Recommended reads #164


Time management is about more than life hacks

If your university’s administration ran a polar expedition

xyscan is a data thief for scientists. Often the exact numerical values of data points depicted in graphs and plots are not available in tabulated form. That’s a well known problem for scientists and engineers and the only way out is to use a ruler and read the values off the plot. In general this results in poor precision. xyscan is written to overcome this problem. It is a tool that allows one to retrieve the numeric values of data points and errors with good accuracy.”

Barriers to fieldwork in undergraduate geoscience degrees

Why are there so few black physicists?

If you’re an advocate for public schools, you might be familiar with the disaster of a website known as “Great Schools” that rates schools on a coarse 1-10 scale, and this ranking is primarily an indicator of the wealth of the families the children who attend that school. A lot of folks are afraid of high quality public schools because schools in their district have low Great Schools scores. He’s a great explainer for people about The Problem With Great Schools.

How to make grading more equitable

There have been some changes to NSF’s PAPPG (apparently, pronounced pappage, and formerly known as the GPG), here is their summary of the major changes.

I survived the Warsaw ghetto. Here are the lessons I’d like to pass on

Important and useful thoughts about navigating the anxiety, terror, and depression associated with the climate crisis as a parent (and as a teacher, too).

I was fortunate to get my hands on an advance copy Hope Jahren’s new book, The Story of More (amazon|indiebound). The promises are high when one of the best writers about climate science, Elizabeth Kolbert, blurbs the book, “Hope Jahren asks the central question of our time: how can we learn to live on a finite planet? The Story of More is thoughtful, informative, and—above all—essential.” I think the book lived up to the praise. It’s a first-person narrative, illuminated by Jahren’s own life story, and these stories are as moving and entertaining as you would expect if you read Lab Girl. Though it says “where to go from here,” it doesn’t tell the reader where to go at all. She sizes up the current state of affairs with a combination of frankness and insight that is often lacking, but clearly never tells you the audience what to think, and this is aided by writing in the first person. She seamlessly establishes her credibility with excellent research, and when she inserts her opinions throughout the book, that merely buttresses the facts. Third: There is nary a whiff of preachiness, and and if you’re looking for a way to teach about how humans are impacting this planet with a solid dose climate science, I think this would be a great book to use in an undergraduate course for non-majors, or perhaps even as an easy read for science majors. Also, it’s definitely readable for high school students too. (It’s also structured with modestly sized chapters that can be easily read over the course of a semester, as supplement to whatever else you’re doing.) The subject matter in the book overlaps with documentaries such as Food, Inc, The Story of Stuff, and Affluenza. Those documentaries are designed to precisely tell you what to think, which usually doesn’t work so well. The Story of More, on the other hand, is far more like to convince people to care about climate change, specifically because it doesn’t readers how to think. It just tells the story, weaving together narrative and evidence in highly readable and moving prose.

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