Also this week: the US government vs. frequentist statistics, a survey on measuring excellence in scientific outreach, outlier sheep, the essential thought for anyone giving a talk, and more
Alex Bond had a post reflecting on what he’s learned in his 10 years in science. It’s spot on. (ht: Stephen Heard)
Sigh. There’s always one, isn’t there?:
The EEB and Flow with a really interesting post on ecology’s first null model war (from the 1920s!)–and how it didn’t prevent the second.
Steven Frank with a new preprint linking the Price equation and Fisher’s fundamental theorem of natural selection to…[wait for it]…d’Alembert’s principle from classical physics (a generalization of Newton’s second law of motion, F=ma). I love this kind of stuff, identifying deep connections between seemingly-unrelated ideas. Here, the connection is that relative fitness is like relative motion (i.e. relative to a frame of reference). Interestingly, Frank seems (?) to be getting away from the idea that the Price equation has deep linkages to information theory, now preferring to think of the conservation of key quantities (e.g., total probability, mean relative fitness, the sum of direct and inertial forces) as what’s truly fundamental. (UPDATE: Just found this new preprint from Frank, linking his new d’Alembert-based perspective back to the information theory perspective. He does indeed now believe that conservation of total probability is the really fundamental thing here, and that MaxEnt is a “useful but sometimes unnatural” way to express the “geometric” constraints imposed by conservation of total probability.)
Advice on academic job hunting in the US for non-resident foreigners. I can’t vouch for it, but it sounds reasonable to me.
The Global Young Academy (an organization of top young scientists, with which my friend Rees Kassen is heavily involved) is conducting a survey on scientific engagement and outreach. They want to determine how universities and other scientific institutions measure and reward engagement and outreach, and how their employees and administrators think they measure and reward engagement and outreach. Click the link to take the survey; there are separate versions for profs/NGO scientists/administrators and students/postdocs.
A rare retraction in ecology, due to an innocent mistake arising from the lead author’s serious illness. A very unusual and unfortunate situation; there’s no suggestion of misconduct or incompetence on the part of anyone involved.
Geez, the Google autocomplete suggestions for “my phd” are depressing.