Adventures in Ethics and Science

It’s October, which means ScienceBlogs bloggers are, once again, participating in the DonorsChoose Blogger Challenge. The idea behind the drive is simple: we’re appealing to you, our readers, to help public school teachers across the U.S. fund proposals for classroom supplies, activities, and field trips. As I wrote at the start of our very first drive in 2006:

Those of us who blog here at ScienceBlogs think science is cool, important, and worth understanding. If you’re reading the blogs here, chances are you feel the same way.

A lot of us fell in love with science because of early experiences in school — teachers who made science intriguing, exciting, maybe a little bit dangerous. But tightening budgets are making it harder and harder for public school teachers to provide the books, equipment, and field trips to make science come alive for kids. gives us a way to help teachers get the job done. A bunch of us at ScienceBlogsScienceBlogs have set up Blogger Challenges which will let us (and that includes you) contribute to worthy school projects in need of financial assistance. We’ll be able to track our progress right on the DonorsChoose site. And — because we like a little friendly competition — we’ll be updating you periodically as to which blogger’s readers are getting his or her challenge closest to its goal.

You don’t need to give a barrel of money to help the kids — as little as $10 can help. You’re joining forces with a bunch of other people, and all together, your small contributions can make a big difference.

That was in June of 2006.

This is October 2008.

You may have noticed that Wall Street is in the throes of a financial crisis these days. What somehow escapes the notice of folks with the power to direct billions of dollars one direction or another is that public school teachers have been scraping for resources since long before Wall Street’s financial crisis started. Theirs is a less dramatic crisis, but it’s here and it’s real and we can’t afford to wait around for lawmakers on the federal or state level to fix it.

The kids in these classrooms haven’t been making foolish investments. They’ve just been coming to school, expecting to be taught what they need to learn, hoping that learning will be fun. They’re our future scientists, doctors, teachers, decision-makers, care-providers, and neighbors. To create the scientifically literate world we want to live in, let’s help give these kids the education they deserve.

The challenge this year runs for the entire month of October. A number of ScienceBloggers have already put together challenges, but I have it on good authority that more will be coming online before too long. Here’s who’s in so far:

Adventures in Ethics and Science (challenge here)
bioephemera (challenge here)
Discovering Biology in a Digital World (challenge here)
DrugMonkey (challenge here)
Gene Expression (challenge here)
Good Math/Bad Math (challenge here)
Green Gabbro (challenge here)
Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted) (challenge here)
See Jane Compute (challenge here)
Sciencewomen (challenge here)
The Scientific Activist (challenge here)
Stranger Fruit (challenge here)
Terra Sigillata (challenge here)
Thus Spake Zuska (challenge here)
Uncertain Principles (challenge here)

How It Works:

Follow the links above to the DonorsChoose website.

Pick a project from the slate the blogger has selected (or more than one project, if you just can’t choose).


(If you’re the loyal reader of multiple participating blogs and you don’t want to play favorites, you can, of course, donate to multiple challenges!)

DonorsChoose will send you a confirmation email. Hold onto it; our benevolent overlords at Seed will be randomly selecting some donors to receive nifty prizes. Details about the prizes and how to get entered will be posted here soon!

Sit back and watch the challenges inch towards their goals, and check the ScienceBlogs leaderboard to see how many students will be impacted by your generosity. And, if you like, you can track our collective progress on the motherboard, which will let you see just how badly ScienceBlogs bloggers are kicking the butts of tech bloggers, mommy bloggers, knitting bloggers, and the like.


  1. #1 Donalbain
    October 1, 2008

    Curse you Janet! You made me cry again! That is not very ethical, is it?

  2. #2 DrugMonkey
    October 1, 2008

    Thank you for your efforts on this project Janet. It is a fantastic opportunity. I donated last year and am overwhelmed that I have the opportunity to run my own Reader Challenge this year. You are GoodPeoples. In this time of everyone feeling helpless about highlevel financial and economic challenges to the US it is a great time to feel like one can do something positive for some of our fellow citizens on this planet…

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