A nice recap of the top conservation papers of 2013.
A compilation of snarky acknowledgments sections in scientific papers. They missed one from ecology: back in 1985
Bert Murray used the acknowledgments to take a shot at the editors of his Oikos paper, writing “I thank the editors for critical comments which have had no serious effect on the text.” (h/t Retraction Watch). (CORRECTION: It wasn’t Bert Murray; see the comments)
Hope Jahren has good advice on what to do after you get tenure. This blog is one big thing I ended up doing, though it was something I kind of fell into rather than decided to do using the decision-making method Hope suggests (see also Meg’s comments below).
As a sort-of-complement to the previous link, here’s a very fine post from someone who doesn’t have tenure and never will. Philosopher Dan Fincke talks about the end of his adjunct teaching career. You might be surprised to learn that he’s not bitter in the least about the experience and has no regrets. His post reminded me of Carla Davidson’s wonderful guest post for us on escaping academia and striking out on her own. (h/t Brad DeLong)
The Pew Research Center released a poll this week reporting a big jump in the percentage of US Republicans who identify as creationist. But the data are very difficult to interpret because Pew reported many key pieces of information only for Republicans, not for Democrats and independents. Interpreting polling data is hard enough without having access to all of it, so count me among those who are puzzled why Pew would only present a selective breakdown of the results. (h/t Hope Jahren, via Twitter)
What’s the future of elite public universities in the US? Brad DeLong lays out a big-picture strategic vision for the (challenging, gloomy) future of UC-Berkeley. Worth reading for anyone who cares about higher education as a public good, not just those who work at Berkeley or other top public universities. Some gentle pushback against Brad’s pessimism here.
Not really about ecology or academia, but fun and thought-provoking enough to share anyway: a timeline of techno-panic. Worried about how the internet is rotting our brains, or know someone who is? Back in the day, people had the same worry about unnetworked computers. And television. And radio. And the telegraph. And newspapers. And books. I imagine there were Paleolithic people who hated cave paintings on the same grounds. (h/t Brad DeLong)
For Christmas my son got a copy of This Is Not My Hat. It’s very funny. I mention it here only because the book has some ecology in it. The whole story is about a little fish trying to hide in the vegetation from a big fish (after stealing the big fish’s hat). It’s like a children’s book written by Earl Werner. 🙂
And finally, here’s a video of peacock spiders dancing to “YMCA“. Don’t say I never did anything for you. 🙂 Meg, this is totally going on to your “videos for teaching ecology” list, right?…No? What if you first rewrote the lyrics to something more spider- or sexual selection-specific? “Spider/There’s no need to feel down/I said spider/Just start dancing around/You can make..that…female…choose you!…” 🙂 (h/t Cute Overload)
Another great post from Hope Jahren, this one on 10 things to do after getting tenure. #10 is to change the world. She says, “All these things you’ve been bitching so bitterly about for years: Public apathy over Climate Change, lack of minorities in STEM, how damn dumb the students are – it is up to you to make the data that shows these things are getting better.” I’ve certainly tried to work on making things friendlier for women and minorities in STEM pre-tenure, but plan to work on that even more in the future.
LOL my thesis is a blog in which people summarize their thesis in one sentence (or sometimes a few). I have somewhat mixed feelings on this. I totally understand where it comes from (and some of them are very funny), but do worry about things that intentionally make academic research seem trite or absurd. It’s hard enough to convince the general public the importance of funding basic research without intentionally making it sound ridiculous. But maybe I just have my crankypants on today. 😉
Here’s another post on spousal hires (a topic I’ve linked to in Friday links in the past). I think it has a pretty reasonable take on the subject.
Finally, I think this post has an interesting take on the impact of blogging on reputation. Basically: yes, blogging can have a negative effect on one’s reputation, but it can have a positive one, too. She concludes, “yes, … we need to be aware that blogging is a public medium, and anything we say on a blog can be read by anyone. But it would be a shame if we allowed ourselves to become so worried about potential problems that we failed to see the advantages of blogging for fostering academic debate.”