Anecdotally, I suspect a lot of libertarians are like a lot of atheists and a lot of anarchists: they recognize there is a problem with the "norm," but lack the cognitive power to develop a solution. Much like the masses of followers of the popular conventions (i.e., democrats/republicans), many simply parrot the… » 10/15/14 8:04am 10/15/14 8:04am

I'm at an age now where if I had followed a traditional academic career track and made an awesome discovery, potentially I could be in the running for a Nobel prize. Realistically, I'm probably still a decade too young (if I had followed that traditional career path). I say that, because way back long ago when I was… » 10/11/14 7:31am 10/11/14 7:31am

Mild nit-picking: Family Ties was not 'saccharine'. Sure, all shows of that time period had a general formula, but the tension between parents and child about political views was pretty new at that point (even if it was sometimes just played for laughs). The Cosby show had its sugary episodes, but was smart tv. I… » 10/09/14 6:49am 10/09/14 6:49am

It is a lost cause. I say this as one of the prime movers at my university of developing and measuring scientific literacy. Through serendipity, I ended up drafting the initial rubric for scientific literacy at my institution, and SL is something I am very passionate about, as most people I meet have little… » 9/20/14 8:21am 9/20/14 8:21am

I'm just going to vent for a minute, so feel free to ignore this mini-rant. In my decades of role-playing, I have amassed some $10,000-odd (face value) worth of various Dungeons and Dragons stuff. None of it is 4e (maybe a pdf from when my group gave it a try but mercifully ditched it a few sessions later). Most of… » 9/11/14 10:56pm 9/11/14 10:56pm

Killing Rage - Fraudulent "Scientist"

A colleague of mine recently shared this surprisingly detailed story of academic fraud wherein the perpetrator has breached so many ethical standards that I think he should be stood against a wall and shot. On the surface, it seems to be a run-of-the-mill falsification of credentials scheme, but it gets much worse. » 9/11/14 9:24am 9/11/14 9:24am

I once made a very good friend in a very unlikely way. I was at a party and I joined a small group of people discussing art or something, and it was quickly devolving into a massive ball of pretentious twaddle. So I turned and walked away to find a better conversation. A few weeks later, I met one of the guys from… » 9/08/14 8:59am 9/08/14 8:59am

There is quite a lot written about privacy often with an emphasis on preventing violations of privacy. The most often comments I have heard about the photos was that taking them was wrong because of rights to privacy being violated. I'm going to go a completely different tack - please bear with me and read it all… » 9/02/14 11:08pm 9/02/14 11:08pm

It's not much fun being called a moron and a troll by a mod after having posted a disagreement on a topic either (not mean-spiritedly, either). Especially when shortly thereafter the same mod posts a call for posing privileges (not gonna happen for me, I guess). I understand everyone has bad days and sometimes posts… » 8/26/14 10:25am 8/26/14 10:25am

I like analogies. I tell my non-science college majors that the octet rule is kind of like a waiter/waitress carrying a big tray of drinks. If there are eight drinks, they all just fit and they balance well so that the waiter can carry it through a crowd. If there are fewer drinks, the tray doesn't balance as well,… » 8/26/14 9:49am 8/26/14 9:49am

Please realize that you do indeed have some very unlikely allies. I maintain friendships all over the political spectrum, and some of my "crackpot conservative" friends have been railing against the militarization of police forces for the better part of a decade. I can only imagine how a combined protest by… » 8/19/14 10:23pm 8/19/14 10:23pm