Recommended reads #124


Why I stopped writing on my student’s papers.

Four very practical solutions to make conferences less difficult for scientists who are bringing babies and small children, brought to you by Rebecca Calisi and a Working Group of Mothers in Science. Are you part of an organizing committee? Please heed.

The case for inclusive teaching

The blog The Novice Professor has a lot of great stuff, it’s definitely one to watch. And the author routinely shares great stuff about learning and teaching on twitter.

When people believe in chemtrails conspiracies, what do they really believe?

Teaching the evolution of skin color

Prosanta Chakrabarty was at NSF for a year as a rotating Program Officer. His essay reflecting on this experience, published in Science, might just be a perfect piece of writing. And it has what I think is the most key observation ever, if you’re preparing to submit to NSF.

How and when and why do you go about contacting a program officer? Here’s a helpful post from the first and best blog from NSF, DEBrief.

Here’s a balanced and incisive critique of assessment culture in higher education. And here’s a less incisive critique.

“Like many faculty members, I somehow became a silent workaholic.”

This interview with Donald Glover is chock full of important truths.

The deadly book that lurked on the shelves of libraries for over a century.

For trek nerdery, this interpretation of Deep Space Nine is a great read. (Disclaimer: I haven’t gotten around to any new Star Trek since Deep Space Nine, which ended the same time I finished grad school. Though yeah, I heard the new one is good.)

This was nice to get inside a magazine in my postal mailbox: Accessibility is imperative for inclusion

Against popular culture

More than a decade ago, it was figured out that termites are a clade within cockroaches, establishing creepiness in insects as a monophyletic trait. And it took this long for the naming committee of the Entomological Society of America to officially pull their status as an order.

A public database of postdoc salaries, and a public database of PhD stipends.

How do you define “brain-dead,” and what are the consequences of getting this wrong?

This week’s This American Life episode is stunningly well done and a complete portrait of workplace sexual harassment. It’s a composite of the stories of five women, who were all impacted by their harasser, and how they all were negatively impacted in different ways.

Here is the transcript of Kate Clancy’s prepared testimony for congress about sexual harassment in STEM. She knocked its delivery out of the park, and is required watching.

Nature Eco Eco is refreshingly frank about the problematic gender disparities among authors of articles that they’ve published, particularly in the non-research pieces commissioned by the editors. It would have been nice if there was any mention of specific things they could do to fix the situation, aside from reflecting on it.

Here you can learn exactly how UC Berkeley was found to violate Title IX.

Bigwig Neuroscientist is on the outs with HHMI and lost his lab at Columbia. For reasons that they won’t discuss other than saying it’s not about the science. Looks like his time is up.

The Chronicle of Higher Ed published a comprehensive story documenting decades of harassment by a professor working in a Boston-area university, with massive impacts on the careers of his victims. Then, even more women came forward. Then, his retirement was suddenly announced.

There was a really weird poll going around on twitter a couple weeks ago. Someone was asking scientists whether they think they should have the right to review text written by journalists before publication. The vast majority said that scientists should be able to review articles before they go to print. I thought that was just ludicrous. So did pretty much every journalist, and for good reason. Here’s an essay that came out in the aftermath of this, which I think can make for an important education in what science journalism is and what science journalism isn’t.

A super duper gorgeous visualization of bird migration in the western hemisphere

Why a federal scientist won’t be silenced on climate resilience

“‘We Are All for Diversity, but . . .’: How faculty hiring committees reproduce whiteness and practical suggestions for how they can change.” This is sooooo good.

Some organization I’m unfamiliar with (for reals, I never heard of ’em) just issued a substantial and well-documented report pointing out that faculty diversity in the public universities of California is lagging way behind the student population, and this is a genuine problem that compromises our future.

How critiques of peer review models overlook the critical role of the editorial office. Indeed. There are some folks who just say, “all you need is a website to post the file,” but if there is to be any kind of consistency or quality control, then the editorial office really matters. And, of course, it isn’t free.

There were a couple bibliometric articles that came out in biorXiv this week. I’ll be psyched to read them when they get published.

“The demographics of faculty at U.S. academic institutions is not a reflection of the gender or ethnic diversity of the U.S. population or of science.”

Yeah, I don’t think I’m going to stick with these embedded NYT links, but I thought I’d just do it this time for the heck of it.

And…saving the best for last. Courtesy of herpetologist Cathy Newman, I just learned that the word Gerrymandering was coined by a guy named Gerry who had a district shaped like a Salamander. For reals. I had no idea. (Which is okay.)

Have a pleasant weekend.