It’s coming up to winter so people will be conscious that our garden birds need a helping hand to get through the cold months. Bird feeders will be stocked, bread served up and water dished out. In the UK alone, almost half of households provide supplementary food for birds throughout the year. And although songbirds are usually the species that come to mind when we think of provisioning food the same principle can apply to more exotic birds, notably vultures. Indeed conservationists have supplied extra food to these scavengers for decades...Read the full article.
Quaking aspen is my favorite tree. In the autumn its leaves change color to a warm yellow, making a perfect contrast against its white and black bark. At sunset the forest glows with the light filtering through the stands of this species.
I never stop learning new things about it, either. On a recent hike on Mt. Bigelow in Arizona, I came across two aspen saplings, both growing in a sunny meadow that was heavily disturbed by a recent wildfire. The two trunks were only a meter apart, but one had leaves the size of a coin, and the other, leaves the size of a dinner plate (photo credit: Kristine de Leon).Read the full article.
I recently reviewed a manuscript for the pioneering journal PeerJ. This presented me with a quandary. PeerJ’s experiment in open reviewing is nicely outlined in their recent post, and includes two steps: reviewers can sign their reports, and authors can publish the review history alongside their accepted paper. My quandary was this: I love the second idea, and think it is an important step forward in opening up the peer review process; but I don’t like to sign my reviews. Not because I want to hide behind anonymity - clearly, writing this post shows that I’m not going to any great lengths to hide my identity from the authors of the PeerJ manuscript - but rather because I think remaining anonymous makes me, personally, a better reviewer. So, on this occasion - despite producing what I consider to be a ‘good’ review, in that it was both pretty thorough, and very positive - I declined to sign....Read the full article.
I just finished my NSERC grant (hooray!), so thought I’d fire off a quick post with some thoughts on the difference between NSERC grants and NSF grants.
If you don’t know, NSERC is the Canadian federal government agency that funds non-biomedical research in Canada. It’s the Canadian equivalent of NSF (US) or NERC (UK). As I’ve discussed in the past, NSERC Discovery grants (DGs) are very different beasts than NSF grants (or grants for almost any other funding agency on earth, as far as I know). Briefly, DGs are 5 pages long, and you propose your entire research program for the next 5 years, not just one project. DGs are similar to NSF preproposals in terms of length, but even that’s not really a great comparison because NSF preproposals describe a single project rather than an entire research program.
As an example...Read the full article.
Here is a detailed report on my brief experience with the SACNAS meeting, aggregated as an unordered set of observations and thoughts.
Just a short while ago, I was wondering whether my students are better served attending a disciplinary meeting, or a minority-focused conference. I was given the opportunity by SACNAS to see for myself. The comments on my earlier post were helpful, and described my question as a false dichotomy. As the commenters indicated, one meeting cannot substitute the other, as they are different creatures.
I was only available to attend two-half days (on account of mountains of personal stuff, but this is not That Kind of blog). I was there...Read the full article.