Recommended reads #110

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This, I think, is ingenious and next-level stuff: Designing malware to hack bioinformatics software by coding it into the DNA of organisms that get sequenced! Which, in the future, maybe could be a real problem? This is old news, but not to me. In Holland there is (was?) a place that used a misting spray of…

Recommended reads #108

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Wow. This opinion piece written by a scientist, who is a whistleblower working in the Department of Interior, is both important and landmine. They essentially reassigned him — and many other senior scientists — to work in the mailroom. Far away from home. We knew in advance that our new federal government was going to…

Recommended reads #106

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The case against using Turnitin in your own classroom. When teaching for understanding is pitted against teaching for doing well on the test. Stop the presses!!! Here is a shocking new finding: A new meta-analysis shows that student evaluations of teacher performance are unrelated to student learning.

Recommended reads #105

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David Attenborough regrets spending so much time away from his family. (I should note that I’m writing this from a field station in Costa Rica, missing out on the duties and joys of parenting. It’s my shortest summer research trip down here ever, for this reason.) Open science has an image and behavior problem.

Recommended reads #103

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Why academics need to focus on structuring their time Superstar artist Ai Weiwei wrote a piece about how censorship works for the New York Times — gosh knows he’s had plenty of opportunity to gain expertise. It’s revelatory, and relevant for those of in the US more than ever. On being broken, and the kindness of others.

Recommended reads #102

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The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America “To teach, we must believe in the potential of each person in the room.” The founders of the field of cryptanalysis, William and Elizabeth Friedman, had a cipher on their tombstone. Which was just solved.

I am complicit

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My academic societies support the March for Science. So do I. I’m familiar with the arguments for and against the March, from major newspapers and social media. If you’re not familiar, don’t worry, I won’t rehash them for you. I think it’s possible for some people to have an ethical position to oppose something, and for others…

Recommended reads #92

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Caring isn’t coddling: “While I’m not without gallows humor and can enjoy an ‘it’s in the syllabus’ joke as much as the next person, I also feel deeply that the best teaching arises in faculty-student relationships that are mutually respectful and that mutually honor the worth each side is bringing to the table.” A shark…

Recommended reads #86

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You know links are becoming so big today. They’re becoming something that a number of years ago, a short number of years ago wasn’t even a word. Now the links are so big. You know you look at what they’re doing with the internet, and how they’re sharing information over the internet. And art of it is the psychology because many people think they’re reading. And you know there’s a whole big thing. Even today’s psychology, where CNN came out with a big poll, their big poll came out today that links are winning. It’s good psychology.

Respecting the time and needs of adjuncts

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Almost every university in the US has succumbed to financial pressures and employs a relatively high proportion of adjunct instructors. Typically, adjuncts are highly trained professionals with a graduate degree, but don’t get the compensation or professional courtesy that they deserve. Universities have given up on the notion that all faculty should have job security. Instead,…

Recommended reads #59

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The time I became a father in the same week my tenure portfolio was due, from Liberal Arts Ecologists. You’re an insect curator. Cool! So what is it you do?! Saving species experts from extinction How should a professor be? 22 suggestions, including many great ones. The NSF Division of Environmental Biology is typically in top blogging…

When are minority-focused conferences the best choice?

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Sometimes, the title has a question mark. The body of the text usually has the answer to the question in the title. This is not one of those. I don’t have an answer to this question. Have you heard of SACNAS or ABRCMS?* These organizations put on a big science conference somewhere in the US…

A response to censorship by Scientific American [updated]

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This post is mostly inside baseball among blog people, but it’s an important topic that I don’t want to ignore. It’s an incident that I kind-of observed unfold from the sidelines, and now it’s emerging in the mainstream media, or whatever Buzzfeed is, and will continue to grow. I’ve always thought of this blog as…

Applying for a faculty position at a teaching institution: the research statement

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Pretty much every faculty job application requires a Research Statement. It could be called something slightly different (research plan, statement of research interests), but they’re all pretty much the same. The research statement that you send to a research university has to be fundamentally different from the one you send to a teaching institution. When…