Monthly Archives: April 2015

The ten habits of highly unsuccessful research bid writers

I’ve just reviewed a lot, and I mean a lot, of research bids. I review research bids regularly, as do a lot of senior academics. Some of them are great and some of them are decent, sensible and worth doing. But more of them could be like this. I’m always pretty shocked when I get […] … learn more→

College is 39% as bad as smoking

At this stage in human civilization, everyone in the Western world knows smoking is very, very, bad for you. Yes, many things are bad for you—watching TV all day long, not eating vegetables, and so on. I totally respect people should be allowed to make choices that I don’t necessarily agree with…but smoking is a […] … learn more→

Teaching Baltimore, teaching the history of American violence

During this year of police violence, and organizing against police violence, I have avoided blogging about the many issues raised by Ferguson, Staten Island and Baltimore. I am ambivalent about this decision, because it isn’t as though I do not have a lot to say, and that saying it in this space is not important. […] … learn more→

Even setting evolution aside, basic geology disproves creationism

In the ongoing conflict between science and creationism, evolution is usually a main point of contention. The idea that all life on Earth evolved from a common ancestor is a major problem for creationists. As a geologist, though, I think that the rocks beneath our feet offer even better arguments against creationism. For the creationist […] … learn more→

Surviving a PhD disaster

It was a sickening moment. I was staring at the computer monitor in disbelief. My jaw sagged open at the realisation I’d made a mistake in my thesis, which I’d just handed in for examination only the day before. And not a trivial mistake either: anyone with a working knowledge of the subject would have […] … learn more→

Will post publication peer review keep scientific research in check?

When it comes to complex, scientific findings, credibility is a must — which is why post publication peer review is becoming more common. It’s no surprise that the Internet can be filled with sketchy, sometimes half-baked theses, often based more on assumptions than fact. But in a sea of noise and falsehoods, there are certain […] … learn more→

Bringing the Liberal Arts to Engineering education

\”It’s required.\” Too many engineering undergraduates utter this simple phrase when asked why they are taking a particular liberal-arts course. The structured curricula that exist for most students in engineering fields create a checklist approach to liberal-arts courses that makes them seem, well, \”required\” — not relevant, salient, or connected to their professional aspirations. As […] … learn more→

College minority recruiting

As the first numbers on the composition of incoming freshman classes trickle in next month, many colleges and universities take substantial credit for increasing their pool of minority enrollment. They link their claim to ambitious and noble goals usually expressed as a pillar of the college’s strategic plan. The higher education community is right to […] … learn more→

The object as subject

Did you know that since 1985 errant golf balls have killed eight people? \”Sometimes death was sudden; sometimes it came after several days.\” Most deaths come from strikes on the head, usually the temporal area of the skull. \”In at least one case the ball caromed off a tree before striking the victim.\” Of course, […] … learn more→

Collective free writing – inkshedding

In this post I’ve taken, what is for me, an unusual option. This post is largely an extended quotation which explains a practice of collective free writing known as Inkshedding. Inkshedding is a Canadian invention, a pedagogy developed by Russ Hunt and Jim Reither from St. Thomas University to make classroom writing assignments more interesting, […] … learn more→