Joined October 2020
Owner of @plants

A little over half a decade ago, I came across a wonderful project: a programming language called Julia that was going to revolutionise data science and technical computing. It was going to run like C, seamlessly integrate with Fortran, do things R does without its clunkiness, look and read like Python and be homoiconic like Lisp. We were all going to heaven, and that right soon. The language wars would end, we would finally get a lingua franca for anywhere code performance mattered, Julia would take over the TIOBE Index, and we’d all be home for tea and medals.

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The octogenarian snapper, the oldest tropical reef fish discovered to date, suggests reef fishes could grow to be even older—if we let them.

The UK has lost more than 90% of the lush seagrass meadows that once surrounded the nation, research has found.

Scientists described the decline as catastrophic, but the latest analysis also shows where the flowering plants could be restored. A resurgence of seagrass meadows would rapidly absorb the carbon dioxide that drives the climate crisis and provide habitats for hundreds of millions of fish, from seahorses to juvenile cod.

Skipjack are the world’s most abundant tuna. They’re resilient, but can they outswim our demand for this pantry staple?

From setting up shell companies to using tax havens, the owners of fishing vessels employ extreme measures to hide their identities.

Chimpanzees and humans “overlap” in their use of forests and even villages, new research shows.

Scientists used camera traps to track the movements of western chimpanzees — a critically endangered species — in Guinea-Bissau.

Chimpanzees used areas away from villages and agriculture more intensively, but entered land used by humans to get fruit — especially when wild fruits were scarce.

Researchers from the University of Exeter and Oxford Brookes University say the approach used in this study could help to inform a “coexistence strategy” for chimpanzees and humans.

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Drive an hour northeast from Cusco, Peru, and you will encounter some beauti­ful high mountain lakes, historic Inca ruins, and the richest diversity of potatoes on the planet. Approximately 2,300 of the 4,000 known potato varieties in the world are grown here, making it one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. The 7,000 Quechua people who live on this high-altitude Sacred Valley of the Incas have, with their ancestors, cultivated and improved Andean potatoes for seven millennia. That impressive record stems from a holistic way of life that blends deep spiritual traditions and cultural values with cultivation techniques, barter and exchange practices and ecological stewardship.

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Scientists in Israel, in a serendipitous discovery while studying the causes of skin colour changes in the cephalopod due to light, have made a shocking discovery. They found that octopus arms can sense a beam of light and evade it even when its eyes cannot see the light. 

In a series of tests and investigation, the scientists discovered that shining a light on an octopus’s arm caused the animal to repudiate it, even when it was slumbering, and while the source of the light was present on the other side of a small opening into which its arms could fit but the light was unseen to its eyes.

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Polar bears and narwhals are using up to four times as much energy to survive because of major ice loss in the Arctic, according to scientists.

Once perfectly evolved for polar life, apex predators are struggling as their habitats shrink and unique adaptations become less suited to an increasingly ice-free Arctic, researchers say.

“Despite the importance of understanding how humans can be cooperative with their in-group and still carry out acts of extreme out-group aggression, there has so far been little study on whether the association between these behaviors holds in non-human primates,” says first author James Brooks.

Building on field research that suggested chimpanzees were more cohesive in days and months when they had out-group encounters, the team tested the direct relation between out-group threat and in-group cohesion by simulating an out-group encounter and observing the subjects’ behavior.

Five groups of chimpanzees listened to vocalizations of unfamiliar individuals, along with a control of crow vocalizations. The team found that subjects who heard the out-groups became more vigilant and stressed, but instead of translating this into in-group tension, the chimpanzees drew closer to one another, engaged in more affiliative behaviors, and were less aggressive when given limited food compared to the control group.

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  • A new study found that moray eels are more abundant on reefs where sharks are absent due to human pressures.

  • The paper hypothesizes that moray eels might be benefiting from a reduction in predators and competition for food, although this hasn’t been proven.

  • The authors say a lot more research is needed to assess the relationship between sharks and moray eels, and to understand the ecological role moray eels play in the marine environment.