Recommended reads #36

  • One Woman’s Life in Science. This came out almost twenty years ago in the Sigma Xi magazine, but it reads as if could have been written yesterday.
  • The Royal Society awarded 43 fellowships this year. Two of them went to women. At the application stage, shortlist stage, interview stage, and award stage, the proportion of women kept dropping. This is enraging.

  • Catherine Hulshof started a new faculty position in Puerto Rico, and shared some interesting thoughts about the initial ups and downs of the experience.

The question I am compelled to ask, then, is this: why should it take an actual miracle for any bright, motivated, hard-working young person from one of the wealthiest nations in the world to have access to a quality education?

Make no mistake: the luck that befell me was a miracle. A miracle—not a success story. A success story would be if every bright young person from a disadvantaged background had a patron like mine. Better yet: a success story would be for such patronage to be unnecessary.

  • How did I size that last link up as a 40-minute read? The handy-dandy read-o-meter.
  • “How much are you willing to give up to work in a museum?  How much did you give up to work in a museum? I’m not talking about quality of life issues like relocating to a new city, having to explain over and over again, at parties, what a ‘registrar’ is, or spending the day in a windowless cubicle tucked in next to collections storage. I’m talking about cold hard cash.”
  • A paper just came out in Science this week, telling us that previous demographic projections were wrong, and that we will not have a midcentury population peak, but we’ll just get more and more people on this planet as the century progresses.
  • A while ago, I shared with you this amazing short biographic film about A.R. Wallace done with paper puppetry. The same folks are at it again with the story of Leeuwenhoek and it’s an enchanting 6 minutes.
  • There is a student-led protest at Colgate University (in upstate New York) to advocate for a more inclusive and tolerant atmosphere on campus. A steady string of bias-related incidents have inspired the to take over the admissions office and demand real action from the school. So far, admin seems to be responsive. Here’s a short take on it from Colgate alum (I regret linking to the Huffington Post, but that’s where it is). But will it work out? The same damn thing happened 13 years ago, so change obviously isn’t coming quickly to this campus.

At the heart of Green’s exploration is a powerfully simple idea: that teaching is not some mystical talent but a set of best practices that can be codified and learned through extensive hands-on coaching, self-scrutiny, and collaboration. Yet her account suggests that implementing this vision may entail a bigger transformation than she quite realizes.

  • I’m on the editorial board for Biotropica, and though papers are published in English, we publish second abstracts in the native language of the place where the work was conducted. Even when the language is Melanesian pidgin.
  • On Theory in Ecology. Or, essentially: “Theory. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” That’s not an actual quote from this paper, though.

For some links, thanks to Kate Clancy, Jenny Morber, Bjørn Østman, and Timothee Poisot.

2 thoughts on “Recommended reads #36

  1. Terry, thanks for the shout-out about Biotropica’s multi-lingual abstracts. I went and checked and this month was amazing: in addition to the English abstracts we had abstracts in Bahasa Indonesia, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, Melanesian Pidgin, Swahili, and French. Awesome.

    Thanks also for a ton of stuff to read this weekend!

  2. Terry, Another intriguing list of reads. The Berkeley work on Student Evlauations of Teaching does not really add anything new but it does give validation to arguments I have been making on my campus for a few years now. Unfortunately, administrators often know nothing about statistics yet they still put a lot of blind faith into these instruments.

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