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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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[T]he provision of county archaeological services, established in the 1970s and 1980s, may turn out to be just a generational phenomenon.

A collapse in archaeological funding means a quarter of archaeological posts have gone in local authorities since the start of the austerity crisis in the UK. The current government policy of perpetual crisis (http://j.mp/1qyriYO) means that this is likely to continue falling. 
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Alun Salt

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Norman Borlaug is a hugely underrated scientific hero.
 
A very good piece talking about the complexities of getting African farming yields up. "The science, she said, is the easy part."
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Your password is compromised - even if you keep it safe

There's been a security bug in OpenSSL for two years. It means if you've been checking there's a padlock on a site before sending data, that might still not be enough.

For places like Google, 2-step authentication can help you. This will mean giving Google your phone number. However, I've never received anything other than six-digit numbers from them, which you type in show you are who you say you are.
https://www.google.com/landing/2step/

I can't remember everywhere I have a password and the thought of resetting them all give me the heebie-jeebies. However if you're using something like LastPass, it can at least generate and remember random passwords for you. 

Edit: But you might not want to do that straight away. See: https://plus.google.com/+AlunSalt/posts/9x63eZLVUrJ

Then again, I'll have to reset the master password on that too.http://lastpass.com/
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UK readers can't access this part of the BBC, which is a shame.

<cough>Tunnel Bear or similar</cough>
Many varieties of fruit, meat and vegetable are disappearing from our plates, says Rachel Nuwer. Why is this happening, and can we stop the rot?
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You can get some of the latest scientific journals in the UK now through Access to Research

http://accesstoresearch.pls.org.uk/

There are some restrictions. You can't access from home or download a copy to a USB stick to read later. You can only access it though the library's PC, so if someone else is using it, no science for you.

If you're worried this might lead to a science frenzy, you can rest easy. The initiative coincides with a phase of shutting down libraries. For example Powys, where I live, is looking at closing 11 of 17 libraries.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-mid-wales-26858869
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Have them in circles
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Alun Salt

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If you live in Leicestershire, this could be interesting. It's four days in July and one in August.
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I hope this becomes a regular blog. It's a good one.
 
Notes from a Cape Town Botanist is reporting what plant science is like at the southern end of Africa. The writing is excellent: Instructions were clear and to the point. “The first rule is not to leave the door open otherwise the mice will come in. The second rule is not to... #science #botany
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As a follow up to yesterday's post on why your passwords are compromised, not everyone will have updated OpenSSL, so your new passwords could also be compromised. LastPass is working out where you need to update passwords.

Yesterday:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AlunSalt/posts/KCJWKRvCkTj
Yesterday we informed our community of the Heartbleed OpenSSL bug. In our blog post, we explained how this security issue impacted our service and what our users should know about the situation. We also built a tool to help o...
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Silencing the Echo

Quite a few pagan groups in the UK would like the reburial of prehistoric remains. Some are sane and thoughtful people with a respect for the past. As an example, while I don't agree plenty on the with Honouring the Ancient Dead website, they are thoughtful people. They should be taken seriously. http://www.honour.org.uk/

But pagans aren't a single group any more than Christians are. Some pagans give the impression that their reburial campaigns aren't simply about reburial, but also about point scoring against other pagan groups. If you get to dictate what happens to the bones, you're the winner.

I don't know if a #GhostStory  can also be #ScienceFiction  but this short story tackles  #Archaeology  and reburial. I'll cheerfully admit, you don't have to listen too hard to hear the axe grinding. It's not certain this is accurate about the afterlife, but then it's hard to be sure anyone else knows for certain either.
Is reburial of archaeological remains always the ethical choice?
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What's the difference between a panic and a scare ?
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People
Have them in circles
14,072 people
Mike Heyworth's profile photo
Work
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
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Jack-the-Liar's Wood, Wales
Story
Tagline
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
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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Public - 5 months ago
reviewed 5 months ago
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