Politics

Fry On the Problem Of Evil, Part Two

There’s lots of good blog fodder out there, but I don’t want to let too much time go by before finishing my discussion of Stephen Fry’s presentation of the Problem of Evil. See Part One for the full context. Of all the responses I’ve seen to Fry’s interview, there was one that was so bizarre…

Read the Whole Thing

Jon “Men Who Stare at Goats” Ronson has a new book coming out, and has been promoting it with excerpts in major newspapers, most notably the New York Times Magazine and the Guardian. In these, he tracks down people whose lives were wrecked by massive public shaming campaigns over idiotic things they wrote on social…

Notable quotes on wages and public health

Minnesota’s health commissioner prescribes an increase in the minimum wage to improve people’s health.

Academic Freedom

Let’s consider a hypothetical situation. Professor Jones, who has tenure, learns that a graduate student in a different department has conducted a class in a manner he finds objectionable. So Jones writes a blog post in which he attacks the graduate student by name. He uses incendiary rhetoric he could reasonably know would lead to…

Occupational Health News Roundup

Workers continue to face dangerous exposures to diacetyl; paid sick leave legislation introduced in West Virginia; home health workers rally for living wages; and the rise of the independent contractor classification threatens worker rights.

The Problem with Percentages

A sort of follow-up to last week’s post about the STEM “pipeline”. In discussions on Twitter sparked by the study I talked about last week, I’ve seen a bunch of re-shares of different versions of this graph of the percentage of women earning undergrad degrees in physics: You can clearly see that after a fairly…

Fry On the Problem Of Evil, Part One

My favorite philosophical conundrum has been back in the news lately, thanks to a recent interview with British actor Stephen Fry: Asked by the interviewer what he would say to God were he to discover, after his death, that He existed, Fry replied: I’d say, bone cancer in children? What’s that about? How dare you?…

Adventures in Baltimore

It’s snowing again. Pretty hard, actually. So, since it looks like I won’t be going anywhere today, how about I tell you about my recent travels? My adventures started last Thursday. I hopped into the Jasonmobile around noon, and headed out to Baltimore. This entails driving on I-495, better known as “The Beltway.” When you…

Twitter Is Kind of Useless

The AAAS annual meeting was last week, which apparently included some sessions on social media use. This, of course, led to the usual flurry of twittering about the awesomeness of Twitter, and how people who don’t use Twitter are missing out. I was busy with other stuff, so I mostly let it pass, and of…

Over at Quantum Progress there was a recent series of guest posts about a social-justice-in-physics curriculum used by high school teacher Moses Rifkin. I sort of glanced at it, said “Huh, that’s sort of interesting,” and moved on, but this got picked up by some right-wing sites, and exploded. To the point where the awful…