How should we be selecting our grad students? This study indicates that we shouldn’t be looking at stuff like general GRE scores, GPA, and the fanciness of the undergraduate institution. Well, duh. But it’s nice to have numbers to point to your graduate committee when you go to bat for a great student that they don’t want to pick.
Undergraduate tokenism at its finest, from the good people of Nature.
From Black Geoscientists (tagline: Geology isn’t just for crazy white people!), “What’s with all the blackity-black blackness all the time?!”
A guide to Bayesian model selection for ecologists. “Our aim with this guide is to condense the large body of literature on Bayesian approaches to model selection and multimodel inference and present it specifically for quantitative ecologists as neutrally as possible.” Another interesting this about this paper is that it has just two authors, but six institutional affiliations. Huh?
Here is a very short and very forcefully on-point argument about why academics need to spend time engaging the public to shape policy.
This obituary for Colleen McCullough, neurophysiologist and author, tells a fascinating life story.
Here is a blog about people in R1 universities who are teaching at teaching-centered institutions to learn how to teach better. It’s been around for six months, but I just caught wind of it. It’s really mighty awesome stuff. Here’s hoping for more of the same for good long while, and lots of great work coming from that end.
Here is a short article in Scientific American that explains the details of the absolutely horrific, and totally avoidable, disaster of the Nicaraguan Canal that is in progress. The article doesn’t mention how this is a Chinese canal, and how this is one piece of a big overall strategy of the Chinese government to become the primary economic force in Central America. I’m not saying the Monroe Doctrine is a good thing, but it’s interesting that people don’t seem to be noticing that it’s no longer in operation.
Can a tenured professor lose his job because of what he says on his blog? Apparently, yes. I’m not shedding any tears for him, though I am concerned about the effects of his actions on others. Something that hasn’t cropped up in this conversation, as far as I am aware, is the fact that he was tenured at a private religious institution, in which there is little to no transparency about retention and tenure policies. If he was unionized, I wonder if he’d be able to keep his job despite his horrible behavior. The mechanism that allowed the university to strip his tenure could also allow the university to do the same thing to a professor who did precisely the right thing but pissed off the wrong person. That he lost his job? Not a bad thing. The specific policy that allowed it? Hmmm.
this is what p-hacking looks like. (Beware: Don’t click through unless you are equipped to travel paragraph after paragraph through a desert bereft of capitalization.)
In defense of the p-value. This comes to you from Scientist Sees Squirrel, Stephen Heard’s new blog which has lots of good insights on perennial topics, brings up new important ones, and is really interesting and entertaining and deserves a big start.
In the last 15 years, ecologists have shifted from simple ANOVA models with a couple independent variables to models with 5-8 terms. Is this messed up, is it helping us discover new things? What should you be doing? A very interesting read, and, as always at Dynamic Ecology, don’t forget overlook the comments.
Swirl. “swirl teaches you R programming and data science interactively, at your own pace, and right in the R console!” I haven’t used it, it just looks interesting and user-friendly. Just passing word along. And like everything related to R, it’s free and open, of course.
If you’re interviewing for jobs, have you ever wondered or worried whether the order of interviews reflects initial rankings or final outcomes? Well, it probably doesn’t.
Last month, the groundbreaking Leopold Leadership Foundation picked 20 researchers as 2015 Leopold Leadership Fellows. Congratulations to them! I have no doubt that all of the Fellows are deserving of the honor and opportunity. I mentioned in November that they had a history of failing to include scientists from teaching-centered institutions. This year, the pattern remains, as just one new Fellow comes from a teaching-centered institution. (I didn’t apply, so I don’t have sour grapes about this.) I don’t know if they are failing to recruit applications from excellent environmental researchers at teaching-centered institutions, or if they are actively choosing against them. I do hope they make an effort next time around. It’s hard to lead from a position of exclusivity.
Important and Valid Point: Vilifying Parents Who Don’t Vaccinate Their Kids Is Counterproductive
Counterpoint: The Anti-Vaccine Movement Should Be Ridiculed, Because Shame Works, with a dissection of the difference between guilt and shame.
A grimly hilarious illustration: I’m an Anti-Braker
A study in Harvard used GoPros to track actual lecture attendance in nine different courses, and finds that students skip class a lot. Here’s a presentation with the data.
Scientists need more non-scientist friends. This, so much.
Claussen pickles are crazy good. I attempted this facsimile, which comes close enough for me. Who would have thought they have fennel, cinnamon and allspice among everything else in there?
for links, thanks to Darren Boehning, Amelia Chapman, David Clark, Meg Duffy, Tugrul Giray, Karen Lips, Loreall Pooler, Neil Tsutsui.