Politics

Category archives for Politics

Some Follow-Up on Teaching

Yesterday’s Open Letter to Neil deGrasse Tyson struck a chord with a lot of people, and has spread a good distance on social media, which is gratifying. Given the delocalized nature of modern social media, though, it means I’m having essentially the same argument in five different places via different platforms. In the interest of…

An Open Letter to Neil deGrasse Tyson

Dr. Tyson: (I find the faux-familiar thing people do with “open letters” really grating, so I’m not going to presume to call you “Neil” through the following…) First of all, I should probably say “Thanks,” because I’m using some of your material in my class this term– I had them read Stick in the Mud…

2014 Was Just This Year, You Know?

So, it’s January 1, which means a ton of social-media traffic commenting on the year just concluded, most of it very negative– “Good riddance, 2014, don’t let the door hit you on the way out, etc.” I’m a little more ambivalent about the whole 2014 thing, and of course, being a good squishy liberal, I…

Blogging will continue to be light to nonexistent, as it’s crunch time in a lot of ways at the moment, including our double tenure-track search. Which it would be inappropriate to talk about in any more detail than “Wow, this is a lot of work.” There are, however, two academic-job-related things that I probably ought…

On Putting Words in Einstein’s Mouth

Modern media being what it is, I should get out in front of this, so: I am guilty of putting words in Einstein’s mouth. I mean, go watch my TED-Ed video on particles and waves, or just look at the image up top– that very clearly shows Einstein saying words that he probably never said.…

Cash and Respect

The London School of Economics has a report on a study of academic refereeing (PDF) that looked at the effect of incentives on referee behavior. They found that both a “social incentive” (posting the time a given referee took to turn around the papers they reviewed on a web site) and a cash incentive ($100…

Bad Graphics, STEM Diversity Edition

There was a article in Scientific American about diversity in STEM collecting together the best demographic data available about the science and engineering workforce. It’s a useful collection of references, and comes with some very pretty graphics, particularly this one, showing the demographic breakdown of the US population compared to the science and engineering fields:…

Intelligence vs. Priorities

Steven Pinker has a piece at the New Republic arguing that Ivy League schools ought to weight standardized test scores more heavily in admissions. this has prompted a bunch of tongue-clucking about the failures of the Ivy League from the usual suspects, and a rather heated concurrence from Scott Aaronson. That last finally got me…

On Academic Scandals

Two very brief notes about high-profile scandals in academia: 1) While it involves one of my faculty colleagues, I have no special insight to offer into the case of Valerie Barr’s firing by the NSF over long-ago political activity. I know and like Valerie as a colleague, and she did some really good stuff as…

Uncertain Dots 21

Our little hangout thing is now old enough to drink, in episode-years anyway, and to celebrate, we finally figured out how to get live audience feedback during the hangout. Which takes the first couple of minutes of the video, because we’re highly trained professional scientists. Once we got that sorted, we talked about a bunch…