I know what you linked last summer

There’s something of an ecological theme to today’s linkery.

Scientific American asks whether the oil industry will be changed by the BP spill (I doubt it – Exxon Valdez didn’t make much change, and Bhopal didn’t change heavy manufacturing in the third world. And BP have been bastards in the developing nations for decades). The ESA Blawg notes that this spill is going to have major knock-on effects for generations. I like this comment:

A generation from now, everyone may simply adapt to and accept the lower numbers of sea turtles, reefs, pelicans and other wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico. The disturbing shifting baselines trend will continue, with future generations considering places to be “pristine” that their ancestors would have scoffed at — the same ancestors who destroyed those same places.

And Hugh Possingham (a Very Smart Man) has an entire talk up on why we should monitor our ecosystems.

In taxonomic matters, Kevin Zelnio asks what Chaetognaths are, given that they were defined in molecular, not morphological, terms. And the same question was asked by the researchers of a study into South American warblers, concluding that “the picture painted by these methods may be false, and only a creative combination of classical field-based ecology, museum-based systematics and DNA-based phylogenetics, can lead to right conclusions”.

On a personal note, I have received a preliminary acceptance of a proposed philosophy book on classification from the editor. Now it has to get past the editorial committee, and for that I have to write two chapters with my co-author Malte Ebach. Great news, more work! Always the way…

6 thoughts on “I know what you linked last summer

  1. Yay on the book deal!

    (which reminds me, still haven’t got round to buying a copy of your previous book)


  2. Thanks for the Chaetognath link. Fascinating little critters (and, because of the “chaeta” around their “gnaths,” for a long time proposed as relatives to the Conodonts, which now seem securely on the Chordate side of the T.o.L.). … They get mentioned in Toby White’s nice essay on — I guess you could call them “basal Bilateria” at Palaeos.com: an essay that manages to work in a remarkably large number of references to “The Lord of the Rings” while still being a thoroughly serious discussion of invertebrate phylogeny!
    (And congrats on the book deal!)


    1. I know this is the wrong place but I can’t remember on which post you originally asked the question that I had intended to answer but forgot, so with some delay the answer!

      The original mediaeval transliteration of Ibn al Haytham’s name was Alhacen, which was a transliteration of the middle al Hasen (the c is soft). This got change for no explicable reason into Alhazen by the German printer publisher Friedrich Risner when he published al Haytham’s optic in the 16th century.


      1. I forget too, but Alan Hazen, a philosopher of logic and mathematics, among other things (dude knows a lot about dinosaur phylogeny), will be pleased to know the etymology of his name. We call him Al, of course…


Leave a Reply