The Intersection

Archives for May, 2008

Spin

At 2:22 pm tomorrow, I’ll have circumnavigated that spectacular star of ours exactly 28 times. Despite the traditional hullabaloo and fanfare every twelve months, it’s easy to argue that counting orbits is rather arbitrary. Our year results from the happenstance masses of earth and the sun, the distance between them, and a few other extraterrestrial…

Fact: According to the National Postdoc Association, between 1972 and 2003, the percent of recent Ph.D. holders hired into full-time faculty positions fell from 74% to 44%. Fact: During the same period, the number of post docs in science and engineering has increased from 13% to 34%. Fact: The probability that a Ph.D. recipient under…

Today I begin a series of posts on the tremendous challenges facing graduate students–with some illuminating data that sheds light on what’s really going on in the ivory towers during the 21st century. To get started, here’s The Simpsons perspective on the pursuit of an academic tenure track position: (if the video stops, click ‘pause/play’…

The Assault On Science

Last week I participated in a panel discussion on ‘The Agenda with Steve Paikin.‘ The evening’s show was called The Assault On Science so obviously it wasn’t complete sans Chris. Topics included climate change, the theory of evolution, science in the media, and religion (complete with a clip from ‘Expelled‘). My co-panelists were nice enough…

A Science of Literature?

My latest Science Progress column just went up–it’s a reaction to this intriguing proposal, by scholar Jonathan Gottschall, to remake the ailing field of literary studies with a scientific foundation. An excerpt: Writing in the Boston Globe ideas section, Gottschall describes in detail what his science of literature would look like, something he can do…

Over at Correlations, Cifford predicts I’ll ‘love‘ his post on these inhabitants of the Macquarie Ridge near New Zealand, adding: I really hope the scientists said that* when they found this. Really. It’s a mountain, underwater, colonized by millions of starfish. Amazing. [*Pop quiz: Without Google-cheating – Anyone know what the title is a quote…

Blogging Round The Sun

Buongiorno readers! One revolution ago, I began a journey I certainly didn’t anticipate… For a week I was to ‘guest host’ this Scienceblog called ‘The Intersection‘ while Chris was away in Italy. And so began my first post: And then something unexpected happened–I never left. And nothing’s been the same ever since! So on this…

It’s that special time of year again when high school students around the globe have the opportunity to shine at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). Nearly 15,000 students from 47 countries competed in the 2008 competition and the winners are…. So much for the ladies scoring poorly on science, engineering, and mathematics……

The Intersection just got an email from Oxfam America, asking for our help getting the word out about the urgent need to help cyclone survivors in Myanmar. To quote in brief: “In the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis – which struck Myanmar on May 3, washing away entire communities – conditions remain dire for millions of…

…about, like, things people don’t want to hear. But if you do want to hear, listen to this Skepticality podcast. I’ll quote a particularly poignant part of it, from Olson discussing how little the science world does to support innovative attempts at communication (around minute 40): What if there’s some sixteen year old kid right…