Beetle Byte (20 February 2014 edition)

A few bytes worth chewing on.

Kids have always been kids

It’s all a great reminder that even legendary scientists had family lives, and that when we think about history, it’s important to remember that famous figures weren’t working in isolation. They were surrounded by far less famous friends, family members, acquaintances, and enemies. And sometimes, when we get lucky, we see some of their artifacts from the past too.


Another reason to treat animals well

In a study carried out at an elephant camp in Thailand, we found that elephants affiliated significantly more with other individuals through directed, physical contact and vocal communication following a distress event than in control periods. In addition, bystanders affiliated with each other, and matched the behavior and emotional state of the first distressed individual, suggesting emotional contagion.


More on including field journals in coursework

A primary goal in assigning field notes is to help students realize that there are many ways to document and present natural history. In addition, educators hope to encourage the sentiment that natural history is a much needed and topical endeavor. Increasingly, colleagues fear that students situate natural history as an outdated practice of discovery. Requiring field notes allows each student to learn that natural history is a current and critical investigatory practice for understanding the natural world and for promoting conservation (Greene 2005, 2013).


It’s never too late to become a bobsledder

Their eyes and ears are everywhere, on the lookout for athletes who might never have dreamed of careering down an ice-encrusted chute in a carbon-fibre half-capsule. They’re at rugby pitches and football stadiums and every major track meet in the country. If you’re an athlete with decent numbers—or at least with conspicuous muscle mass between the waist and knees—chances are, you’ll hear from them.


“The Sims” software patch poetry

If you are on fire,
you will no longer be forced to attend graduation
before you can put yourself out.


If you like poetry, try this

Poem Viewer is a web-based tool for visualizing poems in support of close reading. It is part of an on-going research project and is a work in progress. … You can either start creating your own visualization for your chosen poem or have a look at a collection of sample visualizations that we have created.