Monthly Archives: March 2007

Invertebrate Blogging of the Month

Circus of the Spineless #19 is up on Burning Silo


Physics Blogging of the Week

Philosophia Naturalis #8 is up on Metadatta.

Publishing on blogs in social sciences

Alun Salt will be leading a session about the Peer-to-peer publishing and the creative process, i.e., publishing papers on blogs at the Classical Association conference at Birmingham so he has written a post on things he wants to say there – quite an excellent summary of pros and cons of the idea and clearing away some common misperceptions.


Time has convinced me of one thing: Television is for appearing on – not for looking at.
– Noel Coward

Barbara Ehrenreich endorses John Edwards

On her blog, of course:

For my money, John Edwards is the best candidate out there. Clinton has Iraqi and American blood on her hands; Obama has yet to lay out clear economic alternatives; and, although they might once have been Republican moderates, McCain and Giuliani are shamelessly snuggling up to the Christianist Right. I like Edwards because he’s taken up the banner of the little guy and gal in America’s grossly one-sided class war. He’s laid out a plan for universal health insurance; he wants to repeal Bush’s tax cuts for the rich; he shows up at workers’ picket lines.
I met him on a panel last fall, he is good-looking enough to merit Coulter’s suspicion that he can’t possibly be straight (though, really, Ann, if you want to crank up your “gay-dar,” you should get away from those pimply right-wingers and meet some new guys.) He’s modest, low-key, friendly, and, although he’s wealthy now, he spoke movingly from his family’s experience of poverty.

Read the rest – quite moving about Elizabeth Edwards from one cancer-survivor to another.
Hat-tip: TomP (if you are a DK user, please recommend this Diary).

Save the Mountain Walrus

First, there was a Tree Octopus, but now, there is an even more endangered animal – the Mountain Walrus:

Having just eaten a substantial meal, this herd will not have to hunt again for many days. For now, these mustangs are safe from the satiated walruses. Mountain walruses are carnivorous animals. They eat many species of animals, from mice to horses and elk. The cows will venture forth in small groups and hunt for the entire herd. They will bring whatever meat they were able to find back to the dens and all will partake. The younger cows are in charge of looking over the calves while the bulls protect the herd. The hunting cows can bring back enough food to last for a week before having to hunt again. They may travel as far as 10 miles to find food.

Mythusmage has more.
…hmmmm….should have saved this post for April First and written it seriously….

Sharks down => Rays up => Scallops down

In today’s issue of Science, there is a study showing that hunting of sharks, by eliminating the main predator of rays, leads to a decline in the ray’s – and ours – food: the scallops:

A team of Canadian and American ecologists, led by world-renowned fisheries biologist Ransom Myers at Dalhousie University, has found that overfishing the largest predatory sharks, such as the bull, great white, dusky, and hammerhead sharks, along the Atlantic Coast of the United States has led to an explosion of their ray, skate, and small shark prey species.
“With fewer sharks around, the species they prey upon — like cownose rays — have increased in numbers, and in turn, hordes of cownose rays dining on bay scallops, have wiped the scallops out,” says co-author Julia Baum of Dalhousie.

Here is a local North Carolina angle:

Too many sharks have been killed, so they’re no longer devouring a voracious predator that feasts on bay scallops, marine researcher Charles “Pete” Peterson concludes. As a result, North Carolina’s bay scallops fishery, once worth $1 million a year, has been wiped out.
The finding, reported today in the journal Science, is evidence that harm to one creature in an ecosystem can unexpectedly injure another, Peterson said.
“The marine environment is so vast and three dimensional, there are many linkages,” he said. “There are cascading and domino effects.”
Sharks don’t eat scallops. But the top predators do feast on cownose rays — kite-shaped creatures that migrate through North Carolina waters. And the rays eat scallops, hordes of them, as they make their late-summer and early-fall travels south.
The timing of the cownose trip past North Carolina is particularly harmful to scallops, Peterson said. The rays arrive from from mid-August to mid-September. Scallops, which live about 18 months, don’t start spawning until September. So the rays eat them before they can reproduce.

Learn more about the Cownose Ray.
Craig has some more (and may write even more later so check his blog again).