Monthly Archives: February 2015

The dangerous silence of academic researchers

Three years ago, I was invited to testify before the New York City Board of Health about a proposed law to cap the portion size of sugary drinks served in restaurants. This request didn’t come as a surprise. After all, I had published several well-cited articles linking these beverages to childhood obesity. What did catch […] … learn more→

Thesis know-how – reporting on ‘ethics’

I’ve read a number of theses which take a pretty cursory approach to ethical matters. The most worrying are those that simply make a short statement which reports that the research was approved by the relevant university ethics committee and/or meets the ethical guidelines issued by such and such a learned society. Now I find […] … learn more→

Dark Leviathan

The Hidden Wiki holds the keys to a secret internet. To reach it, you need a special browser that can access ‘Tor Hidden Services’ – websites that have chosen to obscure their physical location. But even this browser isn’t enough. Like the Isla de Muerta in the film Pirates of the Caribbean, the landmarks of […] … learn more→

Higher Education as boiler Room, 0art 2

So, last time around, I was examining the vision of the modern university, as presented by a highly paid Poo Bah, who despite his complex job justifying (supposedly) $900,000 a year plus extraordinary benefits, had plenty of time to write a book. First part of his vision was to turn mathematics into a boiler room, […] … learn more→

On Attention Surplus Disorder

Writing requires huge amounts of solitude. What I’ve done to soften the harshness of that choice is that I don’t write all the time. I like to go out- which includes traveling; I can’t write when I travel. I like to talk. I like to listen. I like to look and to watch. Maybe I […] … learn more→

The crisis in Higher Education?

Whenever someone starts by saying that the problems with something or other are well known, watch out. That person is certain to follow with enumeration of ill-understood issues and solutions showing little knowledge of the complexities of the situation—and all human situations are complex. The phrase, “The problems with… are well known,” is little more […] … learn more→

We can’t judge Community Colleges’ success by the numbers

I am a community-college teacher jumping with joy at President Obama’s America’s College Promise proposal, which would undoubtedly send more students to community colleges. But I can’t help but ask: Doesn’t he know that, by federal accountability standards, we’re an abysmal failure? As Eduardo Porter writes in The New York Times, “precious few of the […] … learn more→

Deniers vs alarmists? It’s time to lose the climate debate labels

The climate debate seems to be as polarised as ever. While joint political pledges offer some hope that climate change no longer has to be a partisan issue, a look at the comments below most articles on global warming says otherwise. Some put this is down to differing core values, others point to psychological outlooks. […] … learn more→

Community College Online

Since American community college students are more likely to be older, commute to school, work part-time, and care for dependents than their public four-year and private nonprofit counterparts, they need access to more flexible pathways that meet their needs and move them toward a credential. Community College Online, a new report released today by New […] … learn more→

Studying “whiteness” threatens whites?

Lee Bebout, an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University, is teaching a Topics in Critical Theory course this semester. From what I can tell, it’s one of those courses passed around from professor to professor based on a proposed theme for the semester, one generally approved by a departmental committee. Bebout’s theme is “U.S. Race […] … learn more→