Also this week: WWW: 1994-2015, teaching vs. brain surgery, and Stephen Heard’s unconventional pedagogical preferences.
My only links this week relate to the discovery of Homo naledi, a new species of human found in South Africa. The backstory to how the cave was found and about the caver-scientists (all women) who retrieved the remains is really interesting. I had watched a video about the expedition (known as the Rising Star Expedition) about a year ago. It was neat to see then, but even neater now that I know more about what they were finding.
Updated to add this tweet, which has a very good commentary on the image showing what the caver scientists had to do to get to the cave:
This week in Dog Bites Man: authors whose papers are accepted think very highly of every aspect of the editorial process (were the reviews thoughtful, did the editors understand the paper, etc.). Authors whose papers are rejected think much less highly of every aspect of the editorial process. Changing the editorial process–but not acceptance rates–to try to make authors happier (for instance by not asking authors for multiple rounds of revision) has precisely zero effect on author happiness. Consider this your latest reminder that the only fundamental “problem” with scientific publishing is that we all disagree with one another about what work is interesting and important (and even technically sound). Good luck “fixing” that. And Brian, now you know how to attract authors to submit to your journal: somehow accept everyone’s papers while simultaneously rejecting everyone else’s so as to remain a desirable outlet!
Brad DeLong mourns the death of the open, bloggy, authorial web. Makes me glad to be blogging for a niche audience. The trends that Brad identifies don’t apply to blogs aimed at one’s fellow professional scientists. And I kind of like how that makes Dynamic Ecology simultaneously a newfangled thing (compared to older forms of scientific communication), and an old fashioned thing (compared to newer forms of online publishing and social media).
Harry Brighouse on how teaching is more important and harder than brain surgery. Too much of a loose apples-to-oranges comparison for my taste. I find it too easy to imagine drawing the opposite conclusion from the same analogy. But those of you who lack my pedant’s soul may find it inspiring start-of-term reading. (in fairness, the piece isn’t intended completely seriously) Includes some familiar but useful broad-brush advice on improving your teaching.
Stephen Heard would rather teach non-majors science courses. I assume he also prefers broccoli to chocolate. 🙂 (just teasing, Stephen!)
And finally: paleontologists discover one-boned dinosaur. 🙂