Academics

The Primate Diaries

Category archives for Academics

Ann Coulter is a vicious and mean-spirited demagogue and I’m ashamed that I share more DNA with her than chimpanzees or bonobos. She represents the worst kind of reactionary partisanship and should be condemned by all quarters in the spirit of basic decency. That being said, however, I don’t believe a government should have any…

Five years ago Lawrence Summers, then president of Harvard, made headlines when he suggested that women are not as well represented in science because of “issues of intrinsic aptitude.” By proposing that women are biologically less capable of succeeding in science he gained the anger of many of his colleagues and continued his reputation for…

An Academic Love Story

Four years ago today a young researcher at the beginning of his graduate program in primatology sat down with the most intelligent, engaging, and downright beautiful fellow primate he’d ever had the opportunity to share a beer with. Freshly minted with her Master’s degree in women’s studies (emphasizing public policy), our conversation quickly moved to…

Teaching Evolutionary History

As people who have been following the issue are well aware, there is a crisis of scientific literacy in the United States. Unscientific America may have had a poor explanation for why the problem exists, but it effectively announced the severity of the problem to a wide audience. To combat this problem it will take…

Remembering Historian Howard Zinn (1922-2010)

As reported this evening in the Boston Globe, the internationally renowned historian and bestselling author of A People’s History of the United States died today while traveling in California. For Dr. Zinn, activism was a natural extension of the revisionist brand of history he taught. Dr. Zinn’s best-known book, A People’s History of the United…

Big News for Vancouverites Today!

Carl Zimmer, science writer extraordinaire and blogger at The Loom will be speaking tonight at the University of British Columbia. It’s at 7pm in Room 2 of the Woodward Instructional Resources Centre (map). According to his hosts at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum: This year the world celebrates the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles…

As I posted earlier, graduate teaching assistants at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign had voted to authorize a strike unless the university negotiated with them in good faith. It appears that this strike was a success because at 7pm EST tonight the Strike Committee of the Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO) at UIUC unanimously voted…

In an overwhelming majority members of the Graduate Employee’s Organization (GEO) at the University of Illinois at at Urbana-Champaign authorized their union to to go on strike if the university doesn’t change direction in their current negotiations. According to a GEO Press Release sent out Monday: Over the course of a three day vote, an…

“They say rather than cursing the darkness, one should light a candle. They don’t mention anything about cursing a lack of candles.” – George Carlin, When Will Jesus Bring the Porkchops? In Unscientific America, Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum (the latter of whom I consider a friend) are deeply concerned that the American system is…

As I’ve been preparing my formal review of Unscientific America I’ve been struck by the question: who was this book intended for? Clearly it was a critique of science communicators to be sure (more on that later) but as I realized in going through my notes, Mooney and Kirshenbaum’s strongest sections are those discussing the…