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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...

Peer reviewers are not like fine wine

Meaning that they get worse rather than better with age. That's the conclusion of a long-term longitudinal study of peer reviewers in medicine, discussed over at The Scholarly Kitchen . I'm not inclined to compare the results to my own personal experience, simply...

MeRry ChRistmas

And a Happy New YeaR, from the neRds at EEB and Flow, who have produced a holiday caRd for your enjoyment.

Statistical humor

"Sorry, we just can't trust you." LOL Why yes, I should be marking exams. Why do you ask?

Advice: primer on alternative methods of model selection

Here . From statistician Brian Ripley. A nice, compact overview, good on concepts and practical examples, but without sacrificing precision. HT Andrew Gelman

A statistical question and answer site for pros

Cross Validated is a question and answer site for statistics, similar to Stack Overflow for programmers. It's free, anyone can post a question, and the answers come from professional statisticians and data miners and seem to be of generally high quality. Lots of the...

Cool new method for detecting associations between variables in large datasets (UPDATEDx2)

Writing in Science this week, Reshef et al. present what looks like a very clever, powerful, and general method for detecting associations between variables in large (many variables) datasets. Statistician Andrew Gelman has a good write-up over at his blog, and the "...

Oikos Editor in Chief Vacancy

The ecological journal Oikos, published by the Nordic Society Oikos, is seeking to recruit a new Editor in Chief, following the departure of Professor Tim Benton. Oikos is among the top international journals in its field and will endeavour to further improve its...

Advice: what to wear to an academic job interview (UPDATED)

Provocative post over at Worthwhile Canadian Initiative on what to wear to an academic job interview. Like it or not, your choice of attire signals something about you as a candidate--but it may not signal what you want it to. For ecologists, I stand by my earlier...

Darwin in space, or spurious correlation exemplified

Google Trends allows you to look at changes over time in the popularity of different search terms, and to find search terms whose popularity is correlated. Which is a great lesson in spurious correlation. For instance, the search term most correlated with "darwin" is...

Modeling contests: putting your math where their money is

This is old but I missed it at the time. An Australian start-up company called Kaggle is offering cash prizes (hundreds to millions of dollars) to get modelers to compete against one another to solve prediction problems. Some recent competitions have been broadly...

Advice: a "field guide" to bad questions, and bad questioners

Here is a fun and useful "field guide" to bad questions that get asked at talks, and the kinds of people who ask them. It's aimed at political scientists, especially those concerned with international issues, but it mostly applies to ecology and evolution as well (e.g...

Biostatistical pickup lines (?!)

From...wait for it...Ryan Gosling (?!) Here . I note with interest that Ryan Gosling appears to be a frequentist rather than a Bayesian. HT Sarcozona

On getting scooped in ecology

One of the things I like about being an ecologist is that I rarely have to worry about being scooped. Only once have I ever felt like I'd been beaten to a result, and in retrospect I really wasn't.* Only two other times have I ever been worried I might be beaten to a...

Advice: how to do meta-analysis in ecology vs. medicine

Too busy to do any substantive posting right now, so I'll just be tossing out some links. Bob O'Hara has an interesting post on how meta-analysis in ecology should be done differently than in medicine. He also thinks ecologists should be doing more meta-regressions,...

Carnival of Evolution #42 now available

Nothing in the Carnival from Oikos blog this month, but don't let that stop you from checking out this month's linkfest of evolutionary writing, and from making your own Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy jokes.

Food chain rewiring taken to absurd lengths

According to The Onion . The accompanying food web diagram is very funny, and also rather uncomfortably close to the truth when it comes to how the links in food webs often are defined. Related documentary evidence here and here . Apparently the recent Oikos special...

More examples of humorous and satirical scientific papers (UPDATED)

In my continuing quest to make the world safe for scientific papers which use humor, and even satire, to make a point, here are three more examples, all from the medical literature. It's actually surprisingly easy to write an apparently objective but actually...

Advice: choosing a research topic of lasting value

Here is a short and trenchant little essay by philosopher Dan Dennett , addressed to graduate students, on how to choose a research topic of lasting value. His essay is aimed at philosophy students, so a few of his points don't really apply to ecology (well, actually...

That's not really what we're aiming for

Someone just found the Oikos blog by searching on "frivolous contrarianism". This is certainly the place to come for contrarianism . And sometimes for frivolity too. But I hope there's no frivolous contrarianism to be found here...

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