Recommended Reads #80


“America’s early aerospace engineers ignored computers because they considered programming to be women’s work.”

Can the liberal arts save the sciences?

What happens when a husband and wife take the exact same job.

The most remote and pristine coral reefs aren’t the ones equipped to deal with global change – the ones being actively managed by people are faring better. Here’s the paper, and here’s the story about the paper, by Ed Yong in The Atlantic.

How to fix feminism.

Course-based research in lower-division undergraduate courses increases graduation rates. “These results provide the most robust and best-controlled evidence to date to support calls for early involvement of undergraduates in research.” Okay, I guess, if you say so. The press release was slick enough to snooker Science Magazine into writing about it.

The first mammalian extinction definitely caused by anthropogenic climate change.

Higher education in Illinois is dying.

The Ecological Society of America has an Author Help Directory, “a mechanism for assisting authors whose native language is not English to prepare manuscripts for submission to ESA journals or other journals.”

My gosh if there is some small chance you haven’t read the statement read by the survivor in the Brock Turner rape case, I highly recommend it. And to share with high school and university students. And Joe Biden wrote back with an open letter that is also important.

“I saw the baby bison that tourists tried to rescue. Here’s what you don’t know about the story.” This is a good explainer of bison biology and why this happened.

Two valedictorians in Texas, while giving their commencement speeches, announced that they were undocumented.

You know those spammy predatory journals? Who publishes in them, anyway? The answer is: those among us with the weakest support. This paper came out more than a year ago, but only recently came to my attention.

When a listicle becomes an open-access journal article: Ten simple rules for effective statistical practice. Does this mean we might be treated to an article in a peer-reviewed ecological journal entitled, “Eight reasons functional traits are not functional”?

The findings of the new study by the American Psychological Association suggest the answer to closing the STEM gap might not lie in boosting students’ interest, but rather in breaking down the barriers to those students’ success.” Well, duh. But it’s nice to see research providing actual data that we don’t need to excite girls about science — we need to stop doing things that actively push women off the scientific career path.

Many Canadians pointed out to me after my recent post about double-blind grant reviews (which should be, but are not, a thing) that a peer-reviewed paper just came out about bias against small institutions in the Canadian NSERC system. Here’s a story about it in University Affairs. (Last week, I privately heard from several people with extraordinarily egregious quotes from reviews from NSERC and NSF, which showed overt evidence of bias against institutions.) I imagine this is self-evident to many of us involved in the process, though perhaps not the majority. We can’t fix the status quo without promoting awareness of these biases. There was constructive discussion about this in Dynamic Ecology’s friday links from last week,too.

A study shows that K-12 teachers overestimate how they use technology to transform instruction.

When trying to explain high tuition, the President of Dartmouth College throws the California State University system under the bus. Really, Phil? Your university is expensive because we in the Cal State system are teaching badly for cheap? He said: “There are a lot of universities who are at the lower end of the quality spectrum, who are really focused on knowledge and information…I don’t want to pick anyone out, but within the Cal State system… they are largely providing lecture-based transfer of knowledge. I think those places are in for a really rough ride in the future, because there will be technology that can essentially do that for free.” You can keep trying to sell the idea that only an Ivy League education teaches critical thinking skills, while what everybody else does is just memorize facts. You have no idea what we do. You were a Dartmouth undergrad, did a PhD at CalTech, taught at the University of Michigan. So what the hell do you know about the CSU system or other regional state universities? I would not complain if you sat on a sharp stick, Phil Hanlon.

Sasha Wright did a survey about the time that faculty members at various types of institutions spend on things like research and teaching, and how they relate to one another. She’s shared the findings, and it’s really interesting. Thanks to Wright for this! One thing I’d like to editorialize about is that people are notoriously horrible at estimating their own time budgets (though I couldn’t find scholarship on this in a quick search), and I suspect that the kind of of faculty job heavily influences self-perception of time spent on teaching and research. This would be very expensive and a totally different thing, but I am curious if we actually tracked the time of faculty members in various jobs, would this even closely resemble what they report? I honestly have no idea. Regardless, from the standpoint of professional choices, it’s important to know what people think about their jobs.

I just read Gone Girl. It’s breezy, the thriller-suspense part is fun, but it’s still good literature. Days later, I’m still thinking about what identity is, how we know who we and one another are, and how we identify purpose.

Why is scientific sexism so intractably resistant to reform?:

I know the price of unwelcome sexual desire doubly well, for in the final year of my computer science degree I went through the same experience. Again, the professor who would have been my honours advisor told me he’d fallen in love and wanted an affair, and if I couldn’t comply he’d stop advising me. This time I left academia as much in a state of despair as disgust. There seemed no point enrolling in a third field so I gave up science and went to work in the fledgling Australian film industry.

At the Mayo Clinic, tenure and promotion criteria include discussing scholarship in social media.

A nice profile of mathematician Danica McKellar:

One thought on “Recommended Reads #80

  1. I’ve had quite a few CVs containing predatory journal articles come across my desk. Frankly, the people publishing in those journals invariably have CVs that are weak all around. I would have rubbished the CVs anyway, but once I see a pub from Beall’s list, the CV gets binned instantly.

    Great round up as always Terry. I always look forward to alternate Saturdays!

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