Author Archives: Sam

The Julia Language is the Way of the Future

Recent surveys have shown that the R Language for statistical computing is undergoing an explosion in popularity among scientists, researchers, and other data-analyzing types. There are good reasons for this: R is Free, easy to use (as much as any … Continue reading

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Albatross enclosures and the Large Hadron Collider

In my last post on the value and possible non-existence of “mesocosms,” I closed with a quote from Stommel’s 1963 paper on scale in physical oceanography.  Stommel’s point, which I echoed, is that certain natural processes take place on space … Continue reading

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There’s no such thing as a mesocosm

I don’t know about those experiments.  They were all done in mesocosms…or as I call them, “bags.” –Anonymous limnologist Last week, the eminent population ecologist Charley Krebs, channeling the sentiment expressed in the quote above, wrote a blog post on something … Continue reading

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Research in the National Interest

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology approved legislation today that would require the National Science Foundation to explain, for every research grant it awards, how that grant is “in the national interest.” This is a new chapter in … Continue reading

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The Northern Cod are Coming Back

The Atlantic cod offshore of Newfoundland are at this point the stuff of legend and fable. For five hundred years, they supported one of the largest fisheries in the world, until, in the latter half of the twentieth century, a … Continue reading

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Viewers who watched “The Birds” also enjoyed “Field Work on Great Gull Island”

My second summer on Great Gull Island is over, and I’m back on the “Big Island” for good now. I miss being there. Mostly. Great Gull Island is small, and during the summer it is crowded. Some ten thousand pairs … Continue reading

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Programming: the Legos of Math

Why should you learn to program? In my (limited) experience in the world of marine science, fisheries, and ecology, programming is more and more becoming part of the expected tool set. Consequently, many grad students in these fields are struggling … Continue reading

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Do not flip-flop variables to make them work in your #@%*^& ANOVA

I was reading a paper this morning. It included a perversion of a common statistical analysis that is fundamentally wrong, utterly unneccesary, and has an easy solution. This perversion, unfortunately, is also distressingly common. Inspired by O’Hara and Kotze’s 2010 … Continue reading

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Hvalreki

Hvalreki really should have been the title of my last post. It is my favorite Icelandic word, which I learned visiting that country almost five years ago. It translates to “windfall” in English, and, like that word, originally referred to … Continue reading

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Bone Conduction is Better than Pressure, or, Put your Whale in my Rocket Scanner

What do a decapitated whale, an x-ray scanner for solid-fuel rockets, and noise pollution have in common? This is not the start of a really weird joke–they are all major elements in a new paper by Ted Cranford and Petr … Continue reading

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