How Information Theory Could Hold the Key to Quantifying Nature
John Harte, a professor of ecology at the University of California, Berkeley,has developed what he calls the maximum entropy (MaxEnt) theory of ecology, which may offer a solution to a long-standing problem in ecology: how to calculate the total number of species in an ecosystem, as well as other important numbers, based on extremely limited information — which is all that ecologists, no matter how many years they spend in the field, ever have. […] He and his colleagues will soon publish the results of a study that estimates the number of insect and tree species living in a tropical forest in Panama. The paper will also suggest how MaxEnt could give species estimates in the Amazon, a swath of more than 2 million square miles of land that is notoriously difficult to survey.
If the MaxEnt theory of ecology can give good estimates in a wide variety of scenarios, it could help answer the many questions that revolve around how species are spread across the landscape, such as how many would be lost if a forest were cleared, how to design wildlife preserves that keep species intact, or how many rarely seen species might be hiding in a given area. Perhaps more importantly, the theory hints at a unified way of thinking about ecology — as a system that can be described with just a few variables, with all the complexity of life built on top.
Read the article @WIRED
About a year ago, we posted a gif of hover whales. This, however, was our original creation—at the time too big for Tumblr but now able to be posted.
from Suggestions to the keepers of the U.S. life-saving stations, light-houses, and light-ships; and to other observers, relative to the best means of collecting and preserving specimens of whales and porpoises. By Frederick W. True.
Interior of North Christian Church, 1964. Columbus, Indiana, USA. It is another example of a collaboration between Eero Saarinen, Dan Kiley and Alexander Girard. Saarinen died three years before the church was completed.
Sitting at the center of the hexagonal sanctuary is a substantial communion table, ringed by 12 seats for the church elders. Throughout the year, the cushions on these seats will transition from green to red to purple to white, in step with the liturgical calendar. This mirrors an idea Girard incorporated successfully in the Miller’s home. Read more IMA