About Lachlan Fetterplace

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Where to publish our next paper? Letter to a group member

Rapha-z-lab

This post was originally published in JUNQ, the Journal of Unsolved Questions.  I thank the editor David Huesmann for his feedback on an earlier version of the manuscript and for the authorization to reproduce it here.


Hi X

Thank you for sending your draft. Really nice work! I will give you more detailed feedback in the next couple of days, but I want to answer now your question about where we should submit our paper.

In the last couple of years, partly because of my involvement in the stripy controversy (more below), I have thought a lot about publishing… and concluded (along with many other people) that the system is absurd, worse, toxic. Public funds are paid to commercial publishers to put publicly-funded research behind paywalls. The (unpaid) hard work of reviewers (which may or may not have led to improvements in the article) remain confidential and does not benefit…

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An encounter with rare ecotype-D orcas

A really interesting and well written piece on ecotype-D orcas

The Xploitation Files

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On May 13, 1955, 17 killer whales washed up on Paraparaumu Beach, New Zealand. The stranding attracted extra attention because of the whales’ strange appearances. Instead of the sleek, streamlined bodies of typical killer whales, these ones had large bulbous foreheads, almost like a pilot whale, and where killer whales generally display large, white eye-patches, these stranded whales had tiny post-ocular eye markings.

For almost 50 years this kind of killer whale was not seen again and therefore considered a genetic anomaly.

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All the orcas of the world are currently still grouped together as one species under the scientific name Orcinus orca and could be considered abundant in the planet’s oceans. A few years ago, this led to a request to delist the southern resident orcas of the Salish Sea as “there were plenty of orcas elsewhere”. Luckily this attempt failed, partly based on what scientists have known for a…

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The tale of the much maligned giant Australian water rat.

A blog from the past that unexpectedly got quite a lot of attention.

fish thinkers

rakali CREDITS : © J Gould © Victoria Museum, http://www.museum.vic.gov.au

Recently whilst pottering around in the backyard I saw what I first thought was a ringtail possum in the undergrowth. That was until it scampered across the open yard at a pace a ringtail could only dream of attaining on the ground. It was the biggest rat I had ever seen and it seems to have taken up residence in the ponds (i.e. bathtubs and containers I have set-up for fish and frogs) in my yard.

Since then I have seen it regularly and it doesn’t look like the rats I usually see in the urban environment; it was huge at around 1.5 kg and it also had a fluffy tail tipped with white and a slightly golden underbelly. I’ve seen these guys before when fishing so after the first good look at it I knew it was a native water…

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The Rapture of the Deep

Squiddled thoughts

DCIM100GOPRODeep diving is something that I am passionate about – especially if it involves a shipwreck. It is a chance for me to push my skills, training and equipment and to explore some of the lesser dived or known sites. However this comes at a considerably higher risk which involves specialised training and equipment to manage safely. One of these risks is Nitrogen Narcosis – aka “the rapture of the deep”. Not a lot is known about the causes of nitrogen narcosis, but it is a narcotic effect brought on by the increased partial pressure of nitrogen in the breathing gas at depth. The threshold for nitrogen narcosis is different for each diver and can even vary dive-to-dive within a diver, depending on many factors. I usually enjoy getting a little “narc’d”. It can be quite euphoric and enjoyable if managed well. Nitrogen narcosis itself is not dangerous, unlike decompression illness, and there are…

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