EvoPhylo blog

Here is the new location for my evophylo blog. Previously when I have an hour’s enthusiasm to write something, I’ve always been put off by the sheer hassle of dealing with my hosted WordPress site. It can take me an hour to log in. Its always broken. Then I try to tweet instead, which never…

Software and real carpentry

I like Software Carpentry, a non-profit organization teaching basic computing skills to researchers. But if I had one little criticism it would be that there wasn’t enough carpentry, with tenon saws, and mortising chisels, and rabbet planes. I like actual carpentry, I can’t tell you why, its a bit like asking why somebody likes cheese,…

Why can’t Nature just copy and paste?

I just noticed that an old publication of mine has a typo in the title on the Nature website “Animal mitochondrial DMA recombination”, anyone want to guess what the error is? Web of Science has the correct title, Pubmed has the correct title, and it used to be correct on the Nature website, but somehow…

Dr Bill Jordan

Bill Jordan was an evolutionary biologist at the Institute of Zoology in London who tragically passed away in May this year. He worked in many areas of evolutionary genetics but particularly in those relating to adaptation. He was a first-rate scientist, very sharp, very practical. He was also one of the nicest, most entertaining, most…

Manuscript writing with Google Docs

I hope I’m going to submit my PhD student’s first comparative genomics paper very soon. Three of us have written the manuscript collaboratively using Google Docs. GDocs is an online word processor and although I’ve used it quite a bit before, this is the first time I’ve used it to write a manuscript with colleagues….

The monophyly of plants and insects

I just received promotional information about a new book from Garland Science publishers. “Genome Duplication; concepts, mechanisms, evolution and disease” By Melvin L DePamphilis and Stephen D Bell. Garland Science Oct 2010 ISBN: 978-0-415-44206. It sounds like a great title, especially for someone like me who thinks genome and gene duplication are among the most…

Resolutions and Predictions

Last January I made a list of (science) new year resolutions and made some predictions for the coming year. Thought I’d have a look back… 2009 Resolutions * Read more. I used to read at least a paper a day during my PhD. Some PDF counting last year showed me I had averaged 3 per…

Why kids don’t understand evolution

In Britain Top Trumps cards have been favourite games of 5 to 11 year olds for at least 30 years (one of my most traumatic childhood memories is dropping my entire collection while crossing a main road and seeing it become Top Trumps roadkill). I recently bought my son the Dinosaurs set as in-flight entertainment…

Paperless Office

I’ve moved out of my office while falling plaster and cracks in the wall (last years earthquake damage!) are repaired. While packing up I made a decision to see if I could get rid of most of the paper in my office (and not replace it). This is both for environmental reasons and also because…