Archive for the ‘Humour’ Category

Just because it sounded too good not to mention it. A taxonomy of coauthor species.

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I just happen to blog in English mostly, a choice that pushes the relevance of Seeds Aside far outside the native French blogosphere (given the French dismal disability at other languages). At the cost of relevance too, since I have no grip at any specific audience (and botany is mostly for people who want to marry), no specific communication goal nor am I interested in modern issues (well, beyond real life interactions, and that’s fair enough). So if you’re reading this and were not looking for some stuff on internet because of homework for tomorrow, that basically means you’re a friend of mine. (If we’re not yet, please consider we are by now).

So, English was a choice toward internationality. Which resulted in an American leaning readership. (A gross two-third of people passing by.) (A little bit of stalking let me know their* six “regular” readers, but I’d rather substract two best friends and my partner, and I happen to have lost the main reader three years ago).

Then, since I also take life as a random walk, interesting things happen. (more…)

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You’ll find below a shortlist of gems from students’ final. The exam occured already a few years ago so I guess it is enough anonymous now to be posted (and which student would revendicate paternity for a gem?). These quotes are out of context, so sometimes they appear even funnier. Some are cute, some are really unfortunate. (I personally think they do not necessarily reflect upon students qualities, since some of these were taken out of quite good works.)

These gems are mostly revolving around the concept of randomness & sampling (sampling plant species with a grid in meadows). I suspect this year one professor messed things out, so maybe we shouldn’t go stone students for what they wrote… (shocked? people used to stone each other for fairly smaller outrages in the past, didn’t they?).

Without delay, here are the gems:

  • “Random sampling is by definition random, but human beings cannot have a random reasonning.”

    Obviously they can! (more…)

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Voici une petite liste de perles de copies d’étudiants pour un examen d’Ecologie des Communautés. L’examen en question remonte à plusieurs années, donc ce sera suffisamment anonyme et je pense que peu d’étudiants viendraient réclamer la paternité d’une perle de leur copie. Bien sûr, les perles sont prises hors de leur contexte, donc l’effet de décalage est accru, mais il y a bien quelque chose qui prête à sourire (parce que les perles peuvent être mignonnes bien sûr), voire littéralement à rire (malheureusement, l’étudiant n’est pas toujours au meilleur de sa forme au moment où il passe un examen).

Les perles en question gravitent beaucoup autours de l’aléatoire et de ses conséquences en statistiques. Visiblement, il y a eu un cafouillage dans les enseignements cette année là.

Bon, sans plus attendre, les perles:

  • L’échantillonnage aléatoire est par définition aléatoire, or l’être humain n’est pas capable d’avoir un « raisonnement » aléatoire.

    Visiblement, si! (more…)

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Amazonia. If you want chickens, there are several possibilities. One is to go to the next grocery, one that have a freezer (that is, at least a medium size grocery), and buy there a frozen chicken. You may also buy a live one to your neighbour, but that’s more expensive and you have to kill it yourself (and pluck and empty the beast, that’s more work but it’s not impossible).

Or there’s the other way. I’m going to tell you… (more…)

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Buds and ends

In plants, buds differ in size and that matters.

If you want a way to illustrate how buds length varies between plants using pictures, than you’ll have to use anything worth calibrating. For example, insects would.

So is this what one would call scale bugs?

Scale Bug (Poss) (Pulvinaria regalis)
Originally uploaded by Eco Heathen

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So here are a few gems from a student exam in Plant Morphology class (Anonymity is entirely respected since this is not mine anyway).  I acknowledge that this is a rather ‘private’  post since many (lay) readers may not spot the issue  or the joke in these answers to the test. I tried to add the basic background information needed to decipher the joker within. Let’s keep in mind that students are supposed to learn  and understand their lesson and a lower treshold in the basics is expected. It is, I think, legitimate to have a good laugh when the mistake is abysmal. Most of these gems are entertaining or cute, to a teacher (though they might drive them to despair). Anyway, some students do have a clear preference (not to say a strong bias already) towards animals but must take the class (it is not optional). It certainly doesn’t reflect their biological level but most likely their (lack of) interest in plant biology.

Warning: some jokes may be lost in translation…


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Voici une série de perles issues de copies d’étudiants pour un examen de biologie végétale. Il est presque impossible que ces perles fassent rire les lecteurs généralistes qui n’ont pas de formation en biologie des plantes, les perles sont donc suivies d’un commentaire aidant le non-spécialiste à comprendre les erreurs grossières ou subtilement amusantes de ces copies. Gardons à l’esprit que les étudiants sont supposés travailler un minimum leurs cours, et qu’en conséquence il est parfaitement acceptable d’être moqueur à leur égard. Finalement, ce cours n’est pas optionnel, et la majorité des étudiants ont déjà un biais affirmé envers la biologie végétale. Ces perles ne reflètent probablement pas le niveau des étudiants mais plutôt leur absence d’intérêt pour la gente photosynthétique…


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According to the ID theory (we’re really in need to put things in, given the almost empty basis proponents are leaving us with –don’t forget that it’s also an open minded theory according to Pratchett’s definition), all things natural should directly point out, not only as to how perfectly designed creatures are, but also as to how their wonderful behaviour is designed. Based on this assumption, Seeds Aside just keeps noticing just how far certain natural behaviours require further explanation under an ID view of life… Here are we back for this single but recurrent observation, so… ID proponentsists (or the other creationist kinds), any word about it?

Peruphasma schultei, mating triplet

Peruphasma schultei, mating triplet (!)

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