Thursday, March 31, 2011
All The Rest
a very nice article by Suzanne Taylor Muzzin for the Yale Daily Bulletin - if you have Flash, you can also take at the slideshow, which features my hands in slides 5 and 6. Speaking of university museums, Sally MacDonald and Jack Ashby talk about the importance of university science collections in this Nature article (pdf), while over at TREE Adrian Lister reports on the importance of natural history collections as sources of long-term datasets (Lister & CCRG, 2011. TREE, 26(4): 153-154), which is a good thing given the growing emphasis on data mining as a source of novel research. A couple of weeks back, an international group of eight research funders, including our old friends IMLS and NSF, announced the second round of the Digging into Data Challenge, which is intended to spur cutting edge research in the humanities and social sciences - you can read more about this here. The Independent published another depressing article on the decline of taxonomy as an academic discipline, which would be welcome if it made a difference (sadly I fear it won't). But the winner as far as this month's news is concerned was the widely reported discovery of Nuralagus rex, a giant rabbit from the Pliocene of Minorca, which is described by Meike Kohler and Salvador Moya-Sola in a paper in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Popular press accounts tend to dwell on the fact that Nuralagus was "six times the size of most rabbits today." Note that they say "most" rabbits - as the proud owner of a 20lb bunny, I can testify that most does not equal all.