Recommended reads #82


This seems like a critical tool for building a syllabus – a course workload estimator.

Patricia Leary is a law professor who had some “concerned students” protest in writing because she wore a Black Lives Matter shirt. She schooled them, literally, in her written response.

Web of Science, which has been owned by Thomson Reuters, is being sold to private equity firms. Web of Science has not been as user-friendly as it could have been, and I doubt this will improve things. (I’ve tended to use Google Scholar in recent years, just because it requires fewer steps to get the same information that I’ve needed.)

“The best time I pretended I hadn’t heard of Slavoj Žižek” – this is definitely the funniest thing in the list this week.

Amy Harmon just wrote the piece about misconceptions about GMO food that you’ll want to share with everybody, including in any class you teach.

street curb along a fault in the Bay Area was a pilgrimage site for geologists, until it was inadvertently removed by a city crew. Apparently, everybody involved in the process of fixing and improving the curb were entirely unaware of the importance of this site. This is an illustration of how outreach matters. If a curb is famous and important for geologists, shouldn’t the people in the neighborhood be in on this too?

There is no scientific method.”

If you’re a black dishwasher at Yale who destroys a racist work of stained glass, you get fired immediately. If you’re a white professor with a documented history of sexual harassment that goes back for more than twenty five years, Yale keeps you on board.

If you’re doing ecological field experiments, maybe we should focus on Type M errors in addition to Type I and Type II errors.

Journals with high impact factors claim to be turning away from this metric. It sounds like the collective harping by the scientific community on the meaninglessness of IF is starting to work. So now we’ll see more of altmetrics, I guess, so your impact will now depend on the size of your social media network. Great.

The 7 biggest problems facing science. Well, the “peer review is broken” one is hooey.

Parents are unhappier than non-parents. But mostly in the US. Because there is inadequate support for children and the parents who are raising them.

Brian McGill went to the Macroecology meeting of the British Ecological Society, and his summary/take/insights are super-useful. If you didn’t have the chance to make it out to the UK, this post seems a close second to me. And a lot more efficient use of time.

I bet this paper by Buckley and Huey, about extreme temperatures and the evolution of thermal tolerance, will influence how a lot of people thin.

Synthetic microfibers in oceans are a big problem. It turns out that fleece clothing is a huge contributor to this problem.

This is how to be productive.

What minority-serving institutions can teach other colleges. Despite the paywall, I’m still posting it because it’s so good. I think people who don’t work in MSIs tend to suspect that MSIs aren’t doing as well as, or as much as, they can do, because if they did those things then conditions would be better. Boy howdy that is just so off the mark. MSIs are often doing it right, and they are just extraordinarily under-resourced to accomplish what is expected of them. We know what works for our students, and the only problem is that it doesn’t come cheap and the money isn’t there. Primarily white institutions have a lot of money that MSIs don’t have — not just in the institutional budget but in the capital of the families of the enrolled students — and that can explain differences in outcomes.

Here’s another paywalled gem from the Chronicle: How minority students’ experiences differ. This is important.

“STEM needs to understand that it has — and has to exercise — its voice and influence to negotiate a change in the momentum and direction of human rights in our country.”

Social media has swallowed the news – threatening the funding of public-interest reporting and ushering in an era when everyone has their own facts. But the consequences go far beyond journalism.”

It’s not every day that my university gets mentioned in the New York Times! Oh, wait, it’s about how graduating from our campus doesn’t help them financially, and that’s why they support Trump. Which is wrong on two counts. First, 70% of the student body is Latino or black, the majority of the remainder are recent immigrants, and they viscerally hate Trump. Second, CSU Dominguez Hills is one of the top schools in the country for improving the economic position of its graduates. We’re mentioned along with “Cal State Hayward,” which, by the way, hasn’t ben Cal State Hayward since 2005. So their expert really just has his head up his butt.