Tired of slogging through troll-infested comment threads? Want to reinvigorate your sense of hope for the Internet? Then try blog posts on peer-reviewed research! A week ago, the “Research Blogging Icons” were unveiled, and now, dozens of posts have been marked with these identifiers, indicating that they discuss serious science which has appeared in professional venues. Dave Munger has picked out a sample of ten, and they all look worth reading.
For a wonder, one of my ICCS posts is on the list. Also, I quite enjoyed Kevin Z’s take on the evolution of fireflies. Did you know that the firefly family of beetles, the Lampyridae, contains about 2000 species worldwide, with around 120 represented in North America? And that the species which more closely reflect the ancestral form use pheromone signals, instead of light?
Kevin Z also describes research which has recently been done to understand the costs of flashing lights, both in terms of energy and with regard to attracting predators. And here’s where I kick myself: back in 2005, I wrote a scene for a science-fiction novel which used almost exactly the experimental setup of that predation study, although the goal in the novel was to understand why their flashes had started to synchronize.