Mike the Mad Biologist

Archives for April, 2011

It only took Ezra Klein about much longer than me to figure this out: …the position that Obama and the Democrats have staked out is the very position that moderate Republicans have staked out before. Take health-care reform. The individual mandate was developed by a group of conservative economists in the early ’90s. Mark Pauly,…

Joe Nocera knocked it out of the park yesterday, in his column about education: [NYC Principal] Gonz├ílez comes across as a skeptic, wary of the enthusiasm for, as the article puts it, “all of the educational experimentation” that took place on Klein’s watch. At its core, the reform movement believes that great teachers and improved…

Links 4/26/11

Links for you. Science: Atta texana Bacteria Divide People Into 3 Types, Scientists Say John Gillespie, “the evil scientist from America” Could You Be the Worst Labmate in the World? Other: The Anniversary How Donald Trump’s ego killed a pro sports league How You Can Have a Billion-Dollar Income in America and Pay No Taxes…

I’ve written before about the problem of the Ph.D. glut, so I was pleasantly surprised (shocked, actually) to read several articles in a recent edition of Nature hitting the same themes. For those who don’t think there’s a Ph.D. glut, here are some data for you: Post-doc numbers shouldn’t be increasing, unless there’s a glut.…

Links 4/25/11

Last day of vacation. Links for you. Science: Vaccine Denialism Finds a Home on Left and Right False Balance in Matthew Nisbet’s Climate Shift Report Guest Post: It’s Not Just Alternative Energy Versus Fossil Fuels or Nuclear – Energy Has to Become DECENTRALIZED Some people deserve bad reputations. (on Andrew Wakefield) Scientific misconduct starts early…

Given the fundamental problems that New York City’s ‘proficiency growth’ evaluations of teachers have, it’s absolutely unclear why Massachusetts, which leads the nation according to the gold-standard NAEP, would want to adopt them (we’ll return to this point later). Yet the contagion of stupidity that is educational ‘reform’ knows no bounds: The proposed regulations would…

Links 4/24/11

Links for you. Science: Six Questions About CRISPRs Bottom feeders: A novel way of dealing with an unpleasant problem Humpback Whales May Be Migratory Astronomers A Peculiar Disclaimer Other: Suddenly It’s Real (on gas prices) Alcohol and Rape: Twice the Standards Another Occasional Reminder (about ‘Grand Bargains’) Abolish The Debt Ceiling! Cheap Beer, Paradoxical Dice,…

A few years back, Dick Cavett made the following observation about the misuse of the phrase “presumption of innocence“: Cast your mind back about a dozen years to Tonya Harding. For the newly born, she was the young skater who hired a goon acquaintance to lurch out of the shadows and whack rival skater Nancy…

Yesterday, I described how education reform, which implies (or overtly states) that teachers need better incentives to improve outcomes, makes no sense when Massachusetts is considered. Yves Smith, in a post about the widespread failure of performance pay incentives, makes a very relevant observation to education reform efforts: Other factors can thwart an organization’s meritocratic…

Links 4/22/11

Links for you. Science: Researchers argue ‘addiction’ a poor way to understand the normal use of drugs Why Do Leafcutter Bees Cut Leafs? Moth Mutation Explains Classic Example of Evolution Other: Grifters will always find each other… Doug Smith: A Stiletto In The Back Of Sane Housing Markets Santorum Borrows Liberal Slogan Mr. President! We…