Education

After yesterday's post on the depressingly high (and increasing, apparently) rate of personal belief exemptions to vaccination requirements for entering school in the state of Michigan, I felt the need to pontificate a bit further. The reason is that MLive.com has posted some followup stories. Also, I didn't have a lot of time last night to write because I had the pleasure of attending the CFI-Michigan Solstice dinner to hang out with fellow skeptics and heathens. Unfortunately, the topic of the high exemption levels in Michigan came up. First up on the follow up story parade is one…
Feeling tired? You’re not alone. A new study finds that many U.S. workers aren’t getting enough sleep, which is essential to optimal health, and that people who work multiple jobs are at heightened risk of getting less than the recommended hours of nightly rest. To conduct the study, which was published in the December issue of the Sleep journal, researchers examined the responses of nearly 125,000 Americans ages 15 years old and older and who participated in the American Time Use Survey between 2003 and 2011. They found that work was the dominant reason for reporting less sleep across nearly…
I've been following the fall-out of the Rolling Stone article a Rape on Campus as well as their evolving preamble to the story, first expressing doubt, then seemingly dismissing Jackie's account, now falling somewhere in-between with assertions that they have supporting evidence that Jackie was assaulted that night, but no idea of the details. I got a visit from some overly gleeful commenters that seemed to rejoice that the story is a hoax, and Jackie a liar, but it's clear this situation is more complex. The story contained more than Jackie's experience, and the focus of our original…
By participating as a Sponsor in the upcoming Festival, your organization will be aligned with the nation's leading science and engineering institutions that recognize the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education and its impact on our country. In our most recent Festival in 2014, more than 1,000 organizations participated, including our Festival host Lockheed Martin, in addition to Northrop Grumman Foundation, Chevron, Caterpillar, WalMart, U.S. Air Force, MedImmune, NIH, NASA, NSF, State Department, DoD, USDA, EPA, CIA, Georgetown, University of…
I've decided to do a new round of profiles in the Project for Non-Academic Science (acronym deliberately chosen to coincide with a journal), as a way of getting a little more information out there to students studying in STEM fields who will likely end up with jobs off the "standard" academic science track. Fifth in this round is a bio major who now works on sustainably managing Atlantic coastal fisheries. 1) What is your non-academic job? Fishery Management Plan Coordinator at the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (management agency for fisheries) 2) What is your science background…
I've decided to do a new round of profiles in the Project for Non-Academic Science (acronym deliberately chosen to coincide with a journal), as a way of getting a little more information out there to students studying in STEM fields who will likely end up with jobs off the "standard" academic science track. Third in this round is a physics teacher turned developer of physics education technology at Vernier. 1) What is your non-academic job? Title: Physics Education Technology Specialist Dept: Tech Support and R&D Responsibilities: Support teachers using Vernier sensors, interfaces, and…
I've decided to do a new round of profiles in the Project for Non-Academic Science (acronym deliberately chosen to coincide with a journal), as a way of getting a little more information out there to students studying in STEM fields who will likely end up with jobs off the "standard" academic science track. Second in this round is a computer scientist turned underwater warrior. With bonus video! 1) What is your non-academic job? I am a computer scientist at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, RI. I work in the Ranges Department as a part of the Range Software branch. That means I…
But the University of Hawaii at Mānoa looks to be more broken than others. Christie Wilcox writes about the budget cuts there: the place is being gouged to the bone -- the College of Natural Sciences has a cohort of graduate students to whom they are failing to live up to their responsibilities (the university brought them in, these students made a commitment to UH Mānoa, you don't get to suddenly decide midway through their training to abandon your obligations.) For the spring semester, 81 students applied for TAships within the department of Biology. Only 35 of those have advisors within…
Here in the math department at James Madison University, we are currently debating certain changes to the major. The problem is that we have distinct groups in pure mathematics, applied mathematics, statistics and math education. We also have students that major in mathematics for very different reasons. Some are training to be teachers, some are planning to go into industry, others are interested in graduate school, still others might be double majoring in something like physics or computer science. All of this diversity makes it difficult, more like impossible, to craft one major that…
It's yet another creationist conference in which the imminent demise of evolutionary theory will be declared this weekend, and it's being held on a university campus, which is always jarring. The university is said to be "uneasy" about it all. The 1 November event, called the Origin Summit, is sponsored by Creation Summit, an Oklahoma-based nonprofit Christian group that believes in a literal interpretation of the Bible and was founded to “challenge evolution and all such theories predicated on chance.” The 1-day conference will include eight workshops, according the event’s website,…
The ‘Nifty Fifty (times 4)’, a program of Science Spark, presented by InfoComm International, are a group of 200 noted science and engineering professionals who will fan out across the Washington, D.C. area in the 2014-2015 school year to speak about their work and careers at various middle and high schools. Meet Nifty Fifty Speaker Dr. Briana Pobiner  What does it mean to be human? Like other scientists in the field of anthropology, Briana Pobiner, a paleoanthropologist and science educator at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, uses this question as an important framework as…
The ‘Nifty Fifty (times 4)’, a program of Science Spark, presented by InfoComm International, are a group of 200 noted science and engineering professionals who will fan out across the Washington, D.C. area in the 2014-2015 school year to speak about their work and careers at various middle and high schools. Meet Nifty Fifty Speaker Nick Schneider When NASA's newest robotic explorer, MAVEN, was launched in the Fall of 2013 and rocketed toward Mars on an historic quest to unravel the ancient mystery of the red planet's upper atmosphere, it carried sophisticated technology designed and built by…
Well, Naturopathic Medicine Week 2014 (or, as I like to refer to it, Quackery Week) is fast drawing to a close; so I figured I’d end it with one last post. Since several of you liked my post a couple of days ago Sh*t naturopaths say and agreed with me when I suggested at the end that I ought to make this a recurring feature on the old blog here. So, how better to finish off Naturopathic Medicine Week 2014 than with another installment of Sh*t naturopaths say. In fact, I might even have to make it a tag. After all, I’m sure naturopaths will continue to provide me with quackery to deconstruct,…
Quackery has been steadily infiltrating academic medicine for at least two decades now in the form of what was once called “complementary and alternative medicine” but is now more commonly referred to as “integrative medicine.” Of course, as I’ve written many times before, what “integrative medicine” really means is the “integration” of quackery with science- and evidence-based medicine, to the detriment of SBM. As my good bud Mark Crislip once put it, “integrating” cow pie with apple pie does not improve the apple pie. Yet that is what’s going on in medical academia these days—with a…
The ‘Nifty Fifty (times 4)’, a program of Science Spark, presented by InfoComm International, are a group of 200 noted science and engineering professionals who will fan out across the Washington, D.C. area in the 2014-2015 school year to speak about their work and careers at various middle and high schools. Meet Nifty Fifty Speaker Dr. Dacher Keltner What are the origins our emotions, such as love, happiness, compassion and empathy -- feelings which help define us as humans? Welcome to the research world of social psychologist Dacher Keltner where he is exploring the biological and…
In my eagerness to note that Brian Hooker’s “reanalysis” of a ten year old study that failed to find a correlation between vaccines and autism had been retracted, I forgot to write about what I was originally planning on writing about yesterday. It actually would have been more appropriate a topic for yesterday, because it was the beginning of a week. In fact, it was the beginning of a very special week for a certain class of quacks. No, it’s not homeopathy week. Here’s a hint: Do any of you remember this time last year? Sure, I knew you did. We’re talking Quackery Week 2014! I mean…
The ‘Nifty Fifty (times 4)’, a program of Science Spark, presented by InfoComm International, are a group of 200 noted science and engineering professionals who will fan out across the Washington, D.C. area in the 2014-2015 school year to speak about their work and careers at various middle and high schools. Meet Nifty Fifty Speaker Dr. Darryll Pines The field of engineering represents a key and formidable force in the STEM equation, especially as the country works to retain a competitive edge in innovation around the globe. Among the noted leaders and visionaries in this effort is Darryll…
Countering the misinformation regularly promulgated by the antivaccine movement, be it antivaccinationists who are completely off the deep end, like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., the crew at the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism, or that epitome of the Dunning-Kruger effect mixed with an annoying self-absorption and coffee klatch vibe (that is when it's not a wine party), The Thinking Moms' Revolution, or from seemingly more "reasonable" antivaccine advocates like pediatricians Robert "Dr. Bob" Sears or Dr. Jay Gordon. The reason is simple. Vaccines save lives. They prevent children from…
The ‘Nifty Fifty (times 4)’, a program of Science Spark, presented by InfoComm International, are a group of 200 noted science and engineering professionals who will fan out across the Washington, D.C. area in the 2014-2015 school year to speak about their work and careers at various middle and high schools. Meet Nifty Fifty Speaker Dr. Kirk Kohnso "Natural history museums are incredible places where people have the opportunity to interact with scientists, scientific discovery and to experience the wonders of the world," says Kirk Johnson, the Sant Director of the world-renowned Smithsonian…
Building excitement around school meals with the help of guest chefs and fresh recipes could be a significant boon for school lunch programs as well as student eating habits, a new study found. Recently published in the journal Appetite, the study examined the impact of Chefs Move to Schools, an initiative of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign. With an overriding goal of encouraging schoolchildren to make healthier meal choices, Chefs Move to Schools pairs volunteer professional chefs with schools to offer cooking education to kids as well as culinary advice to school food…