Yearly Archives: 2012

Best of 2012: What’s up with universities – Whackademia or just grumpy old academics?

Best of 2012: What’s up with universities – Whackademia or just grumpy old academics?

When a friend showed me the blurb for Whackademia: an insider’s account of the troubled university, I immediately left the office to buy a copy, solely on the promise in the title. I read it in just two sittings but finished with conflicted feelings. This book made me angry when I agreed with what it … learn more→

Best of 2012: Why the global warming skeptics are wrong

Best of 2012: Why the global warming skeptics are wrong

The threat of climate change is an increasingly important environmental issue for the globe. Because the economic questions involved have received relatively little attention, I have been writing a nontechnical book for people who would like to see how market-based approaches could be used to formulate policy on climate change. When I showed an early … learn more→

Best of 2012: A positive solution for plagiarism

Best of 2012: A positive solution for plagiarism

We know that students plagiarize. We suppose that plagiarism, as well as academic dishonesty in general, has increased over the past few years, decades, or century—depending on which academic ax we choose to grind. The caveats are familiar: Perhaps cheating just is easier than it used to be (most honors students who are caught plagiarizing … learn more→

 Best of 2012: World forest area still on the decline

Best of 2012: World forest area still on the decline

Forests provide many important goods, such as timber and paper. They also supply essential services—for example, they filter water, control water runoff, protect soil, regulate climate, cycle and store nutrients, and provide habitat for countless animal species and space for recreation. Forests cover 31 percent of the world’s land surface, just over 4 billion hectares. … learn more→

 Best of 2012: Time for change: a new role for religion in education

Best of 2012: Time for change: a new role for religion in education

After last week’s Australian High Court challenge verdict on funding chaplains in schools, religious education is back in the headlines. The role of religion in Australian schools has been vigorously debated for more than a century. Recent events including the landmark High Court case, the pending Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) case outcome in … learn more→

 Best of 2012: Top 20 cities most vulnerable to climate change extremes

Best of 2012: Top 20 cities most vulnerable to climate change extremes

Climate extremes put millions of people living in port cities, some of which are also included among the largest cities of the world, at increasing risk. Storm-surge flooding, damaging high winds, rising sea level and local land subsidence threaten large cities’ populations as well as billions of assets. An ongoing study being conducted by the … learn more→

 Best of 2012: Are MOOCs a game-changer for higher education?

Best of 2012: Are MOOCs a game-changer for higher education?

Possibly, but not as you might expect It is almost obligatory to kick off Treeofknowledgeany article about online learning with some fairly wild statements about the disruptive impact of massive open online courses – MOOCs – on higher education. Attempting to avoid this pitfall, we shall make a case for MOOCs as contributor to the … learn more→

 Best of 2012: In a Google world, prepare to be investigated

Best of 2012: In a Google world, prepare to be investigated

How likely is it that your resume, job application and credentials will be reviewed for inaccuracies? Nearly 100 percent, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Almost all human resources professionals reported to SHRM that their organizations conduct some form of background check on every employee. For some candidates, it doesn’t take much more … learn more→

 Best of 2012: Banned Books Awareness: “Yertle the Turtle”

Best of 2012: Banned Books Awareness: “Yertle the Turtle”

For the third time in recent weeks the Banned Books Awareness series once again focuses on some rather disturbing trends from Canada. Incidents of censorship by the border patrol, negative reactions to fiction based on historical documents, and now it seems Dr. Seuss has been branded too political for the classroom. Yertle the Turtle (1958) … learn more→

Tropical Forests in 2012: A Year in Review

Tropical Forests in 2012: A Year in Review

It’s that time of year. Holiday decorations line the streets, days are getting short, and temperatures are falling (well, theoretically at least, it’s still been in the 50’s and 60’s here in Washington). It’s also the time to step back and reflect on what’s happened since the last time the earth was on this side … learn more→