Double-day [Sedgwick continued]

Jul. 20th, 2017 07:58 am
rebeccmeister: (cricket)
[personal profile] rebeccmeister
Projects with the big crew:

Monday night: thorough coverage of our mark-recapture areas. The weather stayed reasonably warm into the night, so teams were able to gather up a lot of crickets. I stayed behind to run a set of 9 pm crickets.

On Tuesday, we concluded that one of the paint types we'd been using for mark-recapture was not good for the crickets. Crickets painted with Testor's enamel paint were noticeably more sluggish than unpainted crickets or crickets painted with the acrylic paint we'd been using in the lab up until then. We also concluded that we were reaching a point where we weren't learning a whole lot more from repeatedly re-surveying our mark-recapture area, so we decided to switch gears for our evening plans. Oh, we also went to the beach in Santa Barbara, which was a much nicer trip than our trip to Pismo Beach last year. Not only was the beach less crowded, almost everyone actually went in the water. I should have gone for a fuller swim, but oh well.

So then, Tuesday evening, we formed four small teams and headed out in four different directions to get a better sense of the broader population structure out here. I also wanted to encourage everyone to help me collect up as many long-winged crickets as possible, because they're much more rare than the short-winged crickets and are a huge limiting factor for the circadian experiments. In order to give everyone extra incentive, we decided there needed to be a prize for the team that collected the most long-winged crickets. Casting about for ideas, I settled on a prize of a cake of that team's choosing.

It worked! Mk and I wound up hiking up a road in a valley along the southwestern part of the reserve. C and P were supposed to hike along the corresponding eastern edge, but when they reached the gate for that road, C observed two sets of predator eyes shining back at her: either coyotes or mountain lions. So they wisely stuck closer to home. B and CH headed north, and L, G, and Ms headed south.

The cake bribe worked. C and P won, and we came in second, but I still feel like a winner given that I wound up with 6 long-winged females with pink flight muscle. We set them up for a noontime circadian experiment.

As is typical for field experiments, we're making a ton of decisions on-the-fly out here, so part of the reason for trying to thoroughly blog about everything is to try and remember why those decisions were made (and also try to retain shreds of sanity because there is major Thought Tragedy of the Commons* out here).

After the noontime data collection, I became concerned that catching crickets, holding them overnight and through the next day, and then running them, was affecting their metabolic rates. The noontime crickets had higher respiration rates that are comparable to the respiration rates I've observed so far with laboratory crickets, whereas the 9 pm crickets tended to have about half to two-thirds the respiration. We aren't really aiming to study metabolism under starvation conditions, so that was a problem.

Thus, last night, we changed things up again. At 9 pm, teams set off to the two locations out of the four that had been the most fruitful on Tuesday night. Larger groups seemed prudent after the creepy nighttime predator eyes (and a note: nighttime fieldwork is a whole different ballgame than daytime fieldwork!!). I stayed back at the ranch house to prep supplies for another circadian experiment. At 10 pm, teams returned with their haul up to that point, and I wound up setting up 1 long-winged female, 6 short-winged females, and 6 long-winged males for another run starting at 10:24 pm.

At noon, I trained Mk how to help me run the experiment, so she also helped me with the evening timepoint and we turned that crank as best we could. [Interesting tidbit: a large proportion of the crickets have some sort of mite hanging out under their wing covers. I need to photograph them.] We wrapped up by around 1 am. Teams went back out at 10 pm for a second search shift, but temperatures dropped substantially last night, so the crickets weren't all that active anymore.

It's tough out here, when all our best efforts just can't quite net the numbers we need for this kind of experiment. I sort of expected that, and figure we're learning a TON out here anyway, so I'm still optimistic we'll be able to get some good papers for our efforts, even if they aren't quite what we set out to do. We shall see.

I am still feeling grumbly about that rejected manuscript, although this morning as I revisit the comments I'm coming to terms with it all. Gotta get up, dust off my fragile, bruised ego, and keep going.




*Thought Tragedy of the Commons is [personal profile] scrottie's term for what happens when one person tries to hold onto their thoughts about what they're going to be doing next, by saying that thing out loud. When they do, they disrupt the peaceful thoughts of the other people around them, who often respond in turn by voicing all their own thoughts out loud. The net effect can be complete disintegration of one's internal monologue and will for doing things, especially if one is a rather sensitive introvert.

Review: Kingdomino

Jul. 20th, 2017 01:46 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
When I saw that it had won the 2017 Spiel des Jahres I took a look at Kingdomino. On discovering that it was only £15, and that games could be played in about 15 minutes I decided to pick up a copy.

So far I've played games with both [personal profile] swampers and [personal profile] danieldwilliam and both of them picked it up quickly and enjoyed playing it.

It's based (surprisingly enough) on the idea behind dominoes - or, at least, the part of dominoes where you have tiles with two ends and need to match them against each other. In this case the different ends are different terrains (grass, mountain, etc), and you score by forming areas of the same terrain*. Each turn you have to make a judgement between going for the tiles that score the highest, versus going for lower-scoring tiles which allow you make the first move the next turn.

I enjoyed it, and I'm definitely taking it on holiday. If you're looking for a filler game then it'll do a great job of that.



*It's a bit more complex than that, but not a lot.

Interesting Links for 20-07-2017

Jul. 20th, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
I posted yesterday about the media using "X defends against accusations" as a way of making you think that there are widespread attacks on them.

47 people clicked through to that post from Facebook. 5 from Twitter.

The 5 from Twitter all did so within an hour of the post going up.

The 47 from Facebook did so over the course of the following 12 hours (19 of them within an hour, but then an ongoing curve downwards).

Which indicates to me that Facebook does a pretty good job of knowing when something is interesting to my friends, and keeping it "active" for a while, whereas Twitter sweeps it away near-instantly, and unless it really grabs people it's gone.

And looking at my overall referrer stats, Facebook gets between three and six times the number of clicks that Twitter does.

(Just had a look at my actual LJ statistics too - yesterday I had 145 readers, of which 100-ish were reading via their friends-page and 45 were going direct to my posts/journal. Sadly I don't get the same info from DW, but Google Analytics tells me that 78 people visited that post on DW.)

Wood Pidgeon, York

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:43 am
highlyeccentric: A seagull lifting into flight, skimming the cascade (Castle Hill, Nice) (Seagull)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric posting in [community profile] common_nature
I get the impression these are perfectly normal birds in the UK, but they're quite a novelty to me. Those fancy collars! There were three in the yard of the pub we stayed in, but they wouldn't sit still to be photographed. Here's one from the walk into town:

Tawny owl

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:50 am
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] common_nature
Short-eared owl
[Grainy photo of a short-eared tawny owl sitting on a lawn]

I know this isn't the greatest photo of all time. In my defense, I did take it from behind a dusty windowpane in an upstairs bedroom where I was crouched breathlessly lest I frighten it off.

There've long been barn owls living at my partner's parents' home in rural Norfolk, but I'd never seen any other type of owl there. I was surprised, therefore, to see this tawny owl (h/t to [personal profile] shapinglight for corrected identification) sitting on their lawn at dusk a couple of weeks ago. I worked out that it was watching a group of four partridges who were pecking through the pebbles in the drive, closer to the house. They seemed a rather optimistic target, given that the owl wasn't much bigger than they were.

The owl flew off and returned to the lawn several times whilst I watched, but never made a move on the partridges, who eventually moved onto the roof of the house and over to the other side.

Poem of the week

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:09 am
cmcmck: (Default)
[personal profile] cmcmck
 Sometimes a poem is just so bad that it is absolutely wonderful.

This is other half's favourite McGonagall poem :o)



The Funeral of the German Emperor

YE sons of Germany, your noble Emperor William now is dead.
Who oft great armies to battle hath led;
He was a man beloved by his subjects all,
Because he never tried them to enthral.

The people of Germany have cause now to mourn,
The loss of their hero, who to them will ne’er return;
But his soul I hope to Heaven has fled away,
To the realms of endless bliss for ever and aye.

He was much respected throughout Europe by the high and the low,
And all over Germany people’s hearts are full of woe;
For in the battlefield he was a hero bold,
Nevertheless, a lover of peace, to his credit be it told.

’Twas in the year of 1888, and on March the 16th day,
That the peaceful William’s remains were conveyed away
To the royal mausoleum of Charlottenburg, their last resting-place,
The God-fearing man that never did his country disgrace.

The funeral service was conducted in the cathedral by the court chaplain, Dr. Kogel,
Which touched the hearts of his hearers, as from his lips it fell,
And in conclusion he recited the Lord’s Prayer
In the presence of kings, princes, dukes, and counts assembled there.

And at the end of the service the infantry outside fired volley after volley,
While the people inside the cathedral felt melancholy,
As the sound of the musketry smote upon the ear,
In honour of the illustrous William. whom they loved most dear.

Then there was a solemn pause as the kings and princes took their places,
Whilst the hot tears are trickling down their faces,
And the mourners from shedding tears couldn’t refrain;
And in respect of the good man, above the gateway glared a bituminous flame.

Then the coffin was placed on the funeral car,
By the kings and princes that came from afar;
And the Crown Prince William heads the procession alone,
While behind him are the four heirs-apparent to the throne.

Then followed the three Kings of Saxony, and the King of the Belgians also,
Together with the Prince of Wales, with their hearts full of woe,
Besides the Prince of Naples and Prince Rudolph of Austria were there,
Also the Czarevitch, and other princes in their order I do declare.

And as the procession passes the palace the blinds are drawn completely,
And every house is half hidden with the sable drapery;
And along the line of march expansive arches were erected,
While the spectators standing by seemed very dejected.

And through the Central Avenue, to make the decorations complete,
There were pedestals erected, rising fourteen to fifteen feet,
And at the foot and top of each pedestal were hung decorations of green bay,
Also beautiful wreaths and evergreen festoons all in grand array.

And there were torches fastened on pieces of wood stuck in the ground;
And as the people gazed on the weird-like scene, their silence was profound;
And the shopkeepers closed their shops, and hotel-keepers closed in the doorways,
And with torchlight and gaslight, Berlin for once was all ablaze.

The authorities of Berlin in honour of the Emperor considered it no sin,
To decorate with crape the beautiful city of Berlin;
Therefore Berlin I declare was a city of crape,
Because few buildings crape decoration did escape.

First in the procession was the Emperor’s bodyguard,
And his great love for them nothing could it retard;
Then followed a squadron of the hussars with their band,
Playing “Jesus, Thou my Comfort,” most solemn and grand.

And to see the procession passing the sightseers tried their best,
Especially when the cavalry hove in sight, riding four abreast;
Men and officers with their swords drawn, a magnificent sight to see
In the dim sun’s rays, their burnished swords glinting dimly.

Then followed the footguards with slow and solemn tread,
Playing the “Dead March in Saul,” most appropriate for the dead;
And behind them followed the artillery, with four guns abreast,
Also the ministers and court officials dressed in their best.

The whole distance to the grave was covered over with laurel and bay,
So that the body should be borne along smoothly all the way;
And the thousands of banners in the procession were beautiful to view,
Because they were composed of cream-coloured silk and light blue.

There were thousands of thousands of men and women gathered there,
And standing ankle deep in snow, and seemingly didn’t care
So as they got a glimpse of the funeral car,
Especially the poor souls that came from afar.

And when the funeral car appeared there was a general hush,
And the spectators in their anxiety to see began to crush;
And when they saw the funeral car by the Emperor’s charger led,
Every hat and cap was lifted reverently from off each head.

And as the procession moved on to the royal mausoleum,
The spectators remained bareheaded and seemingly quite dumb;
And as the coffin was borne into its last resting-place,
Sorrow seemed depicted in each one’s face.

And after the burial service the mourners took a last farewell
Of the noble-hearted William they loved so well;
Then rich and poor dispersed quietly that were assembled there,
While two batteries of field-guns fired a salute which did rend the air
In honour of the immortal hero they loved so dear,
The founder of the Fatherland Germany, that he did revere.












aldersprig: (Side Quest)
[personal profile] aldersprig
Eight: A Kiss

Raizel took breakfast in the inn’s bar the next morning, feeling well-rested, content, and ready to face the rest of her journey.  Perhaps she’d even hire a coach.

The barmaid leaned over the table while she was refilling Raizel’s mug.  “There are opportunities around here, you know, for someone as clever as Esterzon Gorenz says you might be.  And if you really destroyed that Black Missive he’s been going on about for years-”

Something about the barmaid, or maybe something about the pixie dust still brushed across Raizel’s eyelashes, was a little strange.  She looked closer - closer at the clever decolletage, that looked lower-cut and more dangerous than it was - and realized she could see a spark of divinity hiding in the woman’s chest.

Until then, she hadn’t know she could see such things.  Perhaps it was just the dust.

“I destroyed the Missive and the, ah, the multi-hued falcon, ma’am.”

read on…

Vaguebooking

Jul. 19th, 2017 03:31 pm
rebeccmeister: (Default)
[personal profile] rebeccmeister
That feeling when you're vindicated, but not in a good way.

[Just got some manuscript reviews + rejection back, which were utterly unsurprising to me, but I must assume are surprising to a coauthor].

That feeling when the news arrives when you're already very, very tired and emotionally out of whack.

At work?

Jul. 19th, 2017 09:40 am

Wednesday looks about to rain

Jul. 19th, 2017 02:07 pm
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Melisande Byrd His Lordship Takes a Bride: Regency Menage Romance (2015), very short, did what it says on the tin, pretty low stakes, even the nasty suitor who molests the female protag in a carriage (the Regency version of Not Safe In Taxis) just disappears. The style was not egregiously anachronistic (apart from one or two American spellings) but a bit bland.

Janet Malcolm, Forty-One False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers (2013) - charity shop find. Some of the essays were of more interest to me than others, but all very well-written.

On the go

Matt Houlbrook, Prince of Tricksters: The Incredible True Story of Netley Lucas, Gentleman Crook (2016). I depose that somebody whose scams got rumbled and who was banged up in various institutions for his crimes is not exactly trickster royalty. He then went allegedly straight and got into journalism, partly writing up the inside stories of the crime world, but these are very much complicated by the author as to their authenticity and did he actually write them. While he was more of a career criminal than the opportunistic upperclass louts in the McLaren book mentioned last week, he did have claims to gentility, but again, so not Raffles The Amateur Cracksman.

I'm currently a bit bogged down in it, which may be a reflection of the author's own experiences in trying to write about somebody who lived by lying, had numerous false identities, etc etc (which are very much foregrounded).

Simon R Green, Moonbreaker (2017) - came out this week, I succumbed.

Also started one of the books for review.

Up next

There's a new Catherine Fox out tomorrow (allegedly)...

Interesting Links for 19-07-2017

Jul. 19th, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
I've seen this twice in the last week - a newspaper talking about the BBC "defending" the new Doctor Who choice against "angry fans". And then this morning the Game of Thrones director "defends" the Ed Sheeran cameo.

And both times I'm left wondering how many people were actually attacking. Was half of the population of Who-dom out attacking this choice? Or was it actually about 1% of them being noisy enough on Twitter that the newspapers could manufacture a story out of it?

Similarly, I suspect that the vast majority of people don't really care if Ed Sheeran pops up for 10 seconds in the show, does a perfectly average acting job for his two lines, and is never seen again. But that's not a story. And the way to make it a story is to not mention how many people are upset at something trivial, and leave things vague enough that it _could_ be the case that half the population of the country are waving pitchforks outside the studios, rather than seven people having a rant on Twitter.

sippin' cuervo with no chaser

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:52 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Yoon Ha Lee, Ninefox Gambit (2016): usually I have trouble finding a title for a book post. This time, three came to mind: the one I've used, "the tactics of mistake," and "experimental procedures." Anyway. Kel Cheris begins as captain of a unit that gains strength and combat benefits from keeping rigorously in formation. After she attempts to solve a losing scenario creatively---and heretically---she's disgraced, but a bit more creative thinking makes her abruptly into a brevet general, the host-body to a dead mass murderer, Shuos Jedao. (Consider that many heads of units in wartime are mass murderers; though it isn't glorified here, it is ...quite present.) Kel command wants Cheris to subdue a heretical outbreak and retake the Fortress of Scattered Needles. Sort of. Well, the hexarchate, of which the Kel are one-sixth, doesn't like heretics because it messes with their calendar, but everyone (except Cheris, at first) is playing an extremely long game. Pass the metaphorical popcorn.
a bit more--not destructively spoilery (I think one cannot discuss this book at all without being *slightly* spoilery) )

As for this subject line, you know, don't you?

If you'd prefer an actualfax review to my untidy noodlings, try James Nicoll's, and if you don't mind implied spoilers for how Gambit wraps, here's his review of book two.

Pigeon!

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:16 pm
rydra_wong: a woman wearing a bird mask balances on her arms in bakasana (yoga -- crow pose)
[personal profile] rydra_wong posting in [community profile] common_nature
I had to check the comm profile to try to decide if this was legit, as this was clearly not a wild pigeon; it was obviously someone's sleek, well-fed and well-cared-for homing/racing pigeon.

However, it was definitely "unsupervised", as it was hanging out at a gritstone crag eating bilberries and watching the climbers.

It wouldn't quite let people touch it, but was otherwise very comfortable with humans and happy to let you get very close.

I took a lot of photos of it trying to get a shot of the tags on its legs, as I was worried it was someone's beloved pet and lost. But when I got home, I found out that the "report a found pigeon" websites (they exist, naturally) say in rather weary tones not to even bother unless the pigeon's been around for at least 48 hours; apparently they like to take pit stops.

Pigeon with beautiful iridescent neck

Cut for more pigeon )

Desmond's Climb - Collar Rapport?

Jul. 18th, 2017 10:47 am
aldersprig: (lock and key)
[personal profile] aldersprig
First: Slaves, School
Previous: Portals


Kayay appeared as they were leaving Portals and heading for their next class. There was a tall, broad, rad-uniformed student on either side of Kayay, making Kayay look very small and very pitiful indeed.
Desmond knew anything he said would be taken wrong, but Jefshan and Wesley handled it, stepping forward and making fussing noises over Kayay, completely ignoring the goons of Physical Team that were clearly there to escort Kayay.

Once they were gone, possibly believing that the rest of Kayay’s dorm-mates would stop any future escape attempts, Kayay’s voice dropped to a whisper. “I found something.”

Desmond looked at Kayay and from there to the rest of their group. It was Jefshan that asked, carefully, “So… ‘something’? Like, an exit, a dragon, and room full of collars?”

“I found another stairway,” Kayay hissed. “LIke the first one. It was…”
Read more... )

Want More?

Interesting Links for 18-07-2017

Jul. 18th, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
oursin: Photograph of Stella Gibbons, overwritten IM IN UR WOODSHED SEEING SOMETHIN NASTY (woodshed)
[personal profile] oursin

What if all students spent a year working the land before university?

How about, not?

Do we not get the impression that he has a very halcyon vision of what working on the land might involve? I suspect that there are not enough lovely organic farms practising biodynamic agricultural methods to take up anything like the numbers of intending students there are each year and a lot of them would end up working in agribusiness enterprises (which I suppose might be a salutory awakening, or not).

Also, would not much of the work be seasonal? What would they do the rest of the time?

Might there not be objections from the local communities?

I also think of the lack of amenities in many rural parts, e.g. no or inadequate public transport: in the evenings, not in the least worn-out from hours of back-breaking toil for poverty wages, maybe they'll gather round and sing folk songs and dance traditional folk dances and practice folk crafts?

And actually, I don't think this is true:

We also know that without contact with nature we will not form an attachment, we will not learn to love it.

See the rise of the notion of the healing powers of nature and the pastoral way of life in Britain as the society became increasingly urbanised, and therefore romanticised the supposedly more simple and harmonious existence of country life.

I have a feeling that people who live close to nature know exactly how dreadful nature can be. Tetanus! Anthrax! entirely natural.

(no subject)

Jul. 18th, 2017 09:14 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] sciarra!

Brief updates (fire)

Jul. 18th, 2017 12:15 am
rebeccmeister: (cricket)
[personal profile] rebeccmeister
Sounds like the Mesa Fire got tackled very quickly, and for good reason. The Whittier Fire seems like it is hitting a point where things aren't quite so hairy, so it seems they managed to divert crews and stop the Mesa Fire.

Apparently there's a downed drone somewhere near the reserve, and there are concerns about the state of its battery and the associated fire danger, so people are going out on a mission in the morning to track it down.

Here's the thing about this place: there are lots of lovely, wonderful things about it. As I think about it, if I ever lived here, I would go utterly insane. I can't fully articulate it, but it has the same kind of sunshine as Arizona, but isn't quite so hot, so it doesn't have the cleansing feeling of full desert. Plus, there's all the smoke hanging in the air from the fires. I require clouds, rain, and gloom.

The big lab contingent arrived today, so I suspect I'm going to be even more scatterbrained for the next couple of days while everyone runs around. It's very good for everyone to see the field site, though, and the reunion aspect has been especially fun.

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