Monthly Archives: September 2014

Getting permission just to apply

Fierce competition for grant dollars has made it hard enough for academics to get support for their research. But more and more grant programs are making it even harder by forcing investigators to get institutional permission just to apply. Grant agencies and foundations, faced with shrinking budgets, are swamped with more applications than they can […] … learn more→

The positives of PhD parenting

Balancing work, family and life is always considered tricky, no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. But as someone who has “chosen” to start a PhD full time with two children under 5, I think I have good insight into just how tricky that can be. I am almost 6 months into my 3 […] … learn more→

Don’t ban laptops in the classroom

“I get it,” the professor for my short-story course said, going over the syllabus on the first day of class. She was referring to her cellphone policy, which is basically a have-some-sort-of-decorum-I-beg-you rule. She asks us to be polite and use our good judgement. “This is second nature to you guys,” she said, holding an […] … learn more→

Believing in Wizards

There are certain debates in a representative democracy that are eternal for a reason–and that reason often lies the nature of humanity and human vanity. One of these debates, in the United States, was first apparent in the animosity between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. It was recapped a little less than a century ago […] … learn more→

Doom and gloom won’t do it – here’s how to sell the climate change message

Each of the 125 leaders attending the New York climate summit this week has been given four minutes to speak to the world. They (or their aides) may well have dipped into the climate literature to add scientific ballast to their speeches. But they may not be as familiar with the vast array of academic […] … learn more→

Some notes on vaccines and Autism

There seems to be a scandal brewing at the CDC about a study that may have shown a devastating link between a vaccine and autism, especially in African-American children. Depending on who you read, it’s either a huge deal, or it “may” have “altered” an “interpretation” of the data “in some instances” leading to an […] … learn more→

Why Freud still haunts us

For those of us prone to commemorations, it is a rich season. The beginning of the Great War 100 years ago, 70 years since the Normandy invasion, and the 50th anniversary of several major events in the American struggle for civil rights. September 23 marks 75 years since the death of Sigmund Freud. Should we […] … learn more→

A Known for profit ripoff College still gets $1.4 billion a year in loans

Despite the fact that much of higher education, (barely) especially for-profit, is a fraud, I still eagerly await mainstream news to finally connect the dots regarding how the scam works. A recent title from a CNN article raised my hopes that, at last, people would have a better way of learning about the scam than […] … learn more→

Sounding real by speaking fake

Arthur Chu is apparently best known as one of the top Jeopardy! winners of all time, but since I haven’t watched Jeopardy! since the last millennium, I have no opinion on his style of play or use of the Forrest Bounce. I came upon him, instead, in an essay on his current voice-over work. Born […] … learn more→

Online education: The great American class divider

Here we go again. And there’s more. Corinthian Colleges, after having dashed any academic hopes of its students, is now also accused of predatory lending. That the wake and fiasco continue should come as no surprise, as online education continues to be the equivalent of fast food in many instances–too convenient and advertised with the […] … learn more→