Monthly Archives: June 2007 :: Vanishing nests force owls into human habitated areas :: Vanishing nests force owls into human habitated areas

Tangled Bank – Back to the Future

The latest edition (#82) of the Tangled Bank, that venerable blog carnival, is now up in the form of a most excellent temporal travelogue by a Derwin Darwin II, alleged nephew of Charles Darwin, describing encounters from the “Blogos Fear” of a whole bunch of things evolutionary in the year 2007!

Hats off to Greg Laden for so lovingly rendering this edition of the Tangled Bank in the venerated genre of victorian travel writing. Back to the Future, indeed.

Want to buy my carbon credits?

Now why didn’t I think of this during my forced rest these past couple of weeks?

It sure seems like a better option than the usual rigmarole of individual environmental actions of us eco-conscious urbanites, doesn’t it? Like this other cartoon I saw several weeks ago?

Is the SREL’s fate sealed now?

Looks that way according to breaking news this weekend. Here’s an excerpt from this latest action alert, although I’m not sure how much is actionable at this point:

The future of SREL is uncertain no longer. In a 15 June 2007 letter from UGA President Adams to DOE Secretary Bodman, Adams has committed to closing SREL within about one year. Approximately 40 SREL employees will be terminated effective 30 June. Six UGA-tenured faculty will have their appointments transferred to the Athens campus. The few employees who remain at SREL will work toward completing outstanding commitments on the Lab’s 40+ active external grants, and then will close the facility.

Adams’ letter states that SREL employees have been notified about the terminations, but in fact NO SREL personnel have received any information about whether they are included on the list of those to be terminated. It’s hard to understand how an organization can treat dedicated employees in such a manner–to have them learn that they may be losing their jobs by reading it in the newspaper. It will be Monday or later before SREL personnel know if they are to be terminated or whether their jobs will be saved for the time being.

You can read the rest of the alert and follow the links therein to see if there is any action you can / want to take.

An unusual spectator at a soccer game? Or a messenger?

Is this one of Hedwig‘s friends who got lost while carrying the post and ended up at the wrong ballgame? Maybe it was on its way to some player of another sport involving multiple balls flying about crowded stadia? It is the high season for that sport too now after all…

Looks like a Eurasian Eagle Owl, no?

[Hat tip: GrrlScientist]

More godless eloquence from PZ Myers

If you read just one thing today or this week, go read this wonderful essay on how much more awesome the Gilgamesh, the Bible, the Koran, the Gita and all your religious texts, not to mention the concept of God itself, are, if you but stop taking them literally as words of some imaginary being, rather than as wonderful expressions of entirely human awe and anguish over our existence in this strange, beautiful, indifferent universe. And please stop telling us atheists that we just don’t get it about your faith – as PZ expresses it far more eloquently than I can, we get it all right, I’d say we get it at a deeper level than many believers do.

An Ecologist in the US Senate? Could it happen?

This came via Ecolog-L a couple of days ago: Dr. Rand Knight, a Ph.D. in ecosystems analysis, member of the Ecological Society of America, and a recent postdoc at the NSF’s National Ecological Observatory Network, has just announced his candidacy for the U.S. senate seat open in the next round from Georgia!

Rand Knight, most recently a post-doctoral associate with NEON, has just announced his candidacy for the US Senate seat currently held by Saxby Chambliss from Georgia.

The Senate Office of Archives and Public Records indicates that he is the first Ph.D. in Ecology/Environmental Science to run for US Senate. Wouldn’t it be a great day when an ESA President or staff from the Public Affairs Office are on “The Hill” giving testimony before one of our own.

His campaign web site is at:

While I haven’t seen much about this in the blogosphere yet, here’s an interesting comment, especially on the potential implications of his replacing Chambliss, from’s lurking ecologist:

First, Chambliss has been the Chairman of the Agricultural, Nutrition and Forestry Committee in the Senate, and of course, he has been a disaster, ignoring forecasts of drought, global warming, etc. etc. Typical GOP SOP. Knight has a PhD in ecosystem analysis and from this standpoint, he would be one of the most qualified Senators in history to lead this committee if he were elected and then appointed the committee position. It also gives him a strong base from which to point out the failings of the current Senator. With his educational background, Knight believes in and understands the science behind the most important ecological and environmental issues of the day, and the future. Think that doesn’t matter in Georgia? Think again, as water quality decreases, sea levels rise, and wild fires and crop losses increase with greater drought severity.

Knight’s stands on issues are truly Democratic and Progressive, so he isn’t a DINO like Zell Miller was. He does not have a long career in politics, which I suppose is a blessing and a curse, but he does come from a well known GA family. Frankly, I’m tired of old men being elected to Senate anyway.

By the way, I don’t know Knight personally or even in passing. I am a professional ecologist though, and the thought of having a professional ecologist in the Senate during these times of impending environmental crisis is very appealing.

Very appealing indeed, I have to agree (and I don’t know Knight either). But how likely is it to happen? In any case, this is one race we (ecologists, environmentalists, scientists, science bloggers) should definitely keep an eye on, don’t you think?