excellent set of exhibits on archaeology, human evolution, and “San” rock art.



Defending Kimberly.



The dude in the kilt.



The Gatling Gun. (A Gatling gun is an old fashioned machine gun.)



A visitor to the museum checking for ghosts.



Doing fieldwork in a game park.



Possible “San” burial … which turned out to have no physical remains.



Although no artifacts of note or bones were found in the burial, there were plenty of these. The scorpions were in a state of torpor, as it was winter.

The End

Re-examining the cause of speciation and species diversity in the tropics

Did Past Climate Changes Promote Speciation in the Amazon?

Blogging on Peer-Reviewed Research

Any time you’ve got a whopping big river like the Amazon (or a mountain chain like the Andes, or an ocean, or whatever), you’ve gotta figure that it will be a biogeographical barrier. Depending on the kind of organisms, big rivers, high mountains, oceans, forests, deserts, and so on can provide a habitat or a barrier, and when there is a barrier, populations may end up splitting across that barrier and diverging to become novel species.

The role of the big tropical rivers such as the Amazon and the Congo, and the role of rain forests, in certain actual speciation events is pretty clear, but the contribution of these potential barriers to overal species diversity and the general pattern of phylogeny in the wetter tropics is not well understood. This is because the kind of data needed to measure the effects of these potential barriers is hard to come by in these habitats.

A new study in PLoS looks at the role of past climate changes and sea level fluctuations in the rise of new species in the Amazon region.


Continue reading Re-examining the cause of speciation and species diversity in the tropics