A new batch of links from some weeks ago – 20150328

I started putting these together at the end of March and never posted them:

Ten simple rules to achieve conference speaker gender balance – Jennifer L. Martin in PLOS Computational Biology.

The trouble with Evolutionary Psychology: A progress report – A number of short pieces on evolutionary psychology and Evolutionary Psychology introduced here by D.S. Wison at the Evolution Institute’s Social Evolution Forum. I highly recommend Clark Barrett’s The Shape of Thought: How Mental Adaptations Evolve for separating baby from bathwater.

Genetic testing and tribal identity – Rose Eveleth at the Atlantic explains Native American concerns about genetic testing. This is interesting to think about in terms of identity conditioned on genetic vs cultural inheritance.

Rogers’ paradox: Why cheap social learning doesn’t raise mean fitness – Marcel Montrey at Theory, Evolution and Games blog summarizes one of the foundational models of gene-culture coevolution.

Hypothesis testing: Fishing for trouble – tobias at R-bloggers.

Too good to be true – Scott Alexander on the state of psychological research at Slate Star Codex.

Surely our first response to the disproof of a shocking-but-surprising claim should be to be un-shocked and un-surprised, not to try to explain away the refutation – Andrew Gelman

Consequences of spatial expansions on population functional diversity – A video of a great talk by Laurent Excoffier at NIMBioS on “gene surfing” explaining why deleterious alleles (bad genes) tend to accumulate in rapidly expanding populations.

Himba color perception – Mark Liberman at the Language Log.  The video about Himba color perception being strongly influenced by language, sadly, overstated/fabricated. I’ve heard that the video is shown in a lot of undergraduate courses.

Believe it or not, “learning styles” don’t exist – Simon Oxenham at Neurobonkers.  Also at the NYT blog.

Looking for the roots of terrorism – a [gated] news article by Sara Reardon in Science about recent work by anthropologist Scott Atran.

Language (culture) and genes evolve differently – Razib Khan at the Gene Expression Blog.

Three posts by Charles Goodnight on Andy Gardner’s take on multilevel selection.  These are worth reading.  I will post any reaction from Gardner. Gardner’s theory of multilevel selection: Where he goes wrong and why; Parsing the Model; The Discussion.

I Changed My Mind… distinguished political scientist Stephen M. Walt in the Foreign Policy Journal on opinions he used to hold, but no longer holds. Important to me is:

No. 6: The Role of Culture... I used to have a certain contempt for cultural explanations of political phenomena. Whenever somebody invoked “culture” to explain some aspect of political behavior, I thought it was a lazy catchall category one could invoke to account for something one didn’t really understand. I now regard my youthful dismissal of culture as mostly just plain dumb, and I have become more sympathetic to explanations that employ well-specified definitions of culture.

Relatedness, conflict, and the evolution of eusociality – Xiaoyun Liao, Stephen Rong, and David Queller in PLOS Biology. The newest twist in the fallout from the kin selection “debate.” I think every lab whose email list I lurk on simultaneously scheduled a lab meeting to discuss this one.

Inclusive Fitness Theorizing Invokes Phenomena That Are Not Relevant for the Evolution of Eusociality. Martin A. Nowak and Benjamin Allen comment.

Some Agreement on Kin Selection and Eusociality?   Queller, Rong,  and Liao respond.

Entertaining, in that internet sort-of-way:

Calculating Pi with darts – A video by Physics Girl that was mostly interesting to me as an allegory for our difficult in generating and recognizing truly random patterns. When I taught introductory biology lab, it was very easy to spot the lab groups that actually used the random number table to pick sampling sites and those who tried to faked it. (Except for that one group who used the random number table to randomly pick the group member who would non-randomly pick the next sampling location.)

Weekend diversion: The math of Powerball – Ethan Siegel at Starts with a Bang goes, exhaustively, through the odds of winning Powerball.

The American presidents—Johnson to McKinley – Tim Urban at Wait But Why writes a surprisingly entertaining piece about our most boring string of presidents.

Why do Luna moths have such absurdly long tails? – Ed Yong at Not Exactly Rocket Science. No spoiler alerts here.

How Big Are The Biggest Squid, Whales, Sharks, Jellyfish? – Ed Yong, again.

The wedding industry’s pricey little secret – A short article by Will Oremus in Slate giving an example of how it is often better to use the median than a mean. I still remember my dad teaching me this when I was a small person

Bearded Wonders of the animal world.

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