Society

Category archives for Society

Yesterday was Founders Day at Union, celebrating the 220th anniversary of the granting of a charter for the college. The name of the event always carries a sort of British-boarding-school air for me, and never fails to earworm me with a very particular rugby song, but really it’s just one of those formal-procession-and-big-speaker events that…

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…

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…

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:…

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…

The Bright Side of the BICEP2 Story

I’ve done yet another piece for The Conversation, this one expanding on something I’ve been saying in interviews promoting Eureka: that knowing the process of science can help people sort good science from bad. In this particular case, I take the somewhat #slatepitch-y angle that the recent high-profile unraveling of the BICEP2 experiment’s claim to…

I’ve seen a lot of reshares of this report about the long-term effect of gender bias in elementary math, which comes from an NBER working paper about a study of Israeli schools. The usual presentation highlights one specific result, namely that on a math test graded by teachers who knew the names of the students,…

I’ve seen a bunch of re-shares of this Vox profile of a “Men’s Rights Activist” on various social media channels, with reactions varying from “This is fascinating” to “Boooo-ring.” I thought it was sort of interesting, but not really in the way it was intended to be. The thing I found most striking the way…

On Intelligence and Talent

Probably the dumbest person I’ve ever met in my life was a housemate in grad school. I didn’t do my lab work on campus, so I wasn’t living in a neighborhood where cheap housing was rented to students, but in a place where folks were either genuinely poor, or in the market for very temporary…

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…