Goblins, orcs and Uruk Hai: taxonomy and Tolkien

Tolkien knew the value of naming. More than that, he knew the value of understanding and labeling diversity. Tolkien was not satisfied with simply mentioning pipeweed, he needed to mention several varieties (Longbottom Leaf, Old Toby, Southern Star), each with its own properties. I have commented on the subspecies of hobbits that…

Seal of approval: cover story

It’s very hard to explain just how satisfying it is when you finally get a paper published. Whenever a paper finally moves on out into the world and is a tangible thing for someone else to read, is the endgame of something which has usually taken several years from conception,…

From A to B and feeling good: the road less travelled

I am a driver. I want to get from A to B, from one side of the city to the other, in as little time as possible, with as few traffic lights as possible, as well as seeing as much greenery as possible. I am not a cyclist, a walker,…

We are all connected: Next generation ecology salvation

We live in an era of changes, where it is easy to get caught up in the rapidly changing environments. Change is a natural process, and from the early stages of our life we encounter it. For example, communication technology, from pigeon post to the use of internet and social…

Ecology and the future of universities

Lately I have come across several examples of discussion about the future of universities (or rather the lack of a future for universities). There seems to be a couple of main themes. First, if I can do my degree by distance then wouldn’t I be better to get my degree…

On the value of bespoke collections: regional natural history collections are important too!

  Around my home I have several books that I am currently reading. Beside my bed there is TH White’s The Once and Future King (a classic that I am finally getting around to read), Fables 20: Camelot (the only comic series I read these days) and Clive James’s Poetry…

Rowan Emberson: entomologist

Rowan Emberson has been awarded a Lincoln Medal for his services to entomology. Rowan was a senior lecturer in the department when I first started at Lincoln University. He became a valued colleague with several shared postgraduate students that we supervised. To me, Rowan is one of the last gentlemen…