This Week’s Good Reads: Ecologists’ Favorite Statistical Methods, How Biodiversity Inhibits Parasites, and Distractingly Sexist Scientists

1) Last week, I discussed the NY Times’ coverage of retractions in science, which failed to acknowledge that more retractions actually could mean science is doing a better job of outing bad science. Although it’s far from ideal that these retractions happen at all, Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky wrote this week about how the outing of questionable science has changed, and why that’s a good signal: The Lessons of Famous Science Frauds, The Verge, Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky

2) Interesting blog on what statistical methods are used most in ecology, and the increase in using AIC: Why AIC Appeals to Ecologist’s Lowest Instincts, Dynamic Ecology, Brian McGill

Data McGill found from methods in Ecology Letters in 2004 and 2014:

Method          2004          2014

Regression     41%          46%

Significance   40%           35%

Richness        41%           33%

Competition    46%          49%

AIC                   6%          19%

So, AIC (Akaike’s Information Criteria) methods are increasing in popularity. McGill goes on to discuss how AIC is being used and how he thinks it should be used, but the post is helpful not just because of McGill’s opinion, but also because of the more than 100 commenters’ opinions shared at the end of the post.

3) Nobel laureate Tim Hunt sparked outcry after making a sexist comment at the World Conference on Science Journalism (#WCSJ2015).

He proceeded to not really apologize for what he said, seemingly oblivious to the reasons why his “just trying to be honest” was indecent. He instead said he was “really sorry that I said what I said” (implying that he is not sorry that he meant what he said, which he confirmed in his apology) and that it was “a very stupid thing to do in the presence of all those journalists” (implying that it would be OK to say this in the presence of other people, just not journalists). Women scientists responded on Twitter with the hashtag #distractinglysexy. Before the week was over, Hunt resigned his post at UCL. Given that last week I mentioned the terrible advice in a Science Careers advice column to not say anything when dealing with sexual harassment, I think this is a perfect example of what happens when people follow such advice. I imagine this is not the first time in Hunt’s long and distinguished career that he has said something sexist, but it might be the first time he actually got the message that it was inappropriate.

4) Biodiversity Inhibits Parasites: Broad Evidence for the Dilution Effect, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, David J. Civitello et al.

5) Irreproducible Biology Research Costs Put at $28 Billion per Year, Nature News, Monya Baker

6) A pair of papers in Science talk about the advances in tracking animals, both marine and aquatic, heralding a “golden age” of studying animal movements:

Terrestrial Animal Tracking as an Eye on Life and Planet, Science, Roland Kays et al.

Aquatic Animal Telemetry: A Panoramic Window into the Underwater World, Science, Nigel Hussey et al.

7) Conference on Broadcast Meteorology happened this week; you can check out the conversations at #AMS15.

8) Why More Scientists Are Speaking Out on Contentious Issues, National Geographic, Lindsey Konkel

9) The Oligopoly of Academic Publishers in the Digital Era, PLoS One, Vincent Lariviére et al.

10) The Dead Sea Lives!, Nautilus, Pamela Weintraub

11) The Rise of Africa’s Super Vegetables, Nature News Feature, Rachel Cernansky

12) Improving Effectiveness of Systematic Conservation Planning with Density Data, Conservation Biology, Samuel Veloz et al.

13) Public Radio and the Sound of America, Nieman Reports, Adriana Gallardo & Betsy O’Donovan

14) As Estimate of the Total DNA in the Biosphere, PLoS Biology, Hanna Landenmark et al.

15) Meeting on Pollinators in October: Experts Convene to Discuss How to Protect Bees, Other Pollinators, NCSU News, Matt Shipman



This Week’s Good Reads: Ecologists’ Favorite Statistical Methods, How Biodiversity Inhibits Parasites, and Distractingly Sexist Scientists — 2 Comments

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