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Sascha VongehrRSS Feed of this column.

Dr. Sascha Vongehr [风洒沙] studied phil/math/chem/phys in Germany, obtained a BSc in theoretical physics (electro-mag) & MSc (stringtheory) at Sussex University, UK, and subsequently researched... Read More »

Here a short outtake of a depressing but interesting piece “The Shadow Scholar: The man who writes your students' papers tells his story” on outsourcing of thesis etc. writing that undermines our at points plainly ridiculous education systems further. This has been already commented on in other blogs, but I would like to stress a different aspect here. Yes, there is much to say about evaluation versus education, about the way teachers cannot pursue cheaters even if they clearly identified them, and so on. I claim however that one of the main culprits is the way we let language be used in general. Just read this:
Many are troubled by dark energy. I will tell you first why dark energy is really crazy. Then I tell you that the crazy part is not actually the problem of dark energy, but one of basic general relativity. Many educated people are proudly critical of dark stuff, but when it comes to relativity, they do not want to be found hanging out in the crack-pot corner. In other words, my post is directed at the guys who go: “I know about relativity and agree it is more or less fine what those cosmologists did then, but this dark stuff now is going too far! Stop the wild guessing and go back to doing proper science.”
I posted an article critical of microwave ovens and nanotechnology. This adds to many posts critical of science and scientists. Am I another enemy of science? That last post told lay persons not to heat Ramen noodles in the microwave oven. She cannot understand why and neither do I know exactly why. Moreover, since most people are too lazy or busy to look into such petty differences as between still internally dry Ramen noodles and watery potatoes, you could charge me with implying that the general population should not use microwaves at all.

Microwaves are a low frequency light, at least compared to visible light, say, or ionizing radiation like gamma rays. Thus, microwaves are quite harmless. A microwave oven baths the food in an oscillating electro-magnetic field. Molecules with permanent electrical dipole moments wiggle in the field and thus heat up the food.

The US is supposedly the undisputed leader in terms of scientific output. However, there is supposedly also "a threat" of losing this position. To counter this, there are suggestions like giving out more US visas to foreign scientists and engineers. Even stuff like “don’t make Americans scientists, make scientists American” passes as valid argumentation.
College Scholarships gives away 10.000 dollars to support a young blogger still in college. You can surf to their site and vote for the one you think is most deserving, the one who should get supported and may be in need of further support. However, you might as well not vote, because the contest is already “won”. Why? Because she is already having support more than enough: The whole SB front page was set up for days in order to get their large base of sheepish readers to support their own blogger, and do not think SB would encourage readers to first look at the other blogs to build an informed opinion, an out of fashion approach you may associate with the term “science”.