Also this week: how to schedule a grad student committee meeting, PlanetPopNet, Wildlife Photographer of the Year, computer science vs. women, the Canadian government vs. its own scientists, and more.
This piece on how to schedule a committee meeting should be required reading for grad students. The things not to do include:
1. Don’t ask me to list all my availabilities between March 15 and June 1st. I’m not going to replicate my entire calendar into an email to you.
2. Don’t give me a list of 120 possible date/time combinations and ask me to check off all the ones that don’t work. See the previous point.
3. Don’t assume my availabilities remain unchanged for more than a couple of days.
Yes, yes, and yes. (ht: Leonid Kruglyak)
NPR’s Planet Money had a story on women in computer science, and focuses on how computer science came to be dominated by men. A key factor they focus on is how ads for early computers were marketed almost exclusively to boys and men. (Jeremy adds: Mom, dad, Meg took my link, make her give it back! 😉 )
The Canadian Institute for Ecology and Evolution (the Canadian equivalent of NCEAS) is calling for proposals for working groups. Deadline Nov. 1. I organized their first working group, our first paper just came out.
Here’s a little simulator that could be useful to biostats instructors: it generates linear regressions with a specified sample size and p value for the null hypothesis of zero slope. Good for giving students a visual feel for what a significant regression looks like, and also for correcting common misconceptions (e.g., highly significant regressions don’t necessarily have high R^2 values).
Is it ever optimal to work your way up the journal ladder rather than down? That is, revise and resubmit a rejected paper to a more selective journal rather than a less selective one? Here‘s a simple model addressing that question. Easy to see how it could be elaborated to incorporate other effects (e.g., probably of rejection without review). Note that the model parameters will depend on the paper you’re submitting as well as on the journal. This model could also be extended to determine when it’s helpful to submit to Axios Review first (I bet if you ran the numbers you’d find it’s often helpful).
PlantPopNet is a new global-scale distributed experiment on the population biology of Plantago lanceolata. I’m a big fan of NutNet, the pioneering global-scale distributed ecological experiment, so it’s great to see more such experiments. Click the link to find out how you too can join PlantPopNet.
A nice balanced post on the necessity, and pitfalls, of exploratory data analysis. Resonates with Brian’s old post. I don’t entirely agree with the author’s vision as to what to do about it (basically, do away with papers entirely in favor of open-ended open science), but it’s thought-provoking.
The Canadian government continues to muzzle its scientists.
As Meg just told you, the male/female balance of computer science majors was improving steadily until the early 80s–then it went into reverse, for interesting reasons. Things kept improving in law, medicine, and physical sciences, although recently the male/female balance of those majors seems to have stabilized a bit short of equality. In other news, apparently Meg and I should divide the internet between us to minimize redundancy.
Some good points here about the utility of Twitter, but it’s going too far to say that using it is “vital to the success of your Ph.D.” Twitter is not (yet?) an essential tool the way, say, email is, and depending on the sort of person you are you won’t necessarily get anything out of it. (ht @smvamosi)
The winners of the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest have just been announced. I have fond memories of attending this exhibition when I was a postdoc in London. The winning image (taken from the linked story) is jaw dropping, as always:
And finally, I took the ESA’s survey of its members on what ecological concepts you find “useful” in your own work. When asked about the intermediate disturbance hypothesis I checked “not familiar with the concept”. 😛 At the end of the survey, you have the chance to name some concepts that you find useful, but that you weren’t asked about. I’m pretty sure I blew my anonymity by writing “Price equation, metacommunity, zombie ideas”. 🙂