Archive for: November, 2007

Friday Sprog Blogging: academic integrity for first graders.

Nov 30 2007 Published by under Kids and science

A bonus sprog blog! Somehow, this has become cheating week, and this conversation feels like it fits in with our discussions of how do-gooders do bad and of how freshman engineering students think about cheating.
* * * * *
Dr. Free-Ride: (arriving to pick up the sprogs from the afterschool program) Hey, gather up your stuff! It's time to go home.
Younger offspring: OK. I just need to get my homework back from [a first grade classmate].
Dr. Free-Ride: What is [the classmate] doing with your homework paper?
Younger offspring: Copying the answers.

Continue Reading »

Comments are off for this post

Friday Sprog Blogging: eyes and empiricism.

Nov 30 2007 Published by under Kids and science

Dr. Free-Ride: C'mon and get out of bed. We have to leave soon.
Younger offspring: My eyes are watery.
Dr. Free-Ride: Eyes will do that sometimes.
Younger offspring: Are my eyeballs always wet?
Dr. Free-Ride: Pretty much, yeah.
Younger offspring: Are my eyeballs always squishy?

Continue Reading »

Comments are off for this post

There are days when having a body is inconvenient.

Nov 28 2007 Published by under Biology, Medicine, Passing thoughts, Personal

Do you know that feeling one gets that is characteristic of "about to come down with something", where you have an off taste in your mouth and your head feels fuzzy, and it seems like the very best thing you could possibly do is just lay your head on your desk for a few moments and close your eyes?
Yeah. I've had that feeling all day.
However, I have absolutely zero time to actually come down with something at this particular juncture. Therefore, I will be conducting a Mind Over Immune System experiment (not a very scientific one, I'll admit) in which I see whether telling myself sternly not to get sick keeps me from actually getting sick.
Indeed, I feel extra-motivated not to succumb to whatever bug is trying to get the upper hand given that I learned from a reliable source this morning that it is possible to vomit through one's nose (indeed, to be woken up by doing so in one's sleep). That in itself sounds like a good reason never to get sick. Ever!

Comments are off for this post

What freshman engineering students think about cheating.

In the freshman introduction to engineering class, where I am teaching the ethics module, the students have electronic clickers with which to respond in real time to (multiple choice) questions posed to them in lecture. I took advantage of this handy technology to get their responses to a few questions on cheating. I'm presenting the questions here in poll form so you can play along at home:

var all_polls = document.getElementsByClassName('quimble_poll_div');
for (var i = 0; i < all_polls.length; i++) {
all_polls[i].style.width = '500px';
}

var all_polls = document.getElementsByClassName('quimble_poll_div');
for (var i = 0; i < all_polls.length; i++) {
all_polls[i].style.width = '500px';
}

var all_polls = document.getElementsByClassName('quimble_poll_div');
for (var i = 0; i < all_polls.length; i++) {
all_polls[i].style.width = '500px';
}

(In the event that Quimble is down and the poll is thus inaccessible, you can view the questions in this follow-up post.)
What do you suppose the students said?

Continue Reading »

Comments are off for this post

Not letting your high morals turn you into a cheater-pants.

Nov 28 2007 Published by under Ethics 101, Philosophy

As promised, I want to take a look at this article (discussed also at Corpus Callosum). I'm not a psychologist, so I won't have much to say about what causes might underlie the phenomenon of do-gooders doing bad. However, I will have some words (from the point of view of someone concerned with practical ethics) about how this pitfall might be avoided.

Continue Reading »

Comments are off for this post

Look out, children! There's an ethicist!

This is not breaking news (unless your news cycle is more geological), but it strikes me as relevant on the day that I deliver my penultimate lecture in the newly-created ethics module in the Introduction to Engineering class at my university:
Can you trust an ethicist to behave ethically?

Continue Reading »

7 responses so far

Questions I have for Paul Davies after reading his NYT op-ed.

This New York Times op-ed, to be precise. My questions for Paul Davies can be boiled down to these two:

  1. What kinds of explanations, precisely, are you asking science to deliver to you?
  2. Just why do you think it is the job of science to provide such explanations?

Continue Reading »

Comments are off for this post

Friday Sprog Blogging: seasonal art projects, and questions they raise.

Nov 23 2007 Published by under Kids and science

Freud would probably say that there are times when a hand-turkey is just a hand-turkey.
Freud, however, isn't writing this post.

Would this kind of plumage only work on a domesticated bird? (What kind of ecosystem would make such wild feathers an advantage for any bird but one widely recognized to be yucky tasting?)

Continue Reading »

Comments are off for this post

Are certain forms of address ill-suited to academe?

A comment on ScienceWoman's post (concerning, among other things, how her students tend to call her Mrs. ScienceWoman and her male colleagues Dr. MaleColleague), got me thinking about the norms around addressing faculty that prevailed at my undergraduate institution and whether, if they still prevail, they're worth abolishing.
The commenter wrote:

Continue Reading »

Comments are off for this post

What people know about animal care at my university.

Likely, the throbbing mass of humanity at my university knows at least a little more than it did before last week, owing to an article in the student newspaper about the institutional animal care and use committee. (It was a front-page article, so the chances that it attracted eyeballs was reasonably good.)
A few things that jumped out at me:

Continue Reading »

Comments are off for this post

Older posts »