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A Professor’s Thoughts on Grading

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

I’ve never been a big fan of being graded or grading others.   Ideally we should all learn for the sake of learning, but I have to admit that grading, from a number to a letter to a gold star can be a stupid but effect motivator.   Moreover, the grades are used by admissions committees for […]

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What Harry Potter Didn’t Study

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Does it bother anyone else that essentially all of Harry Potter’s education at Hogwarts was about rote memorization of spell casting and totally divorced from “muggle” education? I mean, the wizarding world need not worry about all the same things that the muggle world worries about, but come on.   You’ve still got money, so math, […]

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How About Some Hard, Urban Fantasy?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

OK, I know that probably sounds obscene, but I’m hard pressed to come up with a name for what I want to talk about.   What I’m talking about probably exists, but I’m not familiar enough with fantasy these days to know for sure, so I hope someone can help me out. Urban fantasy has been […]

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PhD Defenses

Monday, March 30th, 2009

The capstone of earning a doctorate is the PhD defense, a final oral exam that is the final hurdle to achieve the degree. What is a PhD defense really like? Well, I had my own and have talked with many other PhD holders about theirs over the years, but this past week was my first […]

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Home Schooling the Science Fiction Way

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

I wrote a short post about homeschooling last year that criticized one specific opinion held by one particular homeschooler, and while it was a good criticism, it got in the way of the positive potential homeschooling has.   I said then, and I will say again, that I have no love for homeschooling done for wrong […]

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Understanding Science…Not Entirely

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

So I saw a story about a new educational website run out of Berkeley called Understanding Science. I’m very supportive of such things in general, and I like a lot of things on the site. Unfortunately — you what is coming by now, don’t you? — there’s some politically correct biased rubbish in there as […]

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Childhood Dreams and the Golden Age of Your Life

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

They say that the golden years are your last ones in life, the gold age of comic books was the 1940s, and while there was a similar boom in pulp sf, that the golden age of science fiction is when you were twelve. You’ve probably already seen this, or heard of it, but for those […]

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Living on Mars among alien creatures…

Monday, January 5th, 2009

I’m not talking about the interesting TV show, Life on Mars, but an Einstein quote from a letter he wrote in 1933 to a professional musician living in Germany: I am the one to whom you wrote in care of the Belgian Academy…Read no newspapers, try to find a few friends who think as you […]

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Scientific Self-Help?

Friday, December 5th, 2008

One of my common themes is how to properly educate people to think more scientifically.   I think the world would be a better place, more rational, more productive, if people made their decisions based on reliable information — the kind that comes from science.   Unfortunately a majority of people don’t do this regularly, and even […]

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Absolute Hot?

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Okay, I thought this idea was dumb before I read the article. There’s an interesting discussion to be had about extremely hot temperatures, which I didn’t appreciate until I read it. Share/Bookmark

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The Red Light District Part 2: The Light Bulb Paradox

Monday, June 9th, 2008

I had a post over the weekend where I claimed that life on a planet around a type M star (see classifications here) would be like living in a red light district. Not the sex part, just the red light part. M stars are cool as stars go, around 3000 Kelvin or a bit less, […]

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Living Around an M-Star: the Red Light District

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

NOTE: I’m keeping the below post as originally written. It will be superseded by a post to come as the issue is more complicated than I appreciated. A friend of mine has a story coming out and wanted to doublecheck some issues of colors on a planet orbiting an M-star. My friend supplied me with […]

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