Recommended reads #76


Cards against humanities. You read that right, not humanity, Humanities.

This Puliter Prize-winning story by Kathryn Schulz about The Really Big One that will arrive in the Pacific Northwest. The letter for its entry into the Pulitzer competition said, “Schulz’s piece brings the seismological science to you, making it as plain and painless as a cake recipe. Yet it also leaves you with a visceral sense of what a full-margin Cascadian earthquake could feel like–and what its human toll could be. No surprise that the story has at last focused public attention on the need for precautionary measures. As of this writing, the piece–many months after publication–remains perched high on our Web site’s Most Read list. ‘The Really Big One’ brilliantly demonstrates how feature writing–drawing upon reporting, research, and most of all, the well-judged potency of prose–can rock our world.” So, yeah, read this article.

College professors aren’t that creepy. (Notwithstanding recent revelations from UC Berkeley further down this list.) Obviously, clowns are creepy. Gotta disagree about taxidermists though.Whoiscreepy

A division within NSF removed deadlines and submissions were cut by more than half. Hey could you get rid of the BIO deadlines, like, yesterday?

How to get tenure, if you’re a woman.

Terry Wheeler describes the last lecture of the semester in his evolutionary biology class. It’s hard to not smile while reading this.

NPR ran a story about research on the educational value of taking notes by hand. I guess they were reading our rec reads from last year?

Inuit cartography.

The manologue.

A company that does the mapping of IP addresses set their default location in someone’s farm. Then the people who live there got wrongly blamed for all kinds of bad stuff.

Are grad students employees? Of course they are.

You may or may not have caught the media love that the Canadian Prime Minister got because he was capable of answering an impromptu question about quantum computing. But really, it was a moment engineered for social media that was anything but impromptu.

What kind of teacher are you and what do you want out of your students? This tool (allegedly) helps you pin this down so that you can be more effective. (I say allegedly because I haven’t used it.)

This is a real life horror story. Imagine that, wherever you go, your coworkers and loved ones may be killed by drone strikes because they keep targeting you and narrowly missing.

Ever wondered the how some bird got its scientific name? Wonder no longer.

A worthwhile approach to finding holes in hypervolumes. If you’re also a community ecologist, is it possible this is not exciting?

Talking about low-income students is unsavory and for some, not a workable narrative for universities. But talking about first-generation students, now that has something more admirable in it, they say.

Here’s a nice diatribe against the use of metrics to evaluate academic performance. I give this article an 8.5 out of 10.

Advice for authoring an academic book

Here’s some gossip about working conditions inside the office of the publisher Frontiers.

In case you missed this story, UC Davis has been maintaining a contract with a reputation management firm that was specifically charged with reducing the visibility of the hideous pepper-spray incident and the role of the campus President. I think it’s my job to link to this story to counteract the SEO (search engine optimization) witchcraft. While I’m at it, let me say a few times, “UC Davis Pepper Spray Katehi, UC Davis Pepper Spray Katehi, UC Davis Pepper Spray Katehi.”

The exhausting life of a first-year science teacher.

A history of taxonomic vandalism.

How to be an ally for someone experiencing microagressions. This piece about microresistance is worthwhile. (If for some reason you don’t buy into the concept of a microaggression, perhaps try talking to a colleague who isn’t in a majority demographic group and ask them about their experiences.)

The University of California system has a sexual harassment problem. Well, everywhere has a sexual harassment problem, and in places like UC Berkeley there’s been a bit of recent sunshine. There was a UC panel put together to decide how to fix the situation. They issued a report that said all of the policies and practices were Just Fine, and people just needed to be better informed. Which naturally is a crock of feces. It’s nice to see that the Chancellor of the system, Janet Napolitano, told the panel to go back and do their job again and actually get it right this time.

“Every time I see Kobe Bryant on television playing basketball, I think about how lucky he is,”… “Based on the evidence I knew about, he should be in prison.

How science fairs became an exercise in privilege, by science writer Carl Zimmer

How departments can use social media to help students

The notion that animals have feelings seems radical to some people. It’s nice to see people pushing against the notion that we’re somehow more special than other species.

People still don’t get the link between meat consumption and climate change.

ArXiv, comments, and “quality control”

Committing to educational justice at universities

The sugar conspiracy

A geobiologist and part-time myrmecologist who sure can write is right at home on the NYT bestseller list. In case you missed the all-Lab-Girl edition of rec reads, hey — go read Lab Girl, you can pick it up at like any bookstore. Whenever anybody will ask me what it’s like to be a scientist, and how I see the world as a scientist, I’m going to point them towards this book. I think a lot of us connect with the natural world the way she does, and how she fits in the scientific milieu. Writing is magic when out of the particular, one can evince some universals.

If you’re not aware of this, you might want to google up stories about what is happening at the Great Barrier Reef, and I hope you can find a way to have a not-despondent weekend.

One thought on “Recommended reads #76

  1. “Are grad students employees?” Actually, really complicated. U of Minnesota grad students (unsuccessfully) tried to unionize while I was there. But I couldn’t participate because I was on fellowship — i.e. not being “paid for work” and therefore definitely not an employee. Do grad students float in and out of employee status depending on income stream? Seems very messy…

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