Rob Denton

Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology

What’s Going On in Science, September 2014

Why student evaluations of teaching are worthless “The paper compared the student evaluations of a particular professor to another measure of teacher quality: how those students performed in a subsequent course. In other words, if I have Dr. Muccio in Microeconomics I, what’s my grade next year in Macroeconomics II?Here’s what he found. The better the professors were, as measured by their students’ grades in later classes, the lower their ratings from students.” “This class should start an hour later in the morning. Also, theteacher shouldn’t wear sandals.” This NPR article summarizes a new study that tackles a problem that […]

TANK

As if he were making art just for my interests, Nate Milton presents this animated short film, “TANK”. This beauty is well worth nine minutes of your life, especially if you were anything like me growing up: chasing creepy crawly creatures and playing junior naturalist. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything that has so accurately tapped into the magical feelings that surround connecting with the natural world as a child, feelings that certainly still resonate with me as an adult.This film was the results of a successful Kickstarter campaign and you can see more behind-the-scenes videos/photos on Mr. Milton’s production […]

Science links: Science Studio educates, entertains, and inspires

Whew, I’ve been away from the blog for a bit while I finished my PhD candidacy. Now that I’ve been deemed a competent scientist by my senior colleagues, I have a backlog of blog posts to get to. I’m going to start by pointing you towards Science Studio, a collection of the best science multimedia on the web. This idea comes from Rose Eveleth and Ben Lillie, who are two people behind the equally excellent podcast Story Collider.  So, why is Science Studio cool? Well, finding really good science media isn’t easy. Unfortunately, the best and most effective science multimedia isn’t […]

Chased by a Robot Cheetah

Charismatic animal? Check.Neat gadgets? Check.A revealing look into something previously un-observable? Check.Oh boy, we’ve got ourselves a Nature paper brewing. Credit to Martin Heigan (left) and Richard Ashurst (right) A study published in the journal Nature led by Dr. Alan Wilson shines a light on why the way cheetahs move is so interesting. By using collars with some very fancy devices that measure how the animals change speed and direction, the research team showed that even though cheetahs are the fastest land animal on Earth, their ability to stop is what really catches dinner.The collared cheetahs displayed some of the […]

Beer as a Metaphor for Biodiversity

Check out this great video from MinuteEarth that compares the dynamics of plant communities to the economics of beer. Sounds strange at first, but ends up being a great way to explain the importance of biodiversity to an economics major who is taking there required biology course. Check it out: Make sure to take a look at MinuteEarth’s other videos on youtube and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.