Monday, 27 February 2012

Asian weevil photos

Idly searching the wilds of the internet last night, I came across a couple of places with rather nice photos of Malaysian weevils.

OrionMystery has collated a number of his best weevil photos, with a couple more on the ShutterAsia forum.

Liewwk has also made up a dedicated weevil gallery on his Flickr page.

Both these photographers have some really good shots on offer, so check them out.

New Guinea Botanist position at Kew

The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew is one of the most venerable and respected institutions for botanical research worldwide, and now they're wanting someone to work on the flora of New Guinea. Once completed, this project will be a valuable addition to our knowledge of one of the world's richest rainforest habitats. However, it will be interesting to see how they work in with current projects providing information on the trees of Papua New Guinea.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Python programming for dividing PDF files

Recently, a project I was involved with required me to split a PDF into multiple files. While the pdfpages package of LaTeX could be used to do this, it would be fairly unwieldly. What I wanted was a program that could be used from the command line. A scout around revealed a StackOverflow question that resolved a similar question using python. It was fairly straightforward to modify this code to create a program that did exactly what I needed. The result is hosted on GitHub.

This was my first practical experience with python, and I guess it's testament to the quality of the language's documentation that it didn't take long before I got something useful.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

South Pacific Biodiversity Science funders

The following is a list of organisations that provide funding for biodiversity and conservation science, whose scope includes the South Pacific region.

American Museum of Natural History: Research and Fellowships

The American Museum of Natural History offers academic fellowships and research grants in biology, ecology, zoology, wildlife conservation, paleontology, anthropology, and some fields of the physical sciences.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Missing \endcsname error in LaTeX

One of the most annoying errors when compiling LaTeX documents is "! Missing \endcsname inserted." It seems to occur at random, and means little or nothing to people such as myself who haven't got into the guts of TeX.

Today I faced it as I tried to create a new function that used a counter I had created. Writing the function was fine, using it in the text was fine, but when I came to put it into a \paragraph{} or \subsection{}. Thankfully, I didn't have to struggle with it too long before some lucky searching brought me across this LaTeX Community forum page. Changing \newcommand{\newname}[1]{...} to \DeclareRobustCommand{\newname}[1]{...} did the trick. My new command worked like a charm in the sectioning commands.