Lots of great stuff this week! The color of time, beer taxonomy, the tides > lava lamp, Daphnia salesmanship, Fourier transformation vs. the Beatles, REF results, the dark side has cookies, #bakeyourstudyorganism, and more.
time color is it? This page computes the hex color of the current time.🙂
I love the image in this post, showing Margaret Hamilton, lead software engineer for Project Apollo, standing in front of the printouts of her code. What a great image and story!
A couple of weeks ago, Terry McGlynn linked to this post on 45 Things I’ve Learned about Science since I was a Student by Rob Dunn. One of the post’s points really struck me: “Most real challenges scientists have to deal with have nothing to do with science.” This is true of our students, too. Most of the serious things our students and colleagues are dealing with have nothing to do science or our class. Maybe they’re worried about how to pay rent. Maybe they have an ill relative. Maybe they are dealing with depression or anxiety. . . . There are also lots of other good thoughts in that post.
Wired has a story featuring the winners of the Olympus Bioscapes competition, which features gorgeous micrographs.
Here’s Caroline Tucker’s annual holiday caRd!🙂
UPDATE: Just found this, didn’t want to wait until after the holidays to share it. Computer science places a lot of weight on presenting at top conferences (as opposed to publishing in top journals). A top computer science conference just did an experiment in which they randomly assigned some of the submissions to each of two evaluation committees working in parallel. Each committee was asked to accept 23% of submissions, so fairly selective but not extraordinarily so. The result: 57% of the submissions accepted by one committee were rejected by the other. The linked post discusses various models that are consistent with the data. Reinforces other lines of evidence that referees disagree with one another a fair bit about what work is most interesting. But before you use the results as the basis to complain about selective journals or pre-publication peer review, remember: those disagreements don’t go away or become less important if you do away with selective journals and pre-publication review. The effects of those disagreements merely get manifested in some other way. (ht Marginal Revolution)
The results are in from the British REF (an evaluation of the scholarship of British universities and their departments, the results of which dictate future funding). A bit of commentary, focusing on the absurdities resulting from allowing British universities to count star American academics on token “0.2” appointments among their academic staff, and allowing them to count towards the REF work performed by newly-hired faculty at their old jobs.
The New Yorker has noticed the ongoing–and increasingly unedifying and personal–fight within conservation biology on why nature should be conserved.
Related: the New Yorker on efforts in New Zealand to rid the entire country of non-native mammals (i.e. all mammals other than a few bats).
A scientific detective story: what’s the chord that begins A Hard Day’s Night? Includes the following dare-to-dream line:
If anyone with the security clearance to work with the Beatles master tapes is reading this, then I can be on the train to Abbey Road with my laptop at very short notice!
Retraction Watch got a $400,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation to develop a comprehensive, freely available database of retractions.
This is very cool: explorable explanations. Basically, interactive text that’s partway between plain text (an author saying “here’s how it works”) and an interactive simulation (an author saying “figure it out for yourself”).
Thomas Lumley uses a mock interview to entertainingly dismantle a ridiculous study that was reported as showing that wearing cosmetics while pregnant lowers the IQ of your children. Could be good fodder for an undergrad stats class, or really any course that touches on how to do and report science. (ht Simply Statistics)
Not an explorable explanation, but still hypnotically cool: an animated map of the earth’s tides. (ht Thomas Lumley)
The taxonomy of beer, in the form of a sharp-looking wood engraving.
A while back, ecologist-turned-data-scientist Ted Hart did a guest post for us on his new career. Via Twitter, he’s now summarized the follow-up conversations he’s been having with students looking to follow in his footsteps:
This week, I learned that “bio-encapsulated” is fish food manufacturer marketing-speak for “inside Daphnia.” Now I’m rooting for Meg to incorporate “bio-encapsulated” into her next paper. Somebody needs to write the manufacturer a letter demanding that they stop “bio-encapsulating” the vitamins and provide them in a natural, healthy pill form instead. Meanwhile, I’m off to “bio-encapsulate” a sandwich.🙂
And finally: a handy phrase book for British graduate students who need to interpret feedback from American faculty. Sample entry:
What they say: Let’s have lunch Tuesday after next.
What you hear: He is brushing me off.
What they mean: Let’s have lunch Tuesday after next.
There’s also a phrase book for American students who need to translate feedback from British faculty, to which I’ve linked before.🙂
Hoisted from the comments:
The comment thread on our post on ecologists who are awesome at things besides ecology revealed musicians, a wildlife artist, a historian, novelists, a top kite surfer, an elite fencer–and an astronaut! Also an excellent Boggle player.🙂 UPDATE x2: AND THE INVENTOR OF CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH ICE CREAM!!!11!1!