Science and Perspective.

Perspectives on Science as a career…pay

One of the major costs of conducting science in the Bahamas is in technical expertise, the cost of human labor. Essential to the cost of labor is the cost of living. How much can you pay a Bahamian scientist, to provide them a living wage? What minimum value would allow them to dedicate themselves to the research or science as a profession?
What if that scientist is a college student?
… an adult head of household?
If you want to see or contribute to calculations of the cost of living in the Bahamas, follow the link here.

From the perspective of a Bahamian scientist, there are huge gaps between what we are paid and what we need to be paid to make science a viable option in most cases.
What resources do you know of that could help us support Bahamian scientists especially young scientists?


Geospatial visualization by K. Arthur Endsley

If you work with geospatial data and open source code, you have probably been hacking your way through the internet, youtube, stackexchange etc. to find good tutorials with clear well-written examples.

This is it.
Dr. Endsley does an excellent job of setting up the problems he is dealing with, the writing is clear but not condescending. His examples and the code that accompany them are elegant and they work (for the examples I have tried).

I include a link to one of the first blog posts I read through completely.
I hope you enjoy it as I did. I would be particularly interested in conducting a similar analyis in the Bahamas… If only we had the data available in an open access format.
Tell me if you find another one of his posts particularly interesting.

Ancilleno Davis, AA; BSc; MSc
PPP: he/him/his/they/them/theirs
Twitter: @ancilleno
Founder/Coordinator – BEINGS
Director At Large – BirdsCaribbean

Every student needs someone who says, simply, "You mean something. You count." -Tony Kushner, playwright (b. 16 Jul 1956)

Gate keeping

As instructors in gate keeping courses, some believe it is their duty to slam that gate in the faces of as many students as possible.

Some of us are propping the gate open, cracking Windows and unlocking the back door. Most importantly we are making copies of the keys and giving them to our students

The hardest button to push

I just clicked send.
I sent the latest draft of my dissertation to my full committee. I sent it to colleagues who have seen me grow up through science and ornithology.
I put it out there. quite honestly, it was the hardest button I have ever pushed and I have quite possibly made a million clicks of the mouse and keyboard since I started this process. I hope to see many you all at my dissertation defense, but between now and then, I feel I have lots of sleep to catch up on.
At least for the next few hours as my committee sleeps I will do my best to enjoy this catharsis.
Good night all,
May the science you use help you find the truth and may the people around you help you find perspective.

"I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles." – Shannon Hale

Perspective on criticism

So I am inherently the type of person who wants to do something important, and I want my work to be the best I can make. I do take into account time constraints and available materials etc. but I still push myself to do more or better than before or than expected.

This means I have a hard time letting the work go before I think it is ready.

Now on top of all of that, I was told a few years ago by a person in power, that I was not seen as a successful student by a committee of people in power. People who were judging me. Who I continue to imagine are judging me.

In the end, this criticism lead me to the brink. I almost quit my degree and left the university. I almost settled into defeat and let that single criticism take me down.

Today I am working on the final chapter of my dissertation and the nagging voice inside me had me check my work and review it. I noticed some of my results were very interesting and I went back to check the code. There was a filter in some copied code that I used throughout the script, which meant I was drawing incorrect conclusions.
I am now re-running a suite of code chunks to generate new images I have to interpret all over again.
Every time I experience a setback like this I hear the voices that have judged me in the past and found me unworthy. and those voices are loud! But I also continue to hear the voices of friends, family and colleagues who encourage me and tell me I can do it.
Tonight will be a long night, but I want to share with you that criticism is not all bad, it does make me second guess myself sometimes, but it also makes me check my work.

Take the criticism, but don’t let it take you down.

Ancilleno Davis, AA; BSc; MSc
PPP: he/him/his/they/them/theirs
Twitter: @ancilleno
Founder/Coordinator – BEINGS
Director At Large – BirdsCaribbean

Every student needs someone who says, simply, "You mean something. You count." -Tony Kushner, playwright (b. 16 Jul 1956)

Did you say something?

A student left the university because of the racism they experienced. Hopefully it wasn’t you…but if it wasn’t you. Have you spoken out directly, explicitly, and publicly against racism? If not, it’s too late for one student but there are many more waiting too hear you say something.

Quick Solar charger hack

The Bahamas has about 360 days of sun per year. Yet Solar energy has not been broadly adopted. THere is definitely a significant conversion cost, but if we look at the long term savings to human health and the environment, the financial savings against the import of fossil fuels… what do we have to lose? maybe we can start a grassroots movement.
How about start with our cell phones?

gutter art: Palace Art

If you are lying in the gutter, make art with the mud;If you live in a Palace, make Art with the Light.
-Leno 10/2018

Biodiversity monitoring and racism

Class identifies plants in a field.
Me: do you see what is different in the following three classifications?
Duchesnia indica; Medicago lupulina; Grasses

Students: *blank stares*
Me: do we recognize that grasses are a large group that includes more than one species?

Nodding. affirmative grunts.

Me: Why do you think we do that? It’s easier, we do not have the time to identify the grasses to a more accurate level. That expertise requires more effort, care, consideration. so we ignore their individual differences and lump them into one group. this means our data is less accurate and we cannot really describe the diversity of grasses or make any decision appropriate to grass conservation, the impact of grasses or whether or not individual grass species negatively impact the other species.

Students nod.

Me: It’s just like racism. *wry smile

Students stop breathing briefly.

You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty. -Jessica Mitford, author, journalist, and civil rights activist (11 Sep 1917-1996)

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