All posts tagged with metascience

When peer review turns to trolling

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In University Affairs, environmental scientist Ryan Bullock looks at his career-worth of experience subjecting his research to peer review: “The trolls have ...

Self-citation quantified

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I always feel a little bit bad when I have to cite my own prior work for a new research paper. As scientists develop career trajectories, self-citation becom...

Supplementary data loss

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My inbox this morning has an article by Diana Kwon in The Scientist, looking into the data decay from the supplementary materials of published scientific art...

Dinosaur property war

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Phillip Pantuso of the Guardian reports on the legal battle over the ownership of significant dinosaur fossils: “Perhaps the best dinosaur fossil ever discov...

Link: When should academic scientists retire?

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The Scientist has a nice piece by Katarina Zimmer on the idea of mandatory retirement ages for academic scientists: “Is Mandatory Retirement the Answer to an...

Link: Scientists and ‘science denial’

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A short essay by Kari Fischer from the New York Academy of Sciences, in The Scientist: “Opinion: What You Believe about “Science Denial” May Be All Wrong”.

Link: Falsifiable science and good science

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Sabine Hossenfelder has become an outspoken skeptic of the idea that a new, even-bigger-than-the-LHC particle collider will achieve any breakthrough in high ...

Link: The academic battles of ancient DNA

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This week the talk of archaeology and human genetics is a long feature article in the New York Times Magazine about the academic struggles of ancient DNA: “I...

Should authors pay to submit their papers?

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An article by Tim Vines in The Scholarly Kitchen looks at the pay-to-submit model of open access publication: “Plan T: Scrap APCs and Fund Open Access with S...

Time to publish peer referee comments?

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A meeting at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute last week asked whether journals should start publishing the reviews they receive on papers. As reported by ...

Link: Sci-Hub profiled

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Verge has a long article on Sci-Hub, focusing on its founder, Alexandra Elbakyan: “Science’s Pirate Queen”.

Sexual harassment as research misconduct

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Scientific American has issued an editorial bringing attention to the new policy by the American Geophysical Union that redefines scientific research miscond...

MOOCs after five years

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Five years ago, I was just starting to prepare a massive open online course (MOOC). That course development would be an 18-month adventure for me.

Link: Blogging and careers

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This is a nice piece in ChronicleVitae by Terry McGlynn: “Why Blogging Is Still Good for Your Career”.

Funding must make room for exploration

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Scientists often say that you already need to have a result in hand to have a chance at being funded for research. Applications where the results are truly u...

Quote: Leyser on research portfolios

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Ottoline Leyser, “chairwoman of the Royal Society Science Policy Advisory Group,” has published a brief essay on science assessment in the U.K.: “No research...

Misuse of statistics

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This essay should be required reading for graduate students: “The problem with p-values”. David Colquhoun writes extensively about science and statistics, an...

Everything Neandertal is not bad

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This is not a bad story about Neandertals by Melissa Hogenboom: “What Neanderthals’ healthy teeth tell us about their minds”. It’s an overview of what scient...

Some dissatisfaction with review articles

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John Ioannidis often speaks out on abuses of confidence and statistics in science. He recently did an interview with Retraction Watch in which he commented u...

Combating ‘ivory tower’ syndrome

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There is much in this editorial by Andrew Hoffman that merits broadcasting more widely: “Why academics are losing relevance in society – and how to stop it”....

Link: Exoplanet fatigue

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Oliver Morton thought that the recent Proxima Centauri exoplanet news would be bigger; he ponders why he was wrong: “It will be a long time before you see an...

Link: Costs of scientific publishing

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Jonathan Tennant and colleagues have a new review of the impacts of open access scientific publishing: “The academic, economic and societal impacts of Open A...

Link: The origin of peer review

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Nature has an essay by Alex Csiszar recounting the first episode of peer review by the Royal Society, negotiated between William Whewell and John Lubbock on ...

Neandertal sex acts are beyond counting

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I’ve given a lot of thought over the years to the genetic ties between today’s people and ancient populations. Just last month, I wrote a lot about the relat...

Quote: Upload your data for the future

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Andy Farke did a short interview with Kelsey Stilson, an author of a recent study on the paleopathology of rhinocerotids: “Author Interview: Kelsey Stilson o...

Hominin species and time in peer review

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In 2015, two new hominin species were published: Australopithecus deyiremeda and Homo naledi. One of the criticisms I’ve seen of both discoveries is the idea...

Peer review under the microscope

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The Frontiers Blog has provided a timely review of some of the new models of peer review that are being tried in different branches of scientific publishing:...

A paleoanthropological Thanksgiving

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This is Thanksgiving weekend in the U.S., and friends on my social feeds have been forwarding a proverb: “When you have more than you need, build a longer ta...

Should journals do post-pub review?

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Nikolai Slavov recently published an opinion piece in eLife arguing the advantages of post-publication review of scientific papers: “Point of view: Making th...

Link: Lee Berger interviewed in Nautilus

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Nautilus is running a nice interview with Lee Berger about Homo naledi and other things: “The Man Who Used Facebook to Find an Extinct Human Species”.

Link: Open access and APC double-dipping

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From Leti Kleyn, in the South African edition of The Conversation, a call for better institutional open access archives: “Why it’s getting harder to access f...

Anonymous sexism in paleoanthropology

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Seems like every week, someone writes an article drawing attention to a new episode of sexism in science. Today it’s my turn to shine a light on this issue.

The risk of more creative science

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This is a press release from UCLA about some of their own researchers’ work, but it strikes me as interesting: “Pressure to ‘publish or perish’ may discourag...

Quote: Cowgill on statistical methods

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George Cowgill is an archaeologist with a long interest in promoting the unfortunately rare good use of statistics by archaeologists. He has a paper within t...

On the importance of saying you’re wrong

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Lior Pachter writes this week on his blog about the reactions and commentary around a post-publication peer review exercise he conducted on a 11-year-old pap...

High recent admixture reported for Oase 1

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Some readers have asked me what I think of the reporting from the recent Biology of Genomes conference, that Qiaomei Fu and colleagues from Svante Pääbo’s gr...

Link: Why astro/physics isn’t fun anymore

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Chanda Prescod-Weinstein has written an evocative essay about her experience becoming a physicist, and the daily frustrations and challenges of being differe...

Shared resources and NSF funding strategy

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Eos has an article about NSF funding strategies for ocean sciences: “A Transformational Path Forward for the Ocean Sciences Community”. Ocean research requir...

Quote: Dreger on heretics

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Alice Dreger discusses her new book, Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science in The Scientist: “Stirring the Pot”.

Quote: Louis Leakey on funding

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Louis Leakey, in a letter to Wilfrid Le Gros Clark (cited in Morrell, V., Ancestral Passions, p. 209), just after his and Mary’s discoveries of Zinjanthropus...

Science is not broken

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Aeon has a long article by Jill Neumark, titled “The retraction war”, which asks: “Is science broken?” The article goes through several ways of counting scie...

A return for reviewers on open access

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This interview came out in October of last year, but a reader only recently brought it to my attention: “A Pay-it-Forward Approach to Open Access Publishing:...

Mad Men and scientific grant writing

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You can understand a lot about academic research by watching Mad Men. The series is about advertising executives in the 1960s, including “creatives” who work...

Thinking of preprints in biology

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At the end of 2014, the arXiv preprint server published its one millionth article. Richard Van Noorden reports on the milestone for Nature News: “The arXiv p...

Link: The plagiarism problem in science

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Michael Lesk (2014) has a commentary on a new paper (Citron and Ginsparg 2014) that uncovers widespread plagiarism among published scientific papers. Lesk di...

A visit to the world’s largest body farm

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Vox writer Joseph Stromberg visited the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State University, and has written an in-depth description of his visit: “The sc...

Changing the currency of academic science

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John Ioannidis is well known as a critic of the way science has usually been practiced. I’ve linked to his work before (“Link: John Ioannidis and the scienti...

On a scandal in replication

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Experimental psychology has recently become embroiled in a controversy about whether replication of high-profile findings should be a serious goal of new res...

Link: History of the word, ‘scientist’

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The Renaissance Mathematicus enlisted the historian Melinda Baldwin to write about the early history of the word, “scientist”, originally coined by William W...

Species of study at the AAPA meetings

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I was at the meetings of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists last week in Calgary. Great to see so many friends, and to meet many new people...

Philanthropy and public funding of science

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Lots of people have been talking about this New York Times article about the increasing philanthropic funding of big science projects: “Billionaires With Big...

Archaeology is not boring!

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Colleen Morgan has a new post at Middle Savagery that may serve as an intervention to those who claim that archaeology isn’t a romantic field: “Stop saying ‘...

Time to trash anonymous peer review?

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This week’s Science magazine is organized on the theme of science communication. In addition to the John Bohannon “sting” operation I discussed in the last p...

Do archaeologists have soul?

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Sara Perry has a guest post on Savage Minds, describing the process of developing an archaeological field school focused on heritage studies: “Creativity, In...

When humanities and science intersect

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I haven’t linked to the “scientism” conversation that has been unfolding between Steven Pinker and a number of specialists in the humanities this summer. It’...

Fear and the impact factor

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Mark Johnston, editor-in-chief of the journal, Genetics, recently published an editorial decrying scientists’ reliance on “impact factor” of journals to make...

History dissertations under wraps

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Via a reader, this article in the New York Times about the American Historical Association’s vote to recommend that newly-minted PhDs be allowed to hide thei...

Speak up and matter

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Current Biology is running a short editorial by Geoffrey North, wishy-washing its way through a non-opinion about the value of blogging in science (“Social M...

Science and piracy

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Paul Salopek has a story for National Geographic about the impact of Somali pirates on oceanographic science: “A Hidden Victim of Somali Pirates: Science”. O...

Blogging in biological anthropology profile

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Nature’s “SpotOn” feature has interviewed University of Rhode Island biological anthropologist Holly Dunsworth about her social media mastery: “Social Media ...

Math for biology

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Edward O. Wilson, in the Wall Street Journal writes: “Great Scientist ? Good at Math”.

Anthropology's online ecology

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Jason Antrosio has composed a short report on the “Anthropology Blogosphere 2013 Ecology of Online Anthropology”. I appreciate his kind words about my work ...

Centuries of grant writing

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Jenny Rohn has an article on the wasted effort into failed grant writing, which is so full of good paragraphs it’s hard to figure out which one to snip: “Sho...

The problem of Lance retraction

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Retraction Watch comments on a provocative case: Should a scientific paper that measured Lance Armstrong’s exercise physiology during his Tour de France days...

The cost of plagiarism at NSF

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I pass this along from ScienceInsider, really too irritated for clever comment: “NSF Audit of Successful Proposals Finds Numerous Cases of Alleged Plagiarism...

IRB review

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Zachary Schrag points to a report by the American Association of University Professors , and gives a quoted excerpt that deserves to be forwarded on: “AAUP P...

Anthropology's Spinal Tap problem

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The Thesis Whisperer brings up the topic of prolonged rudeness in academic culture: “Academic assholes and the circle of niceness”. When I write that it’s ti...

Sahlins and Chagnon

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Essential reading today for anthropologists: Serena Golden’s account of how Marshall Sahlins resigned from the National Academy of Sciences: “A Protest Resig...

White House policy on data access

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The White House this week announced a new policy on public access to results from federally funded research. The announcement has gotten

Public engagement and science productivity

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I was pointed yesterday to a paper by Pablo Jensen and colleagues on the relationship between outreach activity and academic productivity Jensen:engage:2008:

Credit, yes. Credit reel, no.

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A thought-provoking post on an aspect of presentation style by Josh Schimel: “Why do people blow the punchline in scientific talks? The destructive effect of...

Privacy of genetic research participants

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Misha Angrist, writing in Nature News comments (“Genetic privacy needs a more nuanced approach”) on the recent study that demonstrated the possibility of fin...

Link parade

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Here are some stories to entertain, amuse, or depress:

"Productively stupid"

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I was passed an essay today from 2008, by Martin Schwartz in the Journal of Cell Science: “The importance of stupidity in scientific research” Schwartz:stupi...

Immediate publishing

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Michael Eisen: “The Glacial Pace of Change in Scientific Publishing”.

Outsourcing research

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Richard F. Wintle describes his job coordinating grant-seeking and laboratory work in a Canadian research institute: “The unsung heroes behind those big geno...

Academic stultification

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My University of Wisconsin colleague, the historian Bill Cronon has a recent essay that asks why, if history is so interesting to the public, “professional” ...

The costs of publication delays

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Joe Pickrell has written a valuable post on Genomes Unzipped about the future of publication in genetics: “The first steps towards a modern system of scienti...

Neandertal ancestry "Iced"

7 minute read

UPDATE (2015-10-21): This post has gotten some attention from social media recently, because Ötzi has been in the news. Later analyses have made clear that o...

Spreading preprints in population biology

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Ewen Callaway reports on the increasing use of the arXiv preprint server by geneticists and biologists: “Geneticists eye the potential of arXiv”. With the ne...

Lacking knowledge

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Sandra Blakeslee discusses a new book about the process of science: Ignorance: How It Drives Science, by Stuart Firestein (“To Advance, Search for a Black Ca...

"We don't need a master"

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The Boston Globe has a a story about a new institute, founded by Jon F. Wilkins, that aims to solve some of the administrative problems facing independent sc...

This is totally serial

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Michael B. Eisen: “The solution to the serials crisis on campus”

Quote: David Thompson on the stars

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This is maybe as good a definition of science as one could hope for, from the journals of early Canadian fur trader David Thompson:

Making science or making news?

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Christopher Reddy, from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, comments on his experience doing science around the Deepwater Horizon oil accident in the Gulf ...

Small grants enhance exploration

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Blogger “Prof-like substance” opens the curtain a bit on grant reviews: “What I learned at an NSF Bio preproposal panel”.

Conference criticisms

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Science News has a piece that gives a critical view of our practice of flying thousands of people to a distant city just for scientific sessions: “Weighing t...

Failure to replicate

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What if you set out to replicate a series of 53 “landmark” clinical trials in cancer treatment and found you could confirm only 6 of them? If you’re C. Glenn...

Unleash the magicians

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The “Amazing” James Randi’s essay, “Why Magicians Are a Scientists Best Friend”, makes the argument that extraordinary claims should be vetted by those more ...

Reinventing discovery

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Sabine Hossenfelder reviews a recent book by Michael Nielsen, Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science.

Science is not a black box

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I was looking through my archives for my notes about George R. Price and his debunking of the famous ESP experiments by Soal. I haven’t found them yet. But I...

Sequencing FTL neutrinos

1 minute read

A well-written blog account of a current controversy in human genetics, by Joe Pickrell: “Questioning the evidence for non-canonical RNA editing in humans”.

The advisor female students don't want

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Kate Clancy has thankfully continued her series of posts about sexual harassment and fieldwork, and I want to direct the current post to the attention of eve...

Chris Henshilwood profile

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Nature News has an article written by Jeff Tollefson, which profiles archaeologist Chris Henshilwood and his work at Blombos, South Africa: “Human evolution:...

Re-prioritizing faster communication

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Two experts on social policy from the London School of Economics comment on the importance of blogging and public outreach for academics, in an interview rep...

Text-mining science

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There are many reasons why we should have an arXiv for human evolution, and this isn’t the most important one…but I really wish I could do this with the lite...

Floating to the top of the data

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The New York Times writes today about “Big Data” and its effects on disparate fields of science and public policy: “The Age of Big Data”.

A fieldwork tale from beneath the pyramid

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Kate Clancy shares a reader’s story about her experiences as a graduate student doing fieldwork with a team of anthropologists: “From the Field: Hazed Tells ...

Tenured inertia on publishing

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Danah Boyd rants “Save Scholarly Ideas, Not the Publishing Industry”. This is a well-worn topic here on my blog, but she hits on a useful theme: People with ...

He had a sufficiently high opinion of himself"

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Gina Kolata profiles Eric Lander, director of Harvard and MIT’s Broad Institute and advisor to President Obama, in the New York Times. It’s a good read for t...

Schools of fish, schools of thought

3 minute read

Kate Shaw enters a report in the science section of Wired on a paper that modeled decision-making in animal groups: “How ignorance could improve group decisi...

XMRV saga develops

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John Timmer’s reporting on the rise and fall of the hypothesis that XMRV causes chronic fatigue syndrome is the best I’ve seen so far on the topic: “How a Co...

Value within, not unto

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Anthropologies continues to publish some provocative essays. This month’s edition focuses on anthropologists working in Appalachia. One of the themes of my e...

"False-positive psychology"

4 minute read

Razib Khan conveys a list of suggestions from a recent paper by Joseph Simmons and colleagues Simmons:false:2011, concerned with reducing reporting biases in...

A story behind Manis

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A couple of weeks ago, I pointed to new research dating a mastodon kill site from Manis, Washington, to around 13,800 years ago (“Bone of the victim mastodon...

This is anthropology

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With reference to my story earlier this week (“Florida: Anthropologists not wanted”), the students at the University of South Florida have put together somet...

Florida: Anthropologists not wanted

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Last week I linked to my essay, “What’s wrong with anthropology?” My theme was that anthropology has been a failure over the past two decades at engaging wit...

What's wrong with anthropology?

2 minute read

Anthropologies is an online project organized by Ryan Anderson that brings together voices reflecting the state of the discipline today. The current volume h...

How to blog for your lab

1 minute read

Christie Wilcox makes a case that every lab should be doing science outreach on social media: “Social media for scientists Part 1: It’s our job, and Part 2: ...

An arsenical profile

2 minute read

Popular Science writer Tom Clynes gives us a long profile of Felisa Wolfe-Simon, who became a lightning rod for criticism after she authored an article claim...

Can Watson navigate the medical literature?

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Last week, Computerworld reported that IBM’s famous “Watson” supercomputer is moving to its next challenge: prescribing cancer treatments for the WellPoint h...

Malapa conversation on NPR

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The “Science Friday” NPR show with Ira Flatow did an interview with Lee Berger and Bernard Wood yesterday about Australopithecus sediba. The transcript is no...

A Lucy remembrance

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The CNN medical blog (associated with Sanjay Gupta) is running a short piece by Don Johanson, which may be of interest: “‘Lucy’ discoverer: Why I study human...

Announcing the Malapa Soft Tissue Project

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I am pleased to announce a new open science initiative, focused on a discovery that is unique in paleoanthropology. Together we are going to find out if the ...

Shall we bring science to the humanities?

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In reaction to a speech by Google CEO Eric Schmidt, calling upon Britons to combine science with their art and humanities, the Guardian commissioned an essay...

An academic journal copyright story

1 minute read

In a post from earlier this summer, info/library scientist Jeffrey Pomerantz describes his attempts to secure a less restrictive copyright agreement for a sc...

Changing how academia works

1 minute read

An interesting conversation has emerged over the last few weeks on several economics and legal blogs, usefully encapsulated by Kim Krawiec at The Faculty Lou...

Peer review anonymous

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Joe Pickrell puts forward an argument against peer review: “Why publish science in peer-reviewed journals?”

Gould's "Unconscious Manipulation of Data"

7 minute read

OK, so I can’t say it’s not “brain science” because measuring skulls is as close to brain science as anthropology ever gets. But it just shouldn’t be that ha...

The cost of a premier faculty

2 minute read

The Guardian has an article titled, “Richard Dawkins heads line-up at private 18,000-a-year university”.

No echoing the echo chamber here

4 minute read

Seems to be a theme going in the press today: The Internet is making us stupid by connecting us with the things we like.

Open every box

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Fascinating: “Unique Canine Tooth from ‘Peking Man’ Found in Swedish Museum Collection”

"I would run screaming away"

2 minute read

This is such an incredible story about the “Clovis comet” hypothesis, I don’t know where to start: “Comet Theory Comes Crashing to Earth”.

Narrow anthro

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Archaeologist (and blogger) Michael E. Smith writes some thoughts about “Why anthropology is too narrow an intellectual context for archaeology.”

Open science link

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David Dobbs writes about the structural barriers to more open science: “Free Science, One Paper at a Time”. Summing up a large collaboration on Alzheimer’s r...

Hauser update

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David Dobbs helpfully reviews the past few weeks of Marc Hauser-related revelations:

Retractions and grants

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Pascale Lane reviews a paper about retraction rates in top journals: “Papers ‘Not Meant to Be Factual’”.

Funding people

1 minute read

From Scientific American’s editorial on grants, “Dr. No Money”:

Engaging with the public

2 minute read

Alice Bell raises an essential question: “Whats this public engagement with science thing then?”

Kin selection strikes back

1 minute read

Last year I noted the publication of a paper in Nature by Martin Nowak, Corina Tarnita and Edward O. Wilson, which claimed that kin selection is not a suffic...

Making scientific minds

1 minute read

Lena Groeger begins a stint blogging at Rationally Speaking with this entry, “So, what’s science good for?”. She briefly discusses the usual rationales for “...

The person attached

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Colleen Morgan is preparing for a session on blogging and archaeology at the SAA meetings later this month and has started a carnival to highlight posts from...

Suborbital experiments worth the cost

4 minute read

Yesterday, some commercial space news made the NY Times (“Space Tourism: One Giant Leap for Researchers” and Wired (“Scientists Buy Rocket Rides to Suborbita...

Plea for concision

less than 1 minute read

Mike the Mad Biologist: “When speakers run over.”

Kate Clancy on activist science

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Kate Clancy writes “Why Im An Activist Scientist For Womens Health”, covers her research, some of the public impact of understanding women’s health issues, a...

Going Draper

3 minute read

Last week, Nature ran a commentary by Adam Kuper and Jonathan Marks, titled, “Anthropologists unite!”

Genomes to the people

less than 1 minute read

Misha Angrist has written a strong guest post at Daniel MacArthur’s “Genetic Future”, taking a clear stand in favor of disclosure of genetic information from...

"Gutless" TV science

4 minute read

Martin Robbins last week posted a column with a great title: “Return to the Silence: Is theatre exposing the gutlessness of TV science?” In it, he discusses ...

Open access megajournals

1 minute read

The Occasional Pamphlet reflects on the new megajournal trend in open access: “A ray of sunshine in the open-access future”. PLoS ONE is being joined by SAGE...

Kerfufflists or kerfufflers?

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Anthropologist Hugh Gusterson writes about the #AAAfail controversy in the Chronicle of Higher Education, from his perspective as one of the board members wh...

Membership has its privileges

6 minute read

A new paper in PNAS by Erik Trinkaus covers the mortality patterns of old versus young adults in Neandertals, early modern humans in the Levant and early Upp...

Quote: Peter Wood on anthropology

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Peter Wood, in a review of Paul Shankman’s book, The Trashing of Margaret Mead: Anatomy of an Anthropological Controversy:

Second grant life

1 minute read

Would you participate in a “virtual” NSF review panel in Second Life?

Peerless critiques

1 minute read

Nature last week posted an open access editorial, “Response required”, on the need for authors of high-profile papers to engage with online commentary on blo...

High school genomics

4 minute read

Ronald Bailey writes in the January Reason about his experiences with personal genomics (“Ill Show You My Genome. Will You Show Me Yours?”). He’s a booster, ...

Anthropology in transition

3 minute read

My Wisconsin colleague Herb Lewis wrote a piece in 2005 about the development of anthropology across the 1960’s, as academics became more politically radical...

Alien biology hype

1 minute read

Rosie Redfield begins to disassemble the NASA-sponsored “alien life forms” story:

Making monitors

1 minute read

The Guardian reports on scientist Ian Shanks’ legal battle to get some financial reward from his work developing the technology that underlies glucose sensor...

Iguanodoubt

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Darren Naish has written a nice discussion of the taxonomic difficulties of Iguanodon. It’s a guest post at the Scientific American blog. Dinosaurs and homin...

Nobel dreams

2 minute read

I’m glad to be in a field without a Nobel Prize.

Anthropology graduate program rankings

4 minute read

The National Research Council (NRC) released its “rankings” of graduate programs in U.S. universities this week. I say “rankings” because they didn’t actuall...

The failures of dinosaur splitters

1 minute read

A-HA! We all lecture in our classes about the perils of naming too many species, but now the facts have been statistically proven! Well, at least for dinosau...

Genomics by press release

1 minute read

The Spandrel Shop: “When did announcing science become the same as publishing science?”

Star search

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Should we begrudge the astronomers their “Lucy”?

"Science Enemies"

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Do you have a “Science Enemy”? Dr. Becca hilariously describes her hate-hate relationship with “Science Enemy”.

Plagiarism in science

1 minute read

Yuehong Zhang reports in brief in NatureZhang:plagiarism:2010 the extent of plagiarism in scientific papers submitted to one journal in China:

Edited volumes

1 minute read

There have been a lot of new edited volumes in paleoanthropology and Paleolithic archaeology during the last several years. I can get only a fraction of thes...

An ape by any other name

4 minute read

As usual, I was looking for something else – this time in the writing of Henry Fairfield Osborn – and came across an interesting paper that he delivered as a...

Nowhere the rational man

1 minute read

David Sloan Wilson has been posting a series on behavioral economics (“Economics and evolution as different paradigms”). This, broadly speaking, is based on ...

Long run paper trail

less than 1 minute read

Gordon Watts writes an interesting story of tenure review and the productivity of a long-lasting experiment in particle physics: “200 Run 2 Papers from DZERO...

Hauser update

1 minute read

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on an “internal document” from the Marc Hauser investigation: “Document Sheds Light on Investigation at Harvard”. T...

Making a Hawking

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Cosmos posts a long biographical retrospective from Stephen Hawking about his life and work. A lot of it will be review for people well-read on the history o...

Peer review fixes

1 minute read

An article in The Scientist runs through a slew of new approaches to peer review: “I hate your paper.”

Down with supplements

2 minute read

The editor of the Journal of Neuroscience, John Maunsell, has announced that the journal will no longer permit authors to add “supplementary” material to the...

Mooning hominins

1 minute read

Gretchen sends this link: MSNBC has a list of “Eight Great American Discoveries in Science”.

Sneaking infrared peeks

1 minute read

The BBC reports on the initial public release of imagery from the Planck telescope, a space-based observatory of the far infrared to microwave spectrum. The ...

Fatigued by advocates impeding research

2 minute read

Science has a news article that details the conflict over publishing new research on a viral cause of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS): “Conflicting Papers on ...

Anthropocene redux

1 minute read

If you’re a regular reader, you may remember my comments on some geologists’ attempt to define an “Anthropocene” epoch to recognize the world-changing scope ...

Conference blues

less than 1 minute read

Michael E. Smith has some suggestions after going to the SAA meetings:

Meeting casts

2 minute read

I’m just back from the physical anthropology meetings. What a lot of interesting things there were – a few in the sessions, and many outside of them!

A missing etymological link

2 minute read

I got a press question about the term “missing link” the other day. For obvious reasons. The question arose, where did the term come from?

Genetics and archaeology, 2

8 minute read

I’ve just received the book, Climate Change in Prehistory: The End of the Reign of Chaos, by William Burroughs. I’ll be reading it and reviewing it during th...

Jobs in American science

2 minute read

From Beryl Lieff Benderly in Scientific American’s online content: “Does the U.S. Produce Too Many Scientists?”

Fat rats

1 minute read

Daniel Cressey reports on research that points out the problem of laboratory rodent analogs for human health conditions: the mice and rats start out unhealth...

Omni remembered

1 minute read

Paul Collins reminisces about Omni magazine, defunct now for 13 years. I used to love that magazine and its hearty hash of science, science fiction, and what...

Dystopian reporting

less than 1 minute read

Ed Yong: “Adapting to the new ecosystem of science journalism”.

Online papers

less than 1 minute read

A propos to the “open access” theme, reader Bram Hessels writes in with a link to his “People with Online Paleoanthropology Papers” page.

Colloquia and opera

2 minute read

Have department colloquia lost their relevance to academic life?

Dawkins and Hewitt

5 minute read

I want to point to an interview between conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt and Richard Dawkins, on the subject of Dawkins’ new book, The Greatest Show on Ea...

Anonymous research subjects

1 minute read

New frontiers in human research subjects: PARC researcher Markus Jacobsson describes how to find anonymous research subjects via Amazon’s “Mechanical Turk” s...

Science sensationalism

less than 1 minute read

Backreaction: “Science, Writers, and the Public - A bizarre love triangle”:

Who's your favorite hominin now?

1 minute read

A couple of weeks ago I gave some Google Trends statistics on search terms for fossil hominins. The winner then was “erectus”, with “Neanderthal” coming in a...

The Ardipithecus pelvis

14 minute read

One of the grottiest, most severely crushed parts of the Ardipithecus ARA-VP-6/500 skeleton is the pelvis. The left os coxa is nearly complete but badly dist...

Mailbag: The Ardipithecus wait

less than 1 minute read

I sense a touch of criticism regarding the grand unveiling of Ardi after 15 years wait. Now I've completed that sentence it makes sense. A large team spend 1...

Whoa, who stole the data?

1 minute read

OK, as you know I do this thing where I read the supplementary information in papers. I hate doing it; think they should put the stuff in the actual paper wh...

"Discovering Ardi"

1 minute read

UPDATE (2009-10-22): I wrote this post before the film premiered, but it’s gotten a lot of Google traffic. My notes on watching the film might be more intere...

Ardipithecus FAQ

24 minute read

Today is Ardipithecus day. Eleven papers in tomorrow’s issue of Science describe the research on one exceptional skeleton (numbered ARA-VP-6/500, nicknamed “...

Who's your favorite hominin?

2 minute read

Yes, I know, hominin is driving me crazy, too. It’s a taxonomic diktat of breathtaking doofery, but I think we’re stuck with it. So I’ve been writing it to ...

Colouring Darwin's edits

1 minute read

Thanks to a reader: Seed interviewed Ben Fry, maker of a new software tool that visualizes the changes through six editions of The Origin of Species.

Leaving it to the societies

2 minute read

Carl Zimmer, giving a quick synopsis of three recent books on science communication, begins his post:

Working your schedule around your work

1 minute read

I saw this essay on Slashdot, and I think it’s worth spreading around: Paul Graham (of venture capital firm Y Combinator) writes “Maker’s schedule, manager’s...

Science Pub

less than 1 minute read

Yesterday I had the distinct pleasure to be the entertainment at the first Madison Science Pub, sponsored by the Wisconsin Citizens for Science. Science Pub ...

Paying the price for rare fossils

1 minute read

Primate paleontologist Elwyn Simons and (many) colleagues cosigned a letter in the current Nature protesting the high price paid for the “Ida” fossil, Darwin...

Pbo on Neandertal sequencing

1 minute read

On Edge, Svante Pääbo has a long and interesting narrative about Neandertal genetics, FoxP2 mice, his own biography, and everything else. Nothing new to be h...

ACS ends print journals

less than 1 minute read

Ars Technica’s John Timmer writes about the decline of print science journals, as the American Chemical Society abandons the format. Some reminiscences:

The next scientific publishing

3 minute read

Michael Nielsen writes that the scientific publishing industry is set for a “disruption”. It’s an interesting read, and in a sample, he strikes on the same a...

The broken grant review system

4 minute read

For a Sunday morning read, there’s Gina Kolata’s article in the NY Times: “Grant System Leads Cancer Researchers to Play It Safe”:

A history of science journalism

2 minute read

In the current Nature, the special section on science journalism (due to the upcoming World Conference of Science Journalists) includes an essay history of s...

Archiving old data: The case from astronomy

3 minute read

I’m catching up to the news. Last week, Science carried a report by Yudhijit Battacharjee, about some astronomers’ efforts to build digital archives of old p...

Two cultures

1 minute read

Writer Peter Dizekes opines in today’s NY Times on Charles P. Snow’s famous “Two Cultures” essay, “Our Two Cultures”.

Science journalism, blogging, and the web

6 minute read

Nature (open access) discusses the decline of science journalism and the rise of blogs. The article profiles John Timmer, whose stuff at Nobel Intent I read ...

Why biologists should care about math

2 minute read

I’d like to point readers to James Crow’s article in the open access Journal of Biology. Titled, “Mayr, mathematics and the study of evolution,” it’s a brief...

"Paleofantasies"

1 minute read

In the Science Times today, an essay by Marlene Zuk:

Recent evolution in Newsweek

3 minute read

I very much appreciate that Newsweek has started including a regular opinion column on science, written by Sharon Begley. I don’t always like it, but it plac...

Science from television drama

1 minute read

Wired has a story about the trend toward more television dramas with science content. Some may disagree that a show like CSI is especially science-related; n...

Forced by a pterosaur

less than 1 minute read

I can’t get over the subhead of this story about a new car-sized pterosaur:

Myths about Neandertals

3 minute read

Tyler Cowen comments on last week’s “Let’s clone mammoths, and OOH OOH Neandertals too” article. I’m pointing to the post because the commenters embody so ma...

"Anthropocene"? WhaAAAH?!

4 minute read

Here in paleoanthropologyland, we are often subject to the whims of the nomenclatura. These folks come up with new “logical” ways to name things, and we eith...

Quote: James Crow, genetics then and now

less than 1 minute read

James F. Crow, in the conclusion to his great article in the current Annual Review of Genetics, in which he reflects on a personal history of empirical appro...

The utility of theoretical models

3 minute read

I’m reading through Peter Turchin’s 1998 book, Quantitative Analysis of Movement, for a project I’m working on. I found that his second chapter gives a very ...

Neandertals: It's about them, not us

3 minute read

National Geographic has posted its October cover story about Neandertals, reported by Stephen Hall. It’s a good introduction to some recent work, particularl...

Wait until they hear about Flip cameras

3 minute read

So a bunch of physicists were at a conference, hearing about recent observations from the PAMELA satellite mission, when several of them pulled out cameras a...

Open science profile

1 minute read

The Boston Globe runs a piece on “open science” (big in the Boston area) and hits on an obvious problem:

Catholicism and science

1 minute read

An interesting article from Discover about Catholicism, faith, and science includes an exchange between Richard Dawkins and former Vatican Observatory chief ...

Obsolete thinking discarded, life goes on

1 minute read

In the Chronicle of Higher Education, Russell Jacoby bemoans progress (paywall). He thinks that colleges aren’t teaching people to revere the right nineteent...

Carl Wieman on science education

4 minute read

Carl Wieman is a scientist at the University of British Columbia. He shared the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work creating the first Bose-Einstein con...

Organizing the "idea marketplace"

4 minute read

Sabine Hossenfelder (BackReaction) has written some extended thoughts about the “marketplace of ideas” in science, and some of the ways it may have gone wron...

Pigliucci on agenda for Altenberg meeting

1 minute read

Massimo Pigliucci describes the agenda for the upcoming Altenberg meeting, attempting to hash out the place of some recent developments in evolutionary theor...

Is Nature pushing drugs to scientists?

1 minute read

So last year, Nature did an editorial about "cognitive enhancement" drugs, and now they've done a web survey to follow up on the editorial, asking their rea...

Science from the bottom looking up

6 minute read

Janet Stemwedel (of Adventures in Ethics and Science) has been following the aetosaur scandal, and has followed up with two posts looking for suggestions ab...

Shubin on Colbert on Pharyngula

1 minute read

Paleontologist Neil Shubin has a guest post on Pharyngula, describing his experience preparing for an appearance on The Colbert Report. Shubin is the disco...

Peer-ils of reviewing papers

1 minute read

With New Year's just behind us, I'm betting that precisely nobody has made the resolution to do more reviews of papers, or faster reviews, or better reviews...

Cut-throat altruism in the job market

2 minute read

Imagine you are on the search committee for a department of anthropology conducting a search for an assistant professor. Now, imagine that you discover that...

Nasal sinus visualization winner

less than 1 minute read

The winners of the 2007 Science/NSF-sponsored Visualization Challenge are pictured in this week's Science.

About those Benjamins…

less than 1 minute read

Eye on DNA's Hsien-Hsien Lei has her eye on salary data from genetics firms:

Openness, casts, and CT scans

5 minute read

Earlier this week, I wrote a little post referring to an article that pointed out why original fossils remain valuable long after their discovery. I got qui...

Casts don't substitute for fossils

1 minute read

Slate's Scott Solomon asked some people, and presents a nice, short explanation of why original fossils are important to paleoanthropology:

A view on human differences

3 minute read

I'm doing some research for an essay, which relies quite a bit on the work of Dobzhansky and a few of his contemporaries. There are some great quotes that I...

Five scientists who made the modern world

3 minute read

If you were to make a list of the top five scientists who ever lived, who would you choose? People are asking the question (also, here, here). So far, it ha...

A video science revolution?

1 minute read

The Public Library of Science is starting a video service. They're calling it SciVee, and it looks like a very cool concept. The idea is that if you publish...

Publish or perish, and get cited, too

3 minute read

Peter Lawrence decries the state of impact factors and grant applications in a Current Biology editorial, "The mismeasurement of science."

When fossils traveled

2 minute read

On the subject of the "Lucy" exhibit, a 1984 article (links are to the Times Select archive, which is not free) recalls the problems that accompanied anothe...

Lucy on the road

1 minute read

Like Santa Claus, "Lucy" has left her far-off home in the dead of night to bring joy to boys and girls all over America, reports the AP:

A bust for the ages

less than 1 minute read

It's Wellcome Image Bank tag -- now that they have put their huge historical and contemporary image collection online, the game is to find your favorite ima...

Olduvai overlap

1 minute read

Rex Dalton reports in this week's Nature on permit problems in Olduvai Gorge:

Decomp

1 minute read

Time covers the problems Texas State University has had finding a site for a large outdoor cadaver decomposition laboratory:

Biocultural breakdown

2 minute read

Harvard undergraduate Stephen Cupps writes in an op-ed that his biological anthropology major is being "killed":

An argument for open access

4 minute read

A minor flap has erupted regarding blogging and scientific publishing that I'd like to draw some attention to: Shelley Batts, who writes the Retrospectacle ...

Framed!

11 minute read

This piece called "Framing Science" by Matthew Nisbet and Chris Mooney is driving people crazy. It's in the "Policy Forum" section of Science this week, and...

Theme of the year: be a gap junction

6 minute read

I think it's a good idea to set out with a purpose for the new year. If there is one thing that describes the important work underway, it is bridging the ga...

Poincaré pusillanimy

less than 1 minute read

So Science named the Poincaré conjecture proof as the "breakthrough of the year." I got my year-end Discover a couple of weeks ago, and they said thi...

Lucy coming to museum near you?

less than 1 minute read

She's going to Houston first, but she's going to as many as 11 US cities along with some of her friends:

Mummy dearest?

less than 1 minute read

The Times Online has a short profile of Chris Stringer, with relation to the ancient Britain project. I just love the way it starts:

Vapor-sci of the week

1 minute read

It's been a very busy week, and I find that I haven't updated much while a whirl of stuff is going on. A lot of the new stuff is "vapor-sci" -- news stories...

Cargo cult science

1 minute read

I ran across an online version of Richard Feynman's essay, "Cargo Cult Science", and thought I'd share it. It's an engaging example of Feynman's great wit a...

Make it work!

2 minute read

RPM points to a really clever editorial by Michele Pagano in Cell, titled "American Idol and NIH Grant Review." I'm going to quote the same part, because it...

"Unteachable, to a first approximation"

1 minute read

This PLoS Genetics interview with David Botstein is really interesting (via GNXP). Especially his current moves to improve undergraduate biology education:

How surprising is this?

1 minute read

In the last Nature, there was a great letter from Michal Jasienski. Jasienski did text searches of abstracts in sciences and humanities looking for words re...

Stop putting it off

1 minute read

There is a great article by Mary McKinney in Inside Higher Ed with advice about getting out of a procrastination funk (via Daniel Drezner).

When results don't turn out

2 minute read

One of my readers pointed me to this letter in the current Nature (2/16/06) by Thomas DeCoursey:

Peer review reviewed

2 minute read

There's an article about the problems with peer review by Alison McCook in The Scientist. I think it's a good summary of some of the difficulties with the r...

Rediscovering the obvious

1 minute read

I was just discussing with someone today the merits of taking an old idea and giving it a new name, and now I find out from the NY Times just what a good st...

Drifting away from selection

2 minute read

Following up on yesterday's post on annoying misconceptions, I noticed Razib had posted his own candidate:

Photoshoppery in science

1 minute read

Nick Wade has a new article in the Times, exploring the problem of photo manipulation in scientific papers. The article quotes the editors of the Journal of...

Top archaeology stories of 2005

less than 1 minute read

I mentioned last month that the January issue of Discover had a list of the top 100 science stories of 2005 along with a short writeup about each. Now the m...

Reorganizing anthropology at ASU

2 minute read

Inside Higher Ed reports on the reorganization of anthropology at Arizona State University into the new School of Human Evolution and Social Change.

The shadow meta-journal

1 minute read

I've been noticing that Google Scholar searches are getting better at coming up with PDF versions of articles. Sometimes these are hosted from journal sites...

Google archaeology

2 minute read

Webcrawlers turn up strange news from the past sometimes. Here's a case in point, from a 2001 Addis Tribune article:

Pork barrel paleoanthropology

6 minute read

A weblog is a monologue. I try to keep this in mind whenever I post on a topic where I have an opinion. If I wanted to, I could just browbeat ideas I don't ...

Comparing astronomy to paleoanthropology

5 minute read

Both sciences study rare events that happened a long time ago. Both require interpretations of process, and rely on comparisons between different observed c...

Congressional testimony on NAGPRA

2 minute read

Friends of America's Past has posted their written testimony before Congress on proposed changes to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation A...

Academic job-seeking and weblogs

3 minute read

The Chronicle of Higher Education is running this pseudonymous column discussing the perception of blogs by academic hiring committees. It includes some imp...

The top unanswered science questions

less than 1 minute read

Science is running a series on the top 125 unanswered questions in science, in honor of their 125th anniversary. The top 25 of them have short essays devote...

Powerpoint, ahhh, Powerpoint

1 minute read

This post from Geomblog caught my eye on the current Tangled Bank. It links to the defense and attack against Powerpoint, respectively, with some commentary...

"Hold on. You're way ahead of me."

2 minute read

I apply these seven words a lot, and they should be said a lot more than they are. This essay by project management consultant Scott Berkun helps to explain...

Citation rates among paleoanthropologists

3 minute read

I am doing some informal research on the number of citations indexed by ISI for paleoanthropologists. After quite a lot of searching, I have come to an appr...

NSF and data access

17 minute read

Mark Weiss from NSF appeared at the AAPA business meeting to discuss recent changes in the funding guidelines from the Physical Anthropology program. The mo...

PhyloCode and human evolution

23 minute read

The April issue of Discover has a feature article on PhyloCode, focusing on the roles of Jacques Gauthier and Kevin de Queiroz in trying to revise the code ...