Adventures in Ethics and Science

Archives for February, 2009

You knew the California budget shortfall was going to have an impact on higher education in the state. But maybe you didn’t know that the pain will not be distributed evenly. Last weekend, John Engell, a colleague of mine from San Jose State University (and currently chair of the Department of English & Comparative Literature),…

An article in the Wall Street Journal notes the collision between researchers’ interests in personal safety and the public’s right to know how its money is being spent — specifically, when that money funds research that involves animals:

This week, we finally get to the elder Free-Ride offspring’s part of last-week’s bath-night conversation about energy. Here’s the audio of the discussion, complete with splashing bathwater and odd squawks from my computer. For those who prefer words on the screen, the transcript is below.

At the New York Times Room for Debate Blog, a bunch of commentators were asked to weigh in with easy-to-make changes Americans might adopt to reduce their environmental impact. One of those commentators, Juliet Schor, recommends eating less meat: Rosamond Naylor, a researcher at Stanford, estimates that U.S. meat production is especially grain intensive, requiring…

This morning, I was made aware (by my better half) of the existence of Google Flu Trends. This is a project by Google to use search terms to create a model of flu activity across the United States. Indeed, the results have been good enough that they were reported in a Letter in Nature [1]…

President Obama on education.

In last night’s address to the joint session of Congress, President Obama said: The third challenge we must address is the urgent need to expand the promise of education in America. In a global economy where the most valuable skill you can sell is your knowledge, a good education is no longer just a pathway…

I’ve been watching an interesting discussion unfolding at DrugMonkey, prompted by a post at Science Bear’s Cave, about whether not irritating your lab group’s principal investigator ought to be your highest priority. As DrugMonkey notes, such a strategy can have bad consequences: If there is a scientific trainee who fears to mention to the Boss…

Over at On Becoming a Domestic and Laboratory Goddess, Dr. Isis looks at challenges of opening up participation in human subjects research to potential subjects who are not fluent English speakers: When one enters the university hospital here at MRU, there are a number of skilled and qualified translators that are available to help patients…

Over at The White Coat Underground, PalMD looks at the ways in which delivering good health care to deaf patients depends on providing good interpreters — and notices the difficulty of making this happen: How do we approach this as a society? Item 1: Deaf people have special needs with regards to interactions with the…

Another science fair idea

We’re back at the Monterey Bay Aquarium today. Shortly after our arrival, the kids are up to their elbow in touch-tank water. Then, the younger Free-Ride offspring gets critical. “The decorator crabs here aren’t very decorated.”