Friday Link Round-up and Tidbits

Here are some links from the past week and some bits of news stories. The Journal club assignment is at the bottom, I'll be discussing it next Tuesday.


- New MSC commercials set to release in Canada target the "lazy environmentalist" (see above video for an example). While the intention is positive, I'm not sure if the message is entirely on-point with their representations of lazy people in the series...

- new Nature podcast on how age of birds affects their migratort performance, anole lizards as model for island biogeographic theory, writing about the universe using a list of 1000 easy to understand words, and more.

- On Wednesday afternoon, the Nature Conservancy of Canada co-hosted a tweet-chat on #MyWildCanada and why #ForestsMatter  -- I participated as well as dozens of others and you can find a log of the tweets here

- There's a trend in non-renewable divestment by companies and universities. Here's a story on Stanford divesting from coal, and here's one on the Rockefeller's divesting their charity fund from oil.

- And finally, Canadian man caught with 51 live turtles in his pants at U.S. border


- Following their results published in July,  Kate Clancy, Robin Nelson, Julienne Rutherford, and Katie Hinde reiterate their results into the sexual harrassment and assualt that occurs during scientific fieldwork. While men and women (from 30 different countries) were the subjects of this study, "women were three and a half times more likely than men to be targets." The main finding of the study was that, "women trainees were disproportionately targeted for abuse, and that targets generally felt they had few avenues to report or resolve these problems." You can read more here, published in the Huffington Post and gaining traction outside of academia.

- The 2014 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony took place this past weekend at Harvard. The goal of the Ig Nobel is to "honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then makes them think. The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative — and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology." This year's biology winners are researchers from Czech Republic, Germany, and Zambia (Hart et al 2013, Frontiers in Zoology) and their work on the urination and defecation practices of dogs -- turns out that they align their bodies to the Earth's north-south geomagnetic field lines. Who knew.

- Much needed discussion and coverage on the attitude towards queer members of the scientific community: Diversity: Pride in Science Is it a better place to come out, or is there still a climate of uncertainty? The Nature paper has several interesting metrics from all over the world and addresses not only how those in science feel about disclosing sexual orientation but also gender identity to their peers and supervisors. While addressing it in media is one positive step, there is still data lacking - as noted in the article,
"The scientific establishment could also do a lot more about collecting basic data. For example, the US National Science Foundation, which compiles detailed statistics about women, under-represented minorities and the prevalence of various disabilities among US researchers and STEM students, does not currently ask about LGBT identification. Nor do there seem to have been systematic, large-scale studies of the social environment for LGBT researchers."
Journal Club: "Do Bat Gantries and Underpasses Help Bats Cross Roads Safely?" by Anna Berthinussen and John Altringham. Published 2012 in PLoS One.
In an effort to mitigate the disturbance (short term and long term) caused by major roadways, a few methods are used when it comes to bats. But how effective are these methods? This article is fairly easy to read, as it's intended audience included the public and civil servants. It also caused a bit of controversy within the Bat Conservation Trust, the major bat conservation group in the UK (when you're done reading it, go to the PLoS One page and go to comments, then see the author's clarification).
If you have any questions about the content, feel free to email me at [kfergy at]


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