Also this week: honoring an amphipod, fox vs. fox, and more.
ESA has released a new social media policy in advance of the 2016 meeting in Fort Lauderdale. It changes the “opt in” policy from #ESA100 to an “opt out” policy. ht: Andrew MacDonald via twitter
sciwo had a great post on pumping and what can be done to make life a bit easier for nursing moms. One common theme is how problematic is can be for nursing moms when other people don’t realize that she really needs to go pump — that ‘one more’ question from a student or the person who see that a seminar speaker has a break on her schedule and figures it’s okay to talk through it is causing that mom actual pain. I have a suggestion related to this in the comments on sciwo’s post (and in the “bonus tips” I have at the bottom of this post): for seminar speakers, job candidates, etc., I think it works much better if the host puts him/herself (or someone else) on the schedule during the pump breaks, rather than listing them as a break. That makes people less likely to talk through the break. For job candidates, I’ve arranged to have someone from the department show up at the prior meeting at the given time to whisk the candidate off to her next meeting (which, in reality, is with her pump).
Using statistics to catch students who copy from one another on multiple-choice exams. Link goes to a preprint. Not the sort of thing that you could use to convict anyone of cheating in the absence of other evidence, and I think it’s a bit oversold (no surprise considering who the lead author is), but it’s an interesting attempt to detect symptoms of cheating at the whole-class level. I found it most interesting for the experiment suggesting that randomly assigning students to seats cuts way down on cheating, though unfortunately this intervention was confounded with several other anti-cheating interventions and so is hard to interpret. (ht Marginal Revolution) [Bonus thoughts from Meg: I was initially interested in this study, but it seems like the other anti-cheating interventions they added have the potential to really strongly influence the results. They confounded the seating assignment change with a change in the number of proctors (from 1 to 4), and the final had two versions of the same exam (whereas the earlier ones just had one). Those seem like pretty big confounding factors to me.]
It’s clearly some sort of portent that the Wildlife Photographer of the Year is a Canadian who won for a picture of a fox. Warning: the winning image is striking–and graphic. Click through for a selection of other winning images. The winner in the “Urban” category features a fox too (and would make an awesome header image for the blog, but copyright forbids it, and I don’t want it enough to pay a rights fee). The winning images in the “Impressions” and “Amphibians and reptiles” categories are my favorites, they’re the least like anything I’ve ever seen before.
UPDATE: Just found this, couldn’t wait ’til next Friday with it: I thought it was hilarious that this year’s ESA meeting overlapped with BronyCon, but
this a previous year’s Society for Vertebrate Paleontology meeting has us beat because it overlaps with it overlapped with…well, you’ll just have to click through to find out. At the same link is an SVP poster session drinking game, which will give you a little window into the culture of paleontologists. I’m filing that idea away for a future ESA. (ht Small Pond Science)