Recommended reads #162


Would your cat eat your dead body? Now there’s peer-reviewed science to answer this question.

An exceptional obituary for William Ebeltoft

Vanillanomics [highlighted read]

The science of effective mentorship in STEMM – including how to develop individual development plans for mentees.

Latino STEM teachers, DACA, and the future of teaching

More than success [highlighted read]

A packing list for the climate emergency

Kudos to Drs. Silbiger and Stubler for this study about the harm wrought by unprofessional peer reviews. The coverage in Science magazine is here.

Evernote apparently doesn’t give a damn about privacy

The folks who came up with the Meyerhoff scholar program, and are working to replicate it throughout other institutions, are tooting their own horn here, making their case that playing the game should receive more resources than changing the rules of the game. I did my best to give this a thoughtful read, and I’m still not convinced. But don’t let me tell you what to think!

Against “excellence” — a good chaser for the previous piece

“Where college was once considered the great equalizer, it seems now to have become just another feature of the increasingly unequal institutional environment facing young people.” Another chaser, I suppose.

This describes the work environment at McSweeney’s (from a few years ago). I was disappointed.

Why did UNC give millions to a Neo-Confederate Group?

“In a new white paper, the Council on Undergraduate Research argues that faculty mentoring of undergraduate researchers merits recognition in personnel and other decisions”

Mediocre careerism, respectability politics, and bad behavior by senior scientists erode global climate leadership

Want to be more inclusive? Then stop making conferences about the beer.“(I participated in a get-to-know-your-mentoringish-session at a conference this summer, that involved having me as a mentor provide free beer, or free non-beer, to people who wanted to chat me up. None of the people I was chatting with were explicitly there for the alcohol, and some didn’t even partake in any of the free beverage, but still, the event was at a pub, and it was beer-centric, and I wasn’t quite sure how to feel about it. I still am not sure. This was a smaller meeting and anybody who wanted to meet with me could have aside from this particular event, but, still, I know that some students avoided it because of what the event was. Evolving how we do business in the context of existing culture for our disciplines is a complicated thing, and we can’t not talk about these complicated bits.)

“The sociopolitical nature of research is changing and so must our protocols for authorship. Citizen [=community] scientists are often excluded from authorship because they cannot meet rigid journal criteria. To address this, we propose a new concept: allowing nonprofessional scientists to be credited as authors under a collective identity (‘group coauthorship’).”

It’s a trope that winning the teaching award while on the tenure track at a prestigious research institution is the kiss of death for the tenure bid, but, well, there’s truth to it (though obviously this case is about a lot more than that.

Speaking of which, “Woods Hole Science Institutions Stung by Diversity Report: ‘Preponderance of Overt Racism’

Longreads has their list of best stories of 2019.

I hope you are having a restful break, if that’s how you roll. (Me? I’m putting this together in an airport, while waiting for a delayed connection. But soon my holidays will properly commence.)

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