Riveting Reads.

Old_Spice_Whale

{Via}

A weekly post of riveting reads from my travels around the internet this week! A selection of links, blogs, news articles, scholarly articles and images I am currently loving.

Statistics Can Be Misleading: See how with this TED talk by Mark Liddell.

New Paper By My Friend Dr. Kate Sprogis (and MUCRU): On the sex differences in abundance, movements, and survival of bottlenose dolphins off south-west Australia. The article is Open Access so go and read it now!

Common Misconceptions About Evolution: Always good to have a refresher and to know how to address peoples most common confusions.

Funny Take On The New Old Spice Advert: Six ways the ad violates the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Absolutely Horrific Public Behaviour: An endangered Franciscana dolphin in Argentine has died after it washed up and beach-goers jostled to take selfies with it. Heartbreaking.

The First Elephant Orphanage Is To Open In Tanzania: Due to renewed and intense poaching the centre will be opened to rescue, rehabilitate, and eventually release elephants which have been separated from their mothers at a young age.

What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments below.


You can also follow along on the Deep Blue Conversations Facebook Page. I post interesting articles related to marine conservation, share awesome stories as well as photos from the marine conservation and environmental world in general. Come on over and have a look! I also have Twitter come and join the conversation you can find me as @Leila_Lula!

Learning The Full Monty

monty-pythons-flying-circus

The Monty Python* that is and by Python I mean the programming language.

Coding was never something that I use to think would be a part of my life! How naive I was! I learnt to use R for statistics during my Masters course which I *surprise surprise* found quite fun (especially when it worked how I expected it to) then during my last year in Australia having a working knowledge of programming became very quickly and clearly a skill I knew I would require to be a successful and competent scientist in the future of marine and conservation science. Initially, I became familiar with MATLAB as it was the main programming language used by my department. However several conversations with a very talented coder and friend led me to Python; it is free, it has wide applicability, and it is growing in popularity as the go to language.

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Python is also meant to be an “easy” programming language to learn! Image: XKCD

So now I’m home in London and I decided that the one big skill I wanted to improve and become more confident in this year was my coding abilities. I knew I would like a structured course and not just self-led learning for code and luckily I came across Udemy having a sale on this course: Complete Python Bootcamp as well as a second course: Learning Python for Data Analysis and Visualization both heavily discounted (~£7 each) and decided to take the plunge. I mean a course for less than the price of two take-out coffees what’s not to like! They also both has good reviews!

I am 40% into the first course, doing one or two lectures a day during the week, and really enjoying it. I feel like I’m understanding concepts that before were both daunting and confusing as well as learning how to write neat annotated code. The first few sections were a good refresher of concepts that I already understood from mathematics or other programming languages I had come across, and now we are starting to get into the more meaty topics with writing your own Functions and soon creating Methods!!

I believe that at the end I will be a better prepared scientist and be able to contribute more to research in the future. Being able to code myself without the reliance on others will be both liberating and dare I say it exciting! I already feel an innate sense of pride at understanding concepts and applying learnt skills to different coding problems.

As I have been learning I was quite interested to come across this article on the BBC saying that in a blind test code written by women was preferred! Which is an interesting turn of events especially as traditionally it as been a rather male dominated domain (note: the study is awaiting peer-review). *FIST PUMP*. I recently came across PyLadies an “international mentorship group with a focus on helping more women become active participants and leaders in the Python open-source community” which I am very excited to explore and then was thrilled to see they have a London Meetup group which, I hope I can join for an event in the not too distant future!

So now here I am learning a new language and doing tasks with computers that I never thought would be part of my life and boy am I glad that I am. The sense of accomplishment when you can code is up there with one of the best feelings! There are lots of free resources out there to try including: codecademy, Coursera, Udemy, Learn Python The Hard Way, the Python website tutorials and even Google has a free introductory Python course!

Do you code? Which language is your preferred one? Any tips for the fledgling coder? Let me know in the comments below!

*Python is named after Monty Python’s Flying Circus and not the reptile!

You can also follow along on the Deep Blue Conversations Facebook Page. I post interesting articles related to marine conservation, share awesome stories as well as photos from the marine conservation and environmental world in general. Come on over and have a look! I also have Twitter come and join the conversation you can find me as @Leila_Lula!

Riveting Reads.

 

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New calf J54 frolicking ©Dave Ellifrit, the Center for Whale Research via Puget Sound Express

A weekly post of riveting reads from my travels around the internet this week! A selection of links, blogs, news articles, scholarly articles and images I am currently loving.

More Sperm Whale Strandings: A total of 30 have now stranded across the UK, The Netherlands and Germany. Scientists at ZSL are at work to see if they can discover why.

Polar Bear Fitness Tracking: Female polar bears wore tracking devices to understand their movements and energy demands. Thinning and retreating sea ice is leading to bears needing to expend more energy to find food.

Southern Resident Killer Whales Baby Boom: Biggest boom since 1977, seen nine new calves since December 2014 and this January however, the sex ratio is inordinately biased towards males. We do not know why.

Le Sigh: Sighing is good for you! Without it your alveoli can collapse and struggle to reinflate themselves. You need to sigh roughly every five minutes (don’t worry it is involuntary!). See a video of Professor Jack Feldman of the University of California, whose team made the discovery, discussing it here.

What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments below.


You can also follow along on the Deep Blue Conversations Facebook Page. I post interesting articles related to marine conservation, share awesome stories as well as photos from the marine conservation and environmental world in general. Come on over and have a look! I also have Twitter come and join the conversation you can find me as @Leila_Lula!

Riveting Reads.

Spirit Bear Kyle Breckenridge

Kermode “Spirit” Bears ©Kyle Breckenridge, Canada via Huffington Post

A post of riveting reads from my travels around the internet this week! A selection of links, blogs, news articles, scholarly articles and images I am currently loving.

Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest Protected: Hurrah! 85% of the area will be PERMANENTLY off-limits to loggers. This is a spectacular coastal rainforest with a lot of amazing wildlife including Kermode “spirit” bears.

Elephant Poachers kill helicopter pilot: This is heartbreaking. Ivory poaching is one of the most despicable crimes and causing the loss of species. The pilot, Roger Gower, was shot when him and a safari guide went to investigate reports of three elephants having been killed by poachers. My thoughts are with his family.

Ship noise serious issue for killer whales: This topic will not be new news for regular readers of this blog or anyone who I have interacted with but good that it is getting more publicity!

Why do we not rid the world of mosquitoes?: They seem to cause all our woes, currently Zika. Read on to find out!

If we wrote about male scientist like we do female: There would be a lot more information on their appearance and family status! Twitter user @Daurmith has written up some funny bios for famous male scientists including Darwin and Feynmann.

Period Positive: Half the population gets them but we are never allowed to mention them, for fear of embarrassment and appearing ‘not good enough’ to do a task! Here’s to period positivity for female scientists and their male counterparts in the field! Twitter discussion curated into a Storify by @CarinaDSLR.

What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments below.


You can also follow along on the Deep Blue Conversations Facebook Page. I post interesting articles related to marine conservation, share awesome stories as well as photos from the marine conservation and environmental world in general. Come on over and have a look! I also have Twitter come and join the conversation you can find me as @Leila_Lula!