Can we reply on our scientific publications?

At the ACS (American Chemical Society) National Meeting in Denver last month, I attended symposium where faculty and librarians talked about unreliability and irreproducibility of scientific publications. The discussion brought a different angle for us to understand published research. A fundamental principle of science methods is that the experiment should be able to repeat with …

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Enough Already

How much is enough? What’s sufficient? These are questions not much puzzled over in the media or amongst the policy makers, but are arguably at the heart of the two largest challenges facing the human family – growing income inequality and climate and ecological destabilization. From: Too Much, April  2015 Thanks largely to the Occupy …

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The Monty Hall Evolver

The Monty Hall problem is very famous (Wikipedia, NYT). It is so famous because it so easily fools almost everyone the first time they hear about it, including people with doctorate degrees in various STEM fields. There are three doors. Behind one is a big prize, a car, and behind the two others are goats. …

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The Possibilities of Spring

 ” Our debates, for the most part, are examples unworthy of a playground: name-calling, verbal slaps, gossip, giggles, all while the swings and slides of governance remain empty.” So notes beloved author, Toni Morrison in a recent piece for the 150th anniversary issue of The Nation. This 260+ page collection of current and selected pieces …

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The Fires of Mordor

We’re right in the middle of a multi-week theme here at the Thornapple Blog, so if you are just dropping in you might find it helpful to go all the way back to February if you want to get the full treatment. But the synopsis is that we’re taking a dive into moral dietetics: the …

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Income, wealth, and IQ

I’m occasionally asked about financial returns to cognitive ability. As a rough rule of thumb, judging from the graphs below (obtained here), I would say: On average, an increase of IQ by one SD corresponds to  ~ $30k per annum of additional income. (Somewhat less than 1 SD in income; the distribution is far from …

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CAP Detective Work

For the past couple of weeks Lisa Bright and I have been scouring the MSU Archives trying to a) decide on a location for the 2015 Summer Field School, and b) shed light on the mystery assemblage found behind Hannah Admin Building. See Makers Marks from the Admin Assemblage, Sorting the Admin Artifact Assemblage, and …

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Gene drive

IIUC, there is a self-referential (“auto-catalyzing”) aspect to this method which is very interesting. The Cas9 gene (payload) also encodes the guide RNA (target) information, which determines the location of the DNA cut. Needless to say, this is a very powerful and potentially dangerous technology. Enrico Fermi (speaking about atomic weapons): Once basic knowledge is …

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The “End of College”? Not so fast

A recently-published book, The End of college: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere, by New American educational analyst Kevin Carey, has received a lot of media attention.  Carey predicts that most colleges as we know them today will likely disappear, and be replaced by online courses that will be widely and …

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