Yes, I’m teaching a tropical field course. No, it’s not a vacation.

Images: Howler monkey (Alouatta pigra); Royal Flycatcher (Onychorhynchus mexicanus); Helmeted basilisk (Corytophanes cristatus).  All photos © 2017 S Heard, CC BY 4.0 In March, I’ll be heading to Belize to teach an undergraduate tropical ecology field course (not alone; I have an excellent batch of co-instructors).  I mentioned this to someone last week, and their […]

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I talked about Latin names and naming on the Natural Reality podcast

If you’ve been following Scientist Sees Squirrel for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I have a little bit of a thing for the etymologies of Latin (or “scientific”) names of organisms.  It’s perhaps a bit of a niche interest… but it shouldn’t be; there are fascinating stories behind the names we’ve coined.  So much […]

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Latin names that amuse my inner 9-year-old: Onopordum acanthium

Image: Scotch thistle, Onopordum acanthium via wikimedia.org, © Net-breuer CC BY-SA 3.0. I have a paper cut-out Nativity scene that comes out every year around Christmas (it’s a childhood tradition that’s stuck with me despite my lack of religious conviction to give it meaning).  There’s a donkey near the manger, of course, and seeing it […]

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Becoming a science writer: a musical in three acts (guest post)

This is a guest post by Greg Crowther, of Everett Community College, in Everett, Washington, and it’s the latest installment in my “How I learned to write” series. Image: Greg performing “Have Yourself a Healthy Little Kidney” for the University of Washington Division of Nephrology (2017). Take it away, Greg: As a reader of this […]

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15th century technology and our disdain for “nearly significant”

Image: William Caxton showing his printing press to King Edward IV and Queen Elizabeth (public domain) It’s a phrase that gets no respect: “nearly significant”.  Horrified tweets, tittering, and all the rest – a remarkably large number of people are convinced that when someone finds P = 0.06 and utters the phrase “nearly significant”, it […]

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