Thursday, 25 April 2013

PhD week 60: ANZAC day

Hill 60 Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery. Gallipoli.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. License: CC: BY-SA

Secret Music

I keep such music in my brain
No din this side of death can quell;
Glory exulting over pain,
And beauty, garlanded in hell.

My dreaming spirit will not heed
The roar of guns that would destroy
My life that on the gloom can read
Proud-surging melodies of joy.

To the world's end I went, and found
Death in his carnival of glare;
But in my torment I was crowned,
And music dawned above despair.

Siegfried Sassoon

    St Augustine, Betteson H (Translator). 2003. City of God. London: Penguin Classics

Climate Change Ecology—Python complements R's shortcomings
Christopher Gandrud—Reinhart & Rogoff: Everyone makes mistakes
One Big Photo—Most Amazing Macro Insect Photography

Star Trek (Original Series) Season One
Mr Pip Trailer

Twelve weeks of Star Trek:
Star Trek IX: Insurrection

Sunday, 21 April 2013

PhD week 59: Disappointment

Tautuku Bay, Catlins, Southland.

The great thing about working in systematics and conservation is that there is often the opportunity to go to some really cool places.

Last week, the intention was to go to Pig Island, off the coast of Southland to assist a fellow student to a survey of the giant weta (Deinacrida carinata) that are found on the island. We were to be dropped off by the coastguard and spend three nights on the island looking for weta. To this end we drove down, staying in Owaka on Monday night, and driving through the Catlins on Tuesday morning. Not far out of Invercargill, we got a call from the coastguard informing us that the weather was not looking good and that the trip was cancelled. Disappointing!

Despite the change of plans, we did manage to salvage sufficient collecting in some cool places (such as Forest Hill and Trotters Gorge Scenic Reserves) to make the trip worthwhile. Also, getting home a couple of nights earlier than expected meant that I was able to do a few more things at work and socially that I would've missed if we had made it to the island.

   Pine-Coffin RS (translator). 1961. The confessions of Saint Augustine Middlesex: Penguin

Bryce McQuillan macro photography—Weevils

Twelve weeks of Star Trek:
Star Trek VIII: First Contact

Friday, 19 April 2013

Saturday, 13 April 2013

PhD week 58: Graduation

The graduation procession begins.

Friday was graduation day. Since the earthquakes, Lincoln University has moved their graduation ceremony from in Christchurch city where it was formerly held, to Lincoln township. This move means that graduands muster at the university before their march down the road to the Events Centre; with the result that the University is filled with a vibrancy and an air of celebration at a level that is rarely reached by other occasions. It is enjoyable to walk through the throng and see proud parents and supporters congratulating their person on a job well done. Seeing fellow students graduating is also a great encouragement, particularly when one knows the trials they had to undergo to get there.

To all who graduated yesterday, congratulations!

NSW National Parks
GeoLabs Blog—Interactive WebGL plot exported from R

Star Trek: Enterprise Season Four

Twelve weeks of Star Trek:
Star Trek VII: Generations

Monday, 8 April 2013

PhD week 57: Entomological Society

Auckland Tree Weta (Hemideina thoracica).
Image courtesy of Jon Sullivan. Licence: CC: BY-NC.

Over the three days from 3 to 5 April was the 62nd annual conference of the Entomological Society of New Zealand, held at Massey University in Palmerston North. The conference was a typically enjoyable event, with a lot of catching up with old friends and meeting new ones, as well as a neat overview of some of the cool things that people are studying around the country. There were a large number of talks on various aspects of weta biology—unsurprising given that Massey is a hotbed of weta research; but great to see that New Zealand's most iconic insect is becoming better known.

After the conference, I spent three very pleasant days collecting in and around Wellington. I was looking two species of Irenimus that were described from the region; specifically Titahi Bay and Wadestown. Obtaining topotypic specimens (i.e. specimens collected from the same locality as the type specimen) is a useful exercise when sorting out taxonomic problems. As it is unlikely that several similar species live in the same spot, collecting fresh material from the type locality can help bring clarity as to what the species actually is. It so happened that I managed to find good numbers of both species that I hoped to find, so the trip was most definitely a good one!

   Pine-Coffin RS (translator). 1961. The confessions of Saint Augustine Middlesex: Penguin

Stanley Hauerwas—Living well in ordinary time: A tribute to Rowan Williams
Alison Milbank—Christ is not divided: The Easter journey into paradox

Star Trek: Enterprise Season Four

Twelve weeks of Star Trek:
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country