Adventures in Ethics and Science

Archives for September, 2009

Is multitasking unethical?

In a recent column at Business Week, Bruce Weinstein (aka “The Ethics Guy”) argues that multitasking is unethical. He writes of his own technologically assisted slide into doing too many tasks at once: I noticed that the more things I could do with ease on my computer, the harder it was to focus on any…

Dr. Free-Ride’s better half went to the Free-Ride offspring’s school for Back to School Night earlier this week. (I stayed at home with the sprogs to oversee dinner and baths.) Dr. Free-Ride’s better half reported back that the younger Free-Ride offspring’s third grade teacher “doesn’t believe in too much homework”. (“She doesn’t believe it’s possible…

As promised, I’ve been thinking about the details of Chandok v. Klessig. To recap, we have a case where a postdoc (Meena Chandok) generated some exciting scientific findings. She and her supervisor (Daniel F. Klessig), along with some coworkers, published those findings. Then, in the fullness of time, after others working with Klessig tried to…

First off, I moderate all my comments. Mostly it’s to eliminate comment spam, but it also means the rare death threat is not going to post without me approving it. Second of all, why would you think you have the evidential basis to discern the religious convictions (or lack thereof) of either this blogger or…

This school year, the elder Free-Ride offspring has a classroom teacher who used to be one of the elementary school’s science teachers. (Owing to budget cuts, both the science teachers have “retreated” to be general purpose classroom teachers, and all the classroom teachers have to teach their own science lessons.) I’m happy about this because…

You may remember my post from last week involving a case where a postdoc sued her former boss for defamation when he retracted a couple of papers they coauthored together. After that post went up, a reader helpfully hooked me up with a PDF of District Judge Joseph M. Hood’s ruling on the case (Chandok…

Thoughts on university service.

Over at Uncertain Principles, Chad ponders faculty “service” in higher education. For those outside the ivy-covered bubble of academe, “service” usually means “committee work” or something like it. The usual concern is that, although committees are necessary to accomplish significant bits of the work of a college or university, no one likes serving on them…

In my philosophy of science class yesterday, we talked about Semmelweis and his efforts to figure out how to cut the rates of childbed fever in Vienna General Hospital in the 1840s. Before we dug into the details, I mentioned that Semmelweis is a historical figure who easily makes the Top Ten list of Great…

Like a good nerd, I love me some Star Trek. I will confess to having a strong preference for the original series (TOS), on account of that was what my parents watched with us when we were wee young nerds growing up. (My dad had a freakish ability to tell within the first few words…

(From here.) Not that we won’t make plenty of other mistakes, but they’ll run more to Nietzsche than Rand. Come to think of it, the eternal recurrence test is probably just right for bedtime stories, isn’t it?