• General

    Explanatory Power

    The last couple of posts have focused on explanations in science education, but this one pivots back to explanations in science. There is a scheme, owed to Hempel, of 5 kinds of explanations in science and their relation to scientific laws, but that is a topic for another day. In…

  • General

    It’s Alliivvve!!!

    Hmm – my last post in this blog was in early February this year, about 9 months ago. At that point I was tired of blogging and blogging was tired of me. I declared it dead… But, as for Mark Twain, rumors of its death may have been exaggerated. A…

  • General

    I think I finally know what I am

    …religiously speaking. Listening (a practice I highly recommend) to the podcasts of the Long Now Foundation (thanks to Anthony Bishop for recommending them to me), I heard the following exchange: Eric Schneider asked “Mr Eno, as a Zen Buddhist (Eno: “I’m not!”) how do you reconcile the 10,000 year clock…

  • General

    How a Scientist’s Mind Works

    Alex, Peter and I were walking our dog, Buffy, yesterday. She likes to run to places where there are dogs on the other side of the fence, and then run with them, greet them or start a fight. She’s not allowed, and she’s being trained out of it, but –…

  • General

    [Open] What It Sounds Like When I Lecture

    My lectures are all recorded, but they’re on the closed and locked university web site. I’m not vain enough to think anyone else would be keen to listen to them in full anyway, but thought you might be intrigued to hear a small sample. This class has about 99 students…

  • General

    Convenient Samples vs Generalisability

    Surprisingly, undergrads in psych courses in developed countries are not a sample that is representative (i.e. randomly chosen from) the entirety of humanity. You’d be surprised how many of psychology’s claims this renders invalid when broadly applied. http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/03/01/we-are-the-weird/ You’d think the psychs would have a handle on this stuff…

  • General

    Generations, Generalisations and Stereotypes

    I posted this on Facebook the other day: I’m sure it was well-intended, but this presentation from… another middle years course that consists of slide after slide of ‘Generation X used vinyl records, Generation Y used cassettes, Generation Z uses mp3s… Generation X used typewriters, Generation Y used Apple IIs,…

  • Climate - Science Stuff

    Up Here’s For Thinkin’

    Here’s a graph I made and posted here a while ago: The post in question is here: http://www.bravus.com.au/blog/?p=1911 Sorry about the lack of labels – x-axis is years, y-axis is million square km of Antarctic sea ice. These data are for Antarctica, but the Arctic picture is similar. Why do…

  • General

    Slowing My Roll

    At the dog park today, throwing the ball for Buffy and another dog while Suzie chatted to the dog’s owner. Beautiful day and I was enjoying life… but I could feel myself feeling “OK, done this, onward to the next thing!” It’s an odd thing – I think of myself…

  • Reviews


    It’s kind of a nice problem to have – too much good music playing here to afford! I’d love to have seen Opeth next month – and the fact that they’ve now added Katatonia in support is even more tempting – and ZZ Top, and there are a number of…

  • General

    [Open] Some Words About Expectations

    These words, or something like them, are in the first lecture of most of my courses. I’d be very happy to have some feedback on whether people find them useful, condescending or a little of both: Pulling It All Together I’ll try to weave the bits and pieces together, but…

  • Open

    Open Education – It’s Here, Now!

    Here’s an announcement I just posted (with slight tweaks) on the web sites for both of my courses: I’m trying an experiment this semester. It’s 100% your decision whether you participate or not. There’s no cost, and it’s irrelevant to your grade in the course*, and I won’t be using…

  • Religion


    I’ve said before that ‘debunking’ isn’t that interesting to me as an activity. At the same time, I care passionately about truth and truth-telling. So when someone crowed that the Bible’s divine origin was demonstrated by the fact that it had prophesied that certain cities would be destroyed and never…

  • Philosophy - Science Stuff

    Science and Morality

    P Z Myers is almost always worth reading. I disagree with him on many things, and agree on many more, but a blog is not worth reading only based on agreement – no doubt many who read my blog also disagree with me on some things. A blog is worth…

  • Climate

    If the science won’t convince ’em, maybe the economics will

    Small-minded, isolationist policies just won’t work. If Australia doesn’t move (or moves backward, as T. Abbott plans but likely can’t deliver), there is sufficient political will internationally to introduce tariff mechanisms to force the issue. Better to be masters of our own destiny. http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/sceptics-lose-focus-on-climate-change-big-picture/story-e6frerc6-1226579070344

  • Open


    So, I built a forum on the 6th of this month, as described in this post. Now, 11 days later, there are 1107 spam posts in one forum and 696 in another. Off to spend a few minutes fixing the filters.

  • Science Stuff


    So, I got my lab book – the crucial and closely-guarded document in which working scientists record their experiments each day to establish who got there first – this afternoon, and spent the whole afternoon working in the lab. Nothing particularly security-conscious today, but in these social media days, in…