Author Archives: dublinsoil

About dublinsoil

Professor of Environmental Science

Konrad Lorenz and Nazism

by Liam Heneghan In 1973 Konrad Lorenz, Niko Tinbergen and Karl von Frisch were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology.  In the awards ceremony Professor Börje Cronholm of the Royal Karolinska Institute identified ethology, behavioral physiology in his words, … Continue reading

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Spat out of Nature by Nature: Konrad Lorenz and the Rise and Fall of Ethology

Jackdaws (Corvus monedula), widespread crows throughout Ireland, make delightful pets.  A school friend of mine in Dublin, Sean Farrell, kept one for a few months back in the late 1970s when we were both in our early teens.  The bird had broken … Continue reading


On Balance, a Battle: Simberloff (vs. Grene) vs. Odum on the Greek Roots of Ecosystem Ecology’s Enduring Appeal

Recently I wrote about Eugene Odum’s ecosystem concept.  Its motto is that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”  Odum’s view that natural ecosystems were integrated wholes which developed in a manner that parallels the development of … Continue reading

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Trees behaving badly

by Liam Heneghan To James White, botanist and teacher. Though you might forgivably mistake a man for a tree at the level of gross morphology, nevertheless, a tree undeniably dwells in place whereas a person’s home is born in motion.  … Continue reading

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Dude, your evolutionary theory just ate my philosophy – Leopold and the evolutionary possibility of a Land Ethic

Somebody somewhere at this moment is writing a reverential essay about Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic.  I feel a little ungenerous, I admit, to write in less than enthusiastic tones.  It seems to me though that if the land ethic, Leopold’s … Continue reading

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The Ecology of Knowledge: Ecological Resilience and the Structure of Scientific Revolutions

As students of science we have all, no doubt, absorbed the lessons from the history of our disciplines that changes in thinking tend not to be meted out incrementally. The Darwinian and Wallacean account of evolutionary change through natural selection … Continue reading

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George Perkins Marsh – Master of Footnotes

George Perkins Marsh (1801–1882), a polymath and polyglot, was born in Woodstock, Vermont and was a lawyer, congressman, and a US envoy to the Ottoman Empire and later to Italy, where he died.  One of the better known scholars of … Continue reading

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It’s Mumford Time! Environmental Icarine Writers and the verification of spectacular claims

The case of the monastic clock and the invention of capitalism. Fashioning an intellectual life is like unraveling a wooly sweater in reverse where instead of picking at a loose thread or two and witnessing the garment come asunder, one … Continue reading

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The Irish Pre-famine Population

A couple of days ago I posted on Ken Connell, the Irish economic and social historian whose conclusions about the Irish population before the Great Famine remains influential and controversial.  I posted a longer piece on the topic at 3quarksdaily…  … Continue reading

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Professor K H Connell (1917-1973) and Irish Pre-Famine Population Statistics

I have been spending a good bit of the past week thinking about Irish pre-famine population statistics.  I am hoping it will be a good case-study for students in the coming months as teaching gets going again.  I will also … Continue reading

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