Steve Cook

Nerd of this parish.

Most commented posts

  1. Educational RCTs — 17 comments
  2. The Michaelis-Menten model is not applicable to most enzymes in a cell — 6 comments
  3. Modular origami — 6 comments
  4. The magnolia misunderstanding — 5 comments
  5. A brief history of rubbish — 5 comments

Author's posts

Recursion

Recursion [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook, Andreas Thomson, Frank Vinzent]

Bark

Bark [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

Wisley in Winter

Lophophora williamsii [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

It’s not really a botanic garden, but the Royal Horticultural Society’s gardens at Wisley is near enough as makes no difference. We visited in what should have been the dead of winter, but which in reality was this weird sprautumn mash-up that is now December in the UK. The heather garden was particularly pretty, despite the wind: At £12, the entry …

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Imposter

Euchlanis rotifer [CC-BY-SA-3.0]

Most years the pond-water microscopy practical throws up an exciting ciliate (or two, or three), but this year, the only ones we saw were duplicates, or too bloody fast to photograph. Ho hum. So this year you’ll have to make do with an imposter. It’s still got cilia, but it is not a ciliate, and although it’s no bigger …

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Bagging botanical Brussels

Gingko biloba Meise [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

The last time we went to Brussels, I got terribly excited that the hotel we were staying in was right next door to the Botanical Garden of Brussels. Unfortunately – as we discovered in short order – at some point in the 1930s the plants had mostly been shipped off elsewhere, leaving the garden not very botanical, and Dr …

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Organism of the week #29 – Galling

Vasates quadripedes on Acer saccharinum [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

Today is the first day of the new (academic) year at $WORK, but – aside from a couple of intro lectures – this is the calm before the real storm, which arrives in the form of a deluge of biological chemistry in November. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a few mugshots of some weird ciliate or other around …

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Organism of the week #28 – Fractal art

Barnsley fern [Public domain]

Flowers are essentially tarts. Prostitutes for the bees. (Uncle Monty, Withnail and I) Our tiny garden has only passing acquaintance with sunshine, so about the only plants that really thrive in its dingy clutches are shade-loving ferns. This Japanese painted fern is my current favourite: who needs flowers anyway, when leaves look like this? The colour is spectacular, but …

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Living dangerously

Towards the end of the last millennium, I spent a lot of time befriending arsenic. The last two years of my PhD involved measuring how much iodine had fallen off a chemical used as a wood preservative day-in, day-out, and arsenic trioxide was the most exciting component of an otherwise excruciatingly dull test for iodide ions. …

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Organism of the week #27 – Alien haemorrhoids

Magnolia ×soulangeana fruit [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

A quickie this week: magnolia fruit look like something from another planet.

Statistical power

Coin distribution overlaps for increasing sample size [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

In a recent(ish) post, we saw that if a fair coin is flipped 30 times, the probability it will give us 10 or fewer heads is less than 5% (4.937% to be pointlessly precise). Fisher quantified this using the p value of a data set: the probability of obtaining data (or a test statistic based on those data) at …

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