Last 24 Hours

I’m always interested in the present and future of libraries and higher education. There’s a steady stream of reports from various organizations that are broadly relevant to the (mostly academic) library biz but they can be tough to keep track of. I thought I’d aggregate some of those here. Of course I’ve very likely missed…

Barash’s Talk

University of Washington biology professor David Barash published this op-ed in The New York Times recently. The title: “God, Darwin and My College Biology Class.” Intriguing! Let’s have a look. EVERY year around this time, with the college year starting, I give my students The Talk. It isn’t, as you might expect, about sex, but…

The Smithsonian’s Kirk Johnson: Living Out a Childhood Love For Natural History and Its Museums

The ‘Nifty Fifty (times 4)’, a program of Science Spark, presented by InfoComm International, are a group of 200 noted science and engineering professionals who will fan out across the Washington, D.C. area in the 2014-2015 school year to speak about their work and careers at various middle and high schools. Meet Nifty Fifty Speaker Dr.…

Allspice, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon — they don’t actually look all that appetizing.

David G. Victor & Charles F. Kennel have an opinion piece in Nature arguing that it would be a really good idea to re-arrange the deckchairs on the Titanic. Or possibly ask the orchestra to play a somewhat different tune. I paraphrase somewhat, you understand. Naturally, you should read their actual article first, and then…

Normally, these days I greet the month of October with a mixture of anticipation and dread. The anticipation stems from October’s position as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Now that somehow I’ve managed to have a variety of responsibilities with respect to how breast cancer is managed at our cancer institute, suddenly I find that I’m…

Darwin, sexist asshat

That same bozo who sent me the Hitler quote sent me another image in reply: Fair enough. Darwin got a lot of things wrong. I’m actually going to be lecturing my intro biology students on where Darwin screwed up in a few weeks, focusing mainly on his bad genetics, but I’ll toss that quote into…

Eureka Publicity: Blurbs and Talks

Eureka: Discovering Your Inner Scientist has officially been sent to the printers, so we’re at the phase of things where I don’t have anything to do but think about publicity. There are some reviews forthcoming, at least one of which I’m very happy about, but I’ll share more about that when it becomes public. I’ve…

Orac is feeling a little under the weather. I appear to have caught some respiratory crud that’s going around, which, fortunately, isn’t so bad that I can’t go to work, particularly given that today is a lab/office day, but unfortunately made me feel too tired last night to create one of my usual peerless examples…

September Pieces Of My Mind #2

Did I just tell the students that “polysemic” refers to people who donate repeatedly to sperm banks? Surely not? In mid-70s Dungeons & Dragons, players would often bring their characters from one dungeon master and gaming group to another, effectively skipping between worlds. Unheard of in Swedish 80s and 90s gaming. Annoying: seeing that the…

This week’s snapshot of just one work-related fatality in the U.S. This one occurred on September 26 at a plywood plant in Moncure, North Carolina.

My latest book project has been coediting the proceedings of the 2013 MOVES Conference held in New York City, which has turned out to be a lot harder than I anticipated. For the last few weeks it’s been all-consuming, and spending so many hours in front of the computer staring at other people’s writing has…

My first article at The Guardian is up: No, Ebola in Dallas does not mean you and everyone else in the US is going to get it, too.

When you think about it, it wasn’t all that long ago — just 50 years — that we didn’t know where our Universe came from. A hot, dense early state? A cyclical, swirling past? Or perhaps a time-independent one, where the Universe back then was not so different from our own today? All that changed in…

I hope Judith Curry apologizes for this.

I’m not going to talk about Mark Steyn, other than to say that if you know who Rush Limbaugh is, Mark Steyn is a bit to the right and a tad more obnoxious, but not as smart. You can find out more by clicking here, using the Climate Change Science Search Engine. I’m also not…