Links for 2012-06-12

In which we look at a great commencement speech, the oversupply of mediocrity, the nominees for a science blogging award, and Facebook games distilled to their essence.


  • Wellesley High grads told: “You’re not special” | The Swellesley Report

    Yes, you’ve been pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble-wrapped. Yes, capable adults with other things to do have held you, kissed you, fed you, wiped your mouth, wiped your bottom, trained you, taught you, tutored you, coached you, listened to you, counseled you, encouraged you, consoled you and encouraged you again. You’ve been nudged, cajoled, wheedled and implored. You’ve been feted and fawned over and called sweetie pie. Yes, you have. And, certainly, we’ve been to your games, your plays, your recitals, your science fairs. Absolutely, smiles ignite when you walk into a room, and hundreds gasp with delight at your every tweet. Why, maybe you’ve even had your picture in the Townsman! [...] And now you’ve conquered high school… and, indisputably, here we all have gathered for you, the pride and joy of this fine community, the first to emerge from that magnificent new building… But do not get the idea you’re anything special. Because you’re not.

  • How Not to Do Science Education. In the Pipeline:

    I hate to be the one to say it, but mediocre scientists are, in fact, in long supply. Access to them is not a rate-limiting step. Not all the unemployed science and technology folks out there are mediocre – not by a long shot (I’ve seen the CVs that come in) – but a lot of the mediocre ones are finding themselves unemployed, and they’re searching an awful long time for new positions when that happens. Who, exactly, would be clamoring to hire a fresh horde of I-guess-they’ll-do science graduates? Is that what we really need to put things over the top, technologically – more foot soldiers? But I agree with the first part of the quoted statement, although different names might have come to my mind. My emphasis would be on “How do we get the smartest and most motivated people to go into science again?”. Or perhaps “How do we educate future discoverers to live up to their potential?”

  • 3quarksdaily: The nominees for the 2012 3QD Science Prize are:

    107 really good science blog posts. In case you don’t have anything else to do for the next couple of days…

  • Ian Bogost – Cow Clicker

    Cow Clicker is a Facebook game about Facebook games. It’s partly a satire, and partly a playable theory of today’s social games, and partly an earnest example of that genre. You get a cow. You can click on it. In six hours, you can click it again. Clicking earns you clicks. You can buy custom “premium” cows through micropayments (the Cow Clicker currency is called “mooney”), and you can buy your way out of the time delay by spending it. You can publish feed stories about clicking your cow, and you can click friends’ cow clicks in their feed stories. Cow Clicker is Facebook games distilled to their essence.