Also this week: Get Out The Science, RIP Kenneth Arrow, should we all move to Switzerland?, blogs > Twitter, and more.
I definitely have this:
Get Out The Science is calling on scientists to spend the week after the March for Science (that is, April 24-31) sharing, inspiring, and engaging related to science. Some ideas (more info at the website):
Kenneth Arrow has died. He was one of the world’s greatest living economists, the youngest ever to win the Nobel Prize. He’s perhaps best known for founding an entire subdiscipline, social choice theory. Social choice theory started with Arrow’s famous “impossibility theorem” proving that, when voters have three or more options, no rank order voting system can convert those options into a community-wide ranking that obeys certain intuitively-plausible desiderata. In other words, those desiderata are not all compatible, implying that no single ranked ballot system is always and everywhere superior to the others (so all those arguments you read on the internet about the “best” voting system are wrong) Arrow also made foundational contributions to environmental economics and government innovation policy, to name two areas of some interest to readers of this blog. But to focus on any one of Arrow’s contributions is to fail to do him justice. To wit:
Stephen Heard expertly trolls the open access evangelists by asking why they aren’t also arguing for open access groceries. As with all the best trolls, Stephen has more of a point than you would think.
Axios Review is closing. I was an editor for it and I’m sad to see it go. I think it was a tremendously useful, narrowly-targeted publishing innovation. But not enough authors agreed–there wasn’t just enough uptake for it to break even.
The US National Academy of Sciences runs a scientific consulting hotline for filmmakers. The link includes a short video on the role of scientific consultants in Arrival. Related: my review of Lab Coats In Hollywood, a fascinating and fun book about Hollywood science consultants, by a scientist who became one.
I’m visiting Zurich next week, where I’ll see a number of US, British, and Canadian colleagues who’ve been hired by ETH Zurich or other Zurich institutes. Like Justin Fox (no relation), I’m curious whether we’ll see more US academics and grad students heading to Zurich in the next few years.
One of the nice things about being a blogger who is not really on Twitter is that I never have to experience predictable Twitter arguments. I can just come along later and read any useful blog posts they happen to spawn. For instance, apparently there was some sort of huge Twitter kerfuffle recently about how many hours/week you have to work to be successful as a scientist. Or something? Anyway, here’s my advice: whatever it was, don’t read it. No, not even if somebody storified it. Just read Terry McGlynn’s and Mike Kaspari’s blog posts about the topic, and Meg’s post from a couple of years ago. (Very minor aside: I would quibble with Mike’s suggestion that you also read E. O. Wilson’s Advice To A Young Scientist. It includes some very, very bad advice. Wilson illustrates that it’s not just people on Twitter who overgeneralize from their own experiences.)