An interesting lecture live on 28th Jan, shared with me by a primatologist:
In this lecture, Dr. Mitani will tell us about his 26-year-long study of chimpanzees in Kibale National Park, Uganda, and share his career advice to future primate researchers. Not to be missed by anyone who is about to embark on a multi-decadal field study, or anyone who wants to learn more about the behaviors of our closest evolutionary relatives!
Found this critter on the bedroom’s window sill. I don’t often see ants this big in urban areas. Sadly it’s dead, laying next to a still-twitching slightly bigger cockroach. I assumed some fight happened while I was away in the past few hours.
You occasionally refer to the Soviet motto ‘communism and science are inseparable’ and argue that they are essentially the same. Could you please elaborate on how you see this connection and how the idea of communism has been a source of inspiration for you?
*Communism – at least the USSR version of communism – was built upon the idea of a society based on science, continued progress and development of technologies. Hence its motto “science and communism are inseparable.”
Communist government viewed education of all people and development of knowledge as necessary and vital to societal as well as individual development. After the revolution, when communists were in power, they started organizing schools with the goal of making all people literate because knowledge is what makes a person free. Sci-Hub is basically doing the same and has the same goal, that is, to provide knowledge to everyone. According to Sci-Hub, knowledge must be common and not a private property of corporations: That is communism. Knowledge is a public good and should not remain a privilege for the rich alone.
That is the first line of reasoning. The second approach I take concerns the very nature of science itself. Science or rational knowledge is inseparable from language or communication. Knowledge is codified in texts. Communication, on the other hand, is an activity to make something common. Given all this, science in its essence is communism.*
It’s a cool feeling once I learned the nuts and bolts of PCR and then read a paper from another field (phylogeography) and understanding their methodology, like (forgive me for the pop culture reference) Ged learning the spells of summoning in A Wizard of Earthsea.
Finally started a blog! Revamping the site and planning on the blog structure took way too much time. Might need to CTRL + F5 if you had visited the site in the past. First post chronicles how I set up a Matrix homeserver for personal use.
Had Christmas eve dinner with family on the porch. This landed on our table. It was about 2 cm long, most likely an Orthopteran. Not one I normally see, probably because I spent more time on the porch today than probably in the past few years. The photo quality is rather low - I used my phone and couldn’t afford to run back in and get the camera (it fled seconds later as predicted).
Heard an unusual bird call just now and found a Javan myna perching against my bedroom window. It had flown to a telephone line before I could grab my camera (probably would’ve done so anyway when I slid open window screen). Pretty cool.
Came across this student film on urban planning in Kuala Lumpur. I feel this video perfectly encapsulates the causes of car dependency in the region.
Was on vacation recently. This part of a resort has that “liminal space” feel to it (in my experience anyway).
Western honeybees bees in urban areas travel much shorter distances to find nectar than their rural counterparts (an average of 492 m vs 743 m)
“Sampling the nectar quality from some returning workers showed that the bees did not fly farther just to reach richer, more valuable nectar sources. Instead, “They’re going farther to get basically the same quality of food,” said Morgan Carr-Markell,”
“That’s not good for the colony because it means [the bees are] expending more energy.”
“Rural bees probably have to fly farther to find flowers because of how farms work: huge fields of crops that bloom at the same time, for only a short while. In contrast, urban areas burst with year-round landscaped flowers and devoted spaces for gardens.”
“Because honey bees are generalists, meaning they sip from many floral cups, these findings don’t apply to “specialist” pollinators.”
Formatting my external SSDs for backup in ext4. exFAT is probably more preferable in terms of efficiency and compatibility, but I like having colons in file names and lower case letters in partition labels.
This is a pretty cool short documentary. LGBTQ+ retirees celebrate their hard-earned self-acceptance at a belated prom night:
Prom is a landmark of life in the United States that’s notoriously fraught with teenage anxieties, even if, for many, it’s also a meaningful and joyful rite of passage. But for members of the LGBTQ+ community – and especially those who came of age decades ago – it can be an occasion further complicated by their sexuality or gender identity. For some, this meant attending while closeted, or feeling otherwise unable to express their authentic selves. For others, this meant skipping the event altogether, sometimes because same-sex dates weren’t allowed. The US director Luisa Conlon’s short Senior Prom documents a unique event in Los Angeles where LGBTQ+ retirees can – often for the very first time – attend a formal dance where they feel accepted. The film moves between the exuberant event itself and the life stories of its guests and, in doing so, draws out the hard-earned advancements in LGTBQ+ rights over the past several generations.