The 19th International Conference on the Cell and Molecular Biology of Chlamydomonas will be held May 24-29 on Île des Embiez on the French Riviera. The venue looks amazing:
This is straight from the ALGAE-L listserv, but I thought it might be of interest:
PhD studentship: The ecology and evolution of multicellularity
A fully funded PhD position is available to work on evolutionary transitions to multicellularity. The student will work within the molecular ecology and evolution lab as well as the aquatic ecology group at the Department of Biology, Lund University.
Jackson Wheat has a new video answering Creation Ministries International’s claims that multicellularity is a problem for evolution. CMI’s strategy seems to be
Jackson does a great job tearing down CMI’s assertions one by one.
A colleague recently asked me how to know if a journal he’d been asked to review for was predatory, and I didn’t have a great answer. I suggested that the fact that they were asking him to review was probably a good sign, since the worst of the predatory journals don’t bother with that formality. Some do, though, so that’s no guarantee. I wish I’d had a better answer.
The fact is, it’s not always easy to distinguish legitimate journals from predatory ones. A step in the right direction, though, is defining what we mean by a predatory journal. A recent article in Nature has tried to do that:
Predatory journals and publishers are entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices. (Grudniewicz et al. 2019)
These look great if I do say, and they are ready to hang. 12″ x 12″, $40 on Etsy…would make a great gift for microbe enthusiasts. I still have four of the original eight.
Atlas Obscura has a new article by Sabrina Imbler, “Checking in on the Algae of a Brooklyn Reservoir with a Microbiologist“:
ON A FALL DAY, SALLY Warring had come to one of New York’s grandest stagnant pools of water to find an old friend. She is at Ridgewood Reservoir, a 50-acre wetland somewhere on the border of Brooklyn and Queens, looking for a colony of cells named Volvox.
Having once been threatened with a SLAPP suit (which is a lot less than some of my better-known Freethought Blogs colleagues have had to deal with), I appreciate the hell out of this. Contains swears. Lots and lots of swears. And rude gestures.
For once, the YouTube comments are pretty great, too.
One of my search alerts turned up a blog post about Volvox inversion, “Upside Down and Inside Out: Inversion in Volvox.” The author wasn’t identified at the top, but by the third paragraph it was clear that the post was written by someone with a deep familiarity with the subject:
In order to be able to swim, the colony must therefore turn itself inside out through a hole at the top of the cell sheet. This process is called inversion, and proceeds in different ways (type-A and type-B inversion) in different species. (It is not clear why Volvox evolved to have its flagella on the inside after cell division: the closely related alga Astrephomene divides into spherical colonies without the need for inversion.
Suppose I were to pick some group of people, Buddhists, for example, or millennials, or Australians, and start writing nasty things about them. Suppose I said that members of this group, not some of them but all of them, were stupid, unethical, ignorant, intellectually and morally depraved, and incapable of either knowing right from wrong or believing in love. Suppose I argued that these traits were not incidental, not demographic trends, but necessary outcomes of membership in the group, in other words that belonging to the group causes them (just in case this isn’t 100% clear, I don’t believe any of these things about any of these groups).
If I wrote all that, do you think it would be fair to say that I was trying to dehumanize members of the group I was writing about? I certainly do. I sincerely hope that you would stop reading anything I wrote, block me on social media, and bring my hate speech to PZ Myers’ attention so that I’d get kicked off of Freethought Blogs.
So I find it ironic that some of the people who are saying those things are also accusing the members of the group they’re saying it about of dehumanizing others.