Monthly Archives: November 2013

Butterfly wings!

A video from Smarter Every Day about pixie dust, how butterfly wings get their color, and some other oddities! Also, it looked like the butterfly was flailing when first dropped, before realizing that it could fly.

I wonder if man-made structures could be designed to produce fake colors like that of butterfly wings.

What is your favorite example of a biological design (biomimicry)?


Twitter Notes: Salmon, Bayesian Models, and Portfolios

The following notes are from the Fall QERM Seminar, where faculty give presentations on their research. This week features Daniel Schindler from the School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences (SAFS).

  • Ecology happens at massively varied spatial and temporal scales
  • Quantitative methods allow us to integrate spatial and temporal scales
  • Salmon are not only freshwater resource subsidies, but are also ecosystem engineers
  • Time series of water oxygen content contains a lot of info on gas exchange rate between the water and the atmosphere
  • Bayesian models can estimate gas exchange rates with orders of magnitude greater accuracy than empirical surveys
  • Variation in population dynamics across streams keeps fisheries sustainable (because of fishing portfolios)
  • Variability comes from local adaptation in fish and from shifting mosaics of suitable habitat
  • Models can (and should!) be used to make science more transparent

I was impressed by the speaker’s example of how models could be used to communicate a scientific result to a general audience. So here’s my question to you:

What should you do (or not do) to make your research more accessible to a general audience?

Twitter notes

I was exposed to an interesting idea today that I want to try out: condensing a talk into tweets. Now, I still haven’t got into using Twitter, but I think this is a neat idea. Every few slides (or minutes), summarize the talk in a tweet (140 characters). If I was using Twitter, I’d do this live, but I don’t so I won’t (and it’d probably be disrespectful in a class of 3-5 anyways).

I tend to be awful at concise summaries and explanations (if you haven’t noticed already), so this should be a fun and useful exercise.