Recommended reads #185

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Here’s a preprint about building a research program at a primarily undergraduate institution.

How universities that brought students back to campus ended up killing people in their communities.

The Man who found Forrest Fenn’s Treasure: “A decade ago, Fenn hid his treasure chest, containing gold and other valuables estimated to be worth at least a million dollars, somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Not long after, he published a memoir called The Thrill of the Case, which included a mysterious 24-line poem that, if solved, would lead searchers to the treasure. Fenn had suggested that the loot was secreted away at the place where he had envisioned lying down to die, back when he’d believed a 1988 cancer diagnosis was terminal. Since the hunt began in 2010, many thousands of searchers had gone out in pursuit — at least five of them losing their lives in the process — and the chase became an international story.”

How Science Beat the Virus, and what it lost in the process. This is a big summative cover story that explains a lot.

Stephen Heard posted a generous review of The Chicago Guide to College Science Teaching. What I love about this is that he captured what I was shooting for in the book for in the book, and and it’s heartening to see that he thinks I got it right. Thanks, Steve!

I don’t know about you, but for me, the last couple months have been really hard. Which in part is why my contributions on here` have reduced to a trickle. On paper, I should have very little reason to complain. I’ve had a string of professional successes (a super awesome book launch, various honors, building things that aren’t collapsing), and I occupy a position of security that when I was young I never imagined would be possible. It feels like an unearned blessing, especially as so many people around are experiencing precariousness. The outcome of this election hasn’t fixed deep-rooted problems, but has put us into a skid that keeps us from driving off of a cliff. But the weight of this pandemic on its own, plus an assortment of private challenges amplified by current conditions, has made routine activities anything but routine. It looks like it’s requiring a lot more effort just to take care of oneself and one’s loved ones than normally, in a time when the capacity to do that work is reduced. So, this holiday, as you’re (hopefully) not gathering with folks as you may be accustomed to in less abnormal years, here’s a reminder that it’s okay to just focus on your immediate needs and taking care of others insofar as you have the capability to do so.

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