Also this week: Caroline Tucker vs. microbial ecology, the prehistory of the replicability revolution in psychology, and more.
I spent a few months between college and grad school in Antarctica, and Antarctica has always captivated me. Perhaps it’s because of that that I loved these images from Endurance’s last days (Endurance was Shackleton’s ship). (Jeremy adds: if you’re at all interested in Shackleton’s expedition and have access to The New Yorker’s back catalog, Anthony Lane’s 1999 essay is a must-read.)
I’m late to this, but here’s a great post from Mark McPeek on grade inflation at top US universities and what to do about it. Unfortunately, his recommendations will run up against a collective action problem: if Dartmouth implements them, some students will choose to go someplace else where the average grade is still an A-. But I’m not sure that’s a big problem–or even a “problem” at all.
Very interesting history (and prehistory) of the ongoing “replicability revolution” in psychology. Asks and answers the fascinating question of why the revolution didn’t happen years or even decades ago. (ht Not Exactly Rocket Science)
Morgan Ernest on the future of trait databases in ecology, a subject on which ecologists apparently could learn a thing or two from paleobiologists. Raises (but doesn’t solve) the difficult collective action problem of how you transition from the current state of affairs to one with a single comprehensive database.
Caroline Tucker with an overview of current challenges for microbial ecology. Interesting that many of the features of microbes that make microbial ecology challenging–small size, short generation time, etc.–are the same ones that make microbes a powerful model system in the lab. The first person who figures out how to turn the challenges of field microbial ecology into advantages will make a big impact. Shameless self promotion: here’s my own modest attempt to do that. It’s promising but has some obvious limitations.
Justin Trudeau’s mandate letter–basically, marching orders–to the new Canadian Minister of Science. These letters rarely say anything too precise, but the general thrust is great. In particular, I was very glad to see the following mandate:
Examine options to strengthen the recognition of, and support for, fundamental research to support new discoveries.
And finally, #LOTRyourResearch went viral this week. 🙂