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What's the funniest scientific talk you've ever heard?

You don't have to be funny to give a great talk, but if you are, you can give a great and funny talk. So what's the funniest scientific talk you've ever heard? Or the funniest joke or line? Probably the funniest joke I've heard in a talk involved a bit of physical...

Now THAT'S the way to stop a bandwagon!

Claude Shannon invented information theory in 1948, and it quickly became a bandwagon; a summary of the relevant history is here . A big bandwagon is probably impossible to stop single-handed--but the editorial by Elias (1958) came pretty close (or so I understand; I'm...

Ecologist interview: Jeremy Fox

Sarcozona's interview with yours truly now up . Thanks again to her for offering me the opportunity, it was flattering to be asked and fun to do. In the interview I reveal the ecology paper that most impressed me. Many folks who know me are likely to find my choice...

Sally Otto: genius

Evolutionary geneticist Sally Otto of the University of British Columbia has been awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (colloquially known as a 'genius grant'). She does important and wonderfully incisive work on the evolution of sexual reproduction, and also...

Ecologist interview: Alan Hastings and Carl Boettiger

A local radio station in Davis, CA recently interviewed mathematical ecologist Alan Hastings and his graduate student Carl Boettiger (who just won the award for best student talk in theoretical ecology at the Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting). You can hear...

Ecologist jokes

Anyone know any good ecologist jokes? Theoretical ecologist and demographer Joel Cohen once published a book of science jokes, Absolute Zero Gravity . He tells a couple of jokes from the book, including one involving an ecologist, in this video (warning: a little NSFW...

A new way to fundraise for research. Join the #SciFund Challenge!

Where does the money come from for doing science? If you are a scientist, you know the fundraising landscape is getting worse and worse. All of the traditional sources of cash for science – government agencies and private foundations - are getting harder and harder to...

Zombie ideas: the motivational poster

Why yes, I am procrastinating this morning--why do you ask? Created with this free online tool . Procrastinating readers are encouraged to create and send in their own ecology- or evolution-related mock motivational posters (not necessarily involving zombies). If you...

Questions about "Big Data" in ecology

Thanks to the influence of NCEAS, the internet, advances in computer hardware and software, advances in gene sequencing, the advent of NEON , and probably other factors I'm forgetting, ecology is entering the era of "Big Data". But we're far from the only field that's...

Advice: weak studies of short-term dynamics

In the comments on a previous post, I got into a discussion about the reasons why one might study short-term (i.e. transient) dynamics as opposed to long-term (i.e. asymptotic) dynamics. For instance, one might study a system's short-term response to a single...

Why trust physical scientists? Social scientists? Ecologists?

Physicist Sean Carroll has a terrific post up on why we do--and should--trust the opinions of expert physicists rather than our own opinions, but not the opinions of expert social scientists. Economics blog Noahpinion offers some smart follow-up remarks. Go read them,...

Oikos blog highlights

This blog's been going for a while now and has built up a lot of content. I've heard from a few folks who've found the blog fairly recently and like it a lot, but who don't have time to dig through all the old content. If that describes you, here are a few of my...

Bandwagons in ecology

The bandwagon effect is when people believe or do something just because lots of other people believe or do it, independent of other reasons for believing or doing it (such as empirical evidence or logical argument). Like every science (e.g., astronomy , information...

Yes, the IDH is a zombie: response to Karl Cottenie

Karl Cottenie has a thoughtful post up responding to my post on the zombie idea of the intermediate disturbance hypothesis . That's what I was hoping to do: get people to stop and think, so I'm really glad Karl did so. I thought I respond here, both because my response...

Interview: ecologist Jean Burns

Now up at Sarcozona .

Another legacy of NCEAS: overly-nice ecologists?

Thanks in large part to the influence of NCEAS , more and more ecologists are involved in collaborative research networks these days. Via email, Jason Fridley asks: are these networks making us too nice to each other? You'll naturally be reluctant to tell your...

Carnival of Evolution

The Carnival of Evolution is a monthly compilation of blog posts about all things evolutionary, hosted by a different volunteer each month. The September Carnival is now up, with an overview post written by the host, Henry Gee, a science writer for Nature . A whole...

Oikos article blogged

Over at Distributed Ecology , Ted Hart has a nice discussion of Lima & Berryman's recent Oikos article on positive and negative feedbacks in human population dynamics. The authors argue that the complexities of human behavior and societies create novel sources of...

Inductive vs. deductive research

Students especially should read this post over at Worthwhile Canadian Initiative on inductive vs. deductive approaches to research. It touches on a range of issues, like whether we should seek simplicity or embrace complexity in our models, whether simple models are...

How hard do you work?

This week's issue of Nature has contrasting stories from two successful biomedical researchers, one of whom works well over 100 hours/week and expects his students and postdocs to do the same, and the other of whom advocates a much more balanced approach based on...

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