So you want to “do something about/for diversity”

In the last several months/years, I’ve seen an increasing number of “diversity initiatives”, and attention paid to issues of diversity in STEM fields. Which is, on the whole, good. But as a member of a minority community, these can often come across as botched jobs. Scientists are good at science, but not necessarily (or one might say not at all good) at sociology and psychology. And it’s become tiring. Here, dear reader, is a handy,…

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Listing grants on one’s CV

I was going through my semi-regular update of my CV because, frankly, if I don’t I won’t be able to keep track of everything! It’s as much for me as it is for others (and arguably more so these days). Which got me thinking about grants, and how they’re recorded. On my CV, it’s a combination of year(s), project title, funding source, and grant amount. So far, all the grants that I’ve received have been one…

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The vast unread masses (or, tremendously unpopular posts)

So The Lab and Field turned 4 years old recently, and as someone not opposed to a little but of navel gazing, I thought it might be interesting to look at the least popular posts since 2013. This was also sort of prompted by a couple of folks who recently read older posts, and exclaimed (well, I imagine them exclaiming) that they’d missed it, or forgotten about it. One of the things I enjoy about blogging is…

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In defence of gulls, skuas, and giant petrels

I’m a lariphile. I love gulls, skuas, and their ilk. I think they’re gorgeous, intelligent, highly adaptable, and I will always have a soft spot for them in my heart. It will not likely come as a surprise to know that this is a minority view. Gulls, skuas, giant petrels and other predatory seabirds (i.e., those that eat other birds) are often maligned, both in terms of management and in culture. They’re called flying rats,…

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Another year of male-dominated NSERC prizes

Once again, NSERC (the national science and engineering funding council in Canada) has announced the winners of its prestigious prizes, which highlight the crème de la crème of Canadian science. And once again, the list of winners has an overabundance of Y chromosomes. Herzberg Medal (“Canada’s top scientist”): man (only one woman has ever won this award, and it was last year) Polyani Award: man Brockhouse Canada Prize: 2 men Synergy Award for Innovation: 4 men E.W.R. Steacie Memorial…

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The locations of scientific meetings matter

I think it’s fair to say that in the last week, there’s been quite a shift in the scientific community, or at least certain parts thereof, particularly in the United States. Yesterday’s Executive Orders restricting immigration, though temporarily stayed as of this writing, have rightly caused consternation among many. In research circles, this has meant difficulties for students, faculty, and staff who were travelling overseas, and restrictions on nationals of seven countries from entering the US. The growing…

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In praise of researching (and publishing) “local” conservation science

If you’ve published a scientific paper in a journal, you’ll know that part of the challenge is making it relevant to a broad audience. Why should a conservationist in Outer Mongolia, Zambia, Murmansk, or Baton Rouge care about your study? Chances are they study )or are concerned with/interested in) different species in different places. The pressure, therefore is to wrap much of our conservation science in global policy and priority frameworks: the Aichi Targets, multilateral environmental agreements, globally threatened species,…

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2016 by the numbers

It’s time once again for my annual round-up of science, and science blogging by the numbers. You can also read the 2013, 2014, and 2015 editions. 19 The number of posts on The Lab and Field this year, which is low, but I found that blogging took more energy/effort this year than I had to give. The most popular posts this year were: Personal academic websites for faculty & grad students: the why, what, and how Landing…

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Reading 365 (or, rather, 230) papers a year

A couple of years ago, a number of scientists on Twitter decided to try and read 365 scientific papers in a calendar year. Joshua Drew summarized his efforts and results quite well, and Jacquelyn Gill provides a great introduction to the motivation for “365 papers” (among other efforts) on the Contemplative Mammoth. And over the holiday break, as I was sorting out my “To Read” folder, I realized that it was getting rather full, and I needed a…

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Astrophotography as a gateway to science

Doctor PMS on Twitter pointed out a news release about a paper that use astrophotography as a “gateway to science” at the university level, which reminded me that as a wee lad in high school in the late 90s/early 2000s, we did quite a bit of astrophotography (which involved some creative arrangements of sitting in a car, or a basement, and not freezing to death in the Canadian winter). What enthralled me at the time was that one…

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