Why my blog went silent …

When I became department Chair for the second time around, I thought it would be easy — well, easier anyway — but I was wrong. I felt a bit like Rip Van Winkle having woken up to a completely different administrative world in 2015 than the one I “left” in 2010. It’s proven difficult to pay much attention to my career as a scholar while Chairing a department. Hopefully after June 2020 when I’m done Chairing, I can return to exploring a more active online presence. Although I feel pretty sure that while I’ve been Chairing, the online world has changed to the point that “blogging” is sooo 2005 and I’ll need to catch up to whatever the latest thing is in 2020. I doubt, for example, that it will be Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, though you won’t find me in any of those places even if they are “current” by the time I’m resurfacing.

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Gaming Metrics

I talked about “hacking” academic performance metrics at the “Gaming Metrics” workshop on “Innovation & Surveillance in Academic Misconduct” workshop on February 4, 2016 at UC Davis, organized by the “Innovating Communication in Scholarship Project” and supported by the Center for Science and Innovation Studies. It was a blast. I talked about Goodhart’s Law and was making the case that metrics used to set performance standards are doomed to fail because, as Goodhart argued, people change their behavior when metrics are used as public standards. As Lucas argued, contra macro-econometric models serving as policy guides, this means that the underlying causal structure changes because of this kind of use of metrics. My talk was about taking Goodhart’s Law “meta” — to argue that we should explicitly and transparently try to hack metrics in order to learn about social dynamics in the age of digital measurement and have some fun doing it.

One of the terrific things that happened during another conference on a related topic is that while sitting next to Jonathan Eisen, I pitched the idea, which he loved, and he bought  the domain: viXraoib (the inverse of bioarXiv) so we can use it to set up a journal to hack metrics and write about it. So, it’s put up or shut up time.

Featured Publication in the MVZ Newsletter

My paper on David Wake’s contribution to evo-devo is the featured publication in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology Newsletter for February 2015.

http://mvz.berkeley.edu/Newsletter/?n=201502

You can find the paper, number 57, at my Box.com publications page. See also paper number 54 for more on David Wake.

Griesemer, J., 2015. “What Salamander Biologists Have Taught Us About Evo-Devo,” in Alan C. Love (ed), Conceptual Change in Biology: Scientific and Philosophical Perspectives on Evolution and Development (Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science, vol. 307). Springer Verlag, Dordrecht, pp 271-301.

My Recent Papers Discussed in Anole Annals

Anole Annals is “Your source for the latest on Anolis lizards.” Jonathan Losos, Professor and Curator of Herpetology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University, published a very kind blog entry on December 1, 2014, about two recent papers of mine. Jonathan’s post is: “David Wake, Organism-Based Research, and the Rise of Evo-Devo.”

The papers of mine Jonathan discusses are papers # 54 and #57 on my publications page at Box.com

Griesemer, J. 2013. “Integration of Approaches in David Wake’s Model-Taxon Research Platform for Evolutionary Morphology,” Studies in History and Philosophy of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44: 525–536.

Griesemer, J., 2015. “What Salamander Biologists Have Taught Us About Evo-Devo,” in Alan C. Love (ed), Conceptual Change in Biology: Scientific and Philosophical Perspectives on Evolution and Development (Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science, vol. 307). Springer Verlag, Dordrecht, pp 271-301.

Scaffolding Kim Stanley Robinson

Kim Stanley Robinson, writing in an essay, “Remarks on Utopia in the Age of Climate Change,” gave me a nice shout-out on the concept of scaffolding in arena magazine that also was picked up by iai news. Although I talked with Stan about the concept in 2011, it was motivated by a book project with my colleagues Linnda Caporael and Bill Wimsatt, initiated in a KLI workshop in 2010, that came out with MIT Press in 2014: Developing Scaffolds in Evolution, Culture, and Cognition (MIT Press, Amazon).