Tim Hunt and the crying scientist.

I’m late to the party of, “Is Tim Hunt an ass or just really bad at trying to be funny?” I’m not sure there really is a difference there and I’m not trying to parse it anyway. The one part of the affair that has bugged me is the “women …


It Wasn’t the Best Response Ever

Here’s a surprise (not really): something went viral that probably shouldn’t have. Few things take flight faster than an angry and misguided letter from a parent. (A summary of my entire post: The father had no evidence to support his claims, and the school’s policies existed for a good reason. …


Teachers Should Be “Poised and Articulate”

At the end of what seems like a long chain of events back in 2007, I asked, and answered yes to, this question about professionalizing teacher practice: Is there one or more cultural “teaching scripts” that might tend to stymie the practice of collecting and critically analyzing specific best-practice knowledge …


Pseudoscience in the Non-science Classroom

Skeptics tend to focus on the science classroom, especially with Intelligent Design in the United States always trying to wedge its way in. Even if we succeed in getting all the evidentially unsupported claims out of the science classes, students are still hearing many of those claims presented credulously in …

Critical ThinkingCultureEducationScience

Communicating science

This morning, the main site’s quickies had a link to how science stories are often illustrated with some attention grabbers that misrepresent the actual content of the study being described.  This reminded me of an incident when a new faculty member in our Communication department was introducing herself to the …

CultureEducationHigher EducationScience

Dashing hopes and dreams

It’s that time of year again, when the grades are shaping up to the point students are panicking if they are going to pass.  The drop deadline is looming.  What to do… Many of the incoming students to our classes have aspirations of being doctors.  These students have attached some …

CultureFeaturedHigher Education

What About the Beethovenz?

I love going to conferences. It’s probably my favourite part of being an academic because it’s one of those very few opportunities you get to be surrounded by people who are not only excited about your discipline, but who are truly in a position to be excited about your scholarship. …

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CultureEducationFeminismGovernmentHigher Education

Campus security

So the news has been full of Ebola and guns on campus.  I was asked last week in a meeting of some top level administrators if students has been talking about the Ebola outbreak.  (The gun article refers to the Anita Sarkeesian threats in Utah, and may not have crossed …


How should you behave at a conference?

Academics, scientists, famous skeptics all behaving badly at conferences.  Depressingly often, we’ve being reading about this.   But it got me to thinking, what is “good conference behavior”?  Is it simply not harassing or being boorish?  As you mature in your field, do your responsibilities change? As someone who has reached …

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Scottish Independence Part 4: Why I Will Vote YES

I will vote Yes in this week’s Scottish independence referendum.   I remember the first time I ever got really excited by politics. It was 1997 and Tony Blair’s labour party had just swept aside a Conservative government that had ruled the UK for 18 consecutive years. I was 16 …