Recommended Reads #53


You know the spam from fake conferences and predatory journals? Wouldn’t it be interesting if someone collected those emails for a whole year and studied them?

If you’ve ever assessed whether ΔAIC>2 you have done something that is mathematically close to p>0.05.” Brian McGill has a spot-on lament about how AIC isn’t being used as it was originally intended, and how it hasn’t really improved the ability to infer things in ecology.

An argument for more blinded and impartial experiments in Ecology, from a paper in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. But really, we can’t look at the Frontiers journal series to learn about impartiality and unbiased science. (Keep in mind this story, though, is brought to you from Science about a journal affiliated with Nature. But it appears the facts are facts and this wasn’t originally broken by Science.)

Congrats! You have an all male panel! The ‘road to tenure’ one is particularly rich.

Life is truly amazing and its capacity to surprise us seems to be limitless. A tremendous story about wharf borers. If you like natural history, you’ll love this.

On a related note, the opah is warm-blooded.

Harry Greene shared his three tips about how to become a naturalist.

Meg Duffy explains why she’s “out” as a mom in science.

What ecology labs do you remember from when you were a student?

What, specifically, can institutions and people actually do to foster equity for women in science? This is a great list.

Girls With Toys. Kudos to Kate Clancy.

Telling men with a gender bias to grow a pair.

What’s up the women-in-science all the time in these links? This is why.  This is a powerful read.

UC Santa Cruz doesn’t support student activism like they used to.

On the origin of Moore’s Law.

Theory in population biology, or biologically inspired mathematics?

Why grant funding should be spread thinly.

“Kid who got in to every Ivy League school is going to the University of Alabama — and it’s a brilliant decision” Meanwhile, I’m thinking, that’s a lot of applications to fill out. Looks like he’s ready for the academic job market!

“Research and practical experience suggest that focusing on continual improvement of teaching is more effective than imitating best practices.”

Saving paper by spending time — a switch to electronic grading.

A paper in PNAS from several months ago had some fundamental errors in how the data were handled, leading to an unsupported conclusion. And the person who detected this error shared it on twitter, with a detailed figure showing the error. And the authors who got called out on twitter are upset. It violates “social norms” they say. Huh? I suppose they could have written a letter to the editor, waited to go back and forth and all that. Or they could just be more open with their findings and share it immediately.

There was an frustratingly myopic thinkpiece in the New York Times discussing what it means to be a professor. It yearned for the good ol’ days when students were better students and professors were inspirational and weren’t focused on customer service. And lots more bullshit like that. There have been a lot of responses, and the ones that I read and liked were from Kevin Gannon and Melonie Fullick. The one from Daniel Drezner is okay, too.

Has a rich donor asked your Dean to fire you? If you work at the University of Oklahoma, that might be the case.

About procrastination.

A scientific paper studying the travel traumas of Tintin.

I mentioned in the last rec reads that the University of Western Australia gave a fancy position and lots of money to anti-environmental wackadoodle Bjorn Lomborg. It turns out they changed their mind. Protest sometimes works.

I’ve talked with other writers who’ve had experiences with Wired. My experience is not unique. So as far as I can tell, they don’t cover the future. They produce a white male fantasy of the future. Which isn’t surprising. But I’m still allowed to be disappointed. Because for awhile there, I thought someone was telling me, “If you have something to say, you have the platform.” And I was going to take it.

Stuffheads like this make professors look bad. But there are people out there to redeem us, like this.

If you’re a bloggery person, then this from Claire Potter about her ten years of blogging might interesting.

5 things every data scientist should know about Excel.” Those aren’t my own words, for what it’s worth.

Stacey Patton, who always writes great things, discusses teaching evaluations.

How to convince a libertarian to support aggressive action to limit carbon pollution.

A tediously accurate scale model of the solar system. A lesson in scale, and visualizing data, and beauty.

Do university really want their professors to be public scholars? Really?

The messy business of deciding what math biologists take in college. There are a lot of biology professors who think that statistical literacy is secondary. This drives me nuts.

“For the love of God, rich people, stop giving Ivy League colleges money.” A thing that I wrote related to this is here.

An introduction to behavioral economics, or why people don’t make rational sense.

As summer rolls around, this story about vacation, kids, work, and parenting might sound familiar. In some communities, when kids get out of school, it’s really hard on the parents.

4 thoughts on “Recommended Reads #53

  1. Just a note to say that I really appreciate the compilation of extremely thought-provoking links you provide every other week. I always look forward to (every other) Friday. Cheers

  2. Amongst the many great things that American culture has given the world, words such as “wackadoodle” and “stuffhead” rank highly, in my opinion! Great set of links, thanks Terry. The piece about the role of (and support for) public scholars was particualrly interesting and brought to mind a recent post about biodiversity scientists’ engagement with wider public debates that I’d hoped would generate more comments and discussion, so I’ll provide a link here:

  3. Thanks so much for the nice comments! And Jeff, off to read your post that had slipped my attention.

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