Thinking, Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahneman (2012) Thinking, Fast and Slow. Penguin Books, London.ISBN 978-0-141-03357-0.

I am currently reading this book. I am finding it extremely interesting. Understanding how and why we make choices, is important for everybody. If you are a scientist or aspire to be one in the future, understanding why we accept more readily some experimental results than others, why we are more comfortable with some hypotheses than others, is of fundamental importance, both to guard against bias, and to be able to present our new ideas in a way that will make them more acceptable.Continue reading

Why are plants green?

This is a frequently posed question, that has no unique or simple answer. Prof. Lars Olof Björn has written a section on this in his book Photobiology: the science of life and light which is much more detailed than this short post. The problem with this question is that its meaning can be different to different persons. I will start by separating different aspects of this question into separate, and better-defined, questions that are easier to answer:Continue reading

photobiology R packages updated

Three packages have had updates:

photobiology (Version 0.2.11)

Mainly speed optimizations, but a couple of functions acquired additional parameters and functionality. All changes are backward compatible.

photobiologyVis (Version 0.1.3)

Modified the wabeband definitions to allow caching of multipliers. No changes to results but a significant speed increase for repeated computations.

photobiologyUV (Version 0.2.4)

Very small changes for consistency of interface. Now all waveband definition functions have a std parameter (even those with only one possible value for it, and have a default value). Changes are backwards compatible.

As usual packages can be downloaded from Buitbucket

SenPEP (Pedro Aphalo’s lab) presentation

SenPEP stands for Sensory Photobiology and Ecophysiology of Plants. Our research group has been active for long, it was born in Suonenjoki in the early 1990’s, moved to Joensuu in 1995, again to Jyväskylä in 2001, and finally to Helsinki in 2006.

Our main research interest is the role of information acquisition by plants and the use of this information during acclimation and for the timing of developmental events. As informational signals are in many cases central to achieving fitness they also must have played and continue to play important roles in evolution.

Possible practical applications are vast, because by manipulating informational signals (e.g. light spectrum, or day length) one can control many plant responses: chemical composition (taste, colour, nutritional value), branching and plant form, timing of flowering, tolerance to physical stress, defenses against pests and diseases, shelf life, etc. Conversely, once the mechanisms of perception and response are understood, it will become easier to manipulate, through breeding, plant responses to informational signals.Continue reading