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A bad week for women in physics, and beyond.

Michelle CollinsOct 09, 2016Comments
It’s been a rough week for women in physics. Hell, women generally. I’ve found myself cradling my head in my hands, dejectedly looking up at information displayed on my glowing monitor at work on multiple occasions this week, as I read about yet another blow to women in physics, instead of focusing on my own work. So, why has this week been so bad for me and my ladies-of-physics? ~  read more

Quantitative Analysis of Neo-Nazis Supporting Trump and Clinton

Lenny TeytelmanJul 07, 2016Comments
Introduction In May, the conservative National Review published Trump’s Anti-Semitic Supporters. In June, House Speaker Paul Ryan accused Donald Trump of "textbook racism" over Trump's attacks on a federal judge with Mexican roots. These are just a few of the myriad of media stories about Trump's racism, xenophobia, and consistently strong support from anti-Semites and Neo-Nazis. Just ~  read more

What men can and should do about the awful academic sexual harassment.

Lenny TeytelmanJul 01, 2016Comments
Sexual harassment in academia is pervasive and scandalously tolerated by administrations across universities. There is a reason Congress is now looking at sexual harassment in academia. Representative Jackie Speier said in her comments regarding academic sexual harassment on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on January 12, 2016: Mr. Speaker, some universities protect predatory ~  read more

Looking for the scientist's spouse?

Lenny TeytelmanMay 21, 2016Comments
Leslie Vosshal noticed yesterday that when you search for a woman scientist, Google seems to often predict that it's their spouse you really want to read about. Top 5 search suggestions for female scientists often include "husband". WTF? — Leslie Vosshall (@pollyp1) May 20, 2016 Matt Davis noted that the same often happens when you search for famous ~  read more

Reacting to the overtime rule changes for postdocs and technicians

Lenny TeytelmanMay 20, 2016Comments
Almost a year ago, Justin Kiggins wrote on our Spectroscope: Postdocs will be getting a raise. He discussed that Obama's proposed changes to overtime compensation would likely include postdocs. Nature covered this and there was active blogger and Twitter discussion around this (see here, here, and here for some heated discussions). Alas, somehow the director of NIH Francis Collins ~  read more

Whatever the size, when schools act unethically, it's a problem. We can and should shame them, without punching down.

Lenny TeytelmanMay 06, 2016Comments
RetractionWatch reported yesterday about a bizarre press release from Penn College: College retracts press release about sociologist reviewing manuscript. In the press release, the college was explicit regarding the title of the paper under review in the journal Contemporary South Asia. The journal is published by Taylor and Francis, and it is clear that their peer review is expected to be ~  read more

Boldly going to Alpha Centauri?

Michelle CollinsApr 14, 2016Comments
A theoretical physicist, the creator of Facebook, and a Russian Billionaire walk into a press conference. Next thing you know, the internet is abuzz with the talk of an interstellar mission, wherein we puny humans will attempt to fly a teeny-tiny space craft roughly 25 trillion miles to our nearest stellar neighbour, Alpha Centauri. This ambitious project is the latest to be funded by the new ~  read more

3-D, without glasses

Jacob MayfieldApr 07, 2016Comments
One of the real challenges to teaching and understanding development is the mental gymnastics needed to understand what's happening in three dimensions when only 2 dimensions are available for viewing using a microscope.   Wow! This video does an amazing job of bringing the third dimension to ~  read more

What is the ethical compensation for nonprofit executives? (Should you boycott PLOS?)

Lenny TeytelmanMar 22, 2016Comments
Over the last week, there's been a storm over the executive compensation and financials at the Public Library of Science (PLOS). It was started by a series of tweets from Professor Andrew Kern, looking into the financial disclosures of PLOS and learning that they pay good salaries and have operating margins. Andrew then concluded: PLOS's financials reveal that they are merely trying to maximize ~  read more

When good nonprofits collide: the battle between Open Access and Academic Societies

Lenny TeytelmanMar 16, 2016Comments
Many academic societies do wonderful things for science, scientists, and society. They advocate, educate, support trainees, organize productive conferences, act as publishers whose goal is to improve rather than reject any given paper. As a geneticist, I have attended many of the GSA’s yeast conferences since 2003, and they were always a highlight of my academic training. The GSA was and ~  read more

Want to "Make America Great Again"? Hire immigrant scientists and let them stay.

Egle CekanaviciuteMar 13, 2016Comments
This was originally inspired by the blog post here on 1st generation immigrants who are invaluable for lab research. None of the current GOP candidates offer specific support for legal immigration, especially for highly skilled workers, and Donald Trump is particularly vocal against H1B visas. (Democrats don’t have a stellar track record either.) You know who else is on these visas? A very ~  read more

Our depressing progress on sexual harassment in academia.

Lenny TeytelmanMar 09, 2016Comments
Not at all surprising, but so terribly depressing to read that similarly to Geoff Marcy, UC Berkeley found the Law School Dean guilty of sexual harassment in an investigation, and then did essentially nothing to punish him. Reading the following made me sick. It's disturbing and upsetting that our progress on sexual harassment is essentially: 1. 20-30 years back, most investigations of people ~  read more

Hush academic, don’t speak up, Focus on your research and shut up.

Lenny TeytelmanMar 07, 2016Comments
As a first-year graduate student in 2003, I rotated in Michael Eisen’s lab right before the launch of PLOS’s first journal. An older student in the department told me, “Don’t join Mike’s lab. He doesn’t care about the science any more and is just an open access activist at this point.” This is just one of the many dismissive comments I’ve heard ~  read more

Warning against confirmation bias is missed because of confirmation bias

Lenny TeytelmanFeb 23, 2016Comments
Lior Pachter is an absolute genius. Please read his The relative impact factor of glamour journals is 2.166. Read it now, before you look through the rest of this post, because I will ruin it.  Done? Did you love it? If you loved it, is that because it confirms that the impact factor is a terrible metric? Is that because it confirms that PLOS ONE doesn't have good articles? Did you ~  read more

Invitation to ghost-write an article for RetractionWatch

Lenny TeytelmanFeb 05, 2016Comments
I am at the UC Davis Gaming Metrics: Innovation & Surveillance in Academic Misconduct. Lots of talks on fake journals, fake papers, fake metrics. The talk that rocked the audience with laughter was by Burkhard Morgenstern on the fake Editorial Board member, previously covered by Jonathan Eisen (Scary and funny: fake researcher Peter Uhnemann on OMICS group Editorial Board ~  read more