Adventures in Ethics and Science

Archives for February, 2009

Sea nettles.

We went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium yesterday but, owing to the whims of the kids we were with (our own plus some friends), I didn’t get to spend the hours I usually like to spend staring at jellies. In fact, I was able to park myself in front of a single tank of jellies…

On our drive to the Monterey Peninsula last night, la familia Free-Ride listened to (most of) the new Jonathan Coulton album JoCo Looks Back. (We skipped a few songs whose subject matter and lyrics were deemed “too mature” for the audience in the back seat.) The Free-Ride offspring had some prior exposure to Jonathan Coulton…

This week, the bath-night conversation turned to energy. If you prefer to listen to the sprogs, what with the splishing of the bathwater and their American accents, you can download the audio file. (Actually, owing to the length of the conversation, this week it’s just me and the younger Free-Ride offspring. Next week will feature…

Dispatch from the sickroom.

Owing to the fact that children are vectors of disease, three out of four members of the Free-Ride household have been feverish, achy, sneezy, sleepy, and grumpy for the past few days. (It’s not clear yet whether the progression of this bug will include other dwarves.) Since I’m still kind of dopey, in lieu of…

One of my correspondents told me about a situation that raised some interesting questions about both proper attribution of authorship in scientific papers and ethical interactions between mentor and mentee in a scientific training relationship. With my correspondent’s permission, I’m sharing the case with you. A graduate student, in chatting with a colleague in another…

A conversation that bubbled up at the dinner table last night, some time after the Free-Ride offspring were informed that the cassoulet they were eating had, as one of its ingredients, white wine. Younger offspring: Why do they call booze “spirits”? Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: I think that goes back to the early days of…

(It’s worth noting, however, that this may also be useful advice for interactions with others offline.) I don’t know what’s in your heart. I don’t know what’s in your mind. I don’t have direct access to either of those (because I’m a distinct person from you), and if I did, you’d probably feel violated. The…

(Written for the inaugural edition of the Diversity in Science blog carnival, with big thanks to DNLee for launching it.) Back in the spring and autumn of 1992, I was a chemistry graduate student starting to believe that I might actually get enough of my experiments to work to get my Ph.D. As such, I…

Book review: Wired for War.

Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century by P.W. Singer New York: Penguin 2009 For some reason, collectively humans seem to have a hard time seeing around corners to anticipate the shape our future will take. Of those of us who remember email as a newish thing, I suspect most…

By now, you’re probably aware of the Rightful Place Project, which is collecting text, images, audio, and video from scientists, engineers, and others involved in conversations about science in response to the question, What is science’s rightful place? I’m still thinking about my own response to this question. To help me think, I consulted with…