Tag Archives: biology


Nature software

Hmmm, looking at the credits on an episode of planet earth, I don’t see any credits for software/IT support staff. I’m sure there _is_ some, but the fact that it’s uncredited probably indicates that there isn’t as much computing going on in the production of such a series as there ought to be. I can think of lots of ways that software and computing infrastructure could support efficient production, insightful exploration of A/V materials and data, exceptional editing, etc., and I’m sure that current off-the-shelf software can’t be doing everything that can be done there.

So, if anyone reading this is a nature documentary producer, I’ve got two requests of you: produce lots and lots more content on the level of quality of planet earth (even a level or two lower quality would still be great), and talk to me about how to make more and better stuff through software magic.


“Parasite Rex”

Parasite Rex (LOC, Amazon) by Carl Zimmer was a great read. I never really got a good introduction to parasites in my previous studies in biology, so I was greatly enlightened about their vast diversity and importance to life on earth. I was particularly struck by the new view of evolution that one gets when considering the intertwined life-cycles of parasites and their hosts.

Not surprisingly, it’s full of descriptions of processes that’ll make the worms under your skin crawl, so don’t bother if you’re squeamish about that. I have to admit that I (not very squeamish) felt a bit itchy when reading it, at times… All in good fun, though.

Here’s a parasite story on Zimmer’s blog that gives you a taste of some of the stories in the book.