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Hi everyone!

My name is Sylvia. I'm a Belgian philosopher of science πŸ¦‰ πŸ”¬. I like thinking about infinitesimal probabilities & paradoxes.

I'm married to a computational physicist and we have a 9yo son. Our house is stocked with πŸ“š & 🍫. There lives a squirrel 🐿️ in our garden.

I enjoy , , and ✍️ , including a monthly science column (in Dutch) & occasionally πŸ‘ΎπŸ€– 🌌 .

Moved here from

So, I got an acceptance on the first half of a long paper (25k, oops) with an encouragement to resubmit the second part as well, though it needs some work.
It feels weird to call it "part 1" since "part 2" might never materialize, and I don't like to salami-slice my papers. Perhaps I should just turn it into a book? Is this how books happen??

Hive-mind question for the folks of Fedi: Say you were me, and you had a massive list of species names, many but maybe not all marked up with Catalogue of Life URLs (or other URLs to online DBs – output from gnfinder, if you know it).

What's the best way to to turn these into phylogenetic distances so that I could compute something like the phylogenetic variance of the dataset?

I recently asked my 9yo son to reduce his collection of sticks, so these are his absolute favourites.

If the kid was fourteen
it wasn't child labor;
no need to cause a scene.
My mum loved it at school
but her brothers were mean
and sent her off to work.
My mother was thirteen.


Animus University 1. Librarian Norweg shows the stacks. β€œYou don’t get checkout privileges until you are an endorsed Lore Wrangler.” Ballpoint on A3.

My father was a smoker.
Filter cigarette in hand -
grey ash, speckled orange band -
he painted his books ochre.

for ()

I have come at a crossway
in the company of
who's always kept me safe here,
held me back, asked me to stay.
Goodbye, old friend, not today.


End of Atopics 

It's seems to be offline completely, but I could still read this in the cached version:

"Les Cowley has decided to discontinue Atmospheric Optics.

It’s been online for 24 years, a geological era in terms of β€˜Internet Time'. Over those years it’s been a pleasure and, more importantly, a privilege, to see and share your rare and magnificent images, learn from your brain-teasing sightings and to have your friendship.

It’s been fun – thanks for the ride!"

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End of Atopics 

My blog keeps reminding me of broken links to It was such a magnificent site, with pictures of halos and rainbows including very rare phenomena and their explanation. I once contributed a picture of interference in the tear layer of my baby's eye. At the time, so ~9 years ago, he already told me that he had problems with his sight. Does anybody know whether that's the reason for the end of his project?

My mission is not complete until whole of fedi owns at least one cheap box of oil pastels

when the seasons are turning
my old wardrobe casts a spell
past fabric softener smell
conjures up last year's yearning

(late entry for yesterday's prompt: )

Today, May 12th, was chosen as a day to globally celebrate women in mathematics #WomenInMaths. It was the birthday of Maryam #Mirzakhani (1977-2017), the first and only woman to win the #FieldsMedal.

20 crows & 1 pigeon 

During our evening walk, a mosquito buzzed near my ear. I flapped so hard with my hands that 20 crows flew off from the trees above.

This reminded me of the pigeon: my SO and me went for a swim at noon. The outdoor pool was already open. (So early this year: mixed feelings, for sure.) A pigeon walked up to the side of the pool. It came close enough for me to see it had a pink and a blue ring. It bowed, took a few sips, and walked off again. (Could have ended worse, I guess.)

Don't look for me on hills
clinging to beliefs
for which so many died.
You'll find me in the valleys
roaming with ideas
deep and - alive.


Doing a talk in three weeks about how the internet is broken. (Adtech, centralisation, ...)

Got some good examples? Post them in replies ;)

Hi Fediverse! I'm trying to write a tranquil description of the (part of the site of the nuclear disaster ☒️). Are there any resources where I can learn about the current there? πŸ”

I know about the πŸ‚ bison, 🐻 bears, and 🐺 wolves that have taken refuge there, but don't see much about small mammals or plants. Ideally I'd like to describe the thriving ecosystem which has (albeit with shorter lifespans) sprung up in the area... πŸ›

Lecture On the origin of time 13/5 

Tomorrow (13 May, 2pm CET), Leuven cosmologist Thomas Hertog will give a talk for our Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science.
The title is "On the origin of time". Just send me a message if you want to receive the streaming link.

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