Mike the Mad Biologist

Archives for April, 2010

By way of Yong Zhao, we find this Economic Policy Institute report, “Let’s Do the Numbers“, about the false precision in the award process of the Obama Administration’s signature school reform initiative. Anyone involved in a grant award process knows that the design of the scoring metrics can have a huge effect on the outcome.…

I came across this excellent article by Jerry Coyne, which is part book review, part defense of natural selection. I recommend it highly. But, in reading the article, I wondered why people are so threatened by natural selection. Because that’s not the philosophically challenging part. Unless you’re a biblical ‘literalist’, the idea of a creator…

Like InstaPutz, I too am tempted to do horrible things if I read another post about the ‘epistemic closure of the conservative mind’ (besides, the obvious joke writes itself). Instead, I want to discuss Marc Ambinder’s recent post, “Have Conservatives Gone Mad?” To his credit, he’s one of the first ‘big names’ in political punditry…

I’ve had serious doubts all along about the anthrax investigation, but the latest turn raises even more questions about the government’s case. According to former co-worker of Ivins’ and former USAMRIID microbacteriologist Henry Heine, the science doesn’t seem to support Ivins’ guilt (italics mine): Heine told the panel that the most common way of growing…

Tuesday Links

Happy Tuesday. Links for you. Science: Science teaching: real and imagined problems Oil Leak from Damaged Well in Gulf of Mexico Uncertainties Greatly Reduced Wind’s latest problem: it … makes power too cheap Pellets over petroleum Scientific Society Revises Climate Change Statement: science advances Walling off the Nature Conservancy Other: What to Do About the…

I think The Huffington Post has outdone itself on the bullshit factor. We now have all-encompassing metawoo. Consider this about the supposed harm that our current methods of teaching science inflict upon the young: When educators try to inculcate children with the scientific method, the main legacy of traditional science, the outcome is often an…

Sunday Sermon: The Teacher Tenure Edition

I’ve always thought that the primary reason for tenure at the collegiate level was economic. Intellectual freedom notwithstanding, without academic tenure, universities would either have to pay more for their faculty or wind up with worse faculty. Consider an undergraduate who might have loans to pay off. Then add five to eight years during which,…

On April 28, there’s a conference being held to counteract the conference held by the ‘fiscally responsible‘ Peterson Foundation: “The Fiscal Sustainability Teach-In Counter Conference will be the important event in Washington on April 28. Unlike the other meeting, this one will feature important work by honest scholars. It deserves at least equal attention, and…

Saturday Links

In case it’s not sunny where you are, here are some links. Science: Clever New Caledonian crows can use three tools Several Different Species of Killer Whales Likely Borneo’s biological treasures Disposable Genomes: When Reading DNA Becomes Cheaper Than Storing the Data Killer fungus seen in Pacific Northwest Other: Prison Rape: Assault Shouldn’t Be a…

By way of Echidne, I came across this article about WellPoint’s cancellation of insurance policies belonging to women with breast cancer (italics mine): Shortly after they were diagnosed with breast cancer, each of the women learned that her health insurance had been canceled. There was Yenny Hsu, who lived and worked in Los Angeles. And…