The founders of the field of cryptanalysis, William and Elizabeth Friedman, had a cipher on their tombstone. Which was just solved.
The journal Tumor Biology found evidence of massive peer review fraud. What tipped them off is that the reviews were submitted on time.
A Qiagen Mo Bio sales rep goes off on a ragingly sexist diatribe in the comments section of a blog hosted by Nature. (It’s the fifth comment down).
The RELATE team at the University of Michigan is running a short online course in communicating science that starts next week that looks quite useful.
Some information about literacy in college students, which might surprise you. Please please read this:
I know some readers may see these findings and think that our schools just need to be more selective. Maybe other readers dismiss this study entirely because they work at an elite school with a (presumed) higher caliber of student. It’s important to note that the researchers did not find significantly different literacy levels when comparing students at public vs. private institutions or at selective vs. nonselective institutions. While the findings may be a little disheartening, the report shows that ALL institutions of higher education need to be aware of their students’ literacy levels.
A new hire for a high-profile visiting position at Pomona College is in the news. There are protests from a variety of quarters (students, faculty, community) because the Sociology Department hired Alice Goffman, who has attracted attention for her ethnographic work on black communities, which has been unconventional and perhaps illegal. At a distance, the optics (of hiring a white ethnographer of black communities over the other interviewing candidates who were black) represent a challenge for the Claremont Colleges, which also have had other high-visibility challenges in the realm of social equity.
An ongoing fact: stopping the tenure clock for parental leave hurts women and helps men. (In part, because guys are still productive in the time when the clock is stopped, and in part, because of old school bias.) As Linda Richman would say, “Discuss among yourselves.”
The NSF gave the Waterman award to a man. Again. Actually, TWO men. That’s 15 guys in a row, I think. Joan Strassmann has some thoughts on equity in the awards process.
Harvey Mudd College, the STEM-intense institution among Claremont Colleges, is being roiled by protests over the content of an internal report that was recently leaked by the student paper. The campus has done an admirable job of switching from a mostly-man campus to one that approaches gender equity, and also has increased the enrollment of students from underrepresented ethnic groups. This isn’t shocker, but it is nonetheless disappointing, that not all faculty are on board with this and some have complained of a “decline in the quality of students.” It’s a bummer that these folks will throw the women and minorities under the bus because the faculty aren’t prepared to teach students who aren’t white men. These students getting admitted to Harvey Mudd are just as smart as the white guys who have been going there for decades. They might not be as familiar with the White Guy Code under which some faculty operate to assess student quality. I am confident there are lots of faculty at Harvey Mudd who are on board, but it doesn’t take a large proportion of faculty members who are overtly hostile to equity to poison the environment for the community. Equity requires both diversification and inclusion, which is a lesson the admins at Harvey Mudd are experiencing.
Everybody at Deep Springs College wants to admit women, but it’s been held up in the courts by one very annoying person. An appeals court has decided women can be admitted. Almost there.
If you’re ever wondering how uber-rich people rationalize (or fail to rationalize) the massive income inequality in the United States, here’s a case in point.
Are you one of those people that doesn’t like LA? Please do me the favor of listening to Werner Herzog, one of LA’s biggest fans.
The public universities in California (CSU, UC, and community colleges) are governed by a state Educational Master Plan that’s horribly out of date and is now harming our students.
Jeremy Yoder just got hired by the CSU, and wrote a piece — with a pretty infographic — about the amount of time and energy involved in the job search that got him here. Which is both an odyssey and par for the course.
This piece make the point well: Enough about grit, already.
While folks are shutting up about grit, also shut up about financial literacy.
Have a nice weekend, y’all! (And get ready to call your reps because zombie trumpcare is coming before the house again)