• 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] It begins

    (I’ll use the [Open] tag, as well as creating a new category, to set off the Open Education stuff from everything else) So, about 10 students and one interested bystander (waves @ Crank) have signed up for the open discussion forum. No posts yet – except the spam I’m still…

  • 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…

  • Teaching

    Teach For {Your Corporate Masters}

    Good, if long, article about Teach For America. http://www.salon.com/2013/02/17/the_hidden_curriculum_of_teach_for_america_partner It might be worth noting that the author seems to use ‘liberal’ to mean something close to ‘libertarian’, rather than its more usual modern US usage. Why are we spending millions replicating this failed experiment in Australia?

  • 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…

  • Science Stuff

    Literature Reviews

    I’m working on the literature review for my Masters of Philosophy (Physics) (henceforth to be known by the more familiar title ‘M Phil’ – sounds French!). I’m writing something that will end up being (much tweaked near the end) a chapter of the thesis, but I also have to present…

  • Teaching

    A Call To Arms

    An excellent letter from a retiring US teacher to college professors: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/02/09/a-warning-to-college-profs-from-a-high-school-teacher/ The context is different but the issues are very similar here: excessive testing is breaking education.

  • Science Stuff


    Great little article on the ways words and language can confuse us in relation to health – if we let them. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2013/02/curing_chemophobia_don_t_buy_the_alternative_medicine_in_the_boy_with_a.single.html#pagebreak_anchor_2