The 52-Hz Whale

Twelve years of tracking 52-Hz whale calls from a unique source in the North Pacific
PDF available online through the Defense Technical Information Center

Our hydrophones show us the trail
Of a Whale with a wondrous wail;
Though long it may call,
There’s no answer at all;
It is The World’s Loneliest Whale.

Watkins, W.A., Daher, M.A. and George, J.E. 2004. Twelve years of tracking 52-Hz whale calls from a
unique source in the North Pacific. Deep-Sea Research, Part I, pp. 1889-1901

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Why do you only post limericks?

1. Because limericks are fun.

2. Because if I didn’t put myself under strict constraints, I would end up writing an essay instead, and then I would never get around to posting anything.

3. Because I want you to go read the original paper.

Playing telephone has been a problem in writing about science and other research for decades – there’s long been a tendency, especially among non-specialists (but also sometimes in the field), to base your summary on someone else’s summary on someone else’s summary until it’s sixty years before someone thinks to check the original article and discover that it didn’t say what the first person thought it said.

The internet simultaneously makes this easier – people will reblog something until I have to follow a chain back through a dozen links before I find someone who even mentions the name of the scientist – and less excusable. Because so often (especially with high-publicity discoveries!) the original research is right there for anyone to look at. And we should break the habit of thoughtlessly repeating the distorted whispers, and learn to go look for the original sources before we spread it on, and learn that getting information from the original paper really isn’t that scary.

So go read a peer-reviewed paper! And next time you’re reblogging a story about some cool new discovery, trace back as close as you can to the original source before you pass it on.

Lava Cooling at Heimaey

Lava-Cooling Operations During the 1973 Eruption of Eldfell Volcano, Heimaey, Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland
U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 97-724
(html webpage)

Up north there’s a town called Heimaey,
And no-one’s as badass as they.
When the hot lava flows,
They just pull out a hose,
And the lava’s turned back by cold spray.

Citation:
Includes English translations of:
Þorbjörn Sigurgeirsson, 1974, Hraunkæling [Lava cooling]: Tíminn, 19 January 1974, p. 8, 9, and 13. Slightly revised version of a lecture given by Prof. Thorbjörn Sigurgeirsson at Norræna húsið; [Nordic House], Reykjavík, Iceland, on 4 November 1973. English translation by unknown U.S. Department of State translator. Additional translation and edit by Richard S. Williams, Jr., U.S. Geological Survey, Woods Hole Field Center, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 025431598.

Valdimar Kr. Jónsson and Matthías Matthíasson, 1974, Hraunkæling á Heimaey – Verklegarframkvæmdir [Lava cooling on Heimaey – Methods and Procedures]: Tímarit Verkfræðingafélags Íslands, v. 59, no. 5, p. 70-81
and p. 83. English translation by Sigrún Rockmaker, Foreign Service Institute, U.S. Department of State. Additional translation and edit by Richard S. Williams, Jr., U.S. Geological Survey, Woods Hole Field Center, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543-1598.

The Cryptic African Wolf

The Cryptic African Wolf: Canis aureus lupaster Is Not a Golden Jackal and Is Not Endemic to Egypt
Online at PLoS ONE

For a jackal, the Striped or Black Backed’ll
Do fine, but if Goldens you tackle,
Remember C. aureus,
Always notorious,
Is sometimes a wolf, not a jackal.

Rueness EK, Asmyhr MG, Sillero-Zubiri C, Macdonald DW, Bekele A, et al. (2011) The Cryptic African Wolf: Canis aureus lupaster Is Not a Golden Jackal and Is Not Endemic to Egypt. PLoS ONE 6(1): e16385. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016385

Science faculty’s subtle gender biases

Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students

“Don’t use that misogyny label!
“Let’s put all our cards on the table.
“If with science you try us,
“You’ll just find some bias–
“We’ll assume that a girl is less able.”

Moss-Racusin, Corrine A.; Dovidio, John F.; Brescoll, Victoria L.; Graham, Mark J.; and Handelsman, Jo (2012) Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Published ahead of print September 17, 2012, doi:10.1073/pnas.1211286109

Two Masters’ Theses from the University of Massachussetts, Boston

The Marketplace of Boston: Macrobotanical Remains from Faneuil Hall
pdf at UMB’s Scholarworks

A young farmer’s son from Nantucket
Took to Boston some fruit in a bucket,
Where they said “Give it here,
“And we’ll eat with good cheer,
“And then in the harbor we’ll chuck it.”

Meyers, Ciana Faye, “The Marketplace of Boston: Macrobotanical Remains from Faneuil Hall” (2011). Graduate Masters Theses. Paper 78.

(she said I couldn’t do it, and gave me the idea for this whole thing. …well she said I couldn’t do a dirty one. There *is* a dirty version, but it’s terrible in several different senses of the word.)

****

A Viking Age Political Economy from Soil Core Tephrochronology
pdf at UMB’s Scholarworks

As an Icelander said to his wife,
“I am tired of Viking and strife.
“Let’s tend to our homefield
“And see to our hay yield
“And then we’ll be well-set for life.”

Catlin, Kathryn Anne, “A Viking Age Political Economy from Soil Core Tephrochronology” (2011). Graduate Masters Theses. Paper 61.

(Hey Kat! Finish your paper about this!)

The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife

Gospel of Jesus’s Wife
Project page at the Harvard Divinity School website
, article PDF downloadable through link in right sidebar.

A fragment of text, in one line,
Claims a wife for the Son in the Trine.
“If the wife thing’s a go
“(And I ain’t saying so!)
“You can bet,” grins the Christ, “she’s divine.”

King, Karen L. 2012: “Jesus said to them, ‘My Wife’: A New Coptic Gospel Papyrus”. First draft of an article provisionally accepted for the Harvard Theological Review, Jan 2013.