Athene Donald has a post on a topic we’ve covered here before: unconscious biases that lead to women being systematically being rated lower than men. I agree with her that “Unconscious bias can only be dealt with by making it conscious, by ensuring an instantaneous assessment is backed up by evidence and not just by one’s unthinking gut.” Also quite valuable is the list of studies dealing with this topic that she has compiled at the end of the post.
Times Higher Education has an article on a study saying that academics hide their regional accents. I found that interesting in part because I do not have the accent of my native Long Island, though it wasn’t a conscious decision on my part to lose that accent. (My accent is more of a generic Yankee — that is, Northern US — accent.) Mine does reappear sometimes when I’m tired — given that I have a new baby, this probably means that I have been talking about needing “cawfee” lately. 😉
Here’s a new paper looking at research productivity and having children. Based on the abstract, it reports that female researchers in business and economics who have children are more productive than those who do not have children. I was amused by how many of the tweets I saw about this article came from academic moms who said things like “I don’t have time to read the whole article, but it looks interesting.” My sentiments exactly! (h/t to Jen Biddle @subsurface_life).
Speaking of moms in science…my former Calgary colleague Carla Davidson trained as a scientist (experimental evolutionary biology; did a postdoc with Rich Lenski), and is now an independent consultant and a mom. She’s also a reality TV show contestant on Canada’s Greatest Know-It-All, and a blogger at Mommiologist. Click through and check it out–you’ll be glad you did. Carla’s got a lot to say about science, motherhood, bringing science to the masses, non-academic careers, and much more. And she says it really well–she’s smart, funny, self-aware, fearlessly open, and totally honest. I’m actually kind of embarrassed I didn’t know about her blog until earlier this week, and now that I have I’m jealous that I can’t write like her. Seriously, what are you still doing here? Click through already!
I think I’m done updating the E. O. Wilson vs. math post. But that doesn’t mean people are done talking about it. Terry McGlynn showed it to some high school science teachers he works with. Click through to find out how they reacted. A nice counterpoint to other reactions, which, while they’ve been hugely varied in some ways, have come from a less-than-hugely-varied subset of people.
Economics grad student Carola Binder on sex ratios and optimal mate choice–in humans. Informative, thoughtful post on how economists (and evolutionary biologists) think about mate choice–and how things go off the rails when you try to use their ideas to give marriage advice to female undergraduates. And the ending is perfect. (HT Economist’s View)
Step one of applying to grad school (which is well before you actually fill out the application form) is to send the right sort of introductory email to your prospective supervisor. Lots of prospective students fall at this first hurdle, presumably because they don’t realize it is the first hurdle. Jacquelyn Gill offers lots of good advice on how to write a good introductory email. (HT Meg, via Twitter)
Evolutionary biologist Patricia Brennan fights the good fight for government funding of fundamental research, and opposition to it based on anti-government ideology and simple ignorance. Nice article in the Washington Post. (HT Jeremy Yoder, via Twitter)
Reading the writing on the wall for Canadian universities: insight into the current Canadian Federal government’s vision for universities, based on their policies at the one university under Federal control. Sobering.
Your eyebrow raising stat of the week: from 1993-2009, US universities added administrators at ten times the rate they added tenure-track faculty. Meaningless number, meaningful but not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, or exactly what’s wrong with universities these days? Discuss. (HT Felix Salmon)