As a result of my room mates’ nightly adventures in the city I’ve had the mos bizarre morning during this year we’ve been living together… I woke up early, as I usually do. One of my room mates was sleeping next to me, which I actually remember giving permission to, so that was all fine. Harder was to figure out why he’d want to sleep in my bed in the first place. Oh well, I walked into the living room to turn on my computer when I saw that someone had been redecorating. There’s now a street sign on the wall. I accepted it as something fairly normal - we usually get involved in shit like this. When I was about to step outside on the balcony I noticed a lot of mud on the floor. That actually annoyed me a little because I hate dirt and messy. I decided to write an angry post-it to them about it, but then I looked outside and I saw something that just made me laugh. They had stolen another street sign, but with the pole still attached and shit! All this and hundreds of beer cans and noodle rests everywhere. I was like “no please, how goddamn crazy are these people” and decided to not give a single fuck this day. 


Bright Loops

The Sun’s edge blossomed with all sorts of loops and arcs reaching out from a pair of active regions (April 8, 2013). The image was taken by STEREO’s (Ahead) spacecraft in extreme UV light. The loops are plasma at temperatures up to a million degrees C., contained by magnetic fields.

Decline of natural history troubling for science, society

Tewksbury and 16 other scientists from across North America outline the importance to society and call for a revitalization of the practice of natural history in an article in the April issue of BioScience.
Natural history is generally more concerned with observations and collections than with experimentation. It’s thought narrowly as the purview of scientists bottling up specimens or pressing plants meant for museums. But natural history is really about looking at organisms so closely that one learns their habits and how they fit with what’s around them. The approach works for understanding animals, plants and other organisms outdoors as well as at the microbial level in, for example, our bodies.
Among examples in the paper, the co-authors point out that effective fisheries management relies on natural history and that disasters such as the collapse of the Bering Sea walleye pollock fishery might have been avoided had natural history been used sooner. Many infectious diseases of humans – including avian influenza, Lyme disease, cholera and rabies – are linked at some point in their life cycles to other animals. Indeed 75 percent of emerging infectious diseases are associated with animals. Control strategies rely on knowing these hosts’ natural history….
Whereas universities in the 1950s, examined as part of the BioScience paper, required natural history courses for a biology degree, today the majority of U.S. schools have no such requirement, a trend that has coincided with the rise of molecular, experimental and other forms of biology. The rate of natural history publications in some disciplines has seen a parallel decline….
In the paper the co-authors offer recommendations for individuals and institutions interested in revitalizing natural history.
"There’s hope, both within and outside of traditional natural history collections, in the rise of Internet- and smartphone-based technologies that allow the growth of broad partnerships, including citizen-science initiatives," Tewksbury said. An example is eBird, a web-based program developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology that has capitalized on the widespread interest in and appeal of birds. The program has witnessed a rapid, global increase in data contributors and users, which has enabled both researchers and the general public to benefit from technologies for the collection, organization and dissemination of vast numbers of bird observations.
Such programs are emerging but will need established professionals to self-identify as natural historians to provide the leadership for natural history to reclaim its necessary role, the authors assert.

(via phys.org)
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