Politics

Category archives for Politics

There was an interesting article in the Chronicle a few weeks ago: The Soul of the Research University by Nicholas Lemann. Lemann provides a very interesting discussion of the contradiction between the academic ideal of the research university and the political perspective of the vocational school of further education, including some healthy historical perspective on…

sans serif

yet again I trip across a snarky tweet about a distinguished scientist using comic sans or some other whimsical and easily read on a screen unprofessional and unserious design choice in a presentation these theological wars are becoming as bad as PC/Mac or emacs/vi flame wars of yore anyone care to summarise, rationally, and briefly,…

Not entirely coincidentally the general topic of misogyny, microaggression and harassment was featured on the Women in Astronomy blog recently: Fed Up With Sexual Harassment: Defining the Problem Fed Up With Sexual Harassment: Survival of the Clueless Fed Up With Sexual Harassment: The Serial Harasser’s Playbook Fed Up With Sexual Harassment: Power to Speak Up…

Senior Review is out: summary – Swift #1, then NuStar. K2 gets partial funding. Spitzer is terminated. Panel recommends not cutting off the bottom but balancing fields. NASA Response to the 2014 Senior Review for Astrophysics Operating Missions – Final Version for Release (5.16.14) – this is an edited update of the NASA response that…

Why you might sometimes care about the sex lives of strangers. A snarky comment over on an evanescent social media site lead me to shoot back from the hip, but on reflection, unusually enough, I decided I liked the retort enough to preserve it in more permanent intertoobz form. The discussion was on oligarchy and…

The Eeyores of Academia

“The wonderful thing about Tiggers Is Tiggers are wonderful things…” Tigger was my favourite on the Hundred Acre Campus. “…bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy Fun, fun, fun, fun, FUN!” Recently I was at a meeting, and a comment was made about how someone was being negative. Not only was this a bit of a bummer, total…

Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious ship which will peer far and wide… The European Space Agency is being very sensible and mapping out its schedule for large and medium science missions for the medium term, under the Cosmic Vision program. In particular, the first of the large missions, L1, has been chosen and…

Bolden Responds

“Text of Bolden Response to Wolf Letter Re Chinese Participation in Kepler Conference” – from spacepolicyonline.com >From: Bolden, Charles (HQ-AA000) >Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2013 12:20 PM Central Standard Time >To: >Cc: >Subject: Response to Chairman Wolf “It is unfortunate that potential Chinese participants were refused attendance at the upcoming Kepler Conference at the Ames…

The Lights Are Going Out…

When it is darkest, men see the stars. This afternoon I needed to check something urgently, and as is my habit in this day and age, I jumped to a website where I knew the information was available. A few seconds later, with some irritation I went to hit “refresh” as the request failed to…

Cargo Cult Administration

Many physical scientists learned of the curious phenomena of the Cargo Cult from Feynman’s commencement address at Caltech, as reproduced in his book, “Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman!”. In the address, Feynman cautions us against the conceptually similar notion of Cargo Cult Science, where people go through the motions of mimicking a scientific process, while…