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Michael Habib
15,371 followers -
Paleontologist. Gets to play with flying reptiles, dinosaurs, and swarms for a living. Enjoys tea and Kung Fu off the job.
Paleontologist. Gets to play with flying reptiles, dinosaurs, and swarms for a living. Enjoys tea and Kung Fu off the job.

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Arachnids are badass

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Phragmipedium season continues...

This is Phragmipedium popowii in bloom*. The petals are still extending and are already over 45 cm long. These are humus epiphytes from the mid to high elevation forests of central america (especially Costa Rica). Cool distilled water is recommended for cultivation (this is a tip I picked up from Jason Fischer, I cannot take credit for it myself).



*Well, that's what it probably is, because the taxonomy of the long-petaled Phragmipediums is currently highly contentious. For an example of the heated debate, see:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/266205521_The_enigmatic_case_of_the_most_beautiful_Phragmipedium_popowii.

So the plant in the photographs might be more properly called P. humboldtii (if one prefers the argument of Dressler et al.). The correct taxonomic permutation from the potential set of Phragmipedium warscewiczii, P. caudatum, P. humboldtii, and P. popowii remains rather deliciously uncertain - at least two of those are separate species, but it could be as many as three. For now, I'm using the taxonomy of Dr. Guido J. Braem and colleagues.

#Phragmipedium
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4/12/16
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My Phragmipedium besseae opened its first flower of the season this morning, so I figure it's now spring in my apartment. More phrag blooms on the way!

#Phragmipedium


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My Gongora tricolor is firing up again. These are just quick wide shots to show the general shape and size of the flower cascades (the spikes are pendulous in Gongora). I plan to get some good close ups of the flowers soon. There are 33 flowers open at present; I expect another 20-25 flowers to open over the next two weeks. #orchids
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3/10/16
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Only problem would be parking it in Los Angeles...

H/T +Yonatan Zunger

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This amused me...
The tardigrade creed. Via A Science Enthusiast and http://www.sarahmckayart.com/
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What I like about this article in the Conversation is that it takes a proactive, optimistic approach. Instead of just another "traditional tests suck" piece (which is true, but not helpful), Dr Sternberg instead takes the approach of "here's how we can test for all sorts of useful traits other than SAT grade analytical stuff".

From the article:

The truth is, you can’t get by in life only on analytical skills – you also need to come up with your own new ideas (creativity), know how to apply your ideas (practical common sense), and ensure they benefit others beside yourself (wisdom).

#education



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Dinosaurs in 2015: the first year of OA majority

Dinosaur paleontology reached a major milestone last year - more than half of all new species descriptions (excluding birds) were published in Open Access papers. As a result, the anatomy, naming basis, and localities for most of the new dinosaurs named in 2015 can be immediately accessed by anyone, anywhere that has a working web browser. This is a potentially a big deal for a few reasons. Most obviously, there are many individuals other than specialists that want to read about dinosaurs, and this makes it much easier for them to do so.

This will also provide one of the first good comparisons of what happens to the utilization of knowledge in OA versus subscription journals. Since it was almost an even split (51% OA, 49% subscription), the 2015 dinosaur list can serve as a study sample moving forward - we can watch, for example, if those species that were published in OA journals end up being included in more datasets in the future or are more likely to be incorporated in educational materials within museums. It will also be interesting to see what citation rates are like for the OA papers versus the subscription papers over the next couple of years.

#dinosaurs #openaccess

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No mystery on which one I would use...

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Always excellent when a species turns out not to be extinct (well, okay, maybe except smallpox)...

The comments make me furious, though.
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