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I should follow my own advice and write a new :

Hello! I'm a philosopher and historian of evolutionary biology. I also work in the digital humanities, as well as some in ethics, especially ethics of biotechnology. I'm a 🇺🇸 emigrant and a 🇧🇪 immigrant. I've taught for a few years at the Université catholique de Louvain in Louvain-la-Neuve (donc parfois des posts en FR médiocre aussi).

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Brussels Airlines has a whole series of themed planes – now I've been on the Bosch-themed one and the national football team-themed one!

Finally updated my slide template. Can't afford to give up on birdsite entirely yet, but...

I've deployed literally seven new Sciveyor alpha releases in the last week, and I think finally I'm hammering out the layer of "embarrassingly silly small bugs that you should never have let out of testing but somehow did."

What's the longest you've used a single smart phone? (Boost for a broader data pool.)

Haha so all that data analysis (lots of which I was doing over ssh to the office) toasted my work desktop apparently.

Got to the office, wasn't getting video. Hard powered off and it won't come back on -- at all, even after reseating the CPU and RAM. One flickering light and a tiny bit of power to the CPU fan, but otherwise bricked. Looks like a PSU issue, I'm going to see if I can find one in town on short notice...

(There is of course no such thing as a "ground truth" against which we can measure how taxonomists distribute their attention, because there's no source of taxonomic data that doesn't require... taxonomists!)

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(Also, I have a negative control here, too: the same tree generated against the Pensoft collection of OA taxonomic journals – ZooKeys, PhytoKeys, MycoKeys, etc. – looks very very similar to the full OTOL. Of course, that's in part because that very Pensoft data is used to generate the OTOL, so we have a circularity concern, but that's... that's a complexity I have to figure out another day.)

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Not that we didn't already know that conservation efforts are biased toward charismatic species, and thus especially toward plants and animals, but it's delightful to see things this straightforwardly.

It's also really neat to see that bias reflected not just in public-facing work, but in *the very journal publications in the field.*

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In some sense, this is exactly what I expected, but it's *so* gratifying to see it in cladogram form.

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Here's the same visualization, only for the entire Open Tree of Life. Same color code, only:

- bright yellow = oh hello fungi, you were missing entirely before

And, also, of course, most clearly: hellooooooo, arthropods.

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Now, if you don't know taxonomy, you might think "oh hey, that seems plausible, yeah."

If you do, I suspect you're looking at this tree like "what the hell?" Because...

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This is a tree of all the species mentioned in the journal _Conservation Biology,_ from its founding until around 2018. Color key:

- gold = bacteria
- sky blue (very tiny line, left of bacteria) = archaea
- green = plants
- medium blue = annelids and molluscs
- orange = arthropods
- pink = animals

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Two days of blistering work, wrestling with a Python library (ETE) and an online visualization system (iTOL), very very little sleep, but:

William of Ockham would be appalled if he could see how many blades there are on a modern razor.


Took me almost four years to get up here, but *finally* digging in at the best Ethiopian place in town. Holy shit this is one of the world's best cuisines.

academic writing and presenting 

What's weirder is that I don't think I'm any *better* at this than I ever was. It's that parts of this are a *learned skill* that I never thought were a learned skill.

There is *a lot* less genius and *a lot* more grind in this business than they let on

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academic writing and presenting 

To put it differently, it used to be "will there be a good way to say that?" "Is there a good way to say that?" "Perhaps if I never sleep again I shall find it"

Now it's often almost more like programming: I know the right formulation of this idea is in there, I just have to grind away until I find it. "Ah, yeah, good, that's it. Nice. Next slide."

Very weird subjective experience. Somehow takes away some of the magic?

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academic writing and presenting 

I remember when writing papers and talks was this weird kind of struggle, like, giving birth to ideas that were weirdly boxed up in my head.

One of the weirdest things about having been a faculty member for (holy crap) eight years now is the fact that that feeling is fading. I have ideas, and once I'm confident that they're decent enough, the talk or the paper *will* happen. It's become *work* in a way that I didn't ever think it would.

I'm almost, barely, finally starting to feel like I belong here, in a way I've never felt about any of the three other places I've lived. Not the easiest thing to say especially as an immigrant and being so far from "home," but... getting there.

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