Pharyngula

Archives for August, 2011

Not you too, New Zealand?

Let’s imagine that you, a rational person, are a high muckety-muck in some prestigious scientific institution — like, say, the Royal Society of New Zealand — and you’re asked whether some fringe subject — like, say, Traditional Chinese Medicine — should receive the endorsement of your society. How would you determine your answer? If you’re…

The wellspring of grade inflation

I hate to discourage teachers (we need them!), but there’s a problem in teacher education. Well, guess which students earn the highest grades? It’s future teachers. According to a new study by Cory Koedel published by the American Enterprise Institute: Students who take education classes at universities receive significantly higher grades than students who take…

People are still reporting that they can’t see current content on the new site. The reason for this is that there was a temporary error in the code which told the browser to cache and essentially never refresh the page from the web. This problem has been corrected, but you’ve still got a bad copy…

Richard Dawkins hits this one out of the park: he slams the ignorance of Rick Perry specifically and the Republican party generally. There is no excuse for the foolishness we get from Perry, or Bachmann, or Huckabee, or Palin, or Robertson, or any of the candidates who have sought validation through the Republicans — it’s…

Both Jerry Coyne and Larry Moran have good write-ups on the recent discovery of what are purportedly the oldest fossil cells, at 3.4 billion years old. I just have to add one little comment: a small, niggling doubt and something that bugs me about them. All the smart guys are impressed with this paper, but…

Here’s an educational opportunity for everyone! The Community College of Rhode Island [CCRI] has proudly announced that this fall, a “reiki master” will be holding a seminar on “crystal and mineral healing” at the college. This, we’re told, is …a type of alternative therapy that involves laying crystals or gemstones on the body. Each student…

There was a little earthquake on the east coast yesterday, which shook up the Washington Monument and may have caused some damage to it. But you know what still stands unharmed: the cherry trees. (via National Geographic) (Also on FtB)

Into the maelstrom

Today is the day I get together with all of my new advisees and tell them how to survive the next four years. Tomorrow, the new semester begins — once again, I’ve got an 8am course to teach on developmental neurobiology. The madness begins. But at least this year I’ve got a new tie! (Also…

These frogs are found on the island of Sulawesi, the same place as that giant-mandibled wasp. I think I sense a theme developing. (via National Geographic) (Also on FtB)

Abraham v. Monckton

John Abraham, college professor, squares off against Lord Monckton, crank and poseur, in this lecture on the science of climate change. It’s very good and fillets the silly old goose quite well. (Also on FtB)