Also this week: extinctions to celebrate (?), infographics vs. philosophy of science, Princeton
vs. grade inflation, eagle vs. London, hoisted from the comments, and more. Also, two of Meg’s favorite things, combined into one!
Here’s an example of succession that should get your students attention: succession of microbes in campus bathrooms.
Animal Diversity Web, which started as part of the University of Michigan but has now spun off to be an independent startup company, has launched a new app that has interactive pocket guides for Great Lakes parks, zoos, and museums. Here’s a link to the iTunes store page for the app, and here’s a link to a UMich news story on Animal Diversity Web.
Sciwo had an interesting post on the strange duality of being a pregnant academic. I was sad to read she had to fight so hard for leave (I’ve been fortunate to not have to fight for leave). I really understand the conflict between feeling like you need to spend those first few months focusing on your baby and recovering from birth, but also wanting to make sure that your lab folks don’t suffer as a result.
A little while back Stuart Pimm published a very negative book review in Biological Conservation. Which he couched in language demeaning to women. After an outcry, the journal has now appended a note to the review calling the language “denigrating” and “inappropriate”, after Pimm refused to edit it. The journal also has changed its editorial procedures, and will be publishing a letter about the incident from conservation biologist Amanda Stanley, who has some very good further comments here.
From the This Is Obvious But I’m Linking To It Anyway Because I Agree Dept.: Twitter has many uses. But substantive, evidence-based debate isn’t one of them.
Grade inflation at elite US colleges and universities has been going on for decades. Princeton has now abandoned a plan to fight it. Andrew Gelman comments.
All of philosophy of science in one diagram.
Can a scientific lecture–not a TED talk, an hour long lecture–work as theater?
Should we reduce the burden on pre-publication peer reviewers by going to a hybrid model in which only certain types of papers are subjected to pre-publication review, with others being “reviewed”, if at all, only post-publication?
Has leading sports channel ESPN suspended Keith Law, one of its writers, for…defending evolution on Twitter? Hard to say for sure. But since Law was arguing with his creationist colleague Curt Schilling, who wasn’t suspended, the optics are bad.
Lots of discussion this week about how efforts to save some extremely rare vertebrates have led to the extinction of some of their specialist parasites. See here, here, and here. Relatedly, here’s a New Yorker piece from a parasitologist, celebrating the (near) extinction of a parasite of humans. (ht Not Exactly Rocket Science)
Want to buy James Watson’s Nobel Prize? (ht Marginal Revolution)
A video with an eagle’s-eye view of London. (ht Not Exactly Rocket Science)
Hoisted from the comments:
Do you think the quality of reviews tends to be better at more selective journals? Experiences vary; discussion starts here.
On the importance of not letting busyness become your default state. Starts here.
And finally, Ellen Sims wins the week by explaining why you shouldn’t try to get an A in organic chemistry.🙂