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Monday, 21 January 2019

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Explanation of grading

Today (I want my weekends back...) I have explained grading of three exam papers in Examen Philosophicum at Department of social studies.

Friday, 18 January 2019

"The ethics of laying hen genetics" revised

Today I have revised - or rather read and commented on - the newest version of our article "The ethics of laying hen genetics", which has Mia Fernyhough as first author.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

To be featured in commercial on wolf theme

Yesterday I was interviewed by phone on the Norwegian wolf conflict by Filter Media, in preparation of a commercial made for the WWF.

Interview on wolf conflict with me and Witoszek aired in Verdibørsen

Yesterday NRK P2´s Verdibørsen featured a half-hour long interview/conversation with Nina Witoszek and myself, titled "Hvorfor vekker den norske ulven så sterke følelser?" (Why is the Norwegian wolf evoking so strong emotions?). Journalist Karen Frivik did the asking etc.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Monday, 14 January 2019

Abstract for 6th code biology conference

I have submitted an abstract to the 6th code biology conference, to be held in Germany in June. The abstract is based on my published article "The search image as link between sensation, perception and action".

Abstract for world congress of semiotics: "Umwelt futurology: What can be known about future Umwelten?"

I have just written and submitted the abstract below to the organizers of the 14th world congress of semiotics, to be held in Buenes Aires, Argentina in September.


Umwelt futurology: What can be known about future Umwelten?

In the article “Umwelt trajectories” (Tønnessen 2014: 159) I defined an Umwelt trajectory as “the course through evolutionary (or cultural) time taken by the Umwelt of a creature, as defined by its changing relations with the Umwelten of other creatures.” The article also featured “a prolegomenon to Umwelt futurology, the study of future Umwelt trajectories” (ibid.). In this presentation I will take another step towards development of Umwelt futurology.

The notion of Umwelt trajectories builds on a relational understanding of living beings. An underlying premise is that when our lives change, it is chiefly due to changing relations to others. This might imply novel relations, broken relations, or relations that undergo fundamental or more superficial change. 

Umwelt theory, first developed by Jakob von Uexküll (1864-1944), has for the most part been applied in the study of currently living organisms. However, from a methodological point of view, it is also suitable for studies of past and future Umwelten, though this requires some modifications of the theoretical outlook. It also implies a greater degree of uncertainty or margin of error than studies of contemporary Umwelten.

Classical Umwelt theory relies on a combined study of physiology and observed behavior. In the study of future Umwelten (as well as past Umwelten), the physiology of a specific organism may be only partially known, and its behavior cannot be observed. The reason why we still can have some knowledge about future Umwelten, is that it is not the case that “anything goes” in the design of Umwelten. For a start, von Uexküll refers to four near-universal functional cycles, which are in operation in most organisms, and of these four, two must be assumed to be universal. This concerns the functional cycle of food, and that of the medium. In other words, any organism relates to something specific as food, and to something specific as its medium. All organisms with sexual reproduction furthermore operate with the functional cycle of the (sexual) partner, and all organisms capable of enmity with the functional cycle of the enemy. 

Assertions such as these constitute the “minimal Umwelt” with its basic features. The realm of the possible is further constrained by possible variations in physiology, the physiochemical conditions on Earth, and our astronomical circumstances concerning radiation, gravity, the composition of our atmosphere etc. Seen in context with various forecasts of future developments, this provides us with sufficient factual premises for outlining a workable Umwelt futurology. Key sources include forecasts from Earth Systems Science and climate modelling, as well as long-term economic and demographic forecasts.

While there are unavoidably several “unknowns” in the study of future Umwelten, there is also quite a lot that we can know with a substantial degree of certainty. Future Umwelten of particular theoretical interest include the Umwelten of new species, animal GMOs, resurrected species, and the human Umwelt.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Read in 2018

In 2018, I logged having read some 6.709 pages of academic literature.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Verdibørsen interview on Norwegian wolf conflict

Today I was interviewed, along with Nina Witoszek, by journalist Karen Frivik for another episode of NRK P2´s Verdibørsen, on the Norwegian wolf conflict.

Council of Animal Ethics statement on embryo transfer in cattle forthcoming

Today Norway´s Council of Animal Ethics finished negotiating the final wording of a statement on embryo transfer in cattle, after I made suggestions for revisions some days ago. The statement will be released shortly.

One and a half meeting

Today I have attended half a meeting concerning the establishment of a network for welfare research, plus the New Year reception of University of Stavanger´s Network for gender research, for which I am now chair of the board in my new capacity as Vice-Dean of research.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Interviewed on wolf conflict on NRK Rogaland´s "Lokalen"

Today I was interviewed live on regional public radio, on NRK P1 Rogaland´s program "Lokalen", on the Norwegian wolf conflict, with an introduction to the topic and advice on what to do if you encounter a wolf in the wild. Available here (today; tomorrow here). I was interviewed by journalists Einar Espeland and Mari Friestad.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Two meetings today

First, my first faculty leadership group meeting at Faculty of social sciences, in my new capacity as Vice-Dean of research, and then a planning meeting for a forthcoming "fagdag" (academic day) at the faculty, in February. 

Full professor application evaluation delayed

I have been informed that the evaluation committee that considers my application for full professor promotion has asked for more time to finish their work. They now plan to finish by mid-March.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Live interview on wolf conflict aired on Politisk kvarter

This morning I was interviewed live on NRK P2´s program "Politisk kvarter", on the wolf conflict. The pretext for the program was that there is an anti-wolf demonstration in Oslo today, with hundreds if not thousands of people coming from the countryside to take part. The program also featured debate between Kristina Hegge (representative for a farmer´s organization, Norges Bondelag) and Atle Hamar (deputy minister, Ministry of Climate and  environment - Social Liberal Party). I was introduced as philosopher with a PhD on a wolf theme, and as a "mytejeger og ulveforsker" (myth hunter and wolf researcher).

The program is available here.

New office, at Ellen og Axel Lunds hus

Today I have moved into my office as Vice-Dean of Research at University of Stavanger´s Faculty of Social Sciences (office EAL-H-144). I will also be using my "old" office in Kjell Arholms hus.

Friday, 4 January 2019

First Vice-Dean of Research decisions

Today I took my first formal decisions as Vice-Dean of Research at University of Stavanger´s Faculty of Social Sciences. This involved admitting two PhD students for the faculty´s PhD program.

ERC grant application work

Yesterday I spent most of the work day working on my ERC Consolidator Grant application. This included advice by phone from an involved consultant. It turns out that I am the only one from UiS planning to submit in this round.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

New routine for sake of sanity and focussed work and spare time

New work routine now that I am Vice-Dean of Research: No email in evenings and weekends, unless I am urgently contacted by phone.

Started as Vice-Dean for Research; briefing

Today I have had a first meeting with Håvard Hansen in relation to my new function as Vice-Dean for research at University of Stavanger´s Faculty of Social Sciences. I officially started in this function today, with Håvard being my predecessor.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Work hours logged in 2018

In 2018 I logged some 2955,5 work hours. This results in a weekly all-year average of 56,7 hours - the most since 2012 (when I became a father). 

The most significant repriorization concerned quitting elected positions in the Green Party of Norway, bringing time spent on research back to normal, and spending more time on book projects than ever before in the time covered (starting with 2009) - namely 20% of my work hours. I have also spent slightly more time on my role as Editor-in-Chief of Biosemiotics, after I took over as Main EiC this last summer.

430 blog posts in 2018

In 2018 I posted 430 posts in this academic (b)log of mine. This is on level with the previous years.