New Research Identifies Drivers of Rich Bird Diversity in Neotropics

An international team of researchers is challenging a commonly held view that explains how so many species of birds came to inhabit the Neotropics, an area rich in rain forest that extends from Mexico to the southernmost tip of South America. The new research, published today in the journal Nature and co-led by… » 9/11/14 10:03am Thursday 10:03am

Killing Rage - Fraudulent "Scientist"

A colleague of mine recently shared this surprisingly detailed story of academic fraud wherein the perpetrator has breached so many ethical standards that I think he should be stood against a wall and shot. On the surface, it seems to be a run-of-the-mill falsification of credentials scheme, but it gets much worse. » 9/11/14 9:24am Thursday 9:24am

Sexual harassment and assault of young scientists

A study was published in PLOS ONE a couple months ago that showed the rates of harassment and abuse of scientific trainees during field work. While reading Margaret Hardy's statement on what we can do about this, I was struck by a paper figure that summarized the results. » 9/09/14 4:42pm 9/09/14 4:42pm

What the hell is going on with this Italian vaccine investigation?

Science has apparently gotten a hold the results of a 10 year investigation by Italian police into a "criminal vaccine ring" which includes flu researchers turned politicians and an animal vaccine company. While they don't include many details, they do summarize the charges here (sorry, may be paywalled). » 9/05/14 6:41am 9/05/14 6:41am

Which extinct creature would you bring back from the past?

Inspired by this post concerning which times people would want to visit, I pondered, if you could go back in time and capture any extinct lifeform, and bring it back for study (or amusement), what would you pick? (This is of course assuming that the action of bringing such an organism back does not ruin the timeline… » 9/02/14 3:09pm 9/02/14 3:09pm

Backtalk Q&A with a Bat Biologist

I am pleased to announce that tomorrow afternoon, Wednesday, August 27th we will be doing our first Q&A with an expert in bat biology. She will be here on the board at 5PM EDT/2PM Pacific. I will put the post up a couple of hours beforehand in case anyone wants to put their questions in but won't be around right at… » 8/26/14 11:00pm 8/26/14 11:00pm