Saturday Morning Science

I mean to actually have a real post this week, but have been scrambling to figure out grad school things + worrying about CA fires that are way too close to home. Grateful for all the people who are working together to fight the fires and care for everyone who is being evacuated.

Anyway, on to some of the things I’ve been reading when not setting up an apartment, navigating university bureaucracy or mourning my trees:

  • Manganese munching microbes!
  • Intellectual humility is a thing worth working on
  • So, anglerfish do this weird thing where males are tiny and actually fuse themselves permanently to females, becoming little more than an extra organ. It gets weirder. They manage this fusion, which when you think about the challenges of finding the perfect match for tissue/organ/blood donors seems highly unlikely, by having an extremely minimal immune system. If you can’t tell self/non-self apart, you can’t reject your mate. Sounds great, I guess? Article about it here or Science paper here
  • Ancient microbes! Nature Communications article here.
  • Really liked the phrasing of an “education debt” rather than “achievement gap,” it shifts the blame from students — children — failing to live up to external expectations to the adults who fail to provide the support they need to grow
  • “The ecological and evolutionary consequences of systemic racism in urban environments” – should come as no surprise to anyone, but social justice and environmentalism aren’t really distinct issues – where resources for people are, greater biodiversity and greenspaces also may be; where wealth and status symbols (like perfectly manicured lawns) are common, wildlife suffers, where people have access to natural spaces, their health improves, etc.
  • Been reading a lot about rapid COVID testing! Article here, good video here. Great interview here.
  • I agree with some of this (some good numbers here!), but I’ll also note that assuming tenure-track faculty = better teaching isn’t great, since most have a) not had real training to teach and b) are disincentivized to improve teaching over spending that time on research in a publish-or-perish atmosphere. Anecdotal, but my best classes were taught by adjuncts and younger professors not yet tenured.
  • Risks of deep sea mining

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