Education

GPA’s Are Idiotic

I was thinking about something only tangentially related to grading, when it struck me that the way we go about generating student grade point averages is the kind of mind-bogglingly stupid system that requires lots of smart people working together to produce. Two very different groups of smart people, with very different ways of looking…

The Louisville Insider is reporting that Answers In Genesis has filed an injunction to try to force the state of Kentucky to help pay for their religious theme park. The State had chosen to pull back from the project because Answers in Genesis would not guarantee that there would be no discrimination in hiring based…

STEM Gender Gaps and Draft Dodging

It’s always a pleasure to see former students doing well, and to that end, we invited one of my former thesis students, Mike Mastroianni, class of 2007, to give a colloquium talk last week in the department. Mike went to physics grad school for a couple of years after graduation, but decided he was more…

Gecko water repellent

A new study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface from a team of researchers (University of the Sunshine Coast, James Cook University, University of Queensland, Australia, and the University of Oxford) described how geckos living in humid areas manage to stay dry. The researchers used a scanning electron microscope to take a…

Turning STEM Excitement Up a Notch: MedImmune Returns as Sponsor of X-STEM Symposium!

Why can’t we inspire kids to become just as excited about science and engineering as most are about sports and entertainment celebrities? Get ready as MedImmune, the global biopharmaceutical leader which wowed audiences as a major sponsor of the Festival’s X-STEM Symposium last year, returns for Festival 2015 this spring to help answer this key…

As previously mentioned, SteelyKid has started to get into pop music. In addition to the songs in that post, she’s very fond of Katy Perry’s “Roar,” like every other pre-teen girl in the country, and also this Taylor Swift song: I’ve seen a bunch of people rave about this, but honestly, I found it pretty…

UPDATE: The application form is now live. A few years back, I became aware of Mike Brotherton’s Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop, and said “somebody should do this for quantum physics.” At the time, I wasn’t in a position to do that, but in the interim, the APS Outreach program launched the Public Outreach and Informing…

  New research from the University of Lincoln, UK suggests that cats may prefer to find food using their eyes as opposed to their nose. The preference for vision vs. smell was tested in 6 cats placed in a maze that required cats to make decisions about which way to go based on either images or smells.…

Celebrities and Attention Police

While I’m running unrelated articles head-on into each other, two other things that caught my eye recently were Sabine Hossenfelder’s thoughts on scientific celebrities (taking off from Lawrence Krauss’s defense of same) and Megan Garber’s piece on “attention policing”, spinning off that silliness about a badly exposed photo of a dress that took the Internet…

Back on Thursday when I was waiting to be annoyed by a speech, one of the ways I passed time was reading stuff on my phone, which included This Grantland piece about Charles Barkley and “advanced stats”. In it, Bryan Curtis makes the argument that while Barkley’s recent comments disparaging statistical tools seem at first…