Adventures in Ethics and Science

Archives for April, 2010

I’ll confess that I am not one who spends much time reading the reviews of books posted on the websites of online booksellers. By the time I’m within a click of those reviews, I pretty much know what I want. However, a lot of people find them helpful, and the ability to post your own…

I think I’ve mentioned once or twice that the California State University system (of which my fair campus is a part) has been experiencing a bit of a budget crisis. Well, while there may be glimmers of hope for a recovery in the rest of the economy, we seem to be on the cusp of…

Old school geekery.

Dr. Free-Ride’s parents, Duke and Super Sally, have been working hard to shed some of the material goods they have accumulated in the last several years, on account of they are planning a move to smaller living quarters. Of course, this means that they shipped several boxes of stuff from their current place to Casa…

Over at the DrugMonkey blog, PhysioProf noted that a push to increase NIH postdoctoral fellowship stipend levels by 6% may have the effect of reducing the number of postdoctoral positions available. To this, the postdoctoral masses responded with something along the lines of, “Hey, it’s possible that there are too damn many postdocs already (and…

A reader writes: I was in a PhD program in materials science, in a group that did biomedical research (biomaterials end of the field) and was appalled at the level of misconduct I saw. Later, I entered an MD program. I witnessed some of the ugliest effects of ambition in the lab there. Do you…

Dr. Free-Ride: So, you went on a field trip today to a lagoon. Younger offspring: Yeah, I went to [Name redacted] Creek and [Name redacted] Lagoon. Dr. Free-Ride: You know, I’m going to redact the names to protect your privacy. Tell me what you saw on your field trip that was interesting.

Making good ethical choices in the real world is hard, in large part because it requires us to find the best balance in responding to interested parties whose legitimate interests pull in different directions. The situation is further complicated by the fact that as we are trying to make the best ethical decision we can,…

A reader sends the following query: I’ve only recently begun teaching in a big state university, maybe tier C in the field I’m in. I’m in a quandary as to how to manage pressure to pass students who are under performing. The first semester, I had to lower the passing to a basically ridiculous level…

I get letters.

This just arrived at the email address associated with my blog (rather than the email address associated with my university appointment):

The Free-Ride offspring have been enjoying their Spring Break visiting with the Grandparents Who Lurk But Seldom Comment. The night before they left, however, the younger Free-Ride offspring awoke in the wee hours because of a bad dream. As we all know from the peer reviewed literature on the subject, the best treatment for that…