Monthly Archives: September 2012

Study confirms sexism in science, so what are we going to do?

Scientists are biased towards recruiting and encouraging men over women into the profession, according to an article published last week in the journal PNAS. In the study, 127 science academics across disciplines, genders and ranks were asked to rate an applicant for a lab manager position. The academics ranked the “candidates” according to perceived competence, […] … learn more→

Genetically modified corn and cancer – what does the evidence really say?

French scientist Gilles-Eric Seralini caused quite a stir last week when he claimed he’d shown cancer in rats increased when they were fed genetically modified corn and/or water spiked with the herbicide Roundup. The paper, which seven of his colleagues co-authored, was published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. France’s ministers for agriculture, […] … learn more→

Journeys to the ends of the earth

Over the past decade, global warming has melted polar sea ice down to record lows—but during the same period, thanks to a growing awareness of the climate phenomenon, the Arctic and the Antarctic have vastly expanded in the popular imagination. Nowhere is that clearer than in the broad recent interest in the European, Russian, and […] … learn more→

Delusions of candour: why technology won’t stop plagiarism

Plagiarism at university is a time-old scourge. Some would have us believe it can be sought out with ever-improving technology, and with more consistent vetting of student essays with the latest detection software. But beneath these appeals to superior forensic intelligence lies an unhappy fallacy – that a technological fix can address a moral problem. […] … learn more→

Want to change academic publishing? Just say \’No\’.

When I became a professor, 20 years ago, I received a request from a woman who lived close to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where I taught: Could she come and talk to me about a set of interests she was developing, in the area of my own specialty in anthropology, and get my advice […] … learn more→

Stalking your ex on Facebook is creepy … and bad for you

New research from Dr. Tara Marshall at Brunel University has found that Facebook surveillance of ex-romantic partners may disrupt post-breakup recovery and personal growth. That’s bad news, because earlier this year Veronika Lukacs found that almost 90% of people keep tabs on their exes using Facebook. In the Brunel study, bad breakups were linked to […] … learn more→

A sense of entitlement

Higher ed, as the casual observer might divine, is awash in titles. We have directors and managers, assistants and associates, fulls and interims. We’re well-versed in vice. Titles mean everything, which is another way of saying they mean nothing. I’m reminded of that “Cheers” episode in which Rebecca, the bar manager, gives Carla and Woody, […] … learn more→

The MOOC challenge

There has been so much written about Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) lately. Time to jump in. I’ve taught in the classroom and online (via web conference), but have neither taught nor taken a MOOC. Although I’m skeptical of all the hype surrounding MOOCs as the “future of higher education” and am not sure I […] … learn more→