In one of my classes we talk a bit about cloning, in the context of discussing various biotech techniques and their applications. Sometimes someone asks if I'd clone my dog (or my husband!) after they'd died, & my response is always to say 'no'. Not because I don't love them both (husband much more than […]Continue reading
a science communicator silenced by the mob
Well, this sucks, & that’s putting it mildly. From Kevin Folta’s blog, Illumination: Dr Folta has been under constant attack in recent months since it emerged that Monsanto had donated $US25,000 to fund a science outreach program he was running. Not his research, but an outreach program. He was accused of a conflict of interest […]Continue reading
shipworms, pillbugs and gribbles – oh my!
I've never heard of gribbles before, & did wonder if they were in some way related to tribbles (or a certain US politician's hair…). But no, it turns out that gribbles are small, wood-boring crustaceans. And they look rather cute: Image by Prof Simon McQueen-Mason & Dr Simon Cragg However, their cuteness should not obscure […]Continue reading
oh sad new world, that has such foolishness in it!
The internet is a seething pool of ‘stuff’, and one of the challenges faced by those using it is to distinguish useful information from foolish fantasy. And there surely is a lot of the latter! Thus we find that According to a BBC news story, the Indian government’s Agriculture Minister has said that yogic farming would […]Continue reading
does powerpoint make students stupid and professors boring?
This is a cross-post from Talking Teaching. The author of this article certainly thinks so. Under that header, he continues: Do you really believe that watching a lecturer read hundreds of PowerPoint slides is making you smarter? I asked this of a class of 105 computer science and software engineering students last semester. Well, first up, […]Continue reading
crossing the great (prokaryote-eukaryote) divide
I’ve always enjoyed Nick Lane’s writing1, so naturally an article he wrote for the ABC Science website caught my eye. Titled “Evolution of complex life on Earth, take 2?”, it discusses an organism that appears to be neither prokaryote nor eukaryote, but something in-between. There’s a great divide between the cells that fit the description […]Continue reading
should we stop students using laptops during lectures?
This is a cross-post from Talking Teaching. Image from linguasynaptica I guess it depends on what they’re using their laptops for. Most days when I come in at the back of the lecture room & walk down to the front, I’ll see a lot of laptops open & in use. Quite a few students will […]Continue reading
gmo free usa – attacking the man and not the ball
OK, so I'm back (from a lovely long overseas trip). And I had thought to write something 'light' to ease myself back into blogging, but then I see that scientist and science communicator, Kevin Folta, is currently experiencing some dreadful personal attacks via social media for his stance on genetic modification of crops. You'll find […]Continue reading
‘a worm just crawled across my eye!’
Saw the webpage headline. First thought: ewwwwww. Second thought: ooooh, I wonder what that's all about? Answer: a little filiarid worm. FIliarid worms are roundworms (nematodes). I knew about the one that causes the disfiguring disease known as elephantiasis, but hadn't heard about the 'eyeworm', or Loa loa. Elephantiasis is due to lymphatic filiariasis, where the […]Continue reading
‘slapping therapy’ for diabetes, and a child dies
I've heard it said more than once that complementary & alternative medicine (CAM) 'does no harm' – here's just one example. I suppose that could be true of a healthy person using something like homeopathy, where the only harm is likely to be to their wallet. But time and again, forms of CAM have been shown to do harm, […]Continue reading