Adventures in Ethics and Science

Archives for September, 2008

The ScienceBlogs Book Club is back! The online fans of dead-tree books will be springing back into action tomorrow to discuss Autism’s False Prophets by Paul Offit. It’s worth noting that Dr. Offit himself will be participating in the discussion, so you won’t want to miss it. I’m planning in joining the discussion, but first…

Periodic table of wow!

I suspect I’m late to the party on this one, but I just had occasion to check out The Periodic Table of Videos produced at the University of Nottingham. It’s a collection of 118 short videos (ranging in length from approximately one to ten minutes each), one for each of the elements currently in the…

As promised, we had a party on Friday night. Some highlights:

You know how graduate students are always complaining that their stipends are small compared to the cost of living? It seems that some graduate students find ways to supplement that income … ways that aren’t always legal. For example, from this article in the September 8, 2008 issue of Chemical & Engineering News [1]: Jason…

Against over-specialization.

In the 12 September, 2008 issue of Science, there is a brief article titled “Do We Need ‘Synthetic Bioethics’?” [1]. The authors, Hastings Center ethicists Erik Parens, Josephine Johnston, and Jacob Moses, answer: no.

Yesterday, we had an urge to do some experimentation and I had a red cabbage that had overstayed its welcome in the refrigerator crisper drawer. So of course, we made cabbage-water indicator.

We continue discussions with the elder Free-Ride offspring about potential projects for the spring science fair. Elder offspring: Maybe I could do an experiment with Mentos and soda. Dr. Free-Ride: You mean that one where you use Mentos to create a fountain of soda? Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: That’s not an experiment. It’s a cliché.…

Argumentation: FAIL.

One of the big things philosopher-types like to do with their students is work on extracting arguments from a piece of text and reconstructing them. This can be useful in locating sources of disagreement, whether they be specific premises or inferences. But some chunks of text that seem like they ought to have arguments that…

Just a quick reminder that the San Francisco party to celebrate one million comments on ScienceBlogs is tomorrow, Friday, September 26, starting at 9:00 PM at Tonic, 2360 Polk Street (at the corner of Union). I’ll be there, as will the brothers Bleiman, Craig McClain, Josh Rosenau, and Razib. If you show up, you’ll be…

From time to time on this blog, we discuss the obligation scientists assume by virtue of accepting public money to fund their research. These obligations may include sharing knowledge with the public (since public money helped make that knowledge). And they also include playing by the public’s rules as enshrined in various federal regulations concerning…