Getting Started with Spatial Modeling Environment

UPDATE: This attempt has been abandoned at the advice of one of the SME developers. R was suggested as an alternative.

Sometime this week I hope to get the Spatial Modeling Environment up and running on at least one of my computers (office Windows 7 PC, Macbook Pro OS X Snow Leopard, or Ubuntu 12.04(?) in VirtualBox), but I’m posting this as a shoutout to anyone who has attempted this before: the README is pretty technical, and I could use some help.

This is also a note to developers (even if they are scientists) who write “user-friendly,” “icon-based” software and then make you jump through command line hoops to install it. Stop it. What are you trying to accomplish? The more people who can install your software, the more people will use it, and the better it will become.

I don’t think I’m being unnecessarily harsh. Luckily, I really want to use this software and I’m fairly comfortable following detailed specifications and dealing with the command line, but there are others who aren’t. Hopefully I can follow the directions and install this software and use it for my dissertation; hopefully I can put together some sort of installation tutorial that is clearer than the README; and hopefully this will help someone in the future.

P.S. I’m working through Landscape Simulation Modeling this week as well, and I’m pretty pumped to try SME. How’s that for an endorsement?

Conservationist, continued

“It is not restoration to introduce animals that were never here,” says University of Washington anthropologist Donald K. Grayson.

“Lions would be a harder sell, particularly to the elk herds that already live there.
‘Lions eat people,’ Mr. Donlan, the Cornell graduate student, says. ‘There has to be a pretty serious attitude shift on how you view predators.’ “

Lions on the plains would alter order of the food chain�-�Nation/Politics�-�The Washington Times, America’s Newspaper