Friday links: confessions of “wasteful” scientists, virus trading cards, and more

Also this week: what an NSF preproposal panel is like, epic rap battles of history, Sisyphus as Chair of the Curriculum Reform Committee, and more.

From Meg:

Confessions of a Wasteful Scientist, written by David Hu in response to three of his projects ending up on a Congressman’s list of wasteful research. It’s a great response. And, on the same general theme, here’s a great (fully captioned!) video from PBS Newshour featuring Sheila Patek talking about her research, which was also featuring on the same Congressman’s list. In it, she says,

The nature of discovery is that it is impossible to anticipate what you’ll find. That is discovery. Discovery-based research is most fruitful when new knowledge is sought for its own sake.

(The shamelessly self-promotional Jeremy adds: we have a bunch of posts on justifying fundamental research.)

NSF has restored funding for work on biological collections. This is mostly good news, but the hiatus will mean that there’s a gap of a year where no grants are awarded, and the plan is to only have calls for proposals every other year in the future.

Mike Kaspari had an excellent, lengthy blog post on NSF preproposal panels, with useful information for people who’ve never been panelists before, as well as information for people submitting preproposals. There’s lots of good stuff in there. The approach his department uses for reviewing each other’s preproposals before submission is a great idea.

From Jeremy:

Marc Cadotte comments on the value of journals publishing comments on previously-published articles, and compiles data on which ecology journals have clear policies on this. Attention Brian: Marc thinks GEB’s policy could be clearer. I’m on record with the view that ecology could probably use more debate and mutual criticism, while freely admitting that I have no idea how to really quantify how much we have or how much would be optimal. But I think it’s by far most important that we debate issues bigger than any one paper, so I disagree with Marc that journals ought to be publishing many more criticisms of individual papers.

Margaret Kosmala’s thoughts on her first experience with double-blind review as a reviewer.

Tell me again what it means for a statistical model to be “interpretable”? Good post, made me stop and think. (ht @bolkerb)

Paging Meg: my buddy Greg Crowther, scientist, musician, and curator of science song collection Sing About Science, has a new paper reporting a series of experiments on the benefits of music videos for K-12 science education.

Epic rap battles of history. Amusing. I like Western vs. Eastern philosophers. Here’s Martin Luther King vs. Ghandi (both a little NSFW; there’s swearing). Someone should do this for big debates in ecological history. (ht Crooked Timber)

Now I know what to get Meg for Christmas. Though sadly, it seems no fungal pathogens are included in the set. (ht @bolkerb)

Most of you won’t get this, but for the two of you who are sociologists, it’s hilarious. (ht@kjhealy)

And finally, despite just chairing a curriculum reform that’s gone very smoothly, I still think this is mostly right: 😉

7 thoughts on “Friday links: confessions of “wasteful” scientists, virus trading cards, and more

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