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Investigating interactions in a complex world

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Are Ecologists too Credulous?

Do we follow rigorous scientific protocol when reporting our work to our peers? Or do we fall into the sort of traps that the scientific method is supposed to help us avoid? Would Karl Popper be proud of, or pissed off at us? An interesting study has just been published by Barto & Rillig (2012) in Oikos, analysing the writing and citing habits of...

Peerage of Science: A publishing revolution?

There’s a feeling amongst some scientists that we aren’t all pulling our weight: some go for glory without necessarily putting in the effort in more mundane tasks of day to day science. I’m talking about peer review, the fundamental system of checks and filters that allows science to separate itself from pseudoscience, or other nefarious pastimes.The...

TOE and 2LOT

TOE = Theory of Evolution (through differential descent with modification). 2LOT = the Second Law of Thermodynamics.Just a quick scribble to pimp a post over at Good Math, Bad Math on the common and spurious argument often put forward by creationists (and easily refuted by anyone with the ability to think without drooling) that generally goes something...

Antineoplastons – taking the piss once again

The Burzynski Research Institute in Houston, Texas, has been hitting the blog headlines recently. This clinic runs trials investigating alternative cancer treatments, with unproven effects after 30 years of investigation.Their PR machine appears to have backfired, with a certain Marc Stephens shooting off a raft of threatening, unspecific defamation/libel...

Pressure

I’ve entered the final year of my current contract. This has put a certain fear into me, that acts as a serious motivation to tinker with, write up and push out manuscripts as part of the never ending cycle of money grabbing grant and job applications. But it also keeps me awake at night, worrying about all the “what if’s” of where the next contract...

‘Citation needed': an ode to Wikipedia

Fair fa’, yer honest, sonsie face… Great puddin’ o’ the website race, Aboon them a’, ye tak yer place,Britannica or Ask Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace As lang’s my ethernet cable.All of which was inspired by some checking I was doing for an injury I sustained last week playing football, which reared up agin again last night on my rushed comeback. It is...

Spam Wars: Revenge of the humans

Dear NN Users,We’ve been suffering from a deluge of bot inspired spam attacks recently, which the techs have been struggling to keep under control. I propose a simple method to take back the “Latest Comments” thread (at least).Simply add your favourite (or least favourite, or any) science based joke below. To start, mine (courtesy of the SGU) isA neutron...

Allee effects: possibly not so effective after all

I’ve been catching up with some literature that’s been lying on my desk for a while, and finally got round to reading a very interesting paper published last year, which examines the evidence for strong (demographic) Allee effects from natural time series1.It’s a subject that has interested me in the past, I’ve published a couple of papers looking at...

The nomadic life of an academic

I’m moving again. But this time, neither job nor country. Just house. My new gaff will be all of 2 minutes stroll from my usual place of work, cutting a valuable 8 minutes from my commuting time – in each direction!But it got me to thinking, how many places have I lived in since I left my parental home in Edinburgh (natal dispersal)?So far, I make it...

Someone’s already said it better.

and in this case, funnier and better. I wish I could include this as a citation in a paper I’m writing at the moment… From the inimitable, impossible to copy, xkcd series.Now, why am I posting cartoons online when I should be writing? Answers on the back of a milk bottle top please.

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