Monthly Archives: August 2012

Adolescent pot leaves lasting mental deficits

Adolescent pot leaves lasting mental deficits

The persistent, dependent use of marijuana before age 18 has been shown to cause lasting harm to a person’s intelligence, attention and memory, according to an international research team. Among a long-range study cohort of more than 1,000 New Zealanders, individuals who started using cannabis in adolescence and used it for years afterward showed an … learn more→

Making crowdsourcing easier

Making crowdsourcing easier

Crowdsourcing is a technique for farming out labor-intensive tasks over the Internet by splitting them into small chunks that dozens, hundreds or even thousands of people complete at their desks for a few cents each. Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory are developing a new database system, called Qurk, that will automatically … learn more→

Appreciating conscientious teachers

Appreciating conscientious teachers

Last week some singing friends and I attended a tango class in midtown Manhattan that had been advertised as beginner friendly. They wanted to go because they are fine dancers who are interested in investigating unfamiliar forms. I went along because I enjoy their company, but I had some apprehension. I am a klutz, and … learn more→

Cave of the Monkeys find complicates our Asia story

Cave of the Monkeys find complicates our Asia story

Did our Asian story just get more complicated? It seems so. An article published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Fabrice Demeter and co-workers describes a new modern human skull from Tam Pa Ling (Cave of the Monkeys) in Laos believed to be between 63,000 and 46,000 years old. … learn more→

The MOOC-led meritocracy

The MOOC-led meritocracy

This week Udacity announced that had cancelled a scheduled math class over concerns about quality. In doing so, it added another item to the growing list of marked contrasts between MOOC’s and traditional universities. Does this kind of thing ever happen at “regular” colleges? Could it? At minimum, such an event would seem to require … learn more→

 How big a deal Is Apple's iTunes U course manager?

How big a deal Is Apple’s iTunes U course manager?

Have you gotten your head around Apple’s iTunes U Course Manager? Let me explain how I understand Course Manager, as I remain somewhat confused about exactly what this does and how big a deal this platform might be. What iTunes U Course Manager Is: iTunes U Course Manager is a web-based tool that allows anyone … learn more→

Tall tales misrepresent the real story behind Bhutan’s high altitude tigers

Tall tales misrepresent the real story behind Bhutan’s high altitude tigers

In September 2010, the BBC announced a stunning discovery of tigers (Panthera tigris) living at high altitude in the Himalayas. The article claimed that a BBC team had discovered first hand evidence of tigers living at 4,100 metres above sea level (asl) in Bhutan. This revelation spread quickly, achieving worldwide media coverage within days. In … learn more→

The myth of Ivy advantage

The myth of Ivy advantage

Some months back I wrote a column in The Chronicle of Higher Education called “Graduate School is a Means to a Job.” The column began with issues a prospective graduate student should consider before entering graduate school at all. I wrote: “Go to the highest-ranked graduate department you can get into — so long as … learn more→

 Urban banana farm in the heart of Paris?

Urban banana farm in the heart of Paris?

Importing bananas to Paris has some major drawbacks. Shipping the yellow tropical fruit from the Caribbean Islands to to European cities adds a load of stress on the environment and is much more costly than shipping to the United States. However, SOA architects have dreamed up a solution in the form of a greenhouse project … learn more→

An academic ghostwriter, the 'Shadow Scholar,' comes clean

An academic ghostwriter, the ‘Shadow Scholar,’ comes clean

When The Chronicle published a confessional essay two years ago by a writer for a student-paper mill who had spent nearly a decade helping college students cheat on their assignments, it provoked anger, astonishment, and weary resignation. The writer, under the pseudonym Ed Dante, said he had completed scores of papers for students who were … learn more→