Recommended Reads #100


One hundred baby! Woo hoo!

Why is it when we talk about science outreach and science education/communication, it’s always focused on kids? The adults are also where it’s at.

This short piece about how and why scientists use social media fits just perfectly in with my perspectives and experiences.

The Joint Task Force on Undergraduate Physics Programs came out with their Final Report. At a glance, it looks incredibly useful.

McGill gave a resign-or-be-fired ultimatum to the director of their Institute for the Study of Canada after writing this piece. Which is definitely some sharp social critique, but something to lose your job over? The folks over at McGill definitely could be more supportive of academic freedom. I’m rather surprised at the short-sightedness of this institutional response. I imagine this story will evolve over time, hopefully as reasonable minds prevail.

Junior women scientists are being robbed of credit they deserve.

From The Guardian: “Sexual harassment: records show how University of California faculty target students. Documents reveal patterns in how officials appear to target vulnerable students they oversee – in some cases dramatically impeding their studies and careers.”

A former student says UC Berkeley’s star philosophy professor groped her and watched porn at work.

Here’s a great article by Cissy Ballen and Harry Greene, about the useful and not-useful ways to teach about biodiversity: emphasize evolutionary transitions and what separates clades, as opposed to just dealing with taxonomic groups. This makes sense, and a lot of us do this, but also, textbooks tend to not be organized to support this approach.

Grades are going up, but students are studying less. Is this because of grading leniency associated with teaching evaluations? Here’s an academic article about that.

The view on academic mid-career deadwood from inside prestigious small liberal arts colleges.

Deeply aggrieved.

The most charismatic and evolutionarily significant taxon in the history of life just got revised with a new phylogeny! (By the way, one of the authors of this study quietly resigned from his tenured position from UC Davis “for health and family reasons” and now awaits trial for sexual misconduct, specifically “invasion of privacy.” No, I’m not going to let our community sweep misconduct under the rug when it happens.)

(Oh, there’s a new tree for dinosaurs, too.)

A history of The Journal of Jocular Physics.

A cell phone use rubric to establish expectations for class time.

Science Friday does “How to talk climate change with a denier.”

A research study on Teach for America participants, about the effects of “the advantaged” working directly for extended periods with “the disadvantaged.” Can you learn away prejudice with experience?

Does the field of “animal personality” provide any new insights for behavioral ecology? I enjoyed this probably more than I should have enjoyed it.

The University of Michigan is making substantial efforts at increasing diversity and inclusion, and here’s a story about their growing pains. This is one of the reasons I’m excited to visit campus soon for a 2-week tour as a part of my sabbatical.

The most lucrative export of the US is higher education.

Here’s a story explaining how entomologists routinely deal with delusory parasitosis. I’ve been contacted by maybe a dozen folks over the years, presumably because if someone is tracking down an “entomologist” then my name doesn’t pop up. But this is a super-routine issue for museum staff, folks in entomology departments and especially in extension. It’s a medical problem, but not one for entomologists. But the people with the problem are convinced that it’s a problem for entomologists.

What ‘white folks who teach in the hood’ get wrong about education. This is spot on, though at least based on my own experience, I think the main point is a strawman argument. Most of the folks I know who teach K-12 in South LA (often characterized as ‘the hood’) aren’t white, but the white folks who stick around for more than a few years don’t seem to manifest symptoms of a white savior syndrome, though I’m not the best positioned to make this diagnosis.

The March For Science is having some organizational discord. I think it’s fitting that we take multiple times to get it right, but they still aren’t getting it right, it seems. The folks who are running the show aren’t quite ready to include all scientists. The head of the “Diversity and Inclusion Committee” said: “There has been some push by some people to centralize diversity in a way that diminishes science.” Now matter how you slice it, that’s problematic. Putting diversity at the center enhances science, and it can’t diminish it! That would definitely be the position of the person in charge of diversity and inclusion for the March for Science, right? So, ugh. The best analogy I have for my current feelings about the March is how  Ta-Nehisi Coates explained his vote for Bernie Sanders, he’s voting, but not endorsing. If I do march — I honestly have no idea what the best decision is here and I see good arguments from many directions — then I’m leaning towards having  sign that says, “Everybody needs science – Science needs everybody” or something like that. What do you think would be a good sign for the march?

If you feel like evaluating the emails that students send to you for professionalism, here’s a rubric for that.

The Trump regime’s lost generation in American research.

Scientists are conspicuously missing from Trump’s government

Why giving up hope is not an option.

What calling Congress achieves. Please, call your congressperson on a regular basis to resist what is happening. Whether or not you think they are on your side. Calling literally counts. This article will enlighten you with what happens with the information when you call, about how they keep track of numbers and what this means.

What an effective protest could look like.

Have a nice spring weekend, y’all.

3 thoughts on “Recommended Reads #100

  1. I always end up saving your recommended reads posts for a few days because I know there will be so much good stuff that it will take a long time to get through! Thanks for the March for Science sign suggestion — we’ve been trying to think of something with a similar message and this seems to fit the bill. May use yours (with attribution of course) :)

  2. Thanks for the pointer on that Jeremy – that provides a lot more context! And since he was an Associate Professor, he was just returning to a tenure-track position after being told to step down from the admin job, I didn’t know he was on a temporary position that is subject to reappointment! That makes this more egregious than I initially thought.

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