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Alun Salt
Works at Annals of Botany & UNESCO Astronomy World Heritage Initiative
Attended University of Leicester
Lives in Jack-the-Liar's Wood, Wales
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Occupation
50% Annals of Botany 50% Astronomical Heritage
Employment
  • Annals of Botany & UNESCO Astronomy World Heritage Initiative
    Weblog Editor, 2010 - present
  • University of Leicester
    Various, 2003 - present
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Currently
Jack-the-Liar's Wood, Wales
Story
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2 jobs. 50% Annals of Botany, 50% UNESCO AWHI.
Introduction
My PhD was on archaic astronomy and how it might help track acculturation of Greek settlers in ancient Sicily. Basically, I've been looking at temples in Sicily to see if there's an 'astronomical fingerprint' which shows they don't just look Greek (Roman temples look Greek), but that they were also being used in a Greek way.


Archaeoastronomy / Cultural Astronomy

I've worked on sites in Italy, Greece, Tunisia and Ulster. Most of the material I've been working on has been varying degrees of ancient. In recent years archaeologists have become more interested in the very recent past. There are reasons for people working in Cultural Astronomy to do the same. If the work means anything then maybe you should be able to do it at sites where people can say "No you're wrong, this is why we built it like this..."

I'm currently working as a thing on the new UNESCO Astronomy World Heritage Portal, which launches during 2012. For more information on the project see: http://whc.unesco.org/en/astronomy


Botany

While doing my PhD I got involved in Leicester's new Interdisciplinary Science BSc. This got me working for the Physics and Astronomy department, and put me in touch with people in Biological Sciences. When the Annals of Botany decided they wanted more social media, I got the job of making it happen. I work a lot on AoB Blog, and also in places like here. There's an Annals of Botany G+ page. I add some material to that, but so too do the other AoB Bloggers.

It's a bit like having a job where you're paid to browse at a constant stream of fascinating stuff that you never knew anything about.


Interdisciplinary Science

The best way to describe iScience is that it's a bit like a Natural Sciences course where the science is integrated in each of the modules rather than doing a little bit of Physics, then a little bit of Biology that doesn't connect to the Physics you did and so on. The teaching method is through Problem-Based Learning. Effectively it makes it close to a degree by guided research rather than something lecture based.

I wrote Prophets and Powers, a course for first years that used the problem "How could you authentically build a reconstruction of Stonehenge" to teach about archaeological method, things like stress, strain and friction in Physics, some basic positional astronomy and the Rock Cycle for the geological structure of the stones. It sounds fun, but its been replaced and re-replaced by a problem set around Egyptian pyramids due to staff changes.


Tags

If you're wondering what some of the tags I use mean. If something is tagged #exex it's sent to The Extelligence Experiment if something is tagged #gx it's not going to my personal blog.
Education
  • University of Leicester
  • University of Cambridge

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Alun Salt

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Cyfryngau cymdeithasol yn Gymraeg?

A new social network for Welsh speakers has launched at http://clecs.cymru Clecs is gossip in Welsh. The BBC covered it at the weekend.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cymrufyw/33460825

I'd normally be a bit wary of this as usually there's little you can do on a new social network that you can't do somewhere else, and the older networks have the advantage that people are already there. However the attraction is that you can clecsian in Welsh there without worrying about non-speakers. I've not found that a problem on Google+ but it can be a hassle on sites: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/welsh-footballer-aaron-ramsey-tweets-9463234 

It does look like the site has potential as Clecs is starting to attract some handy accounts from local services and businesses. e.g.

+lleoldotcymru +Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru / National Library of Wales 
and Creision Jones o Gymru

https://www.clecs.cymru/LleolDotCymru
https://www.clecs.cymru/LLGCymru
https://www.clecs.cymru/JonesoGymru

Oh and Aaron Ramsey: https://www.clecs.cymru/AaronRamsey

I'm there at https://www.clecs.cymru/41un

#Cymraeg     #Wales     #Cymru  
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I thought it was about Cthulhu at first...
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Alun Salt

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Going to try this for a Thing.
Flatfy Free Flat and Responsive HTML5 Template
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A flower gets pollinated by a sneaky visitor. I smell a rat or maybe a gerbil.

There’s a flower that gets pollinated despite having its flowers close to the ground, where it would be harder for flying insects or bees to access them. In fact even when there are no insects or birds, it can still pollinate by some sneaky method. Read…
There's a flower that gets pollinated despite having its flowers close to the ground, where it would be harder for flying insects or bees to access them. In fac
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Alun Salt

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I've decided to vote for #Plaid15 over Hobson

For this election I’ve decided to switch from the Lib Dems to Plaid Cymru. It’s an unusual choice for someone in Radnorshire, as this is one of the seats where the infamous Lib Dem bar charts are right. It’s a two horse race between the Tories and the Lib…
For this election I’ve decided to switch from the Lib Dems to Plaid Cymru. It’s an unusual choice for someone in Radnorshire, as this is one of the seat
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Alun Salt

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Another couple of Oneplus invites:
https://account.oneplus.net/invite/claim/GLAU-TWBV-Q642-JMSH
https://account.oneplus.net/invite/claim/GL7T-UM52-AYZZ-MAZ3

My first impression is it's a beat faster than my previous Note2. It might be a lot faster for games, but I don't have them on the phone.

The feature that's impressed me most so far are profiles.

I set a default security mode. When I get home, connecting to home wifi triggers the home profile, and I don't have to faff about with complicated security. Disconnecting from the network triggers the default mode again, so I don't have to remember to reapply higher security when I go out.

At the moment I don't feel a sense of being ripped off.

http://www.engadget.com/products/oneplus/one/
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Alun Salt

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Following my problems with 56 as a convincing argument, Steven Thomson has some thoughtful comments one why physicists might have skills they can offer other fields.
Following my problems with 56 as a convincing argument, Steven Thomson has some thoughtful comments one why physicists might have skills they can offer other fi
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Alun Salt

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Ers Medi, wedi rhedeg y bencampwriaeth gyntaf o Formula E, y ras yn holl drydanol o’r FIA. Gwnaed y ceir gan Dallara, gyda rhannau o Williams, McLaren a Renault. Mae un dyluniad car gyda phob tîm, y flwyddyn hon. Y flwyddyn nesa, maen timau’n gallu…
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Ers Medi, wedi rhedeg y bencampwriaeth gyntaf o Formula E, y ras yn holl drydanol o’r FIA. Gwnaed y ceir gan Dallara, gyda rhannau o Williams, McLaren a Renault. Mae un dyluniad car gyda phob tîm, y flwyddyn hon. Y flwyddyn nesa, maen timau’n gallu dechrau i ddylunio rhannu o’u ceir. Mae’r ceir yn siomedig. … Parhewch i ddarllen Formula E – ddim yn dda mor gobeithiais i, ddim yn ddrwg mor ofnais i →
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I would happily barter the present Spanish F1 Grand Prix on the dull Montmeló racetrack in exchange of a Formula E GP on the urban racetrack of Montjuïch. The latter was/is a circuit made of rounded turns and slope sections:
plus.google.com/+ZephyrLópezCervilla/posts/1eMirniYYVj 
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In their circles
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Alun Salt

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i don't know if auto-awesome has improved, or if I've just got lucky, but I now have an animation that actually makes sense in my Google Photos account.

This is Sam Bird (I think) rounding the last corner at Donington Park during #FormulaE testing.
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In the longer term I wonder if anyone, except the SNP, will be happy with the result today. Locally, Freddy Greaves fell just 237 votes short of keeping his deposit, but he’d increased Plaid Cymru’s share of the vote from to 2.5% to 4.4%. That’s not bad…
In the longer term I wonder if anyone, except the SNP, will be happy with the result today. Locally, Freddy Greaves fell just 237 votes short of keeping
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There's a model of Wales that it falls into three regions. The Welsh-speaking area is where Plaid is strongest, though the LDs and Labour have seats there. Welsh Wales is the valleys and a Labour stronghold. British Wales is the remainder, the east and Pembrokeshire.
http://www.open.edu/openlearn/society/politics-policy-people/sociology/contemporary-wales/content-section-4.1.2#

Recently voting has been reflected by this model, with the Tories winning in British Wales. The surprise is that Gower, Labour for over a hundred years, has gone Tory.

A factor is UKIP, which has tried to appeal to BNP voters after the success on the far-right in the mid-2000s. It looks like former Tory voters left UKIP and went back to the Tories, while former Labour voters didn't. They got less coverage this time round than the European elections, but their "Shock and Awful" campaign has worked to get out its core vote. I think they'll be around for a while.
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Alun Salt

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Pedantry is a curse, but there is such a thing as a killer tomato. With a link to the key paper in PLOS One.

#qi       #botany       #science  
The QI elves say that there is no such thing as a Killer Tomato, but are they right? What you need are some microbes, heavy Nitrogen and a hungry tomato.
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Someone's analysed a number of academic titles. I don't think the findings are that helpful to scientists, but there are some interesting patterns. I've linked through to some other places that talk about what makes a good title.
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I  have an invite to buy a 64GB Sandstone OnePlus One phone, valid for delivery to: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and United States. It expires in, I'd guess around 12 hours.

https://account.oneplus.net/invite/claim/GLVY-ABDT-E4YF-GYNH

I don't know if it's a good purchase or not as mine hasn't arrived yet.
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ok then
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Best seen after a period of solid rain, (known in Wales as a weekend) this is a reasonably tall waterfall a couple of miles west of New Radnor in the Radnor Forest. From the A44 turn up the track. There is a place to park almost immediately on the left, but it's a long walk to the waterfall from here. You can drive on, along the narrow track. Keep going and going and hope you don't meet anyone coming in the opposite direction. Eventually you'll pass into a wooded area and there's a much better parking spot here. There's a choice of walking routes. The easy one takes you straight there in a few hundred metres. You walk downhill and when you cross the brook take a turn left, upstream. It's well signposted. the stream cuts through its own private valley. It takes a short bend to the tight and there is the waterfall. Should you wish to break your own neck, there's nothing to stop you from wandering into the pool and showering under the fall. There are other walking routes, One takes you around the waterfall, passing over the top. The most energetic seems to skip the waterfall entirely in favour of some trees. Catch it at a quiet time, which is fairly easy, and this is a fantastic place to gawp at Nature.
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