Diversity: A Nature and Scientific American Special Issue: This special issue, the result of a partnership between Nature and Scientific American, explores the links between diversity and good research. Readers may like to begin with the excellent editorial that provides an overview of the other articles in the issue, and makes a strong case for racial, ethnic, gender, and LGBT diversity in the lab. From there, peruse the other articles at your leisure. For instance, based on a sample of 2.5 million research papers, Richard Freeman and Wei Huang make the interesting case that ethnically diverse teams publish more highly cited work. Likewise, Esteban Burchard describes how his experiences in a variety of cultures have led him to do better research, while Monica Ruiz-Casares argues against the common practice of generalizing Western industrialized samples onto other people around the world.
Dolphin Deaths: A Case Study in Environmental Toxicology: The National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, which is housed at the University of Buffalo, is a National Science Foundation-sponsored, award-winning program that brings together various peer-reviewed case studies in order to enliven science education at the secondary and university levels. This particular case concerns an “unusual mortality event” (UME) of dolphins on the East Coast of the United States in the year 2013. The case study follows a journalist and four scientists attempting to solve the mystery. It then puts students in the role of investigators, asking them to read, compare, and interpret various explanations of the events, in the process learning the scientific and social aspects that likely intersected to cause the dolphin deaths. The entire case may be downloaded for free as a PDF. Teaching Notes and Answer Keys are also available.
It’s Our Environment: EPA’s Blog About Our World: Interested in what EPA employees have to say about the work they do, the environmental issues they care about, and the programs they support? This blog will not disappoint. Most posts feature a short article, as well as photographs, graphs, tables, or some other visual representation of a topic near and dear to the hearts of the U.S. EPA. Readers may search the site by Recent Posts, or scroll through the many categories. For instance, at the time of this writing, the blog had featured 437 articles about Air, 70 about Earth Day, 306 about Communities, and many others on a variety of topics. Via the blog’s Archives, readers can also browse articles chronologically, going all the way back to 2008. One particularly interesting post, by a former ORISE Fellow in the EPA Climate Change Division, examines the peak bloom dates of cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., and finds possible evidence for climate change.
Neuropod Podcasts: The 1990s may have been the “Decade of the Brain,” but the groundbreaking research and paradigm shifting discoveries of neuroscience have only accelerated since then. If you are looking for the newest in neuroscience, and you’d like it in the form of punchy, approachable podcasts, look no further than Neuropod, a series of podcasts by “self-confessed neurogeek,” Kerri Smith. Smith, who holds a master’s degree in science communication from Imperial College London, provides an upbeat look at topics that run the gamut from psychosis to education to how the brain keeps time. Hosted by the Nature Publishing Group, podcasts have been published monthly since 2006 and the archives contain a host of wonderful material.