Adventures in Ethics and Science

Archives for July, 2008

In the July 18, 2008 issue of Science, I noticed a news item, “Old Samples Trip Up Tokyo Team”: A University of Tokyo team has retracted a published research paper because it apparently failed to obtain informed consent from tissue donors or approval from an institutional review board (IRB). Other papers by the same group…

For those of you who expressed an interest (even telepathically) in the meet-up of ScienceBlogs bloggers and readers in the three-dimensional world (specifically, Manhattan) next Saturday, I now have much more precise details:

As I was looking for a good sangria recipe some weeks ago, I came upon this article in Gourmet about how our understanding of the scientific basis for “flavor” as changed, not to mention what sorts of implications this might have for those who prepare — and sell — food. One of the interesting bits…

Girls, boys, and math.

You’ve probably already heard the news last week that a study published in Science indicates that the gender gap between girls and boys in mathematical performance may be melting faster than the polar ice caps. The study, “Gender Similarities Characterize Math Performance” by Janet S. Hyde et al., appears in the July 25, 2008 issue…

Garden update: day 8.

For those of you following the chronicle of my raised garden beds, here’s the first update.

Reading the comments on my post and Chad’s post about the different societal attitudes towards humanities and arts and math and science (especially in terms of what “basic” knowledge a well-educated person ought to have), I get the feeling that some interesting assumptions are at play. Since I don’t want to put words in anyone’s…

I have a little bit more (tentative) information on the upcoming meet-up in Manhattan on Saturday, August 9 (which is only two weeks away): The time looks like it will fall in the 2:00-4:00 PM time slot. The location is looking like it will be in or near Central Park. I know that a meet-up…

Today Chad has an interesting post about attitudes among academics toward math and science versus the humanities and arts. The general attitude Chad sees on display in his academic milieu is that a gappy knowledge of art history or music or literature is something to be embarrassed about, but when it comes to innumeracy or…

Appropriate use of sources.

The other day, Chad asked about the appropriate use of someone else’s published data: There’s a classic paper on the Quantum Zeno Effect that I discuss in Chapter 5 of the book. The paper does two tests of the effect, and presents the results in two bar graphs. They also provide the data in tabular…

Go to Cosmic Variance at once to read Julianne Dalcanton’s musings on why spherical jerks (not the word she uses) are preferable to the asymmetric ones: No one is surprised when a known, calibrated asshole acts up. We all just adjust the gain on our emotional response and carry on. I’ve been quite fond of…