Recommended reads #39


There’s a site named Shit My Reviewers Say. Which has a bunch of heartless and unsubstantiated zingers that folks discover in their reviews. There are a several gems.

Wayne Maddison wrote a wonderful, brief obituary for Herbert Walter Levi, “one of the grand arachnologists of the 20th century.”

There was an absurdly absurd op-ed in the New York Times that explained to us that all of the sexism problems in science are fixed. This was based on data from an not-yet-in-print paper in a social science journal. I’ll spare you reading it, but I do think the response from Emily Willingham is worth your time.

You don’t have to be astronomist to appreciate and benefit from the good stuff in the Women in Astronomy blog. It’s really well done, it’s interesting, it’s useful, it’s frequently updated, and it’s chock-full of positivity.

There’s all kind of advice about applying for faculty jobs. But it’s all directed at Assistant Professor positions, and looking to move to an Associate Professor position is a whole other beast. Karen Kelsky has lots of useful thoughts, if you’re thinking of moving on post-tenure. I found it to be really useful, and wish I read it a couple months ago.

Faculty ranked teaching methods in terms of effectiveness, and it turns out that the prevailing methods that they are using are the ones that they believe to be the least effective. That merits either a Huh!? Or a Sigh. That comes from the Faculty Focus, which is consistently interesting and focused on research-based approaches to teaching well.

Why would someone steal the world’s rarest water lily from inside Kew Gardens? A good, longish, and well-investigated story from The Guardian.

The downsides of networking:

As you are more and more networked as an individual scholar, you are able to share ideas with colleagues who have similar interests. You can learn from these colleagues, and that, in turn, will foster innovation. This is conventional wisdom and is consistent with why we ought to go to conferences, read other people’s work, and so on. But eventually, high connectedness can stifle innovation via two mechanisms…

As us USians are now about to experience a wholly anti-science congressional agenda by leaders who vehemently argue that climate change is a hoax, we might reflect by looking at the obituary for Joan Quigley, who died a couple weeks ago. I didn’t really appreciate how much the agenda of the Reagan administration was controlled by an astrologist, and this obit really explains how fucked up things really were.

You might have heard that former darling of the Canadian media, Jian Ghomeshi, just became known for being a creepy letch and criminally violent with his sex partners. There are lots of places to read about that. I found this reflection by Carl Wilson to be interesting and provocative. He was writing about the fact that Ghomeshi’s abuses were widely known, extending beyond the point of mere rumor, in his “Toronto scene,” but nobody said or did anything for a long time. How and why is that, and who, if anybody, is to blame?

You also might have been one of the 34 million people directly exposed to the youtube video by the anti-street harassment organization Hollaback, that showed a woman walking through New York City was consistently catcalled by an assortment of malevolent men. Again, it’s easy to find lots of things to read about this video, especially by people who were concerned about racist intentions, or non-intentions, of the creators. Zeynep Tufekci puts misdirected responses into context very well: “Hollaback and Why Everyone Needs Better Research Methods – And Why All Data Needs [sic] Theory.”

Last week, Ambika Kamath and two colleagues put together a workshop about making science more welcoming for women and minorities, and wrote a blog post about it.

Kelsey Reider goes back to her Andean glacier field site after one year and gets a surprise. To “move at a glacial pace” now means something really different than it used to.

Stacey Patton compiled a list of microaggressive quotes from academics.

The wonderful natural history site Corner of the Cabinet has put together an annotated list of iPhone apps for naturalists. If I wanted to be annoying, I could say that the list is well “curated,” but it’s just a website.

Early career academics would be better off working in ‘less prestigious’ unis, says an anonymous academic in The Guardian. Umm, the fact that the author wasn’t even comfortable to write without anonymity doesn’t really provide much hope for folks like me those universities. Wait, by writing about these issues I’m going to marginalize myself even further? Egads. Maybe I really stepped in it a couple days ago when I pointed out on twitter that all but a couple of the Leopold Leadership Fellows have not come from research-focused institutions, and it’s pretty darn clear that they aren’t particularly concerned about including someone from a university like mine.

On the farce of mandated ethics training, from Good Enough Professor

For the Love of Field Biology.

From Beth Haas: “Those who can, do. Those who can explain, teach.” The rest of her blog is mighty mighty, by the way.

How about we as a community prepare far in advance for next year’s Taxonomist Appreciation Day on March 19, 2015?!?! Taxonomy is the foundation of pretty much everything done in biology and the people who do this critical work need to be celebrated. Who’s on board with making more specific plans, public outreach, and media stuff? Natural history collections are the ones receiving the praise, and nobody likes baking the cake for their own party, after all. So, let’s get biology departments, students, other scientists, and museum professionals on board.

For links, thanks to Pat Cahalan, Malia Fincher, Francois Gould, Morgan Jackson, Andrea Phillott, and Bruce McGlynn who brought in the newspaper on a chillier morning this week.