Monthly Archives: January 2015

The pluses and minuses of #acwri self-diagnosis

I don’t write much about my dogs. I have two. They’re fairly elderly now and becoming plagued by ailments that are not really life threatening, but do need attention. It all began when the older of the two got terribly lethargic. Suddenly, it seemed, she could hardly drag herself out for a walk. One week […] … learn more→

Scientists and public disagree, but let’s not get too excited

A new set of surveys of scientists and the public finds the two groups have widely different views about scientific issues. Conducted by the Pew Research Center in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the survey found scientists tended to have a more positive opinion of many technologies than the general […] … learn more→

Garage sociolinguistics

Read the above title aloud before you continue. I have a real problem about pronouncing it. Let me explain. In the fall I was quite unexpectedly forced to move house.My new home has not only an off-street parking spot but also a standalone structure (pictured at left) intended for storing an automobile (but actually occupied […] … learn more→

California’s majestic trees are declining — a harbinger of future forests

Scientists in my native state of California were handed a gift: a trove of detailed information about the state’s forests taken during the 1920s and 1930s and digitized over the past 15 years. When we compared this historical data – covering an area bigger than Great Britain – to current forests surveys, we found that […] … learn more→

Western Illinois University suspends the student editor-in-chief

Nicholas Stewart, a student at Western Illinois University, and editor-in-chief of its student newspaper, the Western Courier, was suspended from his position last week by the administration, and is being brought up on charges of violating the Code of Student Conduct because he recorded video of a riot on campus, and sold that video to […] … learn more→

Poke, prod, and rile: Secrets of good teaching

Dogs tend to look like their owners, and often the same is true about academics and the historical figures they study. The reason could be as predictable as two friends’ becoming drawn to the same tastes after having spent considerable time together—I once heard a lecturer confess that her Southwestern wardrobe was inspired by her […] … learn more→

Thesis know how – don’t write an essay

Examiners do not want to read a thesis that contains a lot of mini-essays. To understand the problem with the thesis-as-essay, imagine the examiner reading a methods chapter. It starts off badly. While not in these words, the writer basically says … first of all I’m going to tell you all about the differences between […] … learn more→

Tick . . . Tock: The growing College debt crisis

Dennis Cariello, a lawyer and former US Department of Education senior administrator writing in The Hill this week, offered a sober and troubling assessment of the growing college debt crisis. In his article, Mr. Cariello notes that American colleges and universities face heightened financial pressures as the Great Recession sputters to an end. He reports […] … learn more→

Pay to play scandal just part of Higher Ed fraud

It really is amazing how ridiculously corrupt higher education is; any story that tries to focus on one scandal can’t help but running into two others. A recent article by Jon Cassidy at really drives home the point as it merely tries to cover one aspect of the fraud…but I’ll try to point out […] … learn more→

Associate Dean of what?

The School of Social and Clinical Medicine at the University of Bristol is hiring a new “associate dean of eureka moments.” The job advertisement went viral on academic social media last Friday. This is a real job at a real British university, not a satire. Someone decided to advertise for a new associate dean, an […] … learn more→