Recommended reads #68


A lecture from the lectured. This is a superb piece from students responding to that op-ed piece in the New York Times, which said that lecturing is all that and a bag of chips, whereas active learning stinks like poo.

Why your students forgot everything on your powerpoint slides.

Ten easy ways you can support diversity in academia.

An astrophysicist at Caltech, who sexually harassed his own students, was put on unpaid leave with additional major consequences. The story about what he did is flabbergasting. He fired his own student because he fell in love with her:

These are texts from the sexual harasser to his graduate student; the image is from the linked Buzzfeed article.

While we’re on the topic of serial sexual harassment in Astronomy, Geoff Marcy was good enough to release all of the documents associated with his case at UC Berkeley. The devil, perhaps near-literally, is in the details.

Why Stephen Henn left NPR. (Listenership of not-old-people is dropping, and NPR needs to up their podcast game or something?)

This is one of the most cogent arguments for “open science” sensu lato. I’m not a fan of lumping together a diverse set of issues under that single label. Some distinct issues in “open science” include the visibility and accessibility of code in statistical software, the dissemination of data, and the funding models of academic journals. These all have divergent challenges and solutions. But hey, like I said, this is a good argument against “closed practice.”

Here’s a short primer for scientists who should know about applying for grants from NSF but it hasn’t been on your radar.

Here’s a peek into what is happening on the search committee at the Harvard University Center for Systems Biology. Spoiler: the applicant pool is mostly white men. At least one person involved in the process actually noticed and has at least a marginal level of concern: “One is that our applicant pool starts out biased: it’s only 21% female, and it’s only 5% underrepresented minority. The other is that it’s striking how many applicants are either at Harvard already, or have past Harvard training. I think both observations are telling us the same thing: that there are highly qualified people who don’t think they’ll be comfortable or welcome here.”

Why is longevity greater in Costa Rica than in the United States?

Some millennials are doing okay financially, and were able to buy their own houses — but only because they have rich parents.

Rolling Stone doesn’t care what professors do. (No, this has nothing to do with El Chapo.)

There was a robust study to examine how much discrimination queer women face in the workplace. Here’s some of the abstract:

Results reveal that the women with the LGBT indicator on their résumés were discriminated against compared with the other women, receiving about 30 percent fewer callbacks.

This story about DuPont getting away with secretly and knowingly poisoning people with pollution is pretty crazy.

A Tinder date with Martin Shkreli. Which of course involves conspicuous consumption.

A long and well-researched profile of Robert Trivers in Psychology Today. He has done some highly influential work in evolution, genetics and animal behavior, and has a history of behaving outlandishly, probably related to mental health issues reported in this article. He’s been judged heavily by so many people, this is one way to be informed from what appears to be relatively impartial arbiter.

Wikipedia fails as an encyclopedia. This hits home — it’s a compendium of information and it is reputedly more factually correct than encyclopedias. But, it’s often a wall of information that isn’t useful for the consumer. For example, my kid in middle school was looking up “natural selection” in Wikipedia. It was solid, maybe even great, and highly thorough entry. But not what he needed at all for the purpose of his assignment for his school.

Dear White America. I’ll steal a bit of George Yancy’s thunder by quoting his final summative paragraph:

If you have young children, before you fall off to sleep tonight, I want you to hold your child. Touch your child’s face. Smell your child’s hair. Count the fingers on your child’s hand. See the miracle that is your child. And then, with as much vision as you can muster, I want you to imagine that your child is black.

It’s no surprise that there is a gender bias that tilts against women when student evaluations are completed. But when you look at the extent of these biases, and other ways that the evaluations don’t measure what they’re supposed to, well, it’s another brick in the wall.

Discrimination cuts both ways among faculty and students. More attractive students get better grades. But obviously not in online classes.

It looks like a legit peer-reviewed article about the biology of a Texan bird was retracted by the journal not for a scientific error, but because of the politics related to its conservation. Opponents claimed that reanalysis of a previously-published dataset was “plagiarism.” Huh? I’m not following this closely but conservation biologists might want to read more carefully and look for new information.

How did credit cards become a thing? And how is it they persist through reaping huge fees from consumers and merchants? I thought the history about the origin of credit cards — in Fresno — was fascinating.

CSIRO sues contractor after fridge power left off, rare samples destroyed.

I should add that this set of links isn’t Thursday-night fresh, I prepped it a couple days earlier because I’m a-travelin’ down under for science-related reasons for a couple weeks. (Please do drop me a line if you’re in Sydney, Melbourne, or parts in-between and are interested in grabbing some coffee this upcoming week. Our travel plans are really flexible.)

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