Nature Blog Network

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Quote of the Day

"The discrepancy between the histories of populations and the histories of genes within those populations is the biggest problem afflicting the phylogenetics species concepts."
- Coyne, J. A., & H. A. Orr. 2004, Speciation. Sunderland, Sinauer Associates, Inc.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Hey English Majors!

How do you cite a translation of a text? Do I include the original author followed by the translators, all as authors, and the year of the translation?

For instance what I want to cite is Hennig (1966). But I have and use a translation (from German) of his text. So do I ignore the translators and go with the traditional

Hennig, W. (1966). Phylogenetic Systematics. University of Illinois Press, Urbana. (i've seen this is an article)

or

Hennig, W., D.D. Davis, R. Zangerl (1999). Phylogenetic Systematics. University of Illinois Press, Urbana.

Quote of the Day

"Nor shall I here discuss the various definitions which have been given of the term species. No one definition has as yet satisfied all naturalists; yet every naturalist knows vaguely what he means when he speaks of a species."
- Charles Darwin (1859) On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Murray

Long-Lived Lobster NPR Podcast

NPR's Krulwich on Science has a podcast on the long lives of lobsters. Its pretty entertaining with a Gilbert & Sullivan song even! It seem like they never age and never die from within (i.e. old age). Or perhaps it is all the Guinness? Interesting research out of Boston University's Marine Program.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Spineless Wonders of the Web Blogrolling

I've updated my Spineless Wonders of the Web Blogroll finally. I keep adding RSS feeds to my Google Reader without entering them into my blogroll. The following websites have an invertebrate focus or at least theme. I highly enjoy each one and you should too!

A Snail's Eye View - natural history and gastropods
Biodiversidad Venezuelica (in spanish and english) - marine invertebrates of Venezuela
Biological Tales from the Brine Queen - marine invertebrates
Bug Girl - insects
Catalogue of Organisms - arachnids, other terrestrial invertebrates, flora and fauna
Cephalopod Centerfold - cephalopods!
Cephalopodcast - cephalopods and marine education
Circus of the Spineless - monthly traveling circus devoted to inverts
From Archaea to Zeaxanthol - marine inverts and the Red Sox
Gossamer Tapestry - Lepidopterans and insect diversity
I'm a Chordata, Urochordata! - sea squirts and marine ecology
iSpiders - spiders and phylogenetics
Microecos - all creatures great and small...
Natural patriot - crustacean biologist, ecologist, environmental defender
Ontogeny - ants and other insects
Ron's Montana Musings - invertebrate biologist, aquarist
Snail's Tails - snails, isopods, rotifers and delicious food!
Squid - need i say more?
The Digital Cuttlefish - the world in verse
The Missing Cluster (in french) - invertebrate phylogenomics
The Oyster's Garter - musings of a science writer and marine invert enthusiast
The Radula - nudie lover

Quote of the Day

"You do not know what you are doing in any area of biology that involves any comparative work if you do not have a clear idea of what comprises a species, and how different species relate to one another."
- Ferris VR (1999) Species concepts do matter in nematology. Journal of Nematology 31:93-94

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Circus of the Spineless #28: For the Benefit of Mr. Taylor

Christopher Taylor has posted the 28th edition of the Circus of the Spineless and set it to the tune of the Beatles' For the Benefit of Mr. Kite. Its a fabulous edition, naturally with an article from yours truly in it (plus a reference to Anthozoa Week!). So get your reading in before the end of the year!

Work With an (Virtual) Invert! - Biodiversity Informatics in Finland

The GBIF Node at the Finnish Museum of Natural History seeks a biologist with interest in taxonomy and informatics for a 3-year research project. The purpose of the project is to build an e-infrastructure for resolving scientific names of organisms to facilitate biodiversity data use and data sharing in the Nordic region and beyond. Initial appointment will be up to 24 months using available NordForsk funding. Further continuation is pending on progress and success in acquiring the necessary funding.

The work requires designing and setting up a service on Internet that will issue globally unique identifiers for scientific names and the underlying taxonomic concepts based on the Life Sciences Identifier (LSID) specification, which has been standardized by the Biodiversity Informatics Standards organization TDWG and is recommended by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). The incumbent will work in a team consisting of a computer scientist and contributors in Nordic countries. Details of the project are described in http://www.gbif.fi/projects/lsid/LSID_project-v4.html.

Preferred qualifications
* Interest in taxonomy and understanding of how scientific nomenclature works
* Awareness of international developments in biodiversity informatics such as TDWG, GBIF, Species 2000, etc.
* General interest in Internet and good computer skills as user
* Good communication skills, including good command of English and preferably knowledge of a Scandinavian language
* M.Sc level in education.

Terms and conditions
Employed as Ph.D. Student at the Finnish Museum of Natural History, P. Rautatiekatu 13. Other location at another Nordic GBIF Node, or working remotely, is possible and can be negotiated.

The salary for a doctoral student is based on level 2 of the demands level chart for teaching and research personnel. With the salary component based on personal work performance the overall salary range is 1678-2450 euros per month.

How to apply
Send letter of application, CV and contact details of one or more referees Hannu Saarenmaa, Finnish Museum of Natural History, P.O. Box 17 (P.Rautatiekatu 13), FI-00014 University of Helsinki. Applications are not returned. The application deadline is Monday, 14 January 2008 at 15.45.

For more information please contact Hannu Saarenmaa, +358 (0) 9 191 28688, hannu.saarenmaa::at::helsinki::dot::fi.

Work With an Invert! - Crab Ecology and Conservation

GRADUATE FELLOWSHIP IN BLUE CRAB ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

School of Marine Science, Virginia Institute of Marine Science,
The College of William and Mary, Gloucester Point, Virginia

The Willard A. Van Engel (WAVE) Fellowship was established to promote research in blue crab ecology and conservation. Individuals of outstanding ability are selected to conduct research leading to a Ph.D. or M.S. degree in the School of Marine Science of The College of William and Mary. The 3-year fellowship is available beginning Summer or Fall 2008 in support of graduate research on the blue crab in Chesapeake Bay, with emphasis on any of the following: environmental and biotic control of recruitment and population dynamics; marine protected areas; predator-prey interactions; and ecosystem-based management.

Questions regarding potential research projects should be directed to: Dr. Rom Lipcius (rom::at::vims::dot::edu, http://www.vims.edu/fish/faculty/lipcius_rn.html).

The fellowship offers an annual stipend of approximately $18,000 plus full tuition, and research and travel funds for 3 years, dependent on satisfactory progress. A 4th year of funding is possible given significant progress towards completion of the degree. The fellowship may be initiated in Summer 2008 to allow the conduct of research prior to classes. Candidates must be US citizens and accepted to the School of Marine Science.

TO APPLY:

1. Submit an application to the School of Marine Science. Deadline for receipt of applications to the School of Marine Science is 15 January 2008. Application information for the SMS is available at http://www.vims.edu/sms/. Application materials may also be obtained from: Dean of Graduate Studies, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, The College of William and Mary, P. O. Box 1346, Gloucester Point, VA 23062; and,

2. Send a letter requesting consideration for the WAVE Fellowship and a resume by 15 January 2008 to: Roger L. Mann, President, WILLARD A. VAN ENGEL FELLOWSHIP, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, The College of William and Mary, P. O. Box 1346, Gloucester Point, VA 23062.

Quote of the Day

"If value judgements have to be made, let us hope that they are the values of earnest seekers after truth, rather than those of academic politicians."

- M.T. Ghiselin (2002) Species concepts: the basis for controversy and reconciliation. Fish and Fisheries 3:151-160

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas from The Other 95%


Linda, Elliot, Freya and I wish you all a safe and relaxing Christmas/whatever day! This photo was taken by friend, photographer and ex-neighbor Josh Kaffer.

Congratulations Mr. Barton!

You can tell everyone that B.A. after your name stands for Bad Ass. As in, you can whip out Darwin quotes faster than you can say

"I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection"
Word. Chuckie D also has a word of advice for you in your future prospects:
"As for a future life, every man must judge for himself between conflicting vague probabilities."
I also recommend to you and ANYONE considering graduate school to read this essay forwarded to me by my officemate, S.A.L.-P.: Should I Go To Grad School?

Anthozoa Week at DSN and TO95

Hello there friends of the invertebrates! Over at Deep Sea News, Craig is out for a week so Peter has highjacked the blog and called for Anthozoa Week. Well, we're not going to let him do it all by himself! We'll bringing you news and views from the world of Anthozoa. What is Anthozoan? Glad you asked!

Anthozoa is a class of in the phylum Cnidaria that includes corals and anemones, characterized by no medusa stage (i.e. no jelly) in its life cycle. The word anthozoa means flower (antho-) animal (zoa). So sit back, relax and read an anthology of anthozoa this week here and at Deep Sea News!

What better way to start the week than to head over to Anthozoa.com and learn more about anthozoan biology and research! (Photo above is from Anthozoa.com copyright 2004 by Vreni Häussermann and Günter Försterra)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Elliot Speaks Invert

I'm training him well. First it was fly (although meant for butterfly) and now its octopus. We're working on anemone, but that is pretty advanced.


video

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sea Squirts, SLOSS and of Course Porn

Blogging on Peer-Reviewed ResearchCastilla et al. (2007) are reporting in a recent PNAS article an interesting property of sea squirt pornography and local oceanography. I know, I'm a frequent purveyor of tunicate smut, but this utter filth may have consequences in the debates surrounding marine reserve design. These authors studied the spawning behavior of intertidal tunicates (Pyura praeputialis, an invasive) from chilean coasts. What they found will make all decent folk turn their insides out. These filthy denizens of the seas let it all out together in a mass orgy. Oh the indecency. Are you sure the children are asleep and not watching over your shoulder? You may want to tuck them in before continuing on.

Sea squirts have mobile "tadpole"-like larvae whose role is typically dispersal since they do not feed. The also don't stay in the water column for too long, preferring to stick their heads to a rock somewhere (figure below shows larval metamorphosis).


So what happens when tunicate sperm and egg meet seawater? An explosion of bio-foam! This foam is created by surfactants in Pyura's gametes (see figure below). This reduces the surface tension of the seawater. So basically, sea squirts spawn en masse, the high amount of gametes in tidal channels releases a high amount of surfactants which react with the seawater and its associated protein debris creating foam, the surface tension is reduced so larvae are not carried out to sea, thus larvae are retained in the tidal channel! As simple as that. Castilla et al. (2007) document the effects this foam might have on larval dispersal ability by monitoring ping pong balls in the channels. When there is no foam present, they all head out the channels to sea. When foam is present, 50-60% of the ping pong balls were retained in the tidal channel (depending on ebb or flood tidal conditions).

A) Mass splooging of P. praeputialis. B) Sperm (SS) and egg (ES) suspensions left dripping in the intertidal. C) 2 meters of foamy splooge. D) Chilean researcher knee-high in sea "squirt" if you know what I mean... Fig. 1 from Castilla et al. (2007).

So what is the end result of this filthy, spineless mass bukkake? (That ought to bring in the hits!) Larvae are retained in the tidal channels resulting in massive colonies over several generations. They are not trapped here though since theoretically, as shown with the ping pong ball experiment, nearly half of the larvae escape out to sea where they can start new colonies in other tidal channels perhaps. But this suggests that other larval forms are also retained during foamy times. Hence this bio-foam acts as resistor to the current of larvae out of a particular channel.

This has some interesting connotations for the ever debatable Single Large Or Several Small (SLOSS) dilemma facing marine reserve designers. If rare or endangered species occur in such tidal channels, for instance, you would want to grant protection to that channel. It is acting as quasi-reservoir for recruitments. Populations would appear to build up in these channels (excluding all other ecological forces that determine population size like competition, resource availability, etc.) and proportionally send out more larvae with each generation. This research suggests that protecting individually foamy channels (those with gametes secreting surfactants, or channels with high protein debris content) would more sufficiently protect the potential source of larvae for a particular species of interest. You just need to find the right areas, the foamy ones.

Of course this opens up a lot of questions. As someone interested in communities and diversity. I would like to understand how surface tension reduction affects the structure and composition of communities in foamy channels and compare that to non-foamy channels. Or, how planktonic communities respond to this potential stress? Does the composition of the seston track the cyclic patterns of the foam production and tides? Is diversity higher in non-foamy channels because foamy ones tend to have a higher dominance (and lower evenness) of a few species like Pyura praeputialis. Does the foam and reduced surface tension, act a barrier to immigration for new species and recruits? Its a pretty interesting system and though I don't know the foam literature well, I get a sense that this isn't well-studied. I will be looking for a postdoc very soon.... (hint hint).
____________________________________________________________________
Castilla JC, Manriquez PH, Delgado AP, Gargallo L, Leiva A, Radic D (2007) Bio-foam enhances larval retention in a free-spawning marine tunicate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104:18120-18122. doi:10.1073/pnas.0708233104

Happy 81st JoePA!

Joe Paterno, head coach of the Nittany lions at Penn State turns 81 today. Dude, your old. He's still running around like a madman on the field too! I wonder what his secret is?

We used to live near him and when Linda and I would walk our kids on the nearby bike path where he often walked himself, he would stop and smile at our kids. They received Joe PA's blessing. May they grow up to as fit as him at 81!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Assassin Bugs Use Corpses to Avoid Predators

Blogging on Peer-Reviewed ResearchNot only can your prey give your nourishment and a full belly, it can also be a shield to protect you from predators! A recent article by Jackson & Pollard in the Journal of Zoology described an interesting study in which the ant-snatching assassin bug (Acanthaspis petax) makes a "backpack" of its dead prey to avoid being seen by its predator, the deadly jumping spider (Salticidae)! Masking to avoid predation is not a novel development. There are decorator crabs who will take just about anything and put it on its back (including other live critters), sea urchins will don mussel shells and some weevils will even grow fungi, algae or moss on its back. What I think is cool about this system is the use of "corpse camouflaging". Not only can it save you from starvation, it can save your butt too!

"...they capture prey by grabbing it with their legs, piercing it with their syringelike mouthparts and using the ‘syringe’ to inject digestive enzymes and paralysing saliva. The bug then proceeds to suck up the digested ant tissues from inside the ant’s exoskeleton. Once finished, the assassin bug places what remains of the ant, an empty shell, on its back. The ant carcass adheres because of fine adhesive threads that the bug secretes from its abdomen."-Jackson & Pollard (2007)
Now thats recycling! I think we can learn something here. Perhaps we should recycle our food waste into new and life-saving innovations. Hmm... what can we do with all those leftover lemon and orange rinds?

Figure 1 (from Jackson & Pollard (2007)): Two juvenile Acanthaspis petax: one without (left) and one with (right) a mask constructed of ant carcasses.

Jackson & Pollard (2007) demonstrated that Acanthaspis with corpse backpacks were significantly picked off less by jumping spiders. They tested this using 3 different jumping spiders: Hyllus sp., Plexippus sp. and Thyene sp. Salticids are vision-guided predators so they would not be able to detect the assassin bug by smell per se. Spiders were presented either with naked, or unmasked, bugs or bugs masked with the putrid remains of their last meals (see figure above).

The result is that hits by all three species of spiders significantly increased when bugs were unmasked, meaning that the corpse camouflage is a successful deterrent to predators. To test whether the size of the mask affected attacks, the authors made lures that either exceeded or were shorter than the length of the naked bug. The result was the same in all scenarios: unmasked bugs were attacked an order of magnitude more than masked bugs. Hence, prey size is not a factor and the disparity between masked and unmasked bugs is due to the shield of dead ant bodies in and of itself. The lures also helped to control for confounding variables of using the live bugs (motion, behavior and other sensory cues), lending strength to their study.

But why a mask constructed of ant corpses? Ants are not necessarily the best prey for many species and are well respected across the animal kingdom. Typically ants are chemically defended or behaviorally defended (think of the swarming behavior of some species of ants), making them a difficult prey item. Additionally, there's not a lot of meat there so the effort put in might not balance with nutrition received. The authors hypothesize that their data suggest
"... that the salticid readily detects the masked bug as an object separate from the background, but it fails to identify it as potential prey.[...] As most salticids may be averse to preying on or coming close to ants (Nelson & Jackson, 2006), the fact that the bug’s mask is normally made of ants may be important when the bugs encounter salticids."-Jackson & Pollard (2007)
It would be interesting to see how this behavior evolved, what genes turn on this behavior. Once the gene(s) is/are found, how does that gene's phylogeny map over more conservative (i.e. less selected) genetic markers like mitochondrial DNA? A cross comparison with other decorating species would be very interesting in understanding the evolutionary history that gave rise to decorating behavior and how that behavior became instinct that is rooted in the taxon.
_____________________________________________________________________
Jackson RR, Pollard SD (2007) Bugs with backpacks deter vision-guided predation by jumping spiders. Journal of Zoology 273:358-363. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.2007.00335.x

Nelson, X.J. & Jackson, R.R. (2006). Vision-based innate aversion to ants and ant mimics. Behav. Ecol. 17, 676–681. doi:10.1093/beheco/ark017

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

TO95: The Return


I'm Back! And with science even! We are all moved into our new house (pictures later), got internet restored at home finally, most of my end of the semester/year stuff is taken care of and I got a case Leinenkugel at home. So there really is no more excuses. And in case you think I might have been idle while I was madly running about with my head cut off, I have been downloading and reading aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllll sorts of amazing invertebrate research, so I got a lot news and views to share with you. So keep tuned!

Other developments? If you are attending the North Carolina Science Blogging Conference make sure to come out to our session in Real Time Blogging in the Marine Sciences, co-moderated with K-lo, Peter E, Ricky Mac and Ceph-dawg J, word. Attendance is already at max capacity but you can sign up to be on the waiting list. Check out the line-up too, its going to be a good conference!

Big developments are underway as I speak. Its all hush hush right now, but I just wanted to plants the seeds of anticipation.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Raise Your Pereopod if You Hate Verizon and Forced Internet Providers

So I'm still out of internet service at home (where I do my blogging). I was told by the Verizon employee that helped me when I transferred service to my new address we would have internet access Dec. 12. Well that glorious day came and lo and behold... no internet service. I called that night only to be told by the nice, friendly automatic woman's voice (after a shouting a series of yes and no's, account numbers, etc.) that she couldn't help me and I need to call back within normal business hours.

So I called the next day and was utterly dumbfounded. Apparently, my account was suspended without my knowledge and the Verizon employee(s) couldn't tell me why. So after being transfered between 6 people (from the US to India at least twice...), hung up on once and shuttled between tech support and sales multiple times I finally came to the conclusion that I needed to start a new account. Fine.

So I got shuttled to a new person who quoted me the lowest price of $21.99. My old service was $14.99! In order to get that rate I had to order service online. OK, but I don't have internet service... His advice was to go to a buddy's. Fortunately for me I still do occasionally go into work and can obviously access the internet there or at the cafes where I sometimes operate out of (or the bar like I am right now). Unfortunately for my wife, who has been without internet and email access for 2 weeks now, she stays at and operates from home.

So I ordered service today and assuming it went through like the website said, I should be back in business by Dec. 21st. But, their customer service was horrendous and their answer to difficult questions is to shuttle you to India (whose answer is to shuttle you somewhere else too) or hang up on you. I wasn't being rude, but my tone was probably annoyed after about the 3rd person. And to top it off, I can't get the $14.99 rate for DSL without a 2 year committment. Since I know that I will not be here for 2 years and they made no mention of the fees for early termination, I didn't want to take my chances so I went with the 1 year contract at $17.99, still cheaper than ordering over the phone for whatever strange reason.

But don't despair, I'll be back better than ever. My end of the year stress is (mostly) over so I have a bit more time to write. Of course this misadventure has caused me to botch up hosting the Boneyard last week. I sincerely apologize to those who submitted and were expecting the Boneyard to be posted. Brian at Laelaps will be hosting the next edition and I'll make it up when I get fully restored.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Work With an Invert! - Clam Tree of Life Webmaster

Position Announcement Available Immediately

The Paleontological Research Institution is a not-for-profit educational and research organization located in Ithaca, NY. It is PRI's mission, with its Museum of the Earth and other programs, to increase and disseminate knowledge about the history of evolution of the Earth and its life.

Scientists at PRI, in cooperation with Field Museum of Natural History, Harvard University, and eight other international partners, have been awarded a five-year National Science Foundation grant to build the Tree of Life for Bivalve Mollusks (= clams). We are seeking a motivated, full-time WebMaster to work closely with our research and outreach teams to coordinate all aspects and maintenance of our web presence.

The Position: Tree-of-Life WebMaster

We have an immediate opening for a skilled person with good communication skills to join our not-for-profit team. Participate in the planning, design, implementation, and execution of website activities that will facilitate communication and data-sharing among 15 scientists from 11 different institutions around the globe, translate research results into retrievable knowledge for the lay public, teachers, and students, and produce and maintain web-based deliverables. This is a full-time, five-year position dedicated to the requirements of the grant and other IT needs of PRI.

Requirements:
o Excellent organizational skills
o 3 to 5 years of demonstrated proficiency in web design and implementation (please provide written project documentation and links to completed projects)
o Ability to work independently and in small groups, manage time, and meet project deadlines
o Must work out of our Ithaca, NY, office
o Start date January 2008
Seeking Skills:
o Project Management experience is a must
o Experience with SQL type databases (MySQL), PHP, HTML, *NIX machines
o Solid understanding of cross-browser/platform issues and coding solutions
o Familiarity with Joomla website design software and Mesquite evolutionary analysis software
Compensation:
o Salary to be determined, depending upon qualifications (please include salary requirements in your cover letter)
o Standard benefits package, including health, disability, dental
o Employee discounts for Museum programs and store
Email by 20 December 2007 your resume and cover letter to: pmm37::at::cornell::dot::edu
Use Email Subject: Tree-of-Life Webmaster

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Spongefest '07

Image from BIODIDAC

The answer’s fairly simple: Sponges feed like Protozoa,
And haven’t any enteron like other Metazoa;

Their ‘gastral cells’ are clusters of primaeval Collared Monads,

And their bodies have no traces of muscles, nerves or gonads.

Even their eggs are products of choanocyte divisions,

And therefore carry with them Choanoflagellate traditions:

Flagellate or Amoeboid, with collars or without,

They still are Collared Monads—though certainly more stout.


Walter Garstang (1985) - The Amphiblastula and the origin of sponges in Larval Forms and Other Zoological Verses (University of Chicago Press).

The latest of the the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom (JMBA) is entirely dedicated to sponges. I believe this is a rather historic event, I doubt if ever before there have been so many Porifera publications (44 articles, 437 pages) in one place at one time. I think every sponge biologist in the world is an author or coauthor here. According to Van Soest's introduction to the special sponge issue:
It is proper and fitting that the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom comes forward with a special volume in its Journal covering these various sponge efforts. Right from the start of the Association, way back in 1884, and up to the present, the Journal has published sponge papers on a regular basis. Sponge fisheries and sponge culture were subjects addressed repeatedly in the earlier volumes of the Journal by E. Allen, the first secretary of the Association (1896), G.P. Bidder (1896, 1902) and L.R. Crawshay (1915, 1939). Sponge epigones such as A. Dendy and M. Burton discussed taxonomy, faunistics and ecology in the Journal and contributed to the authorative Plymouth Marine Fauna (e.g. Burton, 1957). Continuing along these lines, the volume presented here unites a series of 43 articles covering a wide range of sponge biodiversity studies, without pretending to delimit past or future eras of sponge research. As such it provides an overview of current sponge biodiversity research at this moment in time, and with 21 nationalities involved demonstrates the strongly international nature of sponge diversity science.
And just in case you forgot how cool sponges are and how they are so important, Van Soest opens the whole shebang with:
Sponges are an integral part of marine benthic communities with a high-impact role in benthic–pelagic coupling processes, as an important source of food for demersal grazers and predators, as hosts of a highly diverse microbial biomass, and as bio-eroders. Sponges provide age-old (hygienic) services to humans and continue to be of interest in modern times as sources of an unprecedented array of useful substances.

Hey Windows Users, Stop Being So Fucking Wasteful

Cnn.com reports:

(CNN) -- True or False: Switching from a Windows-operated computer to a Linux-operated one could slash computer-generated e-waste levels by 50%.

The answer is: TRUE

A UK government study in late 2004 reported that there were substantial green benefits to running a Linux open source operating system (OS) on computers instead of the ubiquitous Windows OS, owned by Microsoft. The main problem with Windows users was that they had to change their computer twice as many times as Linux users, on average, thereby effectively creating twice as much computer-generated e-waste.

The report, titled, "Office of Government Commerce: Open Source Software Trials in Government - Final Report" reported the following:

"There are also potential Green Agenda benefits, through reducing the energy and resources consumed in manufacturing replacement equipment, and reducing landfill requirements and costs arising from disposal of redundant equipment.

"Industry observers quote a typical hardware refresh period for Microsoft Windows systems as 3-4 years; a major UK manufacturing organisation quotes its hardware refresh period for Linux systems as 6-8 years."

Though I do use a Mac like any intelligent person does (not to be a wanker Mr. Paddy K), I also run Linux (just switched to the Ubuntu distribution thanks to Mike) running WINE, which can run native windows programs. I haven't tried it out yet, since I've been taking exams, moving and finishing up massive grading, but have heard good things. The stupid thing is the only reason I need a Windows operating system is to run Primer (for my research) and MEGA (for a class). I'm hoping with this open source option I can rid myself of the necessity of using the Windows platform. Though I love my Mac, I would love to be entirely open source, just like how I would like to have research published in open access journals.

Hey folks, lets just get it all out in the open and stop being wasteful.

Carnival of the Blue Lucky #7

The 7th edition the Carnival of the Blue is up at The Natural Patriot. Dr. Duffy has a fantastic collection of wonderful oceanic posts. Be sure to read them all, just like life in the ocean the diversity is tremendous!

Circus of the Spineless #27: Is 6 the Meaning of Life?

The Hawk's Owl Nest is hosting the 27th edition of the Circus of the Spineless! It is huge. I swear this getting larger each month. It gladdens my heart to see so much spineless writing!

Christopher at the Catalogue of Organisms is hosting December's Circus. Get your posts to him BEFORE December 26 as it will be going up a bit early so he (and we all) can enjoy the holidays a bit.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Seeking BoneShell-Yard Submissions

I'm hosting the Boneyard this upcoming Wednesday so lets get those submissions roaring in! Show the world where diversity lies and who is most abundant in the fossil record, I need your help to make this one special. Lets make it the SHELLYARD!! Get those invertebrate fossils posts in ASAP. Oh yeah... (mumbling under breath) i'll take vertocentric posts too i guess...

Dissertation Blogging Updates

I've considerably updated the Introduction and Chapter 2 to my dissertation blogging series due to comments from my advisor. It is much improved from before. So feel free to check it out and let me know what you think!

We are also moving this weekend so blogging will be slow. With two kids now, we are cramped in our little ole 2 bedroom duplex that we have called home since we moved to Penn State. Its a great place, but not for a family of 4. We are going to be renting a beautiful home on Mount Nittany, with State Forest for my backyard, a 5 mile scenic commute and plenty of space (in and outside) for our little planulae to run around! Its a beautiful place and worth every penny more than we are currently paying in rent. All hardwood floors, a wood-burning stove, enormous kitchen with oodles of counter space and smart cabinet arrangements, a fire pit in the backyard, a BBQ area with a stove for heat, plus the former owner left us lots of furniture to use. Its almost like heaven, except that we spent all night tonight cleaning it up... Expect pictures once we're settled in.