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Context and Variation


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What do you post after you have achieved the trifecta? Summer reading!

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Yesterday:

  1. I submitted an NSF CAREER proposal on the reproductive ecology and life history of peri-menarcheal girls
  2. I submitted a manuscript on transvaginal ultrasounds and stress to a gynecology journal, and
  3. I submitted an IRB (Human Subjects Committee) proposal.

Since I may never be that productive in a single day ever again, I figured I would catch up on some of my reading.

Summer reading

This summer has been the Summer of Connie Willis. After reading Doomsday Book a year or so ago (heartbreaking, beautiful, a necessary part of your life), and then one of her short story collections Impossible Things, I temporarily forgot about her (to be fair, I was reading Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin). Then this summer I’ve read Lincoln’s Dreams, To Say Nothing of the Dog, and yesterday finished The Passage. The Passage may be my favorite yet, the most unexpected, scary, sad, re-emergent book I’ve read in a while. It was a challenging read because it put me in a morbid state of mind, which is something I already found myself in after my birthday, which was last week (this has to do with me worrying about how long I will be able to play high-level roller derby before someone hands me a cane and kicks me off the rink). But Willis has proven herself to be one of the handful of writers of adult science fiction that writes the kind of difficult but beautiful, hopeful even as it’s terrifying novels that will ensure that I read every single short story, novella and novel she writes.

But, what do I read in between all the Willis novels and collections? Fellow professor and derby athlete Steph Davidson (well, I call her Snarker Posey) recommended some great young adult fiction, as I am a fellow lover of all things YA: Divergent by Veronica Roth (I’ve just started), Unwind by Neal Shusterman, and Emergence by David R. Palmer. I’ll be taking these to California for some family time and Sci Foo.

Other books I am considering: Barbara King’s science-y summer read recommendations, and Alyssa Rosenberg’s vote for Alif the Unseen.

Not novels, but other things worth a read:

Academia

The “snake fight” portion of your thesis defense (I believe I have a faculty meeting next month to incorporate this into our graduate curriculum.)

Notes from the #ProfGrind: Having it all (the remix)

Dual Career Challenges

Has Higher Education Become an Engine of Inequality?

Becoming a “Stylish” Writer

Thoughtful, kick-ass science writing

How bacteria in the vagina change during pregnancy

The Life Engineers: Prometheus Asks, Is a Culture as Stupid as Ours Ready to Create New Life?

Written in Stone, one year later

Are warnings about the side effects of drugs making us sick?

One Molecule for Love, Morality, and Prosperity? Why the hype about oxytocin is dumb and dangerous. This might be one of my favorite pieces by Ed Yong ever. Ed identifies exactly what has infuriated most people I know who study behavioral endocrinology about oxytocin fever, and does it with confidence and care.

Some LOLs

Barber Lab Quartet – The Longest Time (Coral Triangle Edition) (maybe not bringing the LOLs, exactly, but they sure are bringing the adorable, and sharing very cool science to boot)

36 Terrible Sex Tips for Men (maybe NSFW, but also rather hilarious)

Always Label Your Axes

What are you reading this summer?

Kate Clancy About the Author: Dr. Kate Clancy is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois. She studies the evolutionary medicine of women’s reproductive physiology, and blogs about her field, the evolution of human behavior and issues for women in science. Find her comment policy here. Follow on Twitter @KateClancy.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. leegettler 11:43 am 07/29/2012

    Congrats on your recent successes and productivity Kate. I really enjoyed Yong’s oxytocin piece (thanks for the link). I frequently get asked overly simplistic questions about oxytocin and its relevance to my own interests. Yong’s piece was refreshing and nicely nuanced.

    Link to this
  2. 2. Kate Clancy in reply to Kate Clancy 2:22 pm 08/7/2012

    Thanks, Lee. I think it’s safe to say that anything Ed Yong writes is going to be refreshing and nicely nuanced, so I recommend his work all the time! I use it a lot in my teaching as well.

    Link to this

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