Category Archives: maybe politics

dangerous stuff?

Supercrash

Last year, I commented on Darryl Cunningham‘s book Science Tales: Lies, Hoaxes and Scams, where he uses comic book format to tackle some big abuses of science: the MMR scam, fracking, climate change denial, and so on. This year, I … Continue reading

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Bibliometrics, open access, and all that

On Saturday, the delegates to the ICSU in Auckland were supposed to be taken on various sightseeing trips around the city before getting down to serious work the next day. Unfortunately, the weather put paid to most of that: it … Continue reading

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A salute to whistleblowers

How sad to have to report this piece of news from Queen Mary, University of London. In 2012, John Allen and Fanis Missirlis, of the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, co-authored a letter to The Lancet about the use … Continue reading

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A letter to the Guardian

Don Braben is one of my heroes. He has a clear-headed but deeply-held belief, with which I agree, that the bureaucracy of modern science gets in the way of getting good science done, at a time when the world needs … Continue reading

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Scottish referendum

I’m resident and employed in Scotland now, yet the debate over independence leaves me on the sidelines as a spectator. I am not going to express an opinion on which way to vote, but I want to consider the process. … Continue reading

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The function of the university

After all the sentiment of recent days, I hope normal service can now be resumed. Here is something interesting. I am not the only person moving out and throwing things away. Last week I came upon a fifty-page booklet which … Continue reading

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The future of universities, 2

Earlier this year, I wrote a post on this topic. Last week, while I was marking 300 first-year test papers, Robert Johnson sent me a link to a long review entitled “Sold out” by Stefan Collini in the London Review … Continue reading

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Note on probability

A bag contains two red, three green and five blue balls. You draw two balls in order without replacement. What is the probability that the first ball is red? What is the probability that the second ball is red? What … Continue reading

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Estimation and accuracy

I am back in London, desperately trying to throw off a bad cold in time to start lecturing to 305 students on Monday morning. Various reading matter, chiefly Nature and Significance, provoked a few thoughts on the topic of estimation … Continue reading

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From the records

I am back in London this week, where my last two “official” Queen Mary PhD students, Adam Bohn and Aylin Cakiroglu, successfully defended their theses, and I marked the resit scripts for my first-year module. (As I could have predicted, … Continue reading

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