The recent ABC News article Australia’s pollution mapped by postcode reveals nation’s dirty truth is interesting. It contains a searchable table, which is useful if you want to look up your own suburb. However, I was left wanting more: specifically, the raw data and some nice maps.
So here’s how I got them, using R.
In 2015, I’d like to write, think and do more about things that I care about. One of those things happens to be the koala. Now, this being a blog about bioinformatics and computational biology, I can’t just start writing about any old thing that takes my fancy…I guess. So in this post I’m going to stretch the definition to include ecological informatics and tell you the story of how I achieved a long-held ambition using one of my favourite online resources, The Atlas of Living Australia. And then we’ll wrap up with a quick survey of the (sorry) state of marsupial genomics.
This is a little odd – the tale of the publication that isn’t.
Update: the “missing article” surfaced in my RSS reader on Nov 1; here’s the link
Read the rest…
Recently, I was toying with ideas for fun side projects involving web applications. “Here’s a good one”, I thought, “a place for amateur naturalists to record their observations.” They could upload photos, place items on a Google Map, tag items and all manner of web 2.0 stuff. Over time, with enough users, such a site might even become a valuable conservation resource, allowing data miners to see interesting changes over time.
Today, via FriendFeed, I discovered that someone else also likes the idea. I’m delighted, since I’ve long since abandoned all hope of even starting a fun side project; I lack both the requisite skills and the time to learn them. If these ideas appeal to you, please visit iNaturalist. Better still, post some feedback at their Google Group.
It’s a site that will only succeed with users and for that, they need a slick interface that makes data entry simple, quick, fun and comprehensive. Not quite good enough to persuade me to enter observations just yet, but I’ll be following their progress with interest.
Stepping away from my usual content to mention in passing the Australian screening of “controversial” climate change “documentary” The Great Global Warming Swindle. Most notable not for the film but the reactions afterwards.
Read the rest. . .
There’s a lot to love about Fraser Island. Its original name, K’gari, means paradise and they weren’t wrong. One feature that you won’t read about in the tourist brochures is an incredible variety of colourful fungi.
This collage illustrates a few that we encountered on our travels (click for full-size). I’d like to claim it as my own, but it’s the work of my talented better half.
Maybe the fungal genomes crew can put a name to some of them?
City parks could cool urban areas by 4 °C
“These new results are dramatic and, if correct, indicate that relatively little alteration to our cities would be needed to combat the adverse effects of future temperature extremes”
Not much comfort if you live on the shore of a small Pacific Island though, is it? Or if you’re a polar bear? No, I think we can do better than this.
There’s a fun post at RealClimate on the dangers of spurious statistical correlations. They illustrate their case by examining the relationship between the sunspot cycle and the number of Republican senators. Required statistical reading.
Bear that in mind when you read oral sex can cause throat cancer. Hey, that phrase should boost the blog traffic.
I discovered EarthPortal via an intriguing post by John Wilkins. They describe themselves thus:
The Earth Portal is a comprehensive resource for timely, objective, science-based information about the environment. It is a means for the global scientific community to come together to produce the first free, expert-driven, massively scaleable information resource on the environment, and to engage civil society in a public dialogue on the role of environmental issues in human affairs. It contains no commercial advertising and reaches a large global audience.
My first impression is very good. Lots of interesting content (all creative commons licensed), good presentation, RSS feeds. If you’re interested in environmental news, go take a look.