When memorization gets in the way of learning. It’s from 2013, but so what.
If you’re a research biologist, then you probably know all about how NSF switched to a preproposal system, for a variety of reasons. The report on this “experiment” is in. There is a take on this in the always-helpful DEB blog. I’ve read much of the report and I think the upshot can be limited to a single word: Meh.
The next five links about gender and equity are really good, and the sixth ain’t so bad. They’re all well above par for this kind of thing. If you’re the kind of person who shares links on Facebook, I’m betting you’ll want to share at least one of these, or at least post a comment to say, “thanks for all of the cool and important reading!”
An excellent short overview of recent events in our chronic harassment problem in science.
Programs meant to encourage women in STEM may be backfiring — because it’s not women who need to change.
Two women running a business invented a third business partner — a dude — who did business for them on their behalf because people would take them more seriously. And it, sadly and comically, worked. (This was the premise of the TV show Remington Steele, by the way. Yeah, I know that because I’m old.)
“Women had to be 2.5 times more productive than the men in order to be rated equally scientifically competent by senior scientists.” Why men don’t believe the data on gender bias in science.
There’s a job board for folks in economics, in which they frankly talk about the job market and other things related to academia. And it’s ragingly sexist, as reported by The Washington Post. These are our future economics professors, people.
I wrote a glowing review of The Insects and Other Arthropods of Tropical America for the Quarterly Review of Biology. It really is such a good book. They’ve threaded the depth-vs-breadth needle in way I didn’t think was possible for something as diverse as tropical insect biodiversity, and there are oodles of gorgeous and informative photos.
Yes, there are some minority students in “top” universities in the US, but black and Hispanic students are even more underrepresented than they were 35 years ago. We are not doing better than previous generations. Please read and heed.
There’s a new paper out that tells us it’s a bad idea to use a simple citation-based metric to evaluate the quality of graduate program. But that’s what they did anyway. (And they’re just shocked — it was unexpected! — that some smaller and less prestigious institutions stack up well using their metric.)
MacEwan University, in Canada, was duped out of more than $10 million in a phishing scam.
Short term bootcamps to train grad students with new skills don’t seem to work.
Here’s a story about a full-time member of the faculty at San Jose State University, who takes home $2500 a month, and lives in her car. In Silicon Valley, that kind of money doesn’t go far. (Keep in mind that she’s represented by the California Faculty Association and we have a relatively robust Collective Bargaining Agreement. Non-tenure-track faculty in this university system are better off than many other places. Which tells you how bad things are all over the place.)
An adjunct at the University of Tampa got fired because he said, on his private twitter account, that the horrible events in Houston were karma for supporting Trump. That’s not a good thing to say but, really, a firing offense? Clearly the thought police are winning this victory here — ironically by accusing campuses of not allowing free speech.
The University of California system is making a big PR push for all of their first-generation faculty members, as a way to recruit and support a large population of first-gen students in the UC. Which I have mixed feelings about. The UC is way, way behind on hiring faculty from underrepresented groups, though a lot of the first-gen students in the UC system are URM. So as they’re trumpeting their first-gen faculty as a source of inspiration and support, I picture so many of these first-gen students look at these white first-gen faculty, tilting their head, and thinking, “…and this means what to me?” If the UC system really wants to serve their students, they need to hire faculty that have the same backgrounds as their students. There’s no shortage of competitive applicants that fit the bill, as long as you’ve got search committee members who are going to do the work to hire people who doesn’t look like themselves. But there’s the problem.
Extremely rich guy Peter Thiel is funding an unethical test of a live herpes vaccine on a Caribbean island without any FDA approval and without any IRB clearance. But of course the Heartland Institute — the global warming dismissing merchants of doubt that send out that book we all got about the ‘climate change controversy’ — are fine with it. (And, by the way, if you think you had a rough day in the peer review department, check out the reviews of this paper about a herpes vaccine.)
At a meeting of the Ecological Society of America this month, there was a presentation at the diversity lunch that was greeted with some dismay, and some outrage that extended to other continents. (I couldn’t find a link about what happened, other than responses on twitter. There was a public letter, but that was taken down. I ate lunch elsewhere, so I can’t describe what happened, and this is a can of worms that would take a lot to unpack, and I’m not equipped to open that can.) Anyway, the ESA published a blog post by the folks who organized this session, in which they describe their activities. If you heard about this, I imagine it could be a useful read.
A new paper came out about a follow-up on an experiment started 20 years ago in Costa Rica by Dan Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs, where tons of waste orange peels were dumped on a pasture to facilitate forest regeneration. It worked.
On bridging the gap between experimentalists and modelers. (I was going to write a post on this topic, as a followup to my experiences at the Ecological Society of America meeting this year. But, ta da! this paper said everything I wanted to, and then some.)
It was disappointing to learn that Francis Crick wanted to set up a twin study on to figure how why some ethnicities are less intelligent than others, by breaking up twins and having them live with families of different ethnicities. Sigh.
As for what I’m reading non-professionally, I just finished All the Light We Cannot See which is just a wonderfully crafted novel and the prose is what you’d expect from a book than what the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. I just started on the new edition of Sarapiquí Chronicle by Allen Young. The Sympathizer (pictured above) might be next. I hope you have a nice weekend.