Chad Orzel is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Union College in Schenectady, NY. He blogs about physics, life in academia, ephemeral pop culture, and anything else that catches his fancy.

Read the Whole Thing

Jon “Men Who Stare at Goats” Ronson has a new book coming out, and has been promoting it with excerpts in major newspapers, most notably the New York Times Magazine and the Guardian. In these, he tracks down people whose lives were wrecked by massive public shaming campaigns over idiotic things they wrote on social…

Paige Brown Jarreau, who blogs at From the Lab Bench is in the throes of writing her dissertation about science blogging, and plowing through a lot of interview data. She’s sharing some of the process on the blog, and a lot more on Twitter, where it’s prompted a good deal of discussion. One of the…

Eureka at BookLab

There’s a new-ish book review podcast covering pop-science books, BookLab, hosted by Dan Falk and Amanda Gefter, and their latest episode includes my Eureka as the third of three books being discussed (a bit more than 40 minutes in, though their discussion of the other books is also interesting…). It’s sort of an odd experience…

I’m rooting around in my bag for a pen, and pull out a laser pointer by mistake. Since I’d really prefer not to be grading, I flip it on and shine it on the floor next to the spot where Emmy is half-dozing. She immediately leaps up (she’s pretty spry for a dog of 12…),…

The Problem with Percentages

A sort of follow-up to last week’s post about the STEM “pipeline”. In discussions on Twitter sparked by the study I talked about last week, I’ve seen a bunch of re-shares of different versions of this graph of the percentage of women earning undergrad degrees in physics: You can clearly see that after a fairly…

Phillip Ball has a long aggrieved essay about the Many-Worlds Interpretation, which is, as Sean Carroll notes, pretty bad. Ball declares that Many-Worlds is “incoherent, both philosophically and logically,” but in fact, he’s got this exactly backwards: Many-Worlds is, in fact, a marvel of logical and philosophical coherence, while Ball’s objections are incoherent and illogical.…

Social Media Are Social

I didn’t see this before yesterday’s post about Twitter, but over at SciLogs, Kirk Englehardt gets evangelical, offering a very chipper list of “Ten Reasons for Academic Researchers to Use Social Media.” I’ll just put the item headers here, though each of these has a more complete description, with links to lots of other stuff:…

Twitter Is Kind of Useless

The AAAS annual meeting was last week, which apparently included some sessions on social media use. This, of course, led to the usual flurry of twittering about the awesomeness of Twitter, and how people who don’t use Twitter are missing out. I was busy with other stuff, so I mostly let it pass, and of…

Over at Quantum Progress there was a recent series of guest posts about a social-justice-in-physics curriculum used by high school teacher Moses Rifkin. I sort of glanced at it, said “Huh, that’s sort of interesting,” and moved on, but this got picked up by some right-wing sites, and exploded. To the point where the awful…

Problems with the Pipeline

Via Curt Rice (or, more precisely, somebody on Twitter who posted a link to that, but I didn’t note who) there’s a new study in Frontiers in Psychology of the STEM “pipeline”, looking at the history of gender disparities in STEM degrees. You can spin this one of two ways, the optimistic one being “Women…