Adventures in Ethics and Science

Archives for December, 2006

Brains enjoy getting information about the world around them. Although our sense organs do a pretty good job of keeping the data flowing to the brain, the occasional sense-organ-extending measuring device can add a whole new set of experiences for our brains to chew on. We wrap up the brain-friendly giftables list with a selection…

Only a few days out from the 19 December verdict in the Tripoli 6 case, it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that the Bush administration honestly couldn’t be bothered that Libya shows every sign of being ready to execute foreign healthcare workers who the scientific evidence indicates did not commit the crime with…

Gender profiling at the wine bar.

Razib tossed off a post expressing amazement that a very attractive wine bar hostess was making science fiction recommendations. The noteworthy feature, apparently, was “the intersection of science fiction & female physical hotitude.” Predictably, others have commented on this post, worrying about the casual profiling of hot chicks as not into S/F, or perhaps of…

Best final exam doodle EVER!

I’m sure I’m not the only academic who receives final exams with doodles (as well as “thank you for the class” and “please don’t fail me!” messages). But I need to share a piece of exam artwork that transcends the bounds of doodling. Indeed, it is a cartoon illustration that demonstrates good mastery of the…

Dear Santa, I know this is short notice, but only this week, while talking with my better half about matter, I thought of something so wonderful that I hope you’ll be able to leave it in my stocking this year.

Dr. Free-Ride’s better half taught the younger Free-Ride offspring’s kindergarten class about matter this week. It was a lesson that included a working definition, some hands-on explorations of the properties of different sorts of matter, and a little magic.

I suppose I should have seen this coming. You provide a nice, quite room for the final exam, so why should it be surprising that a student takes this as an invitation to nap? Especially given that this is a student who attended — slept through — just about every class meeting of the term?…

On my last post, Kristine commented: My favorite “finals week activity” was defending to two students why they couldn’t take the lab exams three weeks after all of their classmates took it, just because they realized now that they never showed up for class that week. Whew. Ten minutes each, and as emotionally draining as…

How’s your week going?

It’s finals week here. My brain hurts, and I’m on what is reputed to be the easier side of the student-professor divide, so I have great empathy for my students at the moment. (At least, for the ones who aren’t trying to put one over on me.) In the last week, I have:

The human mind seems to like creating things, and kids will use whatever tools are at their disposal to build. My uncle used to build death-defying systems of roadways with Hotwheels track and masking tape. A childhood friend of mine built elaborate structures out of Fig Newtons (largely because they were in abundance in her…