Weekly links!

This week’s links are either a little early or a little late, depending on how you look at it.  I choose to think I’m early and that I just skipped last week.  The last week or so has been rather news-heavy, but I’ve been reading more political news.  Luckily, there were still several interesting science and teaching items of note also.

Science

I try to only post articles to social media (including here, obviously) when I’ve read the actual story or study that they are based on.  I don’t think anyone would be surprised to hear that most people don’t do that, but what might surprise you is how badly that can reflect on science and scientists.

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I teach Animal Behavior, and one of the long-standing hypotheses about sexual selection is that females choose the”most attractive” males to mate with because it may indication those males have the best genes, and therefore will have the best offspring.  According to this study, that may not be the case. 

This one could easily have been published in a journal titled “Duh”: Shrinking habitats have adverse effects on world ecosystems  Really?  I never would have guessed.

The Wood Thrush, aside from being a truly beautiful bird, also has one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard.  Stalking the sweet-singing, reclusive wood thrush

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Teaching

I have a constant internal debate over making my exams cumulative or not.  As an undergrad, I hated them (obviously) but I was also fairly adept at remembering facts longer-term, and being able to retain content without them.   I admit that I was not the normal student though, so this argument for using them is making me rethink things.  Or think about them differently.   

I ask for student feedback about my course several times throughout the semester and I’ve mostly been relying on self-created surveys on Survey Monkey.  I just discovered a new site with pre-made forms that can be used for student evaluations (among many other forms across all kinds of disciplines and industries.)

Other cool and interesting stuff

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I love reading about papers that smart people publish.  I also really love football.  So, when I read about about a paper published by a really smart football player, I get all kinds of giddy.  I consider myself fairly adept at math, but I have no idea what the abstract means.  

You can watch him teaching a math class here

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