Recommended reads #143


“Lessons from a postdoc gone wrong” makes sense in other domains as well.

A year of being a science mama

How can I help to promote diversity without relinquishing any of my power? * chef kiss *

How to teach stuff

“How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation: I couldn’t figure out why small, straightforward tasks on my to-do list felt so impossible. The answer is both more complex and far simpler than I expected.” This circulated a lot when it came out. There is a lot to relate with, even for a GenX dude like myself.

When James Watson wrote The Double Helix, its working title was “Honest Jim,” and he gave working copies to some of the people involved for feedback. Francis Crick did him the enormous favor of giving him six typed pages of notes on the manuscript. Definitely worth a read. If you thought Watson was a garden variety ass, this might change your mind, and you might decide he was a humongous ass.

This article categorizes the different types of bad grad school advisors. Or, “a typology of dysfunctional graduate school mentorships is offered for the purpose of bolstering theory development, research, and both departmental and individual prevention efforts.”

How to save yourself from over preparing for your classes

This paper about growth-centered mentoring, taking lessons from our understanding of plant growth, is wonderful.

Surely you’re a creep, Mr. Feynman. (and the related story: “He was my hero when I was an undergrad studying science. But allegations found in his FBI file suggest he physically assaulted his ex-wife.”)

“Though it may seem like an innocent question – where are you from? – it leaves me feeling like my fellow ecologists are more interested in why I stand out than why I belong.” (In the comments to this post, I was rather surprised to see so many scientists disregarding the main point of the author to say that the intention behind a behavior is more important than the outcome of the behavior, and that she should look at the world a different way.)

The NSF-funded NEON project (National Ecological Observatory Network) is a large-scale project to create parallel sites for measuring a variety of important ecological variables, with all data readily available to the public. It’s a great idea, but implementation has been rocky, to put it gently. The rocks just turned into an avalanche when the organization that was tasked to operate NEON (taking over from previous failed attempts) up and fired two scientists on the project without consulting with the Chief Scientist, who quit after this disregard for her authority.  And also dismissed the scientific advisory board. It’s bad. Here’s the letter from the advisory board that was sent to Battelle. Meanwhile, NSF is closed. Was a bad actor at Battelle capitalizing on the shutdown to take tighter reins over a project than should have been allowed? I’m not directly connected to this, so I don’t know. Here is the story in Science. Oh, and look, here’s the story which say that they reinstated the advisory board. But the

Black outdoors, a blog that’s been around for a couple years.

The faculty workload and rewards project

This happened back in 198x, but if you hadn’t heard the story, here’s the account written in 1999 how the editors of Evolutionary Ecology left the publisher because of profiteering and set up Evolutionary Ecology Research. This is the text of an address from Michael Rosenzweig, who was the EIC of EE, and then EER.

Did Hamilton get the story wrong? At least one playwright thinks so. [As for the book on which it was based, not long after it first came out, I picked it up a remaindered copy for five bucks, and I got about a third into it before I just got fed up and stopped, at the time I thought there was a lot of Federalistish Neoconservativeish ideology lying just under the surface. Anyway, I gave the book away at some point, and then some years later it became a best-seller and a hit among progressives. So, hmm. I didn’t finish the book, and it was years ago, so I can’t really assess this well.]

South Park’s Al Gore apology

I don’t often link to things that are bad, but on this occasion there is one that is so actively bad, you might want to deliver a flaming bag of poo to the doorstep of the author of this piece. An opinion piece (about parenting) that is so infuriating and comprehensively wrong and misdirected and selfish and myopic, it’s transcendent, a piece of art. This was Washington Post, not The Onion or McSweeney’s?

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