« February 2010 | Main | April 2010 »

March 30, 2010

Scientae needs you!

Biochem belle, host of this month's Scientae needs your entries. As she says:

It seems for March has been a ridiculously busy month for everyone I know-in real life and in the blogosphere, myself included. Where did this month go?!?! In light of the current level of submissions (not to mention the realization that trying to put together the Carnival and post it by mid-week), I am extending the deadline for April's submissions to 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, April 3. This month's theme is sustainability in science, but feel free to submit other posts, as well.

Contributing is easy. so just do it. Your host and I thank you.

March 27, 2010

Earth Hour: Tonight 8:30 to 9:30

Ok folks it's time to go dark for an hour. Earth Hour is almost upon us, well except for those for whom it has already past (thanks to all who turned off their lights). For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about-- I took this from the Earth Hour website:

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million homes and businesses turned their lights off for one hour to make their stand against climate change. Only a year later and Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries participating. Global landmarks such as the, Sydney Harbour Bridge, The CN Tower in Toronto, The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Rome’s Colosseum, all stood in darkness, as symbols of hope for a cause that grows more urgent by the hour.... In 2009 over 4000 cities in 88 countries officially switched off to pledge their support for the planet, making Earth Hour 2009 the world’s largest global climate change initiative.

So tonight, turn off your lights (and yes your TVs, computers and IPhones--they all emit light. Heck turn off as much power as you can). As the Earth Hour folks say "It’s Showtime! Show the world what can be done."

And do not tell me that you can't turn off your lights for an hour because you don't know what you would do in the dark for an hour. I have total confidence in you all-- you will think of something!

Hat tip to FairerScience friend Catherine Duckett for reminding me I needed to post this.

March 24, 2010

It's Ada Lovelace Day and I totally flaked

It's Ada Lovelace Day-- I was thinking I had another week. Don't ask. It's embarrassing to try to explain why you think you have another week before deadlines (and since I've done that twice already today, I am so not going to do it on my blog--especially since I have to get up at 4:15 am tomorrow to catch a flight)

So the short version is Ada Lovelace rocked. Since I have lots of work left to do tonight and perhaps some sleep might be nice-- I am totally stealing from Wikipedia

Augusta Ada Byron, was an English writer chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage's early mechanical general-purpose computer, the analytical engine. Her notes on the engine include what is recognized as the first algorithm intended to be processed by a machine; as such she is often regarded as the world's first computer programmer.

I've used her as a role model for years. Well not the dying young thing but that she was a friend of Mary Sommervile and had a computer language named after her and had an amazing life (we will leave the x rated parts for later)

Anyway thanks Ada and thanks to all of the folks who are following her path. Maybe next year we could have an Anita Borg day too. Anita, now that was a woman who combined amazing techie things, a total push to get more women in computing, a totally creative mind (hey we still don't have her cell phone bra) and a personal life that made me smile. Thanks Anita I miss you.

March 19, 2010

A duh that makes me very happy

From Inside Higher Ed today

"Physics students who copy their classmates' work learn less than students who don't plagiarize, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found in a study released yesterday."

Actually the study's findings are quite interesting:

Planning ahead makes a difference: "The majority of students, who copied less than 10% of their problems, worked steadily over the three days prior to the deadline, whereas repetitive copiers (those who copied >30% of their submitted problems) exerted little effort early."

Copying appears to have a greater impact on grades than learning: ..."copying homework problems that require an analytic answer correlates with a 2(σ) decline over the semester in relative score for similar problems on exams but does not significantly correlate with the amount of conceptual learning as measured by pretesting and post-testing."

Smart and dumb kids copy: Several measures of initial ability in math or physics correlated with copying weakly or not at all.

And yes you can reduce copying: Changes in course format and instructional practices that previous self-reported academic dishonesty surveys and/or the observed copying patterns suggested would reduce copying have been accompanied by more than a factor of 4 reduction of copying from ∼11% of all electronic problems to less than 3%. As expected (since repetitive copiers have approximately three times the chance of failing), this was accompanied by a reduction in the overall course failure rate.

March 13, 2010

Tomorrow is PI day

Indeed it is true. Tomorrow is 3/14 aka PI Day. We are currently at the Columbus Ohio branch of FairerScience and will be celebrating with pi(e) of course. We got three pies from the Worthington Farmer's Market and another three from Just Pies. I loved that the people in line behind us were also getting pies because, well, tomorrow is PI day.

So hooray for PI and pie and William Jones who first used the symbol for pi in 1706. And yes indeed we are a family of geeks--I suspect even the dog will celebrate tomorrow. I only have one question for you-- what are you doing to celebrate PI Day?

March 10, 2010

There was no snow so Pat was "on the hill" Friday

Thanks to the American Youth Policy Forum, our session "A Comprehensive Approach to Success in Education and Careers for Out-of-School Youth" went really well.

Why am I telling you this? Well first I'm bragging but second I'm really excited that we have a model that really works for young people who dropped out of school and who still want to learn. In less than half a year, students increased their literacy skills almost two years worth and their math skills more than one year's worth.

That's nice you say, but why are you writing about this for FairerScience? I'm writing this because you need to know that there is no science in these programs-- heck there is no science in these kids' lives. We talk a lot about science in kids' lives, but our disconnected youth, those who dropped out or were pushed out of school aren't on our science screen. That needs to change

Mason's Great Adventure

So what do you do when you're single, laid off and in need of an adventure? Well , if your FairerScience friend, Mason, you go on a great adventure. You can follow Mason and his dog Max on their adventure over at the aptly named, at Mason's Great Adventure.

March 02, 2010

Scientae is up

That's right; this month's Scientae is up, so run right over to A Lady Scientist's and check it out! Amanda did the illustrated edition of continuity-- it's fabulous!