No weekly reading update this week. I’ll be back online next week.
No weekly reading update this week. I’ll be back online next week.
1) In last week’s reading update, I mentioned the NAS conference on public trust in science that just took place. Kirk Englehardt, one of the attendees, blogged about one conversation at the conference that he found valuable: How Science Reporters Choose Their Sources, SciLogs, How Science Reporters Choose Their Sources. You can watch videos from many of the talks here.
2) I also came across the amazing Jenks Museum exhibit at Brown, which ends at the end of May. This exhibit reconstructs a lost natural history museum at the university and begins a conversation about the finite lives of museums and what they say about our society. And last week I missed the Lost Museums Symposium that celebrated it. The hashtag #LostMuseums gives some details about the event.
3) A NY Times op-ed, What’s the Point of a Professor?, by Mark Bauerlein set off a discussion about problems in higher education. Bauerlein has also written the book The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future. I know it’s hard to take him seriously after reading that title. Here’s a response to the op-ed by a community college dean who has an anonymous blog: Kids Today: A Response to Mark Bauerlein, Confessions of a Community College Dean.
4) The Biology of Genomes meeting just happened, and was Storified here: Favorite Tweets from #BOG15, Mark Gerstein
5) Warm-Blooded Fish Discovered! (Whole-Body Endothermy in a Mesopelagic Fish, the Opah, Lampris guttatus, Science, Nicholas Wegner et al. [paywalled, but summary here])
6) Some bamboos flower once every few decades or even once a century or more. Carl Zimmer summarizes a new study of how this evolved. It’s not unlike the strategies of masting in oaks and prime-numbered cicada emergences (the latter of which I wrote about previously on this blog). Bamboo Mathematicians, The Loom, Carl Zimmer.
7) How one woman revamped her CV to demonstrate her efficiency, in light of career breaks due to children. I have mixed feelings about this one (some career breaks might be easier to talk about than others… should we have to highlight them?), but her experience is interesting and may be helpful to some. Accounting for Career Breaks, Science, Emily Nichoson.
8) This article mirrors my advice I give to PhD students who ask me for advice on the post-academic job market. Essentially, if you leave the slow waters of academia, you will likely experience layoffs at your workplace at some point in your career. But don’t worry, it’s normal and does not reflect poorly on you: Stop Worrying About Job Security, Chronicle Vitae, Melanie Nelson.
9) A new paper outlines four principles of ecological restoration to serve as best practices for policy and planning: Committing to Ecological Restoration, Science, Katharine Sundig et al.
16) The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Merlin App helps people in North America identify birds by location, and is up for a NSF People’s Choice Award. Watch a video about it here.
17) A commonly used method to measure nitrogen fixation rapidly changes microbial community metabolism, potentially bringing into question its use. Examining the Impact of Acetylene on N-Fixation and the Active Sediment Microbial Community, Frontiers in Microbiology, Robinson Fulweiler et al.
18) An opinion article in Restoration Ecology calls for revamped methods and measures of success in restoration ecology, an issue I wrote about recently in American Scientist. (A Call for Applying Trophic Structure in Ecological Restoration, Restoration Ecology, Lauchlan Fraser et al. [paywalled])
3) New method for monitoring global forest health using satellite data monitoring the faint glow of chlorophyll: Solar-Induced Chlorophyll Fluorescence that Correlates with Canopy Photosynthesis on Diurnal and Seasonal Scales in a Temperate Deciduous Forest, Geophysical Research Letters, Xi Yang et al. [paywalled, but summary here]
8) Check out the #NASinterface conversation on Twitter this week, from the meeting Trust and Confidence at the Intersections of the Life Sciences and Society at the National Academy of Sciences.
This conversation discussed a few readings that caught my radar:
9) How far into the future can ecologists reliably predict? Answer (and questions that still need answers) here: The Ecological Forecast Horizon, and Examples of its Uses and Determinants, Ecology Letters, Owen L. Petchey et al. [sorry, paywall]
1) The controversy over the paper by Williams and Ceci on gender bias in academic hiring (or the lack thereof) that I mentioned last week and the week before continues: Science Careers published a detailed article on it, which reignited the controversy. A summary of what people took issue with in the Science Careers article can be found here.
2) Two high-profile articles address problems with common practices in statistical methods for science and how they could be avoided: Beyond Bar and Line Graphs: Time for a New Data Presentation Paradigm, PLoS Biology, Tracey L. Weissgerber, Natasa M. Milic, Stacey J. Winham, & Vesna D. Garovic and Statistics: P Values Are Just the Tip of the Iceberg, Nature News, Jeffrey T. Leek & Roger D. Peng.
3) Pew Research Center’s new report on trends in news media is well worth a look: State of the News Media 2015, Pew Research Center, Amy Mitchell
4) This article had a really surprising twist. Normally, in science communication, we talk about the importance of listening to learn about your audience. But in the case of vaccination, says van der Linden, doctors will have better success when telling parents it’s time to vaccinate a child than asking parents if they want to. How to Combat Distrust of Science, Scientific American, Sander van der Linden
5) A new method for studying invasive species introductions using evolutionary biology: Using ABC and Microsatellite Data to Detect Multiple Introductions of Invasive Species from a Single Source, Heredity, A. Benazzo, S. Ghirotto, S. T. Vilaça, & S. Hoban. The article is behind a paywall, but you can read a press release here.
6) I just love the word kleptoparasite. Here’s a model for lunch-stealing bullies: The Effect of Kleptoparasite and Host Numbers on the Risk of Food-Stealing in an Avian Assemblage, Journal of Avian Biology, Kevin A. Wood, Richard A. Stillman, & John D. Goss-Custard
8) Basically, a reviewer made a totally sexist comment in a peer review, and social media called him out on it: It’s a Man’s World–For One Reviewer, at Least, Retraction Watch, amarcus41. PLoS One got rid of the reviewer and the editor working on the paper.
1) Last week, I posted about the controversy unfolding around a study that concluded that gender bias does not appear to exist in STEM tenure-track hiring. It continued this week. I especially recommend @DrMRFrancis’s post (“A Surprisingly Welcome Atmosphere,” Slate) and follow-up post (A Study in How Not to Talk About Sexism in Science, Galileo’s Pendulum), the latter of which links to a lot of others contributing to the discussion.
2) Two new studies in Nature add to the debate over neonicotinoid pesticides. Bee Studies Stir Up Pesticide Debate, Nature News, Daniel Cressey
3) One of the best explanations of the CRISPR genome editing system and how it came about. And also a level-headed perspective on the implications of the first study to edit human embryos (in the lab): Editing Human Embryos: So This Happened, The Loom, Carl Zimmer
4) We’ve seen it coming for a long time: The epic predator-prey study on Isle Royale may be coming to an end. Wolf Decline Threatens Iconic Island Study, Nature News, Emma Marris
5) It’s not just the public who imagines scientists a certain way. Scientists do it, too: Who Looks Like a Scientist, Ben Lillie, Story Collider [Blog + Podcast]
6) Surprising: Doctors have better success vaccinating children if they tell parents it’s time to for their child’s next vaccine rather than asking them if they want to vaccinate their child. Hesitant Parents Can Be Nudged to Use Measles Vaccine, Scientific American
7) Endearingly geeky ode to the sponge that also makes a strong case for their under-appreciated complexity and the bias of relegating them to the category of “primitive”: Consider the Sponge, Ed Yong, The New Yorker
9) Fascinating debate taking the long-view on community assembly. How does it happen on continents as opposed to islands? New Perspectives on How Ecological Communities Are Assembled, Phys.org, Michigan State University
11) A new website checks up on the validity of information in press releases. Meet the (Research) Press Release Police, SciLogs, Kirk Englehardt
14) Another endearingly geeky ode, this one to the water depth–measuring secchi disk. The Secchi Disk Celebrates 150 Years of Clarity, UW-Madison Center for Limnology, Adam Hinterhuer