Peer review is often criticized for it’s lack of efficiency and frequently for making a paper… worse.
An article over at Code and Culture does a good job of summarizing the issue, complete with cool little videos that aptly describe how I think peer review feels.
“Science isn’t a belief system. It’s proven knowledge. It either knows the answer to a problem, or admits it doesn’t and keeps looking for it.” – James Conca “Science is Not Democratic”, Forbes Magazine
An excellent article detailing why basic and applied scientific research should be encouraged (and funded, please please please fund us) in the US. It especially details a scary rising trend of allowing personal and political beliefs to override the importance of understanding basic science.
Tens of thousands of animals fell to their deaths in a giant cave in Wyoming. They have been doing this for 100,000 years.
And now scientists are venturing into the cave to exhume their preserved remains.
Check it out!
Computer Virus Catalog, provides us with an illustrated history of the worst computer viruses in history.
It also has an artistic interpretation of each virus, which look really cool! Below are some of my favorites!
“Marburg infects .EXE and .SCR files and draws the all too familiar critical error icon everywhere on your screen. The Windows virus spread like crazy in August ’98, when it was included on the master CD of popular MGM/EA game ‘Wargames'”
“Created in the late ’60s, Cookie Monster is the world’s first computer virus. After infection, Cookie Monster freezes all system activity and demands cookies. Don’t sweat it. You simply unlock your computer again by typing the word ‘cookie’_”
“Stuxnet is a joint effort of the US and Israel, designed to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. This highly sophisticated Windows worm reportedly destroyed roughly a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, by causing them to spin out of control. Mission accomplished_”
“Ika-Tako (Japanese for squid-octopus) spreads via P2P file sharing network Winny, disguising itself as a music file. When executed, the Windows virus replaces photos, applications and vital system files with images of squids_”
Basic science = scientific questions that are founded in understanding theory, or the natural world around us
Applied science = scientific research that is directly applicable to humans. i.e. Cancer research
The last few years of financial crisis have seen a rise in criticism over basic scientific research. NPR does a great job of summarizing the criticisms and explaining why seeking to understand duck genitalia is a solid biological question.
Although the risks of having a child early in your academic career seem clear, are they really? (From Sarah)
The legendary Peter and Rosemary Grant publish a book reviewing 40 years of their work on Daphne Major. (From Sarah)
A really awesome-looking “open” class about data science. (From Sarah)
Cat research is difficult, largely because they are difficult subjects to work with. (From Jeremy)
Dirty money. Examining the microbial communities on dollar bills. (From Amy)
An amazing global visualization of climatological data. (From Noah
A rather depressing new figure that is circulating around the social media sites about the prospects for a biology PhD. (From Sarah)
Beard trends in men are undergoing negative frequency dependent selection…. seriously. (From Sarah)
The world from the fabulous point of view of the snail. (From CJ)
Whooping cranes make a nest, lay an egg in Louisiana for the first time in 70 years. This reintroduction has been extremely difficult, with locals shooting captive bred released birds repeatedly and a host of other problems. It’s obviously not out of the woods yet, but this is amazing progress! (From Noah)
Life-history traits are often shaped by a balance between somatic maintenance and reproductive investment. That is, an individual wants their own cells to be active, but also needs to invest in making offspring. This tension between natural and sexual selection can generate age-related physiological trajectories that differ between organisms, environments and populations. In simpler terms, how you age is as much an evolutionary response to your environment as it is to your reproductive success!
Documenting butterfly life cycles through paintings, long before such things were done. Especially by women! (From CJ)
Whales eat a lot. So if there were a 100x more whales in the ocean than there are now, where did all their food come from? Turns out whales create a more fertile ocean using their own poop! (From Amy)
How can male academics better help and include their female counterparts? A new bi-weekly chat held by STEM women. (From Amy)
Never underestimate a salamander. Researchers in California have found that they may help combat the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. (From Noah).
Do you like charismatic megafauna? You’re not alone. Apparently the bigger the animal, the more publications. (From Jeremy)
One of the fastest changing ecosystems? The grasslands of the Dakotas. (From Jeremy)
WARNING! NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART! (These are both from Sarah)
First, a toad with a visible parasite in it’s eye.
Second, an intense botfly removal…
And a slightly less gross video about a rare oarfish sighting. (From CJ)
Well this is terrifying. Ebola outbreak in Guinea, that is both unexpected and spreading at an alarming rate. (From Sarah)
An eight year old girl tries to make the wooly mammoth the state fossil of South Carolina… and is blocked by state senators? (From Sarah)
APRIL FOOLS! Or not. A few science claims by people we wish were joking. (From Amy)
Just-so stories in science, dead-end explanations or a scientific horizon? In defense of a long held bias agains story telling. (From Jeremy)
Along the line of good stories, here we have a collection of images from the horror fiction genera featuring interesting organisms! (From Noah)