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In any event, a *super* cute museum if you ever have the chance to visit! (The town is pretty, too.)

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Random history of science nerd moment from my vacation: The small town of Saint-Hubert is the birthplace of Pierre-Joseph Redouté, best known popularly for engravings of roses. But (!) also corresponded/collaborated with De Candolle, illustrated for Humboldt, and others!

His brother, Henri-Joseph, went for animals instead of plants, and illustrated Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire's famous book on fish. Both worked for the Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle.

Also, *man,* serious impostor-syndrome-triggering honor to be on this list of fellow contributors to the series:

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First book project now feeling significantly more concrete! Watch this space for a two-weeks-free PDF download link that I'll post here soon.


I don't much post sports on here, and I know I'm only an expat, but *wooooo* 🇧🇪

In case you were wondering, it's all car horns and vuvuzelas here in Brussels

tfw there's a major furor brewing over on Twitter about Darwin's historical context, racism, and misogyny, right in my area of expertise, but I've just hit the end of the hardest academic year in my career and literally cannot even

Carl T. Bergstrom on Twitter: "We have a new paper out in PNAS today, in which we address the harm wrought by dramatically restructuring human communication of the span of a decade, with no aim other than selling ads."

Explanatory thread in plain language:



Huh, what's that humming noise? Proud to announce we installed our new server into a #Datacenter last weekend, CI and other features are coming into range.

This is a major milestone for #Codeberg, we have been waiting for this for a long time, investing a huge share of our funds into this project.

Thank you for your regular donations, especially as members of the non-profit association. You didn't join yet? Consider doing so today to support our mission:

Busting at the seams to be able to say more about the *two* awesome scholars who are coming to join my research group as postdocs next year. Gotta get some ink on some contracts first, though.

Apparently francophone students also begin their essays with "À l'aube de l'humanité..."

Some cultural universals really are universal

Ongoing thread over on Twitter and paper (from one of my favorite scholars out there right now) about a subject that I think lots of people here will be interested in:

(I know there's not a huge community interested in HPS/philosophy/history of biology on the fedi yet, but hey, if you build it, they will come, right?)

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This is the first "side project" paper to come out of my history of the period that's almost entirely submitted to the publisher – for more details, check out this paper, a hopeful two further articles to come, and the book! 8/8

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My tendentious claim here is that this shift mirrors a recent philosophical debate over causation in natural selection. How should we understand the relationship between physiological details and population-level statistical parameters?

Weldon starts out convinced that those physiological details don't matter (everything is a question of arithmetic, remember!), but when confronted with a real evolutionary situation, he realizes he has to support that with causal, physiological detail. 7/

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But he doesn't! He goes out and builds a massive physiology experiment to try to test his hypothesis that the silt is clogging up their filtering apparatus. Here's a bunch of crabs living in jars, with different degrees of silt, etc... (Imagine daily feeding time!) 6/

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But by the late '90s, Weldon realizes that – as the sound is silting up – one feature of them is changing *very* rapidly. What's weird about this is his response. A guy who just argued that this is only a statistical problem should just go get more stats, right? 5/

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These little guys are all over Plymouth Sound. And in the early-mid '90s, Weldon and Pearson are convinced that just collecting a lot of statistical data about them is enough to demonstrate the action of natural selection. 4/

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In this paper, I get about as close as I'm comfortable doing to Whiggish history. In short: Weldon is grappling with something *very* similar to a contemporary debate over causation in natural selection between 1893 and 1906. It's all about these crabs, Carcinus mænas. 3/

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This is all about WFR Weldon (1860–1906), British invertebrate zoologist and one of the pioneer theorists of mathematical biology, developing with Francis Galton and Karl Pearson the first mathematical approaches to natural selection. (also: Western movie stock character) 2/

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