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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
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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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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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Alun Salt

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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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Adam Alexander's profile photoDouglas Creamer's profile photoAlun Salt's profile photo
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I got the list of countries from the email. I don't know how it works, nor why India isn't on that list. I mention that, as I see a lot of requests for invites from India.
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This is intéressant. L'advantage bilingue is not always an advantage. The strength of the effect is being hidden by a publishing bias, it seems.
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Extremely interesting article. Thanks for posting.
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Why would you want your prey to escape?

The puzzle is the peristome, the lip around the top of the pitcher, For Nepethenes rafflesiana, the peristome is lethal when it's wet, causing insects to tumble to their doom. However, _N. rafflesiana_ sits out of the shade and for eight or more hours a day the peristome is dry and perfectly safe for visitors to wander over.

A new OA paper in Proc Roy Soc B explains why sometimes a plant might want its prey to make it safely back home.
Pitchers plants are carnivorous. They catch small animals, usually insects to gain nutrients like Nitrogen. You'd expect that they'd evolve their traps to
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Shwetha J's profile photoRutger Vos's profile photoSharifa Afzali's profile photoAriel Sonsteng's profile photo
 
Im my place we call it tumbuhan kantong semar :)
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Alun Salt

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¡Yo Cumberbitches!

BBC Radio is re-running Cabin Pressure from Abu Dhabi.  As far as the characters go, I'd say it's as good as Father Ted. Benedict Cumberbatch is inept captain Martin Crieff. It's not the usual role that he'd take these days. In one episode of the series he's the anti-Sherlock. Roger Allam is superb as Douglas Richardson.

BBC Radio is accessible worldwide.

Abu Dhabi available for a couple of weeks
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00cb5k4
Boston available later this evening (I think)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00cdsj8

#comedy     #radio  
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In their circles
603 people
Have them in circles
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Mark Winegar's profile photo
Juan José Pimentel's profile photo
kees princen's profile photo
Ryan Partridge's profile photo
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Takács “Lakatos mester” Gyuri bá's profile photo
Jen Davison's profile photo
Tycko Franklin's profile photo
Suzannah Radack's profile photo

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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Since Earthlings started drinking milk, things went downhill
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Mae’r NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) wedi dod o hyd y arsylwr Mawrth Beagle 2. Roedd y peiriant yn ar goll ers Nadolig 2003.

English with a lot more detail at ESA:
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Mars_Express/Beagle-2_lander_found_on_Mars
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Mae'r NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) wedi dod o hyd y arsylwr Mawrth Beagle 2. Roedd y peiriant yn ar goll am Nadolig 2003.
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Alun Salt

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Planhigion piser yw cigysol. Maen nhw’n dal anifeilaidd bach, pryfed yn arferol i gael maetholion fel nitrogen. Basech chi ddisgwyl bod nhw’n esblygu eu trap nhw i fod mor effeithiol ag posibl. Os mae pryf yn dianc fod e’n un llai cinio, ond dydy hwnnw…
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Planhigion piser yw cigysol. Maen nhw angen cig, felly pam basen nhw gadael y prae i ddianc?
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No worries. It all did made me break out the Cymreig-Saesneg dictionary since what Welsh I learned never really stuck. 
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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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