Posts

February 04, 2015

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2:31 PM | Teach your way to tenure?
There appears to be a new trend sweeping through the basic sciences. Basically the equation is simple: fewer grants means fewer Assistant prof awardees, thus fewer successful tenure cases. That is, UNLESS tenure is evaluated differently. I've been hearing more and more about biology departments taking a different tack with new PIs, given the current […]
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2:00 PM | How cold is it really?
It’s that time of the year here in Pittsburgh, when I start cursing the first human who moved north of the tropic of Cancer from the bottom of my heart. For, once again, it takes me 10 minutes from when I’m “ready to leave” to when I actually leave the house after putting on many […]
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1:51 PM | What Progress Feels Like.
In the past five days I’ve run four times. On the off day, I worked out at the gym. I’ve totaled 26.45 miles in 4:12:37. With the fact that my GPS device reads a little long (about 2%), I’m probably actually a tiny bit short of a full marathon. Getting this kind of distance in […]
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1:43 PM | Studying natural history by stealth
Natural history can be defined as the search for, and description of, patterns in nature. I see natural history research as a more formal and structured approach to studying and recording the natural world. I also see this kind of research as a branch science that is often driven by pure curiosity. Many well-known and […]
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1:00 PM | Browsing the tables of contents
This is going to make me sound not young, but here it goes. When I was in grad school, if you wanted an article, you had to go over to photocopy it at the library. (Uphill, both ways, in the snow.) Every time I went to the stacks to get the article I needed, I’d walk…
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11:55 AM | The Reality of College "Fit": Options are Limited for Young Men of Color
The common understanding of college “fit” is analogous to shoe shopping. Students are supposed to look for an institution that suits their academic, social and cultural dimensions. Accordingly, wide-eyed students visit a variety of colleges in an attempt to try on an institution to see if it’s a good fit. It’s assumed the right fit accelerates the speed at which you reach graduation. Apparently, college campuses provide limited sizes for men of color. The U.S. Department […]
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11:48 AM | Evaluating Teaching
I spend a lot of time – arguably too much time – thinking about how teaching is evaluated, how I’d like to be evaluated, and what causes variation in teaching evaluations. This post covers several of those topics, and relates … Continue reading →

February 03, 2015

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11:46 PM | An open letter to Gov. Scott Walker: stop perpetuating the myth of the lazy professor
Dear Gov. Walker, Last week, you told professors at the University of Wisconsin that they needed to “work harder.” You were making a case that the Wisconsin state budget crisis could be ameliorated by increasing employee efficiency, and you suggested having faculty teach at least one more class. I’m not going to talk about […]
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10:45 PM | The issue of ‘food’ is not just about sustenance and taste. It’s...
The issue of ‘food’ is not just about sustenance and taste. It’s also about economics and inequality. Climate issues. Delivery systems. Population growth. All of these and more come into play when you begin to think about the colliding forces that shape the world’s food future.Get your daily dose of must-read news on food policy, nutrition, research and more: ucfoodobserver.com
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6:00 PM | What I Wish We Taught First Years
This month, all around Australia, there will be a whole crop of PhD students starting their degree. It’s an exciting time, but a nerve-wracking one as well. Last time we heard from Jonathan Downie he was parenting a toddler. This time Jonathan has some good words of advice for those of you just starting on […]
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5:59 PM | How Much Sugar Are You Really Eating?In the near future, the...
How Much Sugar Are You Really Eating?In the near future, the Nutrition Facts label on the back of packaged foods will have a new look and more information. UC Davis’ Dr. Kimber Stanhope explains how this will reveal the amount of sugar that is added to our foods.Watch the video 
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1:49 PM | The FY 2016 Obama Budget: A Few Surprises
The Obama Administration released their $3.999 trillion budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2016, and the higher education portion of the budget was largely as expected. Some proposals, such as increasing research funding, providing a bonus pool of funds for colleges with high graduation rates, and reallocating the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant to be based on current financial need instead of an antiquated formula, were repeats from previous years. Others, such as the idea of […]
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1:00 PM | A short post on a short article
The paper that first announced the double helical structure of DNA made Watson and Crick household names, earned them a share of a Nobel Prize and has since been cited 5,300 times. The entire article took up just a single page of A4 with one small illustration. This is a prime example of how [...]
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12:33 PM | What ecology & evolution papers do you read again and again?
This semester, my lab is having lab meetings where we alternate reading classic papers in disease ecology with newer papers on multihost and/or multiparasite interactions. So far, all the classic papers we’ve read have been by Anderson & May. I’ve … Continue reading →
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8:08 AM | Discovering your inner GPS | Sharon Darwish
Has our sense of direction been found? Or is it a matter of correlation not being causation?The ability of birds to navigate their way back to their nests, often more than thousands of miles each year, is fascinating. Arctic terns, which have the longest migration distance known, travel from their Arctic breeding grounds to overwinter on the Antarctic coast: an annual roundtrip of over 40,000 miles (>64,000 km). Continue reading...
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8:00 AM | Welcome to the Open Glossary
At the London satellite event for Open Con earlier this year, myself and Ross Mounce were given some useful feedback after our joint talk on ‘Open Data’ by one of the attendees. Apparently, some of the terminology was too complex, or specialist, for the subject, and some of the talk was unable to be followed unless you were already an expert in the issue. Now obviously this is something that, as members of the ‘open community’, we do not want. As we […]
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