Thursday, September 18, 2014

Throwback Thursday: most popular posts of mine.

As I'm re-Blogging, I thought it would be interesting to see which posts I've done that garnered the most attention. Here they are, the top 10 by Bloggers "pageview" statistic.

AM for parks and uncertainty vs. risk 862
Rapid prototype of an expert system 571
Making decisions with science 310
Adaptive Co-management 257
The need to include parameter uncertainty 255
Adaptive Monitoring? 177
Talking to the public about risk just got riskier 166
Zen Buddhism and Adaptive Management 152
Making Predictions! 147
AM in the Murray Basin 136

Making this list surprised me. My very first post is up there at #3. Also the size of the page views is pretty large. I mean, I'm not in Dynamic Ecology territory, but those numbers are better than I expected. Now what is it about those posts that makes them destinations?


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Walkabout Wednesday

These are things that caught my eye from the internet over the course of the last week. I used to just 'like' or share these on Facebook.

Short term projections from a model that is known to be false in the long term can be useful. In some cases, however, they can be downright alarming, as in this projection of deaths from Ebola in West Africa that accounts for the observed exponential trend. I always wondered how the WHO came up with the number of 20,000 deaths. That now seems wildly optimistic. And here's a link to a more epidemiologically serious approach; "less alarming", but still makes 20,000 dead seem wildly optimistic. Along the same lines, the word "sustainable" appears unsustainable.

Bryan McGill has another post on Statistical Machismo over at Dynamic Ecology. He's responding to the recent response to an article that's now old hat criticizing the estimation of detection probabilities. He digs into one of the appendices and makes some good points. For my part, I'd just like to point out that you CAN optimize a sampling design for something other than bias or MSE of the estimator, and you do get a different answer. Maybe this should be a whole blog post too.

Are calls for academics to be more civil in public discourse really attempts to stifle academic freedom? (ht: John Carroll)

Marcelo Gleiser argues that scientific curiosity is really an expression of spirituality. He defines 'natural spirituality' as "... a connection with something bigger than we are, seducing our imagination, creating an urge to know, to embrace the mystery that surrounds us and the mystery that we are." I like that idea a lot at first glance.

Mountain lions do attack people, and usually end up dead as a result. I think this is actually a sign of population recovery, but maybe that'll have to be a full blog post.

Turns out I was right to blame the cabal of old white guys at the top for the lack of women in our profession. If all goes well, I'll be one of the OWG next year, so I guess I'll have a chance to fix things. As a relatively involved dad with a highly successful academic spouse, I agree that being involved in family reduced our productivity. I don't regret the choice for a minute, and I have been very fortunate that the OWG in my academic unit did not hold that against me.

Redheads are bad news, at least for Gouldian Finches. What is interesting to me about the story is that they made a prediction from a model and then tested it against empirical data. (ht: Patrick O'Connor).

NPR's Morning Edition has a series on the impacts of cuts to biomedical research funding. This morning's show made a couple of good points about the perverse incentives in research that drive scientists to a) overstate their results, and b) not attempt to replicate previously published work. I think these same issues are about a thousand times worse in non-biomedical research like Ecology.

Plastic. It's everywhere in the ocean's and Britta Hardesty and Chris Wilcox from CSIRO have just finshed up the largest sampling effort ever. It's not a pretty picture


Thursday, September 11, 2014

ThrowbackThursday: nothing new under the sun!

I came across this post comparing two prominent reactions to how models should be used in policy when browsing posts from September 2009. Nothing new to add, except that I don't call it the "North American School" of AM anymore, but rather the "Resilience-Experimentalist School". Jamie McFadden wrote the paper on that!

And Spotify has a soundtrack for looking back. Way back!

Rebooting the Blog!

The hardest part about writing a blog, is, well, writing the posts. I haven't posted here for nearly 2 years. I've got alot of excuses that I won't bore you with, but there were good reasons too. Chief among those is the fact that I drew the boundaries for the blog much too narrowly. I've had a lot to write about, except that none of it had anything to do with Adaptive Management. Couple that with the fact that I've become quite jaded about the whole idea of Adaptive Management, and, well, I stopped posting.
Recently I started thinking about starting a new blog, drawn broader, that would allow me to write about the things I care about now. As it turns out I'm too cheap to fork out the necessary dough for a domain name. So I thought I'd try a few weeks of just adding to this blog and see if this is more than a passing phase. I'm much better at (re-) starting things than finishing them, so this is a good filter to see if I'm really serious this time around.
Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wednesday walkabout: why is the EPA taking over farms?

Well it isn't. But this meme seems to be persistent in many places, including here in Nebraska. I googled 'EPA taking over ponds' and discovered many references to this story in Wyoming, which I'm guessing is fuelling alot of this debate. So if your pond is in fact a dam, and you didn't file the necessary paper work to build a dam, then yes. The EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers are going to get on your case.

UNL made the top 100 on the U.S. News and World Report rankings. Yawn. I'd be more excited if they tracked something other than bums on seats.

I found this piece on debating science with trolls interesting. Thanks to the Huge Possum for the link.


I'm playing catchup here, so I'm going to call it a day. The idea behind 'Wednesday Walkabout' is that there are a lot of little things that catch my attention during the week, that may or may not be important enough to warrant a post of their own. So I'm just going to collect them all together into a single post. Quantity instead of Quality! I learned this trick from Dynamic Ecology's "Friday Links".

Monday, October 22, 2012

Talking to the public about risk just got riskier!

6 Italian seismologists have just been found guilty of manslaughter in an Italian court (see New Scientist story). This is causing severe angst amongst science bloggers everywhere. However, it is important to keep in mind that they were not charged with failing to predict the L'Aquila quake. What they were charged with was failing to adequately communicate the risk. Some of the background suggests to me that the scientists involved weren't solely at fault with failing to communicate with the  public. Nonetheless, this should serve as warning to all of us involved in the business of communicating stochastic phenomena - the consequences can be severe. It's worth noting that engineers have had this sort of professional liability for decades, maybe centuries. Maybe its time we started following their lead on certifications and professional liability?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's who you are, not what you know

Writing in the New York Times opinion page law Professor Cass Sunstein had this to say
Here, then, is a lesson for all those who provide information. What matters most may be not what is said, but who, exactly, is saying it.
He was summing up his review of the effect of "biased assimilation" - the fact that people give more weight to information that matches up with their initial beliefs. Big implications for SDM approaches to structuring science for decision support, I think.

Hat tip to Paul Barret on the SDMCOP list for this link.