Friday, 22 April 2011


To start a new project on R-Forge, I've had to starting coming to grips with Subversion, the widely used program for source code versioning. To help me, I've found this tutorial very helpful for learning the "Subversion lifecycle" and the general use of the program. The Subversion book is a wonderful resource, but I'm currently not yet at the stage where my knowledge of the thing is at the level required to understand it properly.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Simplifying polygon shapefiles in R

Recently I downloaded the Crosby Code shapefile from Landcare Research's LRIS server for use in some publications I'm preparing. This shapefile is incredibly detailed, far more so than what I require. This detail means that it takes a while for the map to be plotted each time. As detail is less important for me than speed of plotting, I decided to try and simplify the map.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011


Pseudoscorpions are reasonably common, though inconspicuous, creatures that are found in a range of environments, particularly soil and leaf litter. They are predacious, feeding on things like springtails, bark lice and other invertebrates that they catch with their pedipalps.

I've been interested in pseudoscorpions for quite some time, though I have not yet deliberately retained specimens or allowed myself time to look at them. I recently stumbled across a site that contains a lot of useful information for the budding pseudoscorpion enthusiast. The pseudoscorpion site contains information on how to collect, preserve and identify these usually overlooked creatures.

For those interested in the New Zealand fauna, Max Beier published a key to the species of New Zealand and Norfolk Island in 1976 It is available online here on the Bugz Bibliography of New Zealand Insects Online. Beier also published on the pseudoscorpions of Micronesia, also available on Bugz.

NB: Bugz unfortunately does not provide completely stable URLs for the papers in the database. If the direct links to the papers do not work, search Bugz manually for access to the papers.

Beier M. 1976. The pseudoscorpions of New Zealand, Norfolk and Lord Howe. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 3(3):199-246

Beier M. 1957. Pseudoscorpionida. Insects of Micronesia 3(1):1-64