Adventures in Ethics and Science

Archives for April, 2008

Maria has an awesome post about her thoughts upon wrapping up her Master’s thesis. It captures the kind of shifts one can have in figuring out what to do, who to be, and how schooling fits into all of that — and how what’s at stake is as much emotional as it is intellectual. She…

Via Crooked Timber, I see that philosopher Simon Blackburn would like to dispel some myths. (He does this in the inaugural article of a Times Higher Education series “in which academics range beyond their area of expertise”.) Of the ten myths Blackburn identifies for busting, the one that caught my attention was “the myth of…

On April Fool’s Day, our local Socrates CafĂ© had an interesting discussion around the question of what makes something funny. One observation that came up repeatedly was that most jokes seem aimed at particular audiences — at people who share particular assumptions, experiences, and contexts with the person telling the joke. The expectation is that…

As we’re listening to Weekend Edition, the younger Free-Ride offspring asks, “Why don’t they ever have weekend subtraction?” (I think it was the elder Free-Ride offspring, years ago, who asked why Morning Edition had puppet words. It took us a few long moments to figure out the “puppet words” was actually Bob Edwards.)

Elder offspring: [Dr. Free-Ride's better half] said we’re going to do some experiments this weekend. Dr. Free-Ride: Oh really? Do you know what the experiments will be, or are you going to make them up as you go? Younger offspring: One of them will be making milk curdle. Elder offspring: With vinegar or lemon juice,…

Do you ever get to the point where if you haven’t checked your syllabus within the last few hours, you have no confidence that you actually know what day it is? Or is it just me?

Another Earth Day rolls around, and I still have major qualms about the typical American approach to it (which seems to boil down to “Consumer choices will save the world!”). Possibly, viewing ourselves and each other primarily as consumers explains how we have had such a dramatic effect on the environment in the first place.…

In the aftermath of a pretty enthusiastic pile-on to a claim that Expelled! had a successful first week of release, Chris Mooney calls for “serious introspection about the massive communication crisis we’re facing in the science world”. You know I’m always up for introspection.

Neil Sinhababu (aka the Ethical Werewolf) lays out one approach to making an impression in a job interview teaching demo: Before giving my job talk, N[ational] U[niversity of] S[ingapore] had me give an hour-long presentation to the graduate students and advanced undergraduates to prepare them for the talk and also evaluate my teaching abilities. Since…

ScienceWoman has a great post on balancing responsibilities in a new tenure track job, with an eye to publishing papers and setting up a robust and productive research program. It’s a must-read, especially for those who are lucky enough to be starting tenure track gigs in the fall. Since I’m getting toward the end of…