Photo: Ladybird clock, by Kristie Heard (photo S. Heard)
I get asked quite often, “Where on earth do you find the time to blog?” It’s a good question, actually; one I often asked myself in the early days of Scientist Sees Squirrel, and one to which I’ve become tempted to change my answer.
There’s no doubt that blogging takes time. I write about 7 posts a month, each taking anywhere from half an hour to a few hours. Occasionally, I get sucked down a rabbithole* and take even longer on one. That’s time I could be spending on research, or with my family, or cooking, or curling, or perhaps even reviewing your manuscript. How can I justify this? Continue reading
Photo: Belding’s ground squirrel, by Yathin S Krishnappa via wikimedia.org; CC BY-SA 3.0.
I think I’m typical as a scientist in that I spend a lot of time doing things that don’t seem to add to my research productivity – in fact, they take away from it. Yesterday (as I write) I gave a guest lecture about writing in somebody else’s grad course. I review manuscripts and grants, serve as an Associate Editor, sit on grad student supervisory committees, consult with colleagues about stats, serve in academic administration, and on and on. Actually, our whole academic system depends on us doing these kinds of things – things that (at least on the surface) seem altruistic. For an evolutionary biologist, apparent altruism always raises a question: Why? Why do academics do things that seem to benefit others, not themselves? There may be a variety of reasons, but increasingly I’ve come to understand my own career as heavily influenced by academic inclusive fitness. Continue reading