Poll results on statistical machismo

An ongoing theme to some of my posts has been the notion of statistical machismo. As noted recently, statistical machismo is not really about using (or not using) complex statistics. It is about using more complex statistics for bad reasons (e.g. to impress people) or forcing other people to use more complex reasons again for bad reasons or out of the ill-conceived notion that there is always one correct, best way to do statistics. The discussions on the last posts raised interesting questions about whether statistical machismo is really a problem or if it occurs just as often in the other direction (forcing people to use simple statistics). So of course that called for a poll . I am going to report on the results here. Continue reading

Skype-based seminar series?

My department has a weekly EEB seminar series. But we’re strapped for cash to bring in visiting speakers. One of my colleagues had a good idea: remote speakers who’d speak and answer questions via skype or videoconference.

Anyone have any experience with this, whether as a host/organizer, speaker, or attendee? Any tips to offer?

My first question is what tech you need to do this well. A few years ago I gave a talk as an invited speaker that was simulcast to other sites. All the sites involved had slick videoconference equipment, which allowed me to see and hear everyone at every site. And the audience members could see me and my slides, not just hear me talk while only being able to see my slides. We have a videoconference-equipped seminar room in the building, though I’m not sure exactly what kit it has. Is there a more low tech way to do it that will still be a good experience for the speaker and the audience?

Guest post: Doing ecology on a rollercoaster in Brazil

Note from Brian: This is a guest post from Marco Mello a professor at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil. A while back we had an ask us anything question on perceptions of ecology coming out of developing countries. This post stimulated a lot of discussion and it was suggested to solicit some first person experiences. This post is the fourth of several on this topic. Marco is the most senior of all of the guest posts solicited and I think you will notice the long term perspective in his post. I am indebted to Marco for inviting me to speak at the 25th anniversary celebration of the ecology department at his university and for getting me excited about the great ecology happening in Brazil. Marco also blogs at Surviving in Science (in Portuguese but Google Translate is pretty effective).

Have you ever tried to write a paper in a rollercoaster? Let me tell you how it is to do science in a developing country, where the long-term funding policy changes constantly. Continue reading

On what ecological topics do the opinions of specialist and non-specialist researchers differ most?

We talk a lot around here about the opinions of ecologists as a group, and the direction of the field of ecology as a whole (e.g. this, this, this). The opinion of the field as a whole on any broad topic is an amalgam of the opinions of specialists and non-specialists. The specialists work on the topic. But they’re generally outnumbered by the non-specialists who’ve read a couple of papers on the topic, or seen a few talks on it, or heard about it from colleagues, or read about it in a textbook, or etc.

Sometimes, the opinions of the non-specialists will reflect those of the specialists; the non-specialists just take their cues from the specialists. But sometimes, the opinions of the non-specialists and the specialists will differ. For instance, this might occur when early research on a topic makes a big splash and becomes widely known and influential, and later specialist work revising or even refuting the early research gets much less play. Or, one could imagine a subfield that specialists all think is very exciting, but that non-specialist outsiders see as stagnant or insular. And I’m sure there are other reasons why opinions of specialists and non-specialists might differ. And when they do, it’s not necessarily the case that the specialists are right and the non-specialists wrong.

Hence my question: on what ecological or evolutionary topics do you think specialists and non-specialists have the most divergent opinions?

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Friday links: why philosophy of science, evolutionary biologist vs. divining rods, and more

Also this week: the Trump administration’s latest attacks on, and neglect of, expertise and information, and how to push back against them. Which is pretty depressing, so there’s an Abba vs. Unix link to make up for it. Also, new experimental data on single vs. double-blind peer review, what to get Stephen Heard for Christmas, and more.

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Poll on experiences with statistical machismo

In a couple of recent posts on statistical machismo, it has become increasingly clear to me that there is disagreement about how common statistical machismo even is. Which is an irresistible invitation to produce a poll (as also suggested by a commentor). So please take the following poll. Results will be published after Thanksgiving (week of Nov 28).

Clink here to leave Dynamic Ecology and enter unframed google survey (or link to share): https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSea-c6lbTGCPgj0iJ2rgk38X6HQ6bo2LQ8gj1rsZQyvWKZVUQ/viewform?usp=sf_link

Or take the poll directly here:

Guest post – doing ecology in Canada and Brazil

Note from Brian: This is a guest post from Isabela Borges, a Brazilian who completed part of her undergraduate degree in Canada and is now exploring where to pursue a graduate degree. A while back we had an ask us anything question on perceptions of ecology coming out of developing countries. This post stimulated a lot of discussion and it was suggested to solicit some first person experiences. This post is the third in that series.

As a Brazilian who spent the past few years studying ecology and evolution in Canada, I’ve thought a lot about the differences between doing science in developed and developing countries*. I grew up in Rio de Janeiro, where I started my undergraduate work before transferring to Canada to complete my degree, and am now back in Brazil considering where to continue my education. Having navigated both worlds, I’ve had the great privilege of seeing first-hand how science is conducted and perceived in these countries. Pavel and Falko already gave an overview of how ecology is done in developing countries, so I thought I could talk a bit about the contrasts between Brazil and Canada that most affected my experience as a student. Continue reading

Friday links: Berkson’s paradox, writing review papers using Twitter, and more (UPDATED)

Also this week: you vs. your departmental seminar series, research experience for school teachers, nut grafs figures, Berkson’s paradox, the Zizek Maneuver, a link from Brian (!), and more. Also, Jeremy gives in to peer pressure and comments on Courchamp & Bradshaw (2017).

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