Content from 2019-04

Guns and Numbers

posted on 2019-04-29

A couple of days ago, a friend of mine pointed out an article on gun control to me, which made the following claim: “Armed citizens are successful 94% of the time at active shooter events”. Written by a firearms training company, it analyses shoot-outs in the United States between 2000 and 2017. Basically, it says that armed citizens are highly effective at stopping shootings (and therefore, that more citizens ought to be armed). Having been asked to fact-check the article, here is what I think.


Mechanistic Modelling in Ecology

posted on 2019-04-22

Few words in science are as imprecise as the term “modelling”. It is a term applied to a whole range of techniques, which often have nothing at all in common. Small wonder, then, that many of my ecologist colleagues don't know what I mean when I say that I am doing “mechanistic modelling”. This is an attempt to clear up that misunderstanding, and to explain where ecological modellers like myself fit into the wider landscape of ecological research.


Basic Traffic Analysis with Unix

posted on 2019-04-15

So you want to know how many people visit your website, but don't want to set up Google Analytics or anything like that? That at least was the situation I found myself in when I started this blog. Turns out, if you just want a daily number of visitors, standard Unix tools are perfectly sufficient.


Project Ecologia

posted on 2019-04-08

Six years ago, I was looking for a new programming project. My dream was to create a self-sustaining “virtual world”, a little ecosystem inside my computer. This was long before I knew there actually was a field called “ecological modelling” (which I now happen to work in), but the idea intrigued me. So I set about the task with all the confidence of one year's programming experience. I failed. But a year later, I picked up the pieces and started over, eventually producing a graphical ecosystem simulator – Ecologia.


The Genius of Terry Pratchett

posted on 2019-04-01

So I've just finished reading another Discworld book, and once again I am struck by the amazing versatility of its author, Terry Pratchett. With rare skill, he manages to make you laugh and think and cry, all at the same time. It's as if he simultaneously touches your heart, your mind, and your vocal chords. I don't read many novels these days, but I happily make exceptions for his. How does he manage that?


Unless otherwise credited all material Creative Commons License by Daniel Vedder.
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