Our pandemic summer [highlighted read] This piece by Ed Yong is another supreme piece of journalism. He’s going to get an award for his work in The Atlantic during this pandemic, I hope?
Here is a rather substantial list of sites with online laboratory modules for a great variety of STEM disciplines. If I was teaching a lab this semester, and was compelled to teach online on very short notice, I’d probably be spending hours combing through what’s available. It looks really useful for this moment that we are in. It was assembled by folks on a POD Network listserv*.
It looks like folks who have more than a tangential relationship to the Pruitt affair are now being quite mum, as Dr. Pruitt has done gone lawyered up and sent out a bevvy of nasty letters bearing what I imagine is letterhead from a very scary law firm. I only know about this from this news story that came out in Science yesterday. The kicker in that article, a quote from the EIC of Ecology Letters, pretty much sums up the slowly unfolding situation: “I don’t think it looks promising that a simple, nonfraud, compelling explanation will surface.”
From the pages of Nature: “You can’t fight feelings with facts.”
Joe Travis’s essay for the E.O. Wilson award in Am Nat is a contemporary ode to the enduring significance of natural history that I think will emerge as a classic. There are so many pull quotes I’d could share with you, but, just go ahead and read it.
Conserving honey bees does not help wildlife. Always nice to see something on this topic in the pages of Science.
Jokes I’ve told that my male colleagues didn’t like. (e.g., “My co-worker asked me why I seem so tense. I asked him why he was massaging my shoulders.”)
Chimpanzees have a penchant for throwing rocks at trees, and prefer tree species that make cool sounds.
It’s been a whole month since the last one of these? How about I prune this down to the gems, how about that?
You want to write for the public, but about what? This is a short and very sweet guide to being an academic in public. It does a great job of explaining how you need to talk outside what you have been trained to think what your lane is.
Would your cat eat your dead body? Now there’s peer-reviewed science to answer this question.
Vanillanomics [highlighted read]
The science of effective mentorship in STEMM – including how to develop individual development plans for mentees.
Here is a sublime profile of biologist Art Shapiro. And apparently, everybody I know who has worked with him says it’s spot on.
A librarian discovers many rare books have had images of beetles cut out of them. It sounds like a disaster, but turns out to be a very cool story.
This might as well be straight from a science fiction novel, but it’s our reality: Scientists around the world have banded together to write a major warning to everybody on the planet about the climate emergency (again).
Hitman 2’s new game lets you quit being an assassin and become an ornithologist: “Here’s how it works: After using your trusty piano wire to kill an ornithologist and swap into his cargo shorts and binoculars, all you have to do is press X to toss aside your silenced pistol, point out the nest of a plum-throated cotinga to your research assistant, and embark on a full-fledged research career in the King’s College Avian Biology Department.”
Color me surprised. A new study claims that in laboratory-oriented fields, mentoring from postdocs is impactful for PhD students, but not for mentoring from the PI. And that PI tend to ignore established best practices for mentoring, and just go from the hip based on their own prior personal experiences. (As a disclaimer, I haven’t actually read this article, by the way, just saying what the abstract and folks have been saying. Since it’s in a fancy journal, be primed to expect big claims that may or may not be appropriately generalized from the actual findings.)
“Dr. Kathryn Milligan-Myhre works in the field of host-microbe interactions. In this mSphere of Influence article, she reflects on the people and scientific ideas that influenced her journey from a small town in Alaska to a faculty position at the University of Alaska Anchorage.”
If you haven’t seen this yet, a strong piece of journalism in Science, about who gets NSF graduate fellowships.
Among the many layers of horrible events In These United States, the dismantling of the USDA, via translocating the agency to Kansas City (though where in Kansas City, they have no idea), is not getting much attention. Here’s a recent update on this from the Washington Post.
A big meta analysis is showing that, as the ocean warms, fisheries decline. Every degree celsius corresponds to a 5% loss in biomass.
Stats on tenure-track hires in Ecology and Evolution, in which Dr. Fox combs though a lot of CVs.
In ecology and zoology, the number of women authors on papers with male senior authors is shockingly low. I mean, yeah, you’d expect an effect of gender, but, I mean, wow, this is worse than I would have imagined:
A wave of graduate programs drops the GRE application requirement, with biology programs leading the way.
“If you’ve ever been at a wedding or conference or on board a United connection from O’Hare, and been cornered by a man with Theories About It All, and you came away thinking, ‘That was a great experience,’ have I got the book for you.” So begins what I think is a generally Important Review of the most recent Jared Diamond book. It’s important, for the broader academic community, because it puts stark light on the absence of fact checking of popular academic nonfiction. It’s also an entertaining review to read, unless you’re uncomfortable with scrutiny of the more specious ideas forwarded by Jared Diamond.
If you haven’t read this editorial about “What ‘good’ dads get away with,” please do. It’s about the the “Myth of Equal Partnership.”
Someone measured the disregard that natural scientists hold for research in the social sciences. You can imagine how this article is being received by the people they studied.
One hundred fifty. I’ve done this 150 times! How ’bout that, eh?
This review of a new book about Joy Division by Henry Rollins is not Everything, but it’s Quite A Lot. (And here’s a blog post about the science of the cover of Unknown Pleasures, which you’ve definitely seen in t-shirt form.)
It is stunning to learn that so many people think that we are paid to be sources for journalists. [update: I misread this. The piece reports that a majority of people think that sources pay journalists to be included in their stories. Which is perhaps even more outrageous?]
Applying for faculty jobs and don’t know what an institution means when they’re asking for you to “demonstrate interest and ability to advance diversity, equity and inclusion?” Apparently enough people asked UC Berkeley, so they decided to spell it out.
“Lessons from a postdoc gone wrong” makes sense in other domains as well.
That was a restful two weeks. Now, back to business.
Why do scientists reinvent wheels? (I think in ecology, a lot of concepts have a periodicity of about 30 years. And usually when an idea resurfaces, it’s not done with adequate awareness of the older literature.)