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More on good lecturing

It's not actually a response to my post asking if even the best lectures are bad, but it might as well have been: Joan Strassman at Sociobiology has a nice post arguing that lectures absolutely have their place. Includes some tips on how to make your own lectures...

The scientific impact of a nation of beavers

Recent changes in the grant application procedures of the US National Science Foundation have prompted much discussion, and have renewed the debate over the best way for governments to fund scientific research. I have argued in favor of the Canadian NSERC system...

How do you read? How much do you read?

SciCurious has a poll up asking readers how many papers they read per week, and whether they think they read enough (so far, most respondents don't think they do). Which prompted this rather peeved reaction from DrugMonkey, about how the number of papers one reads is...

Advice: choose the right tool for the job

As an editor, reviewer, and committee member, I have seen many authors and students give the following rationale for their chosen research approach (e.g., choice of study design, analytical method, or response variable): "This approach has proven useful in other...

Are even the best lectures bad?

Like most profs, I haven't had much formal teacher training. I've had a bit, and I've had some informal training (some of it from my wife, who is a trained teacher). I do care about my teaching, and I'm aware of the large body of research that says that just standing...

Is there a referee crisis in ecology?

Dear Oikos and Nordic folks, Thank you so much for your feedback on the editorial 'Money for nothing and referees for free' published in Ideas in Ecology and Evolution in December. The most compelling and common question I was asked was is there a referee crisis in...

Advice: how to succeed in academia

In a previous post I linked to some advice from sociobiologist Joan Strassmann on how to write a good NSF preliminary proposal. But that's not the only thing Joan Strassmann has good advice on. Her blog is an awesome resource, packed with good advice about succeeding...

Advice: how to write a successful NSF preliminary proposal

The NSF branch that funds ecology & evolution now requires preliminary proposals, and the deadline is fast approaching. Here is some very good advice, from an experienced NSF panelist, on how to write a good preliminary proposal. Even if you're not writing an NSF...

Creationism humor

From NewsBiscuit , the British equivalent of The Onion .

Poll: new ideas for the Oikos Blog (and the journal) (UPDATED)

Following up on my previous post looking back at the Oikos Blog's first year and ahead to 2012, here are some ideas I had for new things we might do with the blog. Please vote for the ones you'd like to see happen. You can vote for more than one, and also write in your...

Science songs

Sing About Science is a massive, free, searchable online database of science and math songs. There's a huge range of professional-quality material, aimed at various ages, which is updated regularly. You can listen to, watch videos of, and/or purchase many of the songs...

Carnival of Evolution #43 now up

At the EEB and Flow . Lots of good stuff, as always.

Oikos blog: looking back, and looking ahead

The Oikos Blog began in March, so while we're not yet one year old the start of the new year seems like an appropriate time to look back at how we've grown. We wrote 170 posts and got just over 58,000 views in 2011. Note that that doesn't count syndicated views and so...

Why are some ecological ideas controversial?

Why are some ideas in ecology much more controversial than others? You might be tempted to say that "Ideas which apparently conflict with other ideas, or with empirical data, will be controversial." But I think that's wrong—in ecology there seems to be very little...

Paid peer reviews for ecologists

About 6 weeks ago, I was invited to write an editorial for Ideas in Ecology and Evolution (IEE). I recalled reading a few articles by Hochberg commenting on the increasing difficulty in securing referees and had seen several new incentive systems including PubCreds...

Why (un)teaching ecology is hard

It's exam-marking time, the time of year when I'm reminded of just how difficult ecology is, both to teach and to learn. This is for all kinds of reasons, but one of the most challenging to overcome is that teaching or learning ecology properly often requires you to...

All I want for Christmas

...is a plush Paramecium ! ;-) Image credits, from top: craftster.org, deviantart.com, craftster.org, deviantart.net, findgift.com. Sadly, only the bottom one seems to be for sale . The same company also offers an Amoeba that looks like a melting carrot .

Neutral drift: this means War!

When teaching new concepts to undergraduates, it often helps to make an analogy to something from everyday life with which they're already familiar. Just the other day I was teaching neutral drift to ecology students, as part of a lecture on niches. I wanted to give...

A gift for the evolutionary biologist who has everything

Only $350,000 USD ! A bargain at twice the price.

NeRd race!

In a recent post on a new method for detecting associations between variables in many-variable datasets, I jokingly suggested that some of our R-savvy readers should race one another to be the first to write an R package implementing this new method. The joke fell flat...

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