Monthly Archives: February 2015

Let’s call it: 30 years of above average temperatures means the climate has changed

If you’re younger than 30, you’ve never experienced a month in which the average surface temperature of the Earth was below average. Each month, the US National Climatic Data Center calculates Earth’s average surface temperature using temperature measurements that cover the Earth’s surface. Then, another average is calculated for each month of the year for […] … learn more→

Greek weekend

As the Romans did thousands of years ago, so today we continue to hold the ancient classical Greek language in high regard. Among other things, this regard gives us a triad of Greek occasions on the second weekend of March 2015. One is pi day. Not pie but pi, although many celebrate the day with […] … learn more→

Regulating the web: what’s at stake in FCC net neutrality vote

On Thursday the Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to vote on new open internet access regulations, often referred to as net neutrality rules. The nitty gritty details have yet to be disclosed, although the FCC is expected to propose regulating internet providers like public utilities. Nonetheless, the rules, if passed, will do little to resolve […] … learn more→

Why wasn\’t I invited?

A new program head frets about his exclusion from a department meeting Question (from \”Fergus\”): I’ve just been appointed head of a small program (call it \”Gazelle Taming\”) in our department. Our classes are always offered at the same times, thanks to tradition (which isn’t a problem). However, the staff—the heads of our department’s various […] … learn more→

Fixing a fatal flaw in performance based funding

Performance based funding or outcome based funding (OBF) as it is now called, a common state model that ties higher education investment to colleges’ performance on certain measures, has not changed much since its inception in the 1970s. But an innovative OBF proposal announced in the Texas legislature in January looks strikingly different from any […] … learn more→

The LHC is back and it’s ready to probe the limits of matter

Since shutting down in early 2013, the most powerful particle accelerator on the planet, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), has been sitting dormant. Over the past two years this scientific colossus situated at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland, has undergone a series of repairs and upgrades. But now it is ready to reawaken from it’s slumber. […] … learn more→

Why satire matters

As recently as a few months ago, the common wisdom seemed to be that the only people who raise concerns about illiberalism in academic life are the embarrassing old avuncular types. You know the ones: the men in Hawaiian shirts who want to know why they can’t call women \”dames\” anymore. There was little serious […] … learn more→

Thesis prison

Family Thesiswhisperer has spent the last month in our hometown of Melbourne. We caught up with many friends and relatives while we were there, some of whom are doing or have just completed doctorates. One friend got pregnant twice during her doctorate and had a longer journey than most. While we raised a glass to […] … learn more→

Band aid solutions to College deficits

Now is the time of the year that most college and university boards of trustees meet to set in place what the comprehensive fee – tuition, fees, room and board – will be for next year. It’s a telling moment for higher education. The emerging trends drawn from hundreds of institutional decisions will provide a […] … learn more→

The effect of social promotion in College

A few posts back I mentioned that Florida has removed remedial education from college. Now, absolutely, remedial education is a scam that fails over 90% of students, so the honest thing to do there is to eliminate college remediation, or at least change it dramatically. The easiest change would be to put it back to […] … learn more→