Saturday, May 18, 2024

Friday links: RIP Diana Wall, late bloomers, and more

EcologyFriday links: RIP Diana Wall, late bloomers, and more


Also this week: taking McGill private (?), climate change vs. biodiversity loss (but not in the way you’re thinking), Francesca Gino vs. Data Colada, a theory of social collapse, ESA and CSEE award winners, and more

From Jeremy:

Sad news: Diana Wall has passed away. She started her career at a time when ecology was a very male-dominated field. She became a world-leading soil and ecosystem ecologist, working at the McMurdo Dry Valley LTER site in Antarctica as well as in other systems. Her work greatly improved our understanding of how nematodes and other soil fauna affect litter decomposition and other above- and below-ground ecosystem processes. She won numerous awards, including the 2017 ESA Eminent Ecologist award and elected membership in the US National Academy of Sciences. She also served as ESA President in 2000, and was a formal or informal mentor and role model to countless undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, and others.

An argument that McGill University should be privatized (!). I don’t know that I’d favor this, and it’s not clear to me how it could actually be made to happen. But this was a more cogent argument than I expected it to be. Commenters who know more than me about McGill and/or Quebec provincial politics are welcome and encouraged to chime in and explain why this is actually nonsense, if in fact it is.

An update from the Data Colada authors on fraudster Francesca Gino’s $25 million defamation lawsuit against them and Harvard University. tl;dr: a court has held a hearing regarding a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Here’s hoping it’s dismissed soon.

Climate change is politically salient, and international treaties to address it have had some effect. The same can’t be said for biodiversity loss.

A list of 50 major late bloomers in science, the arts, and other walks of life.

A big experimental mindfulness intervention in British schools seems to have backfired, worsening long-term mental health among the teens at highest risk for mental health problems. The linked NYTimes article includes some speculation as to why. I don’t know enough to provide useful commentary; perhaps Meghan will chime in.

Summary of, and commentary on, archaeologist Joseph Tainter’s work on the collapse of complex societies. If, like me, the only things you’ve read on this topic are Jared Diamond’s book and reviews thereof, you’ll probably find this interesting.

Congratulations to this year’s ESA Fellows and Early Career Fellows!

Congratulations as well to this year’s CSEE award winners!

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