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Uncertain Dots 16

For the sixteenth episode of Uncertain Dots, we decided to bring in some guests, Andy Rundquist and Kelly O’Shea for a conversation about standards-based grading. This came up because I’m playing around with this using the same tiered scheme I talked about back in January. This was a fun conversation, and some interesting ideas came…

Uncertain Dots 15

Rhett and I did the 15th episode of our Uncertain Dots hangout yesterday, commenting on a discussion started by Casey Rutherford about what we would like students coming into college physics to know. We had a slight difference of opinion about physics content, but agreed about the importance of algebra (which is like sunscreen). I…

Uncertain Dots 14

Another week, another hangout with Rhett. In which we actually fielded a couple of questions from readers on Twitter, about the reason for inertia and a kind of meta-question. More audience questions would, of course, be welcome. A couple of links to things that came up: Mach’s Principle, a past attempt to explain the origin…

Uncertain Dots, Lucky Number 13

We had a couple of weeks of unplanned hiatus due to sick kids and day care closures, so the superstitious among you might’ve thought we would never get to the 13th episode of Encertain Dots. Rhett and I are scientists, though, so we powered through: Given the time of year, this is mostly about end-of-academic-year…

Uncertain Dots, Episode 12

The last couple of days have been ridiculously hectic, but Rhett and I did manage to record another episode of Uncertain Dots, our twelfth: This time out, we talk about labs, undergrad research, kids doing chores, weather, student course evaluations, and I didn’t really rant about superheroes. Relevant to the weather thing, I offer the…

Music Writing and Science Writing

No, this isn’t another blog post lamenting the fact that music writing gets far more attention than science writing. If anything, it’s a bit of an argument that science writing ought to be less like popular music writing. On Twitter this past weekend Jim Henley, one of the few bloggers I consider “old school” (the…

Uncertain Dots, Episode 11

We took a week off last week because Rhett was away on a Secret Mission, but we’re back and better than ever this week. More uncertain! More dotty! Or something! Topics for this week include oblique references to Rhett’s mission, some discussion of the Geocentric Janeway debacle, good and bad places to have a conference,…

On Exclusivity

Yesterday’s frat boy post prompted some interesting discussion, one piece of which is a response from Matt “Dean Dad” Reed (also at Inside Higher Ed), who overlapped with me at Williams for a year, but had a very different reaction to the social scene there. His take mirrors mine from the other side, though, which…

Uncertain Dots, Episode A

In which we hit double digits, in base ten, anyway. This was mostly about teaching stuff, because I’m between terms, in that weird reflect-on-the-last term/ prep-for-the-next-term space. With a digression about training wheels, which are good as an analogy, but less good for actually learning to ride a bike…

Uncertain Dots, Episode 9

In which Rhett and I chat about the hot new discovery of primordial gravitational waves (maybe) very briefly before segueing into talking about LIGO, and Cosmos, and why “theory” is a terrible word, and the memorization of constants, and standardized tests, and time-lapse videos. You know, as one does. Miscellaneous items: – I’m a little…