Friday links: ecosystem restoration as art forgery, public science outreach vs. “doing science in public”, and more

Also this week: meme vs. memes, maybe the good ol’ days of blogs weren’t so good, the game theory of basketball, selective sweeps in video games, can theses be co-authored, and more.

From Jeremy:

Is the value of a natural ecosystem necessarily diminished if it has some history of human intervention? That is, is even a perfectly restored ecosystem like a skilled art forgery? Interesting discussion, with much more direct practical relevance than you might think. “Perfectly restored ecosystem” might be a philosopher’s absurd hypothetical. But the broader issue of how to value ecosystems absolutely is not.

Alex Hela continues to criticize the Canadian provinces for massively increasing student aid funding while starving college and universities of the funding needed to provide decent classes and student services. This week he turned his sights on Ontario.

Sociologist Philip Cohen on moving beyond public engagement as a way to publicize one’s research towards “doing sociology in public”. Thought-provoking. Curious to hear from others as to whether/how it applies to ecology and STEM more broadly. (ht @kjhealy)

A case study from competitive video gaming on how it’s not so easy to engineer stable coexistence, or even fitness equality, via directed mutation.

Sticking with “examples of evolutionary principles from outside evolutionary biology”: the game theory of effort level in professional basketball. (ht Marginal Revolution)

Can a thesis chapter be co-authored? Interesting question. No student on whose supervisory committee I’ve sat has ever worked so collaboratively that this issue ever came up. But as the comment thread in the linked post indicates, it’s come up for others.


And finally, this is very meta, and very funny (ht @dandrezner). The Monterey Bay Aquarium demonstrates how to use social media for conservation outreach–or how not to. Even they can’t quite decide which it is. 🙂 Neither can anybody else, apparently. 🙂

From Meghan:

This year’s NSF Waterman Award has gone to social scientist Kristina Olson! I think I was the first person to call attention to the problematic gender ratio of Waterman Award winners, back in 2014. In 2015, 2016, and 2017, the award also went to men. After the outcry following last year’s announcement, NSF revised the criteria for the award. I was really excited to see that Olson had won this year’s award, and to read that she plans on using the funding to expand the first large-scale, (US) national study of transgender children. While I’m excited about this year’s award winner, there’s still work to do — a woman of color has never won the Waterman Award.

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