Archive for the 'Education' category

Some Important and Weighty Stuff in Statistics

Feb 08 2011 Published by under Education, Statistics

(note: to create maximal puzzlement I have cross-posted this at my other blog)

Right, now let's talk about methods for stochastic numerical integration, in particular calculating importance weights. This is a technique that is probably underused, largely because...

Why are you staring at the screen like that?

OK, OK. I'm sorry for putting up such a technical post,but I was going to write this up for a colleague, and then thought that there might be 3 other people in this world that would also find it interesting.
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The Carnival of Evolution #30

Dec 02 2010 Published by under Biology, Blogosphere, Education, Evolution

There I was, wondering why I hadn't heard anything about this month's Carnival of Evolution, when I discovered that (a) I was meant to be writing it, and (b) it was already late. So, without further ado,
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Shock As Nobel Prize for Molecular Biology Given to Medic

Oct 04 2010 Published by under Education, Medicine & Health, Silliness

This year's Nobel Prize for Molecular Biology has been controversially awarded to Prof Robert Edwards for his pioneering work on in-vitro fertilisation. Prof. Edwards' work in developing "test tube babies" has helped the conception and birth of 4 million people around the world, starting with first test-tube baby, Louise Brown, in 1978. Whilst it is acknowledged that this work was ground-breaking and of major significance, there has been wide-spread criticism that the prize has been awarded for work in medicine and physiology, rather than in molecular biology, for which the prize was originally intended.

"I'm shocked" said Prof. Philip Mickelson of the North Oregon Teaching Hospital Institute of Nuclear Genetics, "the Nobel committee has finally stretched the meaning of the prize beyond breaking point".

Dr. Andrew McDowell of the British Organisation for Molecular Biology agreed, stating "this is ludicrous. What's the point in going into molecular biology if some physiologist is going to nick your big prize?"

Environmentalists were also critical of the prize, pointing out that it was being awarded for work that had increased our over-population problems. Greenpeas and Friends of the Planet both released statements condemning the Karolinska Institute as "irresponsble", and "encouraging behaviour that will speed up the destruction of this planet and all we hold dear". Pope Benedict, in contrast, praised the award, stating in a press release that "this prize can only encourage those who chose to have children to conceive and birth as many as their family can support".

A statement released to the press by the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm acknowledged the controversy, stating "the committee felt that, despite its name, the prize had been too narrowly focussed on molecular advances and some recognition should be made of research in other areas of biology". The spokesman pointed out that the prize has been awarded to research outside its immediate scope of molecular, most noticeably in 1973 when it was awarded for work in animal behaviour.

There is concern that this will mark a trend in this year's prizes. Dr. Edward Molinari of the European Institute of Biochemistry admitted he was worried about Wednesday's award. "Just looking at the bookies' odds, it's clear that everyone is panicked. It's looking more likely that this year's Nobel Prize for Biochemistry will be awarded to someone who doesn't even work on living organisms. Heaven forbid, but they might even be an inorganic chemist".

Odds on President George W. Bush winning the Peace Prize have not shortened, however.

17 responses so far

The Noble Art of Verbal Abuse

Aug 28 2010 Published by under Humor, Sexuality, Streaming videos, Teaching

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Those of you who think Bob O'Hara is a cruel anti-religion Cyber-bully will be very impressed with this: he used your reader comments as a recommendation to design and teach a class at his university. This class, entitled "the Noble Art of Verbal Abuse," is already making a difference as you can see in this world exclusive video from the first day of his class:
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Bananas Galore in the Pacific

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The world's most popular fruit is the banana, which originated in the very-much overlooked region of Polynesia. This interesting video explores the relationship between the peoples and cultures of New Guinea, New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands and the world's most popular fruit, the banana.

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Chemists Playing with Fluorine

Aug 23 2010 Published by under Employment, Streaming videos, Teaching

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I never realized that chemists can be like ornithologists: traveling the world to see a particular element. But in this video, we accompany a mad chemist as he visits a fluorine expert to finally show you this incredibly reactive element in action.

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Jason Clay: How Big Brands Can Help Save Biodiversity

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Convince just 100 key companies to go sustainable, and WWF's Jason Clay says global markets will shift to protect the planet our consumption has already outgrown. Hear how his extraordinary roundtables are getting big brand rivals to agree on green practices first -- before their products duke it out on store shelves.
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Phil Plait: Don't Be A Dick

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In late July 2010, Bad Astronomer and skeptic, Phil Plait, gave a thoughtful public presentation called "Don't Be A Dick." This presentation discusses how one presents their skepticism to the public and how they discuss it publicly. There was a lot of positive reaction to the talk, but also some criticism.
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Senator Al Franken Demonstrates That He is More Than Just Another Pretty Face!

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Senator Al Franken draws an amazingly accurate map of all 50 states in the United States -- from memory -- during an appearance on Minnesota Public Radio's Midday at the Minnesota State Fair.
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Reinforcements Ordered in the War on Brains

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Rachel Maddow talks about her former show, The War on Brains -- she mentions that even though the program no longer exists, America's war on brains continues. Perhaps the most ridiculous example that she cites is the woman who claims on television that "the separation of church and state" is not mentioned anywhere in the US Constitution -- a fact that can be easily confirmed by anyone who can read by checking the original document.
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