A Virus Walks Into a Bar…

Thursday, November 26th, 2009 | Humor, Science | 1 Comment

If you find the next series of jokes funny (I do), try going out for a stroll at the shopping mall or whatever less science-obsessed people normally do. It gets from awkward to real good at about 1:00.



The Snodgrass Tapes

Snodgrass Tapes

Here is a hidden treasure in the web.

Robert E. Snodgrass was an American entomologist who published extensively on arthropod anatomy and evolution during the first half of the twentieth century. He was as knowledgeable about arthropod morphology as he was a superb artist– you can see some of his illustrations decorating the banner of this blog. His name is synonymous with insect morphology: his 1935 textbook on the subject (reedited by Cornell University Press in 1993) is still the main reference for any modern course in entomology.

Snodgrass was a lecturer in the University of Maryland for most of his academic life. In 1960, two years before his death, he gave a series of three lectures that were recorded in audio tape. Fortunately for us Jeffrey W. Shultz, professor of entomology at Maryland, has digitized and made these lectures available through a nicely designed page called The Snodgrass Tapes. › Continue reading


Portuguese Evolutionary Biology Meeting- December 21st, 2009

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009 | Education, Science | 1 Comment

Since I am in the neighborhood:

VENBElogoWe are please to announce that the 5th Portuguese Evolutionary Biology Meeting will take place at Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada (ISPA) in Lisbon on December 21st 2009. It is being organized by Unidade de Investigação em Eco-etologia and Centro de Biociências do ISPA (Rua Jardim do Tabaco, 34, Lisbon).

The Portuguese Evolutionary Biology Meetings aim to bring together Portuguese researchers and to promote Evolutionary Biology in Portugal. They are held in late December to allow researchers in foreign institutions to attend, given that many spend their Winter break in Portugal.

› Continue reading


Postdoc postion in beetle morphology/taxonomy

Saturday, November 14th, 2009 | Education, Science | Comments Off on Postdoc postion in beetle morphology/taxonomy

I’m reposting this job announcement here:
Eleodes obscurus

The International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE), Arizona State University (ASU), invites applications and nominations for a postdoc available January 1, 2010. Duties include dissections, descriptions, and digital illustrations of beetles for print and Web publications, participating in the Institute team working on various cybertaxonomy initiatives, and supporting the research of the director, currently including taxonomic studies of Eleodes (Coleoptera, Tenebrionidae).

ASU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. Submit statement of interest, CV, and names/email addresses of three references to: Quentin Wheeler, Vice President and Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Arizona State University. Please submit electronically to with subject line Morphology Postdoc. Review of candidates will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

› Continue reading

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Eickwort’s Manual of Insect Morphology

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009 | Comparative Anatomy, Education, Personalities, Science | 1 Comment

George Campbell Eickwort (1949–1994)

The Department of Entomology at Cornell University saw a time of great research and teaching in insect morphology at the end of the Twentieth Century, most of which came from the efforts by two extraordinary systematists: William L. Brown Jr. and George Campbell Eickwort.

› Continue reading

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Three succinct reasons why scientists should communicate science to the general public

Friday, October 30th, 2009 | Education, Science | Comments Off on Three succinct reasons why scientists should communicate science to the general public

wasp1Raghavendra Gadagkar, social insects biologist, writes:

I believe that most working scientists should spend part of their time explaining and discussing their work with a larger audience. There are at least three important reasons for this. One is that science needs to become an integral and essential part of society and not be perceived as an outside force that is at loggerheads with society. Second, scientists need to recruit the best young minds to make up the next generation and that can only happen if we devote time to communicate with the general public. Third, I have no doubt it will help us appreciate our own work better.

From the book review of  Keller, L. & Gordon, É. 2009: The lives of ants. – Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, XI + 252 pp.1

  1. That would be the other Keller, mind you.


Counterintuition in Biology

Thursday, October 1st, 2009 | Metablogging, Philosophy, Theory | 2 Comments

haeckel RotatoriaOver at Evolving Thoughts, the mighty white gorilla from the Antipodes (that sometimes goes under the nom de plume John Wilkins) has paused from his grand World Tour 2009 to write a nice and succinct reflection on the nature of concepts and definitions in Biology. He writes:

We ought not to think that a conception or definition or hypothesis that works in one part of biology must work in all others, and yet biologists themselves often behave as if this were true. That is another challenge: why is this? The answer, I believe, is that biology is both highly diverse, and also massive.

Read the rest in his post: Counterintuition: Bdelloid Rotifers « Evolving Thoughts.

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Spider silk on display

Friday, September 25th, 2009 | Education, Science | Comments Off on Spider silk on display

… at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

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PNAS will eliminate Communicated submissions in July 2010

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 | Publishing, Science | Comments Off on PNAS will eliminate Communicated submissions in July 2010

PNAScoverI have a strong feeling the following editorial in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS, USA) is in direct response to the (backstage) outcry generated over publication policies by the publication of the peculiar paper communicated by Lynn Margulis just over three weeks ago (for example here).

To clarify, I don’t have an opinion on the issue of publication policies used by the National Academy of Sciences.

PNAS will eliminate Communicated submissions in July 2010

1. Randy Schekman, Editor-in-Chief

As of July 1, 2010, PNAS will no longer allow the submission of papers “Communicated” to the journal by NAS members and will instead handle these papers as Direct Submissions. Authors are free to ask an NAS member to edit their paper as a “Prearranged Editor” prior to submission to PNAS. Assignments are handled by the Editorial Board, and members who agree in principle to edit a paper are given special consideration by the board. NAS member contributions are not affected by this policy change.

You can read the full text at PNAS’ site.

Sunday’s reflection

Sunday, May 31st, 2009 | Publishing, Science, Web | 1 Comment

jstor_logoOh JSTORE, I love you thee.


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And as we discussed last semester, the Army Ants will leave nothing but your bones.
- Tom Waits