Adventures in Ethics and Science

Archives for July, 2007

Let’s say you’re looking at a wide-open fall semester, and you are asked to be a participant on a panel at a conference. Since your semester is wide open, you agree. Months later, you’re asked to be a participant on another panel at another conference. Except for the conference you already committed to, your semester…

In the July 16 issue of Chemical & Engineering News (secure behind a paywall), the article “FBI Reaches Out to Campuses” [1] caught my attention. The gist of it is that academic scientists are increasingly the targets of foreign espionage, where the stakes have less to do with national security than potentially huge economic losses.…

Almost a year ago, I learned about the case of the Tripoli six, five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian physician in Libya sentenced to death for infecting hundreds of children with HIV despite the fact that the best scientific evidence indicated that the children were infected due to negligence in the hospital well before these…

Book review: The Canon.

The average American’s lack of scientific literacy has become a common complaint, not only among scientists but also among those who see our economic prospects as a nation linked to our level of scientific know-how. Yet somehow, science has become an area of learning where it’s socially acceptable to plead ignorance. Adults leave the house…

My last post for the basic concepts series involved phases of matter and transformations from one phase to another. This post will look at how a phase change can be put to practical use in a common household appliance — the freezer. My aim here is to give you a good thermodynamic feel for how…

Orac’s calculated value (if he shuffled off this mortal coil in his present state — and I really hope he doesn’t) piqued my curiosity and led me to calculate the value of my own potential cadaver. But the calculated value leaves me curious about the assumptions underpinning the calculation. First, my results:

Happy Caturday!

It’s John Lynch’s fault. And honestly, how can you be aware of the existence of a quiz that will determine which LOLcat you are without acting on that information to determine which LOLcat you are?

Since Sandra has posted links to sites with brainy games for kids*, and Karmen is working on her list of science education web sites for children, I thought I’d mention one of my favorite online destinations for kid-strength chemistry. Luddite that I am, what I like best is that the site isn’t hypnotizing your child…

Elder offspring: Owls in zoos are kind of weird. Dr. Free-Ride: How do you mean? Elder offspring: Well, owls are nocturnal, but zoos are usually just open during the day. Dr. Free-Ride: Hmm, so either the owls are sleeping, or they’re awake but they’re not too happy about it? Elder offspring: Yeah. Dr. Free-Ride: I…

Book review: Storm World.

When I was growing up in New Jersey, hurricanes were “on the radar” for us, one of many possible (if infrequent) weather patterns during summer and fall. Later, in my first semester of college in Massachusetts, the morning of my first broadcast on the college radio station was made memorable by the landfall of Hurricane…