Monthly Archives: July 2013

In the genetic supermarket, should parents be allowed to buy?

Imagine a world in which genetic interventions (for hair/eye colour, health, strength, happiness, morality…) were tested, safe, effective and accepted. In this genetic supermarket, who should be allowed to buy – to decide how children should be modified? Parents seem the obvious choice – but on reflection, there seem few reasons to allow this. Why […] … learn more→

Where work is headed

In the non-stop, intensive media attention to the George Zimmerman murder trial, you may have missed another court decision, one with perhaps equally broad, if not as deadly, implications for ordinary Americans. The Iowa Supreme Court upheld a dentist’s decision to fire his dental hygienist because she was so attractive as to be “irresistible” and […] … learn more→

Achy breaky heart: coping with academic rejection

My academic ego is shattered. I recently had a ~£1m grant proposal rejected. I feel like a million dollars in the red. Academia is tough on the ego. The stakes are high, and for this particular funding stream, there is only one chance to get the proposal perfect. The proposal took me a large proportion […] … learn more→

Killing by praying

Dale and Leilani Neumann are Pentecostal Christians. Their 11 year old daughter, Kara, fell ill. In fact she had (undiagnosed) diabetes. Her parents refused to obtain medical help. Instead they prayed. ‘Kara’s father testified that death was never on their minds. He testified that he knew Kara was sick but was “never to the alarm […] … learn more→

When Hollywood held hands with Hitler

A debate is raging over Hollywood\’s alleged collusion with the Nazis. At stake: the moral culpability of Jewish studio heads during cinema\’s golden age. The catalyst is a forthcoming book from Harvard University Press, The Collaboration: Hollywood\’s Pact With Hitler, by the 35-year-old historian Ben Urwand. The book is still several months from publication, but […] … learn more→

Google Glass and the remembering self

I remember in 3rd grade, Mrs. Goldman teaching us a trick for multiplying factors of 9. Splay the fingers of both hands in front of you and from left to right count out the number you’re multiplying by 9 and fold that finger under. Everything to the left of the folded finger is the tens, […] … learn more→

Cheating lessons

In the fall of 1994, a group of researchers in the United States and Japan, led by the psychologist George M. Diekhoff, conducted a survey of cheating behaviors among students in introductory psychology courses at Midwestern State University, in Texas. A year later, they conducted the same survey in related courses at three Japanese universities. […] … learn more→

A University\’s offer of credit for a MOOC gets no takers

It was big news last fall when Colorado State University-Global Campus became the first college in the United States to grant credit to students who passed a MOOC, or massive open online course. For students, it meant a chance to get college credit on the cheap: $89, the cost of the required proctored exam, compared […] … learn more→

Four ways to rock your next talk

You have a great research question, cool data and a spot at the next conference. That means you have somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes to impress a bunch of people who know your field just as well, if not better than you do. If you’re a PhD student, some part of you hopes that […] … learn more→

MOOCs and economic reality

In “We’re All to Blame for MOOCs,” Patrick J. Deneen proposes a transformation away from global universities and toward identity-driven colleges as a defense against the coming shakeup from novel forms of online education. While developing this theme, he quotes me on the rise of MOOCs, and imagines this makes me an opponent of his […] … learn more→