Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

EnviroAtlas is now live, publicly available

Posted 30 May 2014 / 0

For the past couple of years I have been playing around with a really cool tool called EnviroAtlas, a project of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This past semester I created two classroom activities that use EnviroAtlas, implementing them for the first time in my Ecology for Architects course. The EnviroAtlas tool was in beta-testing Read More

A Minor Post, Biodiversity Loss, Biomes, Bogs & Wetlands, Citizen Science, Computer Science, Conservation Biology, Data Limitation, Deserts, Ecosystem Services, Education, Educational Software and Apps, Environmental Justice, Eutrophication, Grasslands, Habitat Destruction, Invasive Species, Long Term Ecological Research, Macroecology, Pollution, Ponds & Lakes, Population Pressure, Public Policy, Quantitative Analysis, Rivers & Streams, Sustainability, Teaching, Teaching Tools, Temperate Forest, Temperate Rainforest, Urban Ecology, Water Supply, Web

John Oliver holds first “balanced” climate debate on television

Posted 30 May 2014 / 0

Very nicely done! The monologue is great, but then the “performance” of the balanced climate change debate is really what drives home the point here. Don’t watch networks that present false “debates”.

A Minor Post, Belief, Climate Change, Film, Television, & Video, Political Science, Public Outreach, Public Policy, Risk & Uncertainty, Science (General), Sustainability

Cath Dennis publishes non-computerized classroom adaptation of Axelrod’s iPD Tournament

Posted 30 May 2014 / 0

I have corresponded with Cath Dennis of the University of Aberdeen, as we both share an interest in how to bring some of the foundational work exploring cooperation into our classrooms. She has just published one of her classroom activities — an “analog” version of Robert Axelrod’s iPD tournaments — in the Journal of Biological Education.

A Minor Post, Articles, Cooperation, Evolution Education, Evolutionary Modeling, Game Theory, Reciprocity, Teaching Tools

Our review paper on Late Pleistocene Extinction Modeling published in QRB!

Posted 21 May 2014 / 0

I am proud to announce that a paper on which I am co-author, “A review and synthesis of late Pleistocene extinction modeling: Progress delayed by mismatches between ecological realism, interpretation, and methodological transparency“, has been published in the June 2014 issue of The Quarterly Review of Biology. The paper looks at the history of modeling aimed Read More

A Major Post, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Biodiversity Loss, Climate Change, Community Ecology, Ecological Modeling, Extinction, Modeling (General), My publications, Predation

Apparently I should stop holding my breath for the Google Translate “dolphin” module

Posted 20 May 2014 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Dolphin Talk and Human Credulity” Great short here (and further evidence that TED Talks entice scientists to lose their heads and say unfounded things). Anyone who has carefully watched a child learn to talk comes to realize what a complex dance between cognition anatomical coordination is involved in language acquisition. It is Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Cognitive Ability, Communication, Human Uniqueness, Language Evolution, Linguistics, Phenotypic Plasticity, Web

Is “nest parasitism” really “nest mutualism”?

Posted 20 May 2014 / 0

NPR All Things Considered “This Freeloading Bird Brings Help — And The Help Smells Gross” It is hard to believe that feeding an entire extra non-offspring would be in the self-interest of a bird, but as this short points out, costs and benefits are always environment-specific. In this case, the “parasitic” effect of having to raise Read More

A Minor Post, Behavior, Birds, Coevolution, Mutualism, Parasitism, Predation, Quantifying Costs and Benefits, Radio & Podcasts

0.5% to 3%: Do we now have a better sense of what makes people smart?

Posted 20 May 2014 / 0

The Economist “A potent source of genetic variation in cognitive ability has just been discovered” A new gene variant, KL-VS, appears to account for up to 3% of variation in IQ score; this would be a radical discovery given that past gene screens have only found variants accounting for as much as 0.5% variation in Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Cognitive Ability, Gene by Environment Interactions, Genetics, Intelligences, Web

David Haig suggests that babies cry at night to prevent siblings

Posted 20 May 2014 / 0

Science News “Babies cry at night to prevent siblings, scientist suggests” What’s particularly interesting here is not just the parent-offspring conflict proposed but also the conflict between mothers and fathers that is implied in this theory. In fact, it seems that the only piece of evidence that has any potential to support this hypothesis is this Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Human Evolution, Parent-Offspring Conflict, Sexual Conflict, Web

Envirolutions graduates its largest (and most celebrated) cohort

Posted 16 May 2014 / 0

Graduation is always a bittersweet moment, as students who I have really enjoyed working with leave the campus for good. On the one hand I am very proud of my students, and happy for them that they get to finish their undergraduate education; for me, graduating from college was the gateway to full independence and Read More

A Major Post, Envirolutions, Pratt Institute

It appears that Pratt is going to keep me

Posted 05 May 2014 / 2

Over the next nine days I have nineteen more term papers to grade, two final exams to write/administer/grade for thirty-six students, and twenty final projects to assess. The semester’s almost over, and that end is bringing with it all the usual immediate pain and anticipated joy. In the midst of this chaos it is a little Read More

A Major Post, Higher Education, Pratt Institute