Friday Recommended Reads #1


Some sites make a habit of using Friday to share links to good reads. I thought I’d try it out. In my typically verbose form, I’ll use plenty of words to put the links in context.

Feel free to use the comments to discuss any of these things, of course.

A newish site by a team of pseudonymous early-career scientists is Tenure, She Wrote. This is very good stuff. Learn what it’s like to launch your career in academia at various stages, including the outrageous crap you have to deal with if you’re a woman. This week was a two part series with infuriating story about an anonymous lecherous student and a sexually harassing dean. In an odd way, the story is a triumph, because the author is such a badass in handling a messed up situation the best possible way.

There was an argument on a variety of sites regarding fundamentalism regarding open access journals. You can find that if you want.

Meanwhile, I pronounce that the winner of the Onion or Not Onion? Award actually goes to the Onion for this editorial.

Earlier in the summer, social insect researcher Phil Starks was asked to write a review of his summer reading material for his university’s glossy alumni magazine. You won’t regret clicking through to read his review of Penguin on Vacation.

There were dueling posts among field ecologists this week: Meg Duffy argued that local field sites are a great way to go and Emilio Bruna wrote in defense of far-flung field sites. We all realize that whatever floats your boat is fine, but there are some good points on both sides, and the comments are interesting as well.

This November, in sunny San Diego, there is going to be a weekend institute designed to prepare people how to Begin a Research Program in the Natural Sciences at a Predominantly Undergraduate Institution. I don’t know what they’ll be doing, but it sounds really cool if you’re in that boat, and I bet the folks with CUR running it are both experienced and savvy.

Lots of academics feel strongly about supporting public education. If you happen to live in an under-supported public school district, then there are a set of challenges and tradeoffs in deciding where to send your kid to school. There was a barn-burning judgmental manifesto by Allison Benedikt about why she sends her kids to public school. Aside from her supposed non-humblebrags and proclivity to be nasty, this is an informative read if you’ve ever wondered why folks like me send their kids to our local public school even though some others in the same economic caste would be terrified at the concept. In a subsequent discussion emerged a great piece by Pat Cahalan that explains exactly what is happening in my own kid’s school, and the forces that shape what makes our school mighty great (one of which is the author himself). He explains what it is about having a certain percentage of middle-class families can matter, in the context of a useful and specific example. There’s so much dogmatic verbiage out there about the public education crisis, but Cahalan cuts straight to a central and under-addressed aspect, with nuance.

You might be an academic careerist if… (I ask you to forgive me for linking to a listicle).

Three science sites that have cool recommended reads on a weekly basis. In no particular order, first is Expicor by Chris Buddle, which comes out on Mondays on Arthropod Ecology. This is some general interest science and academia, with a good dose of spiders. Second is Malcolm Campbell’s Morsels for the Mind, which is surprisingly great considering how long it is every week, and has many broad categories . (Malcolm’s shtick on twitter is to link to lots of particularly cool science stories and he’s definitely worth a follow.) The crew at Dynamic Ecology has Friday Links on, um, Friday. This is mostly for ecologists, often with concepts pulled from other fields like economics, and it’s predictably interesting stuff regardless of your discipline.

Have a great weekend!

5 thoughts on “Friday Recommended Reads #1

  1. Re: the open access journals one, you’ve independently hit on an approach I’ve seen used by other sites. Economics and finance link aggregator sometimes lists “stuff we’re not linking to”. For them, I think it’s a way to show their disapproval of certain things without actually rewarding those things with any click-throughs.

    By the way, my casual googling doesn’t actually find whatever it is you’re referring to (unless there was a bunch of discussion this week about a blog post from back in 2008?). I mention this not to encourage you to add a link, but merely to admit the weakness of my own Google-fu. :-)

  2. Oh, ok, I found it. And now that I have, I’m sorry I did! Should’ve taken your hint and not bothered. #shouldvelistenedtoTerry

    • Well, I see you there plenty, and I’m not even though enough as I should be. And while she’s there, and you’re not, you’re busy enabling it. When I was doing the PTA Board, that only happened because my spouse made that possible, like I make it possible for her to do PEN, and so on. Props to you, and of course, to Kitty.

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