Computer Viruses… as art

Computer Virus Catalog, provides us with an illustrated history of the worst computer viruses in history.

It also has an artistic interpretation of each virus, which look really cool! Below are some of my favorites!


“Marburg infects .EXE and .SCR files and draws the all too familiar critical error icon everywhere on your screen. The Windows virus spread like crazy in August ’98, when it was included on the master CD of popular MGM/EA game ‘Wargames’”


“Created in the late ’60s, Cookie Monster is the world’s first computer virus. After infection, Cookie Monster freezes all system activity and demands cookies. Don’t sweat it. You simply unlock your computer again by typing the word ‘cookie’_”


“Stuxnet is a joint effort of the US and Israel, designed to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. This highly sophisticated Windows worm reportedly destroyed roughly a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, by causing them to spin out of control. Mission accomplished_”


“Ika-Tako (Japanese for squid-octopus) spreads via P2P file sharing network Winny, disguising itself as a music file. When executed, the Windows virus replaces photos, applications and vital system files with images of squids_”


HOORAY for Basic Science Research! And duck genitalia

Basic science =  scientific questions that are founded in understanding theory, or the natural world around us

Applied science = scientific research that is directly applicable to humans. i.e. Cancer research

The last few years of financial crisis have seen a rise in criticism over basic scientific research. NPR does a great job of summarizing the criticisms and explaining why seeking to understand duck genitalia is a solid biological question.


Friday Coffee Break


Although the risks of having a child early in your academic career seem clear, are they really? (From Sarah)

The legendary Peter and Rosemary Grant publish a book reviewing 40 years of their work on Daphne Major. (From Sarah)

A really awesome-looking “open” class about data science. (From Sarah)

Cat research is difficult, largely because they are difficult subjects to work with. (From Jeremy)

Dirty money. Examining the microbial communities on dollar bills. (From Amy)

An amazing global visualization of climatological data. (From Noah


Friday Coffee Break



A rather depressing new figure that is circulating around the social media sites about the prospects for a biology PhD. (From Sarah)

Beard trends in men are undergoing negative frequency dependent selection…. seriously. (From Sarah)

The world from the fabulous point of view of the snail. (From CJ)

Whooping cranes make a nest, lay an egg in Louisiana for the first time in 70 years. This reintroduction has been extremely difficult, with locals shooting captive bred released birds repeatedly and a host of other problems. It’s obviously not out of the woods yet, but this is amazing progress! (From Noah)



NBA and WNBA players perform differently with age


Life-history traits are often shaped by a balance between somatic maintenance and reproductive investment. That is, an individual wants their own cells to be active, but also needs to invest in making offspring. This tension between natural and sexual selection can generate age-related physiological trajectories that differ between organisms, environments and populations. In simpler terms, how you age is as much an evolutionary response to your environment as it is to your reproductive success!

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Friday Coffee Break



Documenting butterfly life cycles through paintings, long before such things were done. Especially by women! (From CJ)

Whales eat a lot. So if there were a 100x more whales in the ocean than there are now, where did all their food come from? Turns out whales create a more fertile ocean using their own poop! (From Amy)

How can male academics better help and include their female counterparts? A new bi-weekly chat held by STEM women. (From Amy)

Never underestimate a salamander. Researchers in California have found that they may help combat the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. (From Noah).

Do you like charismatic megafauna? You’re not alone. Apparently the bigger the animal, the more publications. (From Jeremy)

One of the fastest changing ecosystems? The grasslands of the Dakotas. (From Jeremy)

WARNING! NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART! (These are both from Sarah)

First, a toad with a visible parasite in it’s eye.

Second, an intense botfly removal… 

And a slightly less gross video about a rare oarfish sighting. (From CJ)

Friday Coffee Break



Well this is terrifying. Ebola outbreak in Guinea, that is both unexpected and spreading at an alarming rate. (From Sarah)

An eight year old girl tries to make the wooly mammoth the state fossil of South Carolina… and is blocked by state senators? (From Sarah)

APRIL FOOLS! Or not. A few science claims by people we wish were joking. (From Amy)

Just-so stories in science, dead-end explanations or a scientific horizon? In defense of a long held bias agains story telling. (From Jeremy)

Along the line of good stories, here we have a collection of images from the horror fiction genera featuring interesting organisms! (From Noah)


What Would Darwin Do With $100,000?

One of my favorite things about professional conferences is getting to hang around and chat with friends/mentors/heros/other biologists. This year I found myself one evening hanging out with a group of exceptional biologist and we came around to discussing some society business.

SSE may have a bunch of this. What should we do with it?

SSE may have a bunch of this. What should we do with it?

One of the biologists in the group is on the board of the Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE). He mentioned a little quirk of numbers over the past few years. You see, the societies try to break even on the conferences. They estimate how much it’ll cost to run the conference, divide that by how many people will attend and then set this as the cost of registration. However, as luck would have it, every year for the past 5 or so there have been more attendees than anticipated. As a result, there is a surplus or funds.

So the question came up, what do we do with extra money?

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Friday Coffee Break


Yo mama so microbial! Sarah brings us  a link about how we inherit our microbial community from our mothers. Or if you prefer the article, it’s open access!

CJ is thinking about scientific literacy quite a bit these days, so she brings us a link about misused scientific words. Just a “theory” you say?

Also, if you haven’t checked out this awesome blog you should. It’s all about natural events happening largely in the backyard. This week we get a bonus post!

Friday Coffee Break


Jeremy is kicking off the links this Friday with a bacteria that can terraform a squid. I don’t think I need to comment on how bizarre/cool that is.

Sarah has a link only for the strong of stomach, a video view of a flight over the arctic.

Have you paid attention to what’s happening in Louisiana? The ground is swallowing cypress trees… literally.

Finally, the future of blogging? Birds who will be posting daily blog posts about their well-being. It may be a model we here at NIB will be adopting soon!