Small Change

Expensive nature tourism isn’t necessarily better for local economies...

Sandbrook, C. (2009) Local economic impact of different forms of nature-based tourism. Conservation Letters. DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2009.00085.x  Local economic impact of different forms of nature-based tourism


See original: Research Blogging - All Topics - English Small Change

Crime rings boost ivory smuggling

The last year has seen a big increase in illegal ivory trade with organised crime involved, says the world's monitoring agency.

See original: Earth | Earth News Crime rings boost ivory smuggling

Martin Fenner: Moving article-level metrics forward

Martin Fenner
Moving article-level metrics forward - http://network.nature.com/people...
suelibrarian, Endre Sebestyen, Jean-Claude Bradley and 6 other people liked this
That is a good point - the PubMed version of the article will take away from the article metrics. So we shouldn't take them too seriously but they are better than the dominant system in place right now. - Jean-Claude Bradley
There are probably also significant numbers of downloads of green OA articles in institutional repositories. Difficult to track. And you should never take any bibliographic metric too seriously ;) - Martin Fenner
Martin I think the metrics can be useful if properly framed by a researcher to demonstrate the impact of their own work - Jean-Claude Bradley

See original: FriendFeed - search Martin Fenner: Moving article-level metrics forward

Neil Saunders: Describing statistical data on the Web - The Statistical Core Vocabulary (scovo)

Neil Saunders
Describing statistical data on the Web - The Statistical Core Vocabulary (scovo) - http://sw.joanneum.at/scovo...
Mr. Gunn and Egon Willighagen liked this
The Statistical Core Vocabulary (scovo) lets you describe statistical information on the Web of Data. - Neil Saunders
A rare case with some practical, useful and working examples! - Neil Saunders

See original: FriendFeed - search Neil Saunders: Describing statistical data on the Web - The Statistical Core Vocabulary (scovo)

Contentieux sanitaires et environnementaux à l’OMC la gouvernance confiée aux experts ?

Face à la complexification des litiges et à la progression constante du recours à l’expertise, se pose la question de la place des éléments non juridiques dans l’élaboration du jugement. Sur le terrain environnemental, le recours de plus en plus fréquent à l’expert relève du paradoxe : la haute teneur scientifique des litiges impose presque systématiquement un recours à l’expert alors que, simultanément, l’incertitude scientifique couplée au fort enjeu politique entourant la décision judiciaire complexifie l’utilisation de l’expertise par le juge. L’impossible isolement du juge face aux controverses de la science a fait de l’expert scientifique un acteur à la fois majeur et contesté des contentieux sanitaires et environnementaux. La relation qui se noue entre le magistrat et l’expert, dans cette situation, devient donc essentielle. Les juridictions internationales sont de plus en plus souvent amenées à contrôler l’assise scientifique des mesures prises à des niveaux inférieurs. Le cas du droit de l’Organisation Mondiale du Commerce (OMC) constitue un cadre d’analyse pertinent. Lorsqu’ils apprécient la valeur d’une expertise ou le caractère suffisamment étayé d’un risque, les Groupes spéciaux deviennent inévitablement des arbitres de l’expertise scientifique. Quelles sont les modalités de recours aux experts ? Quelle est l’importance des rapports d’expertise dans la construction des jugements ? C’est l’objectif de cette intervention que de poser un jalon dans la réflexion autour du recours de plus en plus fréquent à l’expertise en droit de l’OMC.

See original: VertigO - la revue électronique en sciences de l'environnement Contentieux sanitaires et environnementaux à l’OMC la gouvernance confiée aux experts ?

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

I am often amused and sometimes alarmed by the way data and statistics are handled by firms, public officials and particularly the media. The erroneous use of data is either at best a result of ignorance on behalf of these people or at worst a deliberate misuse to manipulate public opinion.
One area that exemplifies this [...]

See original: Ted Scott Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

2009 November 11

2009 November 11



Great Observatories Explore Galactic Center SSCCXC, and
STScI

Where can a telescope take you?

Four hundred years ago, a telescope took
Galileo to the
Moon to discover craters, to
to discover rings, to
Jupiter to discover moons, to
Venus to discover phases, and to the
Sun to discover spots.

Today, in celebration of Galileo's telescopic achievements and as part of the
International Year of Astronomy, NASA has used its entire fleet of
Great Observatories, and the
Internet, to bring the center of our Galaxy to you.

, in greater detail and in more colors than ever seen before, are the combined images of the
Hubble Space Telescope in near-infrard light, the
Spitzer Space Telescope in infrared light, and the
Chandra X-ray Observatory in X-ray light.

A menagerie of vast star
fields is visible, along with dense star clusters, long filaments of gas and dust, expanding supernova remnants, and the
energetic surroundings of what likely is our
Galaxy's central black hole.

Many of these features are labeled on a
complementary annotated image.

Of course, a
telescope's magnification and light-gathering ability create only an image of what a human could see if visiting these places.

To actually go requires
rockets

open space

See original: Astronomy Picture of the Day
 - Page2RSS 2009 November 11

Levels of selection & the full Price Equation [Gene Expression]

In the post below on the Price Equation I stayed true to George Price's original notation in his 1970 paper where he introduced his formalism. But here is a more conventional form, the "Full Price Equation," which introduces a second element on the right-side.

Δz = Cov(w, z) / w

One can specifically reformulate this verbally for a biological context:

Change in trait = Change due to selection on individuals + Change due to individual transmission

The first element on the right-side is explicable as selection upon a heritable trait. w is the conventional letter used for "fitness," so w is population mean fitness, and serves to normalize the relation. "z" is the trait. The term "individual" can mean any set of entities. The straightforward plain interpretation may be that "individual" means a bounded physical entity, so that the covariance is measuring selection across individuals within a population conditional upon a correlation between trait value and fitness.

What then is the second element? The "E" represents expectation, just as "Cov" represents covariance. Purely abstract statistical concepts which can be drafted to various ends. In the frame I presented above, it is transmission bias from the individual to their offspring. In a deterministic system without stochasticity this is often just 0, so it is omitted from original Price Equation, but, it can be understood genetically as meiotric drive, mutation, random drift or biases introduced through Mendelian segregation. In other words, the covariance is measuring the change across the whole population due to processes which apply on the level of the population, while the expectation is simply tracking parent-offspring dynamics independent of that covariance.

But "individuals" need not be conceived of as physical individuals. One could imagine individuals being cells within a multicellular organism. The application of this in terms of the spread of cancers is obvious. Or, one could move "up a level," and conceive of the individuals as a collection of individuals, groups. Then, the second element, the expectation, could be transmission bias within the groups. So the verbal form of the equation would be:

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See original: ScienceBlogs Select Levels of selection & the full Price Equation [Gene Expression]

El arte que nos hizo humanos también nació en África

El arte humano del paleolítico superior no surgió de un modo abrupto y misterioso. No somos criaturas "absolutamente independientes" respecto a los demás animales, y el impulso artístico tampoco es una excepción. Las fantásticas obras de arte de Altamira o de Chauvet fueron con toda probabilidad precedidas de millones de años de evolución en nuestra capacidad estética, cognitiva y simbólica. Morriss-Kay compendia un "progreso" del arte al menos desde 1) El descubrimiento de los primeros objetos naturales estéticamente apreciados, como los corales coleccionados por los Neandertales en Arcy-sur-Cure, 2) Los objetos naturales rudimentariamente modificados, como las figurillas de Bere-khat Ram o las herramientas decoradas de Tan-Tan (entre 300.000 y 500.000 años) y 3) Las primeras pinturas sobre "lienzos en blanco" del Paleolítico europeo (30.000 años) cuyos autores probablemente heredaron sus habilidades de los primeros artistas africanos, antes del éxodo internacional de nuestra especie hace unos 100.000 años.La historia profunda de la estética arraiga en los primeros ornamentos naturales desarrollados por los animales y evolucionados mediante "selección sexual", tal y como sugirió Darwin. Es cierto que el arte como tal es desconocido en animales e incluso homínidos no humanos, pero nuestro linaje más arcaico sí evolucionó una extensa comunicación basada en la visión y los sonidos. Se conoce incluso que muchos primates en cautividad disfrutan pintando de un modo similar a los niños humanos, y las apreciadas obras de Congo, un chimpancé entrenado por Desmond Morris, revelan importantes diferencias individuales entre la misma especie.La diferencia crítica radicaría tanto en el desarrollo de tradiciones culturales como en cruciales cambios neuroanatómicos asociados a menudo con la evolución de los gestos manuales y, en particular, con la emergencia del lenguaje. Por eso lo que ya llaman neuroestética es una disciplina esencial para desentrañar los mecanismos próximos que nos permiten producir, comprender y disfrutar una obra de arte, quizás desde tiempos aún más remotos a los que sugiere el registro arqueológico.No es de extrañar que algunas de las reflexiones más interesantes sobre arte y estética se publiquen hoy en una revista de anatomía, es decir, de ciencias naturales. Morriss-Kay GM (2009). The evolution of human artistic creativity. Journal of anatomy PMID: 19900185 Zaidel, D. (2009). Art and brain: insights from neuropsychology, biology and evolution Journal of Anatomy DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7580.2009.01099.x...

Morriss-Kay GM. (2009) The evolution of human artistic creativity. Journal of anatomy. PMID: 19900185   The evolution of human artistic creativity.

Zaidel, D. (2009) Art and brain: insights from neuropsychology, biology and evolution. Journal of Anatomy. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7580.2009.01099.x  Art and brain: insights from neuropsychology, biology and evolution


See original: Research Blogging - All Topics - Spanish El arte que nos hizo humanos también nació en África

Google's New Language: Go [Good Math, Bad Math]

I've been being peppered with questions about Go, the new programming
language just released as open-source by Google. Yes, I know about it. And
yes, I've used it. And yes, I've got some strong opinions about it.

Go is an interesting language. I think that there are many
fantastic things about it. I also think that there are some really dreadful
things about it.

A warning before I go on: this post is definitely a bit of a rush job. I wanted to get
something out before my mailbox explodes :-). I'll probably try to do a couple of
more polished posts about Go later. But this should give you a first taste.

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See original: ScienceBlogs Select Google's New Language: Go [Good Math, Bad Math]

Wolf Hunting Tactics

A band of wolves takes down and elk.
Views:
305
86
ratings
Time:
02:54
More in
Pets & Animals

See original: Uploads by NationalGeographic Wolf Hunting Tactics

23andMe gets scooped on hair curl genes

Medland et al. (2009). Common Variants in the Trichohyalin Gene Are Associated with Straight Hair in Europeans. The American Journal of Human Genetics DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2009.10.009A couple of weeks ago I reported on a presentation by 23andMe's Nick Eriksson at the American Society of Human Genetics meeting in Honolulu, in which Eriksson presented data on a series of genome-wide association studies performed by the company using genetic and trait data from its customers.Along with genetic analysis of a variety of other traits (such as asparagus anosmia and photic sneeze) Eriksson presented data on two novel regions significantly associated with hair curl, one close to the TCHH gene and a second near WNT10A (see the abstract for details). I noted at the time that 23andMe appears to be doing a pretty good job of running genome-wide association studies, although of course the real test of this is independent replication.Well, now we have replication (of a sort) for at least two of 23andMe's novel findings - but unfortunately for the 23andMe crew the "replication" study has beaten them into print. Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post......

Medland, S., Nyholt, D., Painter, J., McEvoy, B., McRae, A., Zhu, G., Gordon, S., Ferreira, M., Wright, M., & Henders, A. (2009) Common Variants in the Trichohyalin Gene Are Associated with Straight Hair in Europeans. The American Journal of Human Genetics. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2009.10.009  Common Variants in the Trichohyalin Gene Are Associated with Straight Hair in Europeans


See original: Research Blogging - All Topics - English 23andMe gets scooped on hair curl genes

Alpha Release of Where Does My Money Go? Prototype

We’ve pleased to announce the alpha release of our Where Does My Money Go prototype. This is a web application that allows you to explore UK public spending - and you can take a look here:

http://www.wheredoesmymoneygo.org/wdmmg-alpha/

This an “alpha” release and its still a way from finished - we’re putting this out in the spirit of [...]

Related posts:

  1. Alpha Site Up
  2. Open Data Commons Release v1.0 Release Candidate for Open Database License
  3. First mockups for “Where Does My Money Go?”

See original: Open Knowledge Foundation Blog Alpha Release of Where Does My Money Go? Prototype

University of Illinois Graduate Students Vote to Strike [The Primate Diaries]

In an overwhelming majority members of the Graduate Employee's Organization (GEO) at the University of Illinois at at Urbana-Champaign authorized their union to to go on strike if the university doesn't change direction in their current negotiations.

According to a GEO Press Release sent out Monday:

Over the course of a three day vote, an overwhelming 92% of participating GEO members chose to authorize a strike against the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. With the vote, GEO members have given the strike committee of the GEO a clear mandate to call a strike at any time. The Graduate Employee's Organization, American Federation of Teachers/Illinois Federation of Teachers Local 6300, AFL-CIO, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is a labor union representing all teaching and graduate assistants (TAs and GAs) on the UIUC campus. With over 2600 GEO members, and over 2600 graduate employees represented in the bargaining unit, the GEO is one of the largest higher education union locals in the United States.

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See original: ScienceBlogs Select University of Illinois Graduate Students Vote to Strike [The Primate Diaries]

Biotech Firm Makes a Breakthrough in Creating Fuel from Air

In what could be a major breakthrough, Joule Biotechnologies announced that it has directly produced fuel from just the plentiful carbon dioxide in the air around us using highly engineered photosynthetic microbes.

See original: Digg Biotech Firm Makes a Breakthrough in Creating Fuel from Air