This Week’s Good Reads: Lost Museums, Warm-Blooded Fish, and Bamboo Math

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 guttatusScience, 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. 

10) Beware the Bad Survey: Science Literacy Isn’t as Bad as the Statistics Make it Look, PLoS Blogs, Cassie Barton

11) Deep-Ocean Microbe Is Closest Living Relative of Complex Cells, Science, Mitch Leslie

12) Watch These Ants Hurl Themselves Out of Death Traps with Their Mouths, Smithsonian, Rachel Nuwer

13) Science Is Often Flawed. It’s Time We Embraced That., Vox, Julia Belluz & Steven Hoffman

14) Tight Finances May Spell the End of Independence for Research Centers, Nova Next, Peter Gwynne

15) Palau’s Improbably Healthy Coral Reefs, Nova Next, Joshua Sokol

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])


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *