That was a restful two weeks. Now, back to business.
Why do scientists reinvent wheels? (I think in ecology, a lot of concepts have a periodicity of about 30 years. And usually when an idea resurfaces, it’s not done with adequate awareness of the older literature.)
Mary Jane West-Eberhard, pioneer in animal behavior, evolution, development, and social insect biology, writes a paper for her honorary society journal about… [checks notes]… “Nutrition, the visceral immune system, and the evolutionary origins of pathogenic obesity”
One neat thing about old editions of Campbell were interviews with trailblazers in biology. Here’s a compendium of them from the first six issues.
How Stephen Heard, as an editor, picks reviewers. I do pretty much the same thing.
Simon Leather won my heart with a gripe about how people misuse “random” conversationally and in the literature. I often use “arbitrarily,” though I see that “haphazardly” is a the more common phraseology.
Open access and the reality of getting from here to there. This, from Brian McGill, has a lot of key practical points that I try to point out a lot, but I don’t do as well.
If you’ve gotten a phishing email from someone pretending to be your chair/dean/provost/etc, this is where it will go if you toy with them. (Everybody in my university got this in August, with the phisher pretending to be our new university president.)
Inside Higher Ed covered a situation in which a Chair of Biology was being threatened by a faculty member in the department (with a clear and credible threat of attack), and the university did nothing until a large outcry on social media resulted in an institutional response.
In the last rec reads, I linked to a disastrous piece in PNAS that falsely characterized scientists in my field as “dropouts” if the ended up not publishing papers in a narrow set of older journals over a 3-year period. A great response to his paper came from Stephen Heard. Another was in Science magazine.
Welcome to a new calendar year and new semester!