Fake Banner
Swimming In The (astro) Pacific

As a newly minted, 1 year old professor, this is the deep end of the astronomy edu cation pool...

The Phantom Of The Laboratory

We are fortune here at Science20 to have come across an early work by Gaston Leroux.  This...

Engineering Roleplaying

Hey, you got simulation in my roleplay! Hey, you got roleplay in my simulation! Wait, it's two...

Stars That Ring Like Bells

Time to ring in a new year with pressure waves.  We can see, but not, hear true sonic waves...

User picture.
picture for Hank Campbellpicture for Patrick Lockerbypicture for Bente Lilja Byepicture for Heidi Hendersonpicture for Patrick Adairpicture for Danna Staaf
Alex "Sandy" AntunesRSS Feed of this column.

Read more about the strange modern world of a day laborer in astronomy, plus extra space science-y goodness.... Read More »

Is the author of 'open notebook astronomy' an idiot?  Over at 365DOA, there is a full article on open notebook astronomy.  What is open notebook?  Making your data and your work visible, rather than only presenting the subset you find personally relevant.

How does this help science?  Well, I could re-imagine the above article, but without openness.  Instead, I just present the parts that I think are relevant to my argument that the author of open notebook astronomy is, indeed, an idiot.
... and we teach it wrong.  That's the conclusion of a NYT op ed, titled 'why science majors change their minds (it's just so darn hard)'.  Aimee Stem (here at Science2.0) argues that it's in part a diversity issue, that we're focusing our effort on the wrong age group.  I'd argue that the core is how we teach.
The issue at hand: a student with Asperger's Syndrome feels the teacher withholds recess breaks at a whim; the teacher feels that withholding recess is reinforcing the consequences of the student's actions.  From their personal viewpoints, each of them is correct.  Clearly, there is bad communication or signaling going on here.

Note I use the shorthand 'Aspie' for 'someone with Asperger's syndrome', itself either a form of high-functioning autism, or a related pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), and the term 'neurotypical' to describe someone who does not have Asperger's.

On Rules Processing
How can you test for disaster without freaking out all your co-workers?  Assume the best way to test for a disaster is to simulate it.  Now factor in that a typical co-worker, if they overhead that a chlorine tanker overturned in DC or that terrorists are storming the building, will likely freak out.  Is there a safe way to simulate an emergency?
After writing, then discarding, a particularly snarky bit because it was too snarky for even me, I realized I am still due this week's entry.  Fortunately, to my rescue comes Blackboards in Porn!
"Celebrating pornographers who go the extra mile when set dressing classroom porn and actually write something on the blackboard. What do they write, and is it correct? (Humour site - Safe for work)".
Scientists want more children.  Seriously, that's not my headline, that's the conclusion reached by Ecklund and Lincoln back in August in the online PLos ONE journal.  Put simply, science as a career is not very kid-friendly, so older scientists feel regret over not having as many kids, and younger scientists make plans to leave science in favor of better work-life balance.