Friday links: Brian and Meg vs. Jeremy, and more

Also this week: classic ecology papers in animated video form, how to be a “superpredictor”, the downsides of statistical rigor, and more.

From Meg:

I just saw this post from Zen Faulkes from this past August on how publishers need to buy a calendar. Exhibit A: a print journal that arrived with this publication date: “February 2012 (Published June 2015)” Better late than never?

ESA has put out the call for nominations for awards. And, of course, women and people from underrepresented groups can’t win if they aren’t nominated. Nominations are due by December 15, 2015.

From Jeremy:

EcoMotion Studios is producing a series of animated videos illustrating classic papers on key concepts in ecology. So far they have trophic cascades, keystone predation, metapopulation dynamics, and island biogeography

The downsides of statistical rigor. More statistical rigor is good, all else being equal. But all else is never equal, and so an unhealthy obsession with rigor at all costs is, well, unhealthy. For instance, if it causes you to ask an uninteresting question just because it can be answered rigorously. From economics, but you’ll be able to figure it out and will recognize the relevance to ecology (skip the introductory bits about “mathiness” unless you, like me, read lots of economics blogs). Some echoes of Brian’s posts on statistical machismo here.

An interview with Phil Tetlock, co-author (with ace science journalist Dan Gardner) of an interesting-looking new book on how to make good predictions. The book is about prediction in social science, but it sounds more broadly relevant. Seems to cover some of the same ground as The Signal and the Noise (which I reviewed a while back), but using a new and more focused dataset.

Interesting essay on how the “omics” revolution undermines the whole basis for standard molecular biology, but won’t realize its potential without the aid of theory. Non technical and accessible, and likely pleasing to many of you because it reads as a call for more evolutionary theory in genomics (here’s an exchange of comments on this I had with the second author). I like reading about the state of play in other fields, it gives me a comparative framework to think about the state of play in ecology.

A glass half full view of the replicability “crisis” in psychology.

Daniel Lakens with a nice post on the use of p-values and frequentist statistics. Includes a good compact intro to false discovery rates, and argues that we should focus on controlling long run error rates rather than worrying too much about the correctness of the inference from any single study. Curious what Deborah Mayo would think of this, as she emphasizes the use of frequentist inference both for controlling error rates and for making inferences from single studies.

Hoisted from the comments:

Meg’s post on Up Goer Five prompted a really good discussion. Opinions on Up Goer Five are widely split! That led to a broader discussion of how to communicate science and the importance of considering one’s audience. And if you think Brian, Meg, and I always agree, well, check out the thread…

From the archives:

Just for laughs, I looked up the most popular links so far this year. Not just from linkfests–the most popular destinations people reach by clicking any link on Dynamic Ecology. In rough order (rough because I was going fast and may have made a mistake):

  1. Scientist Sees Squirrel (the home page, not any particular post)
  2. Small Pond Science (the home page, not any particular post)
  3. This post on treating your tenure-track faculty position as a 7-year postdoc
  4. A now-broken link on where to buy a particular brand of tote at Target
  5. Interview with Ben Bolker
  6. Ben Barres’ commentary in Nature critiquing the idea that innate gender differences keep women from advancing in science.
  7. Tenure, She Wrote (the home page, not any particular post)
  8. The EEB and Flow (the home page, not any particular post)
  9. #ESA100 bingo cards
  10. Sociobiology (the home page, not any particular post)
  11. BuzzFeed’s article on the overlap of #ESA100 and BronyCon
  12. A now-broken link giving Isis the Scientist’s thoughts on rundouchery
  13. This Crash Course Ecology video on the history of life on Earth
  14. The story of an innocent error that led to a retraction for some very good and careful ecologists (UPDATE: if you’re interested in this story, you really should read Brian’s comments on it. This is a story of an honest, non-obvious mistake that could happen to anyone, even if you’re highly competent and very careful, as the authors of this paper are and were. I mention this because my repost of this link seems to have prompted some tweets that could be interpreted as snark about the authors of this study. I certainly hope that wasn’t the intent, because no snark is merited. Rather, these authors deserve praise for doing the right thing and immediately revealing the error and retracting the paper as soon as the error was discovered. That takes courage.)
  15. Text matching software WCopyFind

I’m surprised that that many people are clicking from here to the homepages of the blogs we link to most. We mostly link to specific posts, not to the homepages. Do people actually click on our blogroll entries? Or is this some artifact of how WordPress records clicks?

Interesting to me that there’s not much rhyme or reason to the most popular links. {Note from Meg: except that I am responsible for both of the popular broken links! I will need to try to fix those.} {note from Jeremy: if you want your links to live forever, here’s how to do it. Though I tend not to bother.}

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