Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

The most fundamental way in which culture pushes against biology

Posted 26 Aug 2015 / 0

National Public Radio “For Prospective Moms, Biology and Culture Clash” Seven years later, I need to check and see how these American demographic trends have developed. Are even more women having babies later in life? Interesting thing here is how big a tension there is between our cultural choices and our biological realities. If fertility peaks Read More

A Minor Post, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Cultural Evolution, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Memetic Fitness, Radio & Podcasts, Reproductive Fitness, Senescence, Sex and Reproduction, Social Norms

Returning (somewhat reluctantly) to Twitter

Posted 26 Aug 2015 / 0

I used to have a Twitter account, but a few years back I decided to get rid of it… or — put more precisely — to neglect it. My reasons for avoiding Twitter and most definitely Facebook are pretty simple: I love the free internet. I hate that the approach of companies like Twitter and Read More

A Major Post, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Public Outreach, Publication

Rule number one of cooperative bacterial warfare? Be in the majority.

Posted 25 Aug 2015 / 0

Current Biology “Positively Frequency-Dependent Interference Competition Maintains Diversity and Pervades a Natural Population of Cooperative Microbes” This is another great example of how theory that does not consider space is a poor representation of nature. Here, the diversity of a soil bacterium (Myxococcus xanthus) is shown to be potentially explained by positive frequency-dependent selection, the Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Competition, Cooperation, Ecological Modeling, Evolutionary Modeling, Kin Selection, Microbial Ecology, Soil Ecology

Resources for writing a popular science book (and particularly a proposal)

Posted 24 Aug 2015 / 0

Today is the first official day of my first-ever sabbatical. Although I have been trying to get some over-the-summer momentum going into this one-semester break from teaching and service duties, now is the time that I really need to get (and stay) focused on my sabbatical project. I want to write a popular science book Read More

A Minor Post, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Public Outreach, Publication

WmD Episode #00003 has been released

Posted 20 Aug 2015 / 0

The WmD Project is picking up steam!  This week I have released the third episode of WmD’s video blog: You can see this episode in its ‘native habitat’ here. The first season of WmD is dedicated to the “big questions in ecology and evolution“. This episode, “Difference is as difference does”, is meant to cover these questions: Why do Read More

A Major Post, Adaptation, Behavior, Marine Ecosystems, Niche Partitioning, Temperate Forest, The WmD Project, Urban Ecology

Is there any way to get students to come to class on time?

Posted 19 Aug 2015 / 0

Chronicle Vitae “Late Again?” I like the approach of asking students why they come late, although I think that I would have a hard time devoting class time to this subject. And beware of the answers you receive! As Masson aptly puts it, asking your students for advice on how to deal with them often Read More

A Minor Post, Assessment Methods, Higher Education

Music, the cortisone balm?

Posted 17 Aug 2015 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Can Music Save Your Life?” This article is kind of all over the place, but at its heart I think that it poses an interesting question: what role does music play for us in today’s world? The idea that we use music as a kind of escape from the banality Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Cooperation, Emotion, Music

Should altruism have an effect on your final exam score?

Posted 17 Aug 2015 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “This ‘Extra Credit’ Question Does No Credit to Fairness” This seems like kind of a dumb stunt on the part of the psychology professor who posed it. I never really respected my professors who did not take very seriously the idea that students are pretty amped up by the experience Read More

A Minor Post, Altruism, Articles, Assessment Methods, Ethics, Game Theory, MSCI-270, Ecology, MSCI-463, The Evolution of Cooperation

Are there better ways of using course evaluations?

Posted 17 Aug 2015 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Student Evaluations Aren’t Useless. They’re Just Poorly Used.” As a person who thinks a lot about the meaning of my course evaluations, this was an important perspective for me to read. Overall I agree with what is said here, although the ought to be used argument is not that persuasive Read More

A Minor Post, Course Evaluations, Higher Education

Carrying capacity — but not growth rate — varies with habitat quality (at least for moose)

Posted 17 Aug 2015 / 0

Ecosphere “Characterizing demographic parameters across environmental gradients: a case study with Ontario moose (Alces alces)” What I find interesting about this study — besides its unprecedented investigation of something that would seem pretty critical to basic conservation efforts — is what was and was not intuitive in its findings. Moose have higher carrying capacities where Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Carrying Capacity, Community Ecology, Conservation Biology, Ecological Modeling, Habitat Destruction, Intrinsic Growth Rate, Parasitism, Population Growth, Sustainable Harvesting