Education

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Anyone who has had to order textbooks for students knows how expensive they are. Here’s something that I hope may end up a trend amongst academics: Creative Commons licensed texts. P.D. Magnus wrote a logic textbook, forall x, which he made available under the CC license; and now David Morris of the University of Lethbridge…

What is “secular”?

In keeping with the last post on humanities, I thought I’d ruminate with no effort or knowledge to back it up on what the term “secular” means. If the fundamentalists are to be believed, it is a synonym of “humanist” and also “Satanist”, “infidel” and “homosexual”. But somewhat more seriously, I have seen it used…

It is often the case that when non-academics, or even non-humanities academics, talk about my generic field, they refer to it as “arts”, and mean by this the creative arts, like performing arts, crafts, and corporate accounting. So they justify the funding for the “arts” (or “the yartz”, as a Barry Humpries character calls them)…

Typical. Bloody typical

Are creationists rational?

My Synthese essay has finally been published [paywall], in which I argue that on the basis of the more realistic notion of rationality devised by Herbert Simon, called “bounded rationality”, certain heuristics are liable to lead people to rationally choose to believe in creationism under the right conditions. It’s a conceptual developmentalist perspective. Here’s the…

Well, it may be the case that science reporting is dying in English speaking publishing, but it looks like in Brazil, they are still able to do it. I was just interviewed online (good use of the technology) by a reporter from this site, Pesquisa FAPESP. If you do Portuguese, go check it out.

I’m very conflicted about this: An Argentinian professor who put Derrida’s works in translation online because the published works were out of print or too expensive (way more than the European editions) has been charged with criminal copyright infringement, according to this page. While I think that publishers, especially academic publishers, who screw their market…

Visualising the molecular

A dozen or so years ago, or maybe more, I was heading up the communications section of The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, when I employed a young biology graduate as a graphics guy to do medical graphics. This he did for a while, until he started playing with three-dimensional…

Why didn’t I think of that?

Kate Devitt is so much better a teacher than I am (and she’s smarter, better educated and more attractive a person, but let’s deal with just one of my insecurities at a time, hey?). I wish I had thought to teach students about Turing Machines like this.

There are a lot of folk who think they have a handle on how to communicate science to the general public, and a lot of folk, mostly scientists, who think nobody else does. But I was reading Carl Zimmer’s twittering today, about Rebecca Skoot getting a column gig for a new magazine devoted to issues…