Adventures in Ethics and Science

Archives for February, 2006

News from Inside Higher Ed: Apparently there’s a movement afoot in U.S. colleges and universities to add math requirements and add “quantitative reasoning” content to non-mathematics courses. You might guess, from my post on the “who needs algebra” column, that I view this as a good thing. And you’d be right.

My ScienceBlogs sibling Kevin Vranes asks an interesting question (and provides some useful facts for thinking about the answer): Why do we even spend taxpayer money on basic science research? Is it to fund science for discovery’s sake alone? Or to meet an array of identified societal needs? The original post-WWII Vannevar Bush model was…

Student Pugwash USA, whose mission is to promote social responsibility in science and technology, is having the first of a series of regional conferences March 31 – April 1 at Purdue University. (Other conferences are planned at Rockeller University, Carnegie Mellon, and UC-Berkeley.) The conference is aimed at (and open to) science students of all…

A friend who has been lurking here sent me an email the other day to get my take on the apparent attitude of American scientists toward stem cell research and toward the American public. My friend writes that he has been struck by the reaction of scientists in discussion of stem cell research that “Gee,…

Yesterday, I discussed what scientists supported by federal funds do, and do not, owe the public. However, that discussion was sufficiently oblique and ironic that the point I was trying to make may not have been clear (and, I may have put some of my male readers at greater risk for heart attack). So, I’m…

I don’t know how we’re doing closing the digital divide between rich and poor, but it looks like the divide between humans and cats is getting narrower. I’m pretty sure the moment when every cat has a webpage of his or her own is one of the early signs of the apocalypse.

Michael Berube is a noted danger to the youth of America (and has the votes to prove it). He is also, it turns out, blogging about ethical issues in the practice of science. Which, last time I checked with the Central Committee of Academic Mind-Control, was my turf. I trust that Comrade Berube will reflect…

Want to judge a science fair?

For those of you readers in the San Francisco Bay Area: The Synopsys Silicon Valley Science and Technology Championship is coming up (March 8-9) at the McEnery Covention Center in San Jose. Not only are they looking for volunteers, but they are especially in need of judges. (At this point, they have almost 800 projects…

As expected, Derek Lowe has a thoughful post (with a very interesting discussion going on in the comments) about the latest “Expression of Concern” from the New England Journal of Medicine about the VIGOR Vioxx trial. To catch you up if you’ve been watching curling rather than following the case: A clinical study of Vioxx…

A conversation while driving: Elder offspring: On library day this week, I got a book called Endangered Desert Animals. Desert animals are really cool. Dr. Free-Ride: What do you think is coolest about desert animals? Elder offspring: They can go for a long time without drinking any water at all. Some of them get their…