Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Saw a talk on Climate Change earlier this evening, and then checked back into Wikipedia to see the ongoing debate about whether it's real (or whether it's human-induced). It's amazing to see the right wing demand levels of accuracy from climate science (or other science which does not meet their narrow goals) - standards that they don't ask from drug companies (factoring in for the fundamentally different levels of uncertainty associated with the two measurements).

I got the survey analysed for Gordon. It felt really good to have it in, and done, bright and early on the morning it was due. If only I wasn't actually behind on a whole lot of other stuff...

Sunday, March 20, 2005

I suppose I should "release" this site - tell Linz and Carol about it. At least I will get some readership, get some traffic to report on my page counter.

Carol pointed out an interesting site Google-Watch which talkins about the dangers of Google and Gmail. I suppose I have never assumed that my email was all the provate anyway, so if the government (whichever government) can get access to my mail, how different is it compared to the fact that the university can get access to my mail. I think privacy is important, I really do wish that there was some way I could safeguard privacy, but I have never assumed much privacy really exists. I'm not quite one of those "if you're not breaking the law you have nothing to worry about" people - there's a lot worth hiding that isn't illegal. I simply assume that privacy doesn't exist, and if you don't want the world knowing about something you shouldn't put it in writing...preferably don't say it out loud either. Of course you could post it on your blog - or mine at least, since no-one reads what I post here :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Ok, just minutes past, I feel the need to post again. About unifying theories. Yes, that's what has been on my mind. I get the impression that people feel that Hubbell's Unified Neutral Theory isn't worth all that much. Of course, as I saw it, it wasn't meant to answer "the question", it was meant to be a beginning. It was a useful bit of information, but I feel like he was on the wrong track. A neutral theory is bound to be wrong. True, it can be helpful. It presents a null hypothesis (of neutrality) - to prove an interaction you have to disprove neutrality. The fact that a lot can be explained by a neutral theory is interesting, but I don't think it deserves to be called a "unified" theory.

It all comes from something I saw on PBS the other day - about the search for a unified theory in physics. It makes you wonder whether there is - or can be - a unifying theory in ecology. So much changes as you move from one scale to another - Rosenzweig's famous species-area curve figure shows that quite well. But there must be common drivers acting across scales. There is no one point where one scale ends and the other one starts. I think...
So everyone has a blog now - Linz, Carol, Denise. And I am lagging, this thing two months out of date.

Spring Break. Yep. Nothing too exciting there - a chance to do nothing all day and then worry about the fact that i have done nothing. Pretty exciting. But anyway, it's Wednesday now, so I do need to get going, get things done. I expect that I will be trying to get a hundred things done on Sunday night (as usual). Oh well. It's been good to have the chance to relax a bit.

Since everyone else is blogging I feel the need to tell them about this page. It wasn't a "secret" in the first place - if anything, I was a tad embarrassed to tell people how I was wasting my time. That and that fact that it was so underwhelming... How much have I posted this far? Not an awful lot. But I still feel self-conscious about it. No one knows this site exists, no one reads it. So I have nothing to worry about. If I am writing for an audience of zero, or if I am writing for an audience of total strangers, it's relatively easy to write. Writing with the knowledge that people you know are likely to read it - that's a tad more daunting.

Anyway, it's a post. Just thoughts, not something conversational and informative.