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Weekend Reading: Spring Fever Edition

Happy protester

I can’t remember the last time I heard unqualified good news about higher education, but this week has been pretty ugly. We saw Ohio’s Senate declare faculty members to be management, and thus without collective bargaining rights. And in California, we’re reduced to praising an administration for *not* risking the death of 8 students. Cripes.

This is the month to defend public education, and then there’s April 13.

On to the week’s links:

  • Brett Kelly offers a useful corrective to a lot of “find-your-passion” arguments: If you really enjoy reading 19th century Russian literature, eating pancakes and slamming Irish Car Bombs during sporting events, your time would probably be best spent looking into making the literature thing your source of income because –and this does make me a little sad– I’ve never been handed a business card by a professional pancake consumer.
  • Kate Clancy explains, via Dora the Explorer, why evolutionary psychology’s overreliance on anisogamy fails to adequately capture the complexity of gender: EP takes some very basic, ancestral conditions, like differential costs of reproduction, and uses it in a sufficiently vague way that any behavior can relate to females generally being the ones to put in all the time and effort into making babies. Yet EP often ignores the three conditions necessary for natural selection, the mechanism for evolution. For natural selection to act on a trait, the trait must be variable, heritable, and produce differential reproductive success.
  • Sometimes the article title says it all: “Nanomagnetic Remote Control of Animal Behaviour”: Magnetic nanoparticles targeted to nerve cell membranes can be used to remotely control cellular activity and even the simple reflex behaviours of nematode worms.
  • Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach gathers *lots* of perspectives on and strategies for “Diversifying Your Rolodex”: Personally, I too was impacted by the session. A little history will help put my feelings into context. First, I have always resented it when women pulled the gender card. I have always been respected by men in the all-male dominated spaces where I have placed myself professionally (fitness in my 20s, science in my 30s, technology in my 40s and 50s), and I have felt strongly about not wanting to be recognized for being a girl or woman but rather for being competent, smart, or creative.
  • Miriam Burstein imagines academic life as an RPG: Eons ago, before “deconstruction” was invented, the dark angel Peststrictural invaded the domains of Eldcritique, and stole the Great Gem of Promotion. Ever since, those who hail from the world of Acidemicks have sought, frequently in vain, to obtain this Gem. According to legend, this quest can only be completed by obtaining a Pier-Revued Publiquation.

This week’s video is Merlin Mann’s talk from WordCamp Reno/Tahoe: “There is no plugin for awesome and the only tool here is you”:

Have a great weekend!

Photo by Flickr user KNLPhotos2010 / Creative Commons licensed

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