Monthly Archives: December 2014

What is magical thinking and do we grow out of it?

Have you ever wondered why children so easily accept that once every year, a terribly generous and presumably very wealthy gentleman travels by magic reindeer to all children across the world to deliver presents during the night? Just prior to Christmas I thought I’d outline a surprisingly common quirk of human cognition – magical thinking. […] … learn more→

Why Santa should bring your kids the right-sized sports gear

Smaller footballs, lighter tennis racquets and mini playing fields: it makes sense to have these for children, right? Well, in recent years there’s been strong opposition against children playing modified sport, particularly in American tennis. Wayne Bryan (father of US doubles champions the Bryan brothers) wrote a scathing letter in 2012 to the United States […] … learn more→

Attention and focus in the age of online education

This post is republished from earlier in 2014. I am a perfect example of the kind of unlearning and relearning that Professor Davidson discusses this week in her MOOC, “History and Future of (Mostly) Higher Education.” As a Ph.D. candidate in classical studies, I am more comfortable researching and writing alone in a carrel, handling […] … learn more→

Teacher training is ridiculously easy

Anyone in higher education can tell you there’s something very fishy about the Education departments on campus. Courses with parties instead of final exams, assignments that are laughably easy, and Education majors that act shocked when they take other courses and find out that the material listed on the syllabus is actually covered in the […] … learn more→

12 ways to deal with a climate change denier – the BBQ guide

The end of the year is nigh and it’s a time for Christmas and New Year parties and gatherings. In the southern hemisphere that means barbecues and beaches. In the northern hemisphere it’s mulled wine and cosy fireplaces. But for all of us, it probably means we’ll be subjected to at least one ranting, fact-free […] … learn more→

When scientific papers are, literally, gibberish

This is a republish of this blog More than 120 scientific papers have been removed from electronic databases of such papers published by Springer and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. The papers contain fraudulent research findings—but not exactly of the kind that you might expect. Apparently, the papers were generated using a program […] … learn more→

Mum and dad are fighting – what should I do?

This is a republish of the blog Resolving conflict with your partner in front of children can be a harrowing business. My parents were happy to have a domestic in front of my sister and I. When the dust settled, my parents would inevitably deny they had been fighting at all. “It was only a […] … learn more→

Peer review: Problems to watch

Let’s face it: The traditional peer-review process was not meant for a digital age. It needs to be altered (not abandoned) so that it once again has a consistently useful function, working as something other than a wall to be breached. It needs to help move the best of scholarship to the fore while providing […] … learn more→

A serious joke for Higher Education

I saw a great cartoon on Zerohedge. It’s a joke, of course, but why not take it as a serious suggestion: Imagine if higher education really did work this way. Institutions of higher education, especially universities, justify their incredibly high tuition because of the incredibly high value of their degrees, or so they claim. “College […] … learn more→

Facebook and Google have a moral duty to stop online abuse

It’s the stuff of nightmares: your intimate images are leaked and posted online by somebody you thought you could trust. But in Australia, victims often have no real legal remedy for this kind of abuse. This is the key problem of regulating the internet. Often, speech we might consider abusive or offensive isn’t actually illegal. […] … learn more→