Also this week: ESA award nominations sought, the half-life of The Spice Girls, and more.
Another week, another two Expressions of Concern for Jonathan Pruitt. Well, they actually came out on Aug. 10, but I missed them at the time. One is for Pruitt et al. 2012 Functional Ecology. The other is for Pruitt 2010 Functional Ecology. No details provided, merely says that concerns have been raised about the validity of the data, and that the University of Tennessee is investigating. Those papers date from Pruitt’s time as a graduate student at Tennessee. In the unlikely event that you are new to the #pruittdata saga, see here for background.
Yale law professor Jed Rubenfeld has been suspended for two years for a track record of serial sexual harassment going back many years.
ESA award nominations are due Oct. 22. You should nominate someone, or ask someone to nominate you! Seriously–there are lots of ecologists out there doing excellent work in the many areas that the ESA awards recognize. They ought to be recognized! 🙂 Writing a nomination letter isn’t difficult (it’s actually fun!), and it gets quicker and easier with practice. And don’t worry about being a burden to others by asking them to nominate you for an award–whoever you ask is almost certainly happy to do it, and doesn’t see it as a burden or a big favor. Like most all scientific society awards, the ESA awards are not overwhelmed with nominations. All nominations are appreciated by, and get a careful look from, the relevant awards subcommittee. And you have no idea who else will be nominated, so don’t fall into the trap of trying to guess whether your nomination would be “competitive”. That’s just your brain trying to find an excuse not to submit a nomination. As the chair of the Mercer Award subcommittee, I know I speak for everyone on every awards subcommittee when I say that we want the ESA awards to reflect the full diversity and excellence of ecologists and the work they’re doing (not just research, but outreach, service, and more). We can only achieve that if we get a lot of nominations. Looking forward to receiving yours! Related: here’s some advice from Richard Primack, Pamela Templer, and me on how to write a good nomination letter, and more broadly about why awards are worth giving and worth seeking.
Adrian Currie with a new philosophy paper about the value of laboratory microcosm experiments in community ecology, even if the results can’t be extrapolated to field systems. Fact check: true. Related: my old defense of microcosms in ecology. Not sure who needs to hear Adrian, or me, tho. The microcosm wars ended long ago, and the microcosmologists won.
James Cook University has concluded its investigation into researchers who were accused of misconduct related to multiple high-profile papers on lionfish ecology, finding them not guilty. One of the researchers concerned is Oona Lönnstedt, who was at JCU at the time, and previously was found guilty of misconduct by Uppsala University for fabricating the data in a 2017 Science paper. See the first link in this paragraph for criticism of the JCU investigation from ecologist Dominique Roche. I haven’t followed this story closely. But just based on the news articles I’ve read and my own professional scientific judgment, I share Dominque Roche’s concerns about the rigor and thoroughness of this investigation.
Ever wonder how long it takes before a hit song is mostly forgotten? And how much song-to-song variance there is around the typical half-life? Well, whether you have or not, here are the answers for the songs that I used to listen to back in the day. Just eyeballing the data, it looks to me like if you want your song to be remembered forever, you should make sure it either becomes a wedding reception staple (“I Will Always Love You”, “Macarena”, “Jump Around”, “Livin’ La Vida Loca”, “Gonna Make You Sweat”) or is used in a popular animated movie (“All Star”, “A Whole New World”). Of course, there’s the songs that will be remembered, and the ones that should be remembered. Glad to see we’ve all collectively decided to forget that Meat Loaf, Milli Vanilli, Right Said Fred, and Wilson Phillips ever existed. On the other hand, you youngsters have decided, in your collective wisdom, to remember “Achy Breaky Heart” and memory hole “Give Me One Reason”. Good job everyone. 😦
Here’s the trailer for Ammonite, a forthcoming Oscar contender starring Kate Winslett as Victorian paleontologist Mary Anning. The film features Anning in a lesbian romance. Maybe by November the pandemic will be sufficiently under control here in Calgary that I’ll feel comfortable putting on a mask and going to see this (hope springs eternal…) Related: this fun old post and comment thread on the best movies about scientists.
In other scientific movie news, Nature reviews the new Tesla biopic starring Ethan Hawke.