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Nan's picture

Half the Sky

Hey everybody, I don't really know if this has any place in this Ecological Imaginings class, but maybe if we can imagine the preservation of women to be a form of ecology, not unlike the preservation of all plant life, animal life.

I just wanted to call everyone's attention to this excellent documentary currently being shown on PBS on Mon & Tues nights at 9:00 PM.  I imagine you guys have lots of time to watch films, yeah!  But this is an amazing series.

"Half the Sky" about gender based violence.

Here's the link to the first & second segment:

sterrab's picture

Scientific Writing

Although writing in a natural or physical science discipline can be easily distinguished from a literary text by the subject topic, different genres of writing branch out of science as well. As a physics major and a student in other science courses, I have had a range of experience in different types of science writing. Presenting my laboratory work for an experimental physics course, an individual research project on the chaos in heart rate for classical mechanics, or a popular science report on human evolution for biology, I must say that each writing experience was unique regardless of the topic in question. The writing assignments are framed in a specific context, either by the professor or the course itself, that allow for a genre of writing. As mentioned by Debbie in class on Thursday, the different genres of writing appear as a result of the context of each sample. A sample from a magazine such as Harper’s or an academic literary essay from the PMLA fall under different genres as each addresses a different audience with different backgrounds on the topic. Other writing samples cannot be understood out of a historical or political context at which they were originally written. Whether a science paper is to be published in Scientific American or the Physical Review Letters does create separate genres in scientific writing as a result of the expected audience and their varying technical and science background.

Ashley Dawkins's picture

Ashley's Index

I feel a sense of relief after completing my first year of teaching. After surviving the world wind of this life changing experience I can now catch my breath and further reflect on my experiences. I see an immediate need to involve more creativity and inquiry into my lessons...this is why I am here. I am here to learn, question, and gain ideas that I can apply to my classroom. The interesting twist is that I my classroom will be changing for my second year of teaching. I will be entering the cyber community and trying to incorporate creativity and inquiry into this world. I am not sure what to expect...

Paul Grobstein's picture

Making sense of the world: the need to entertain the inconceivable

An interesting example of the constraints placed on inquiry by stories that make some things difficult to conceive came up in Neurobiology and Behavior last week, during a discussion of the ability of the nervous system to generate outputs by itself rather than simply in response to external stimuli.

"Perhaps I've just had the idea that 'cause equals effect' engrained in my mind for so long that it's just difficult to sway me, but I still feel that there must be some input to trigger reactions in our body" 

Paul Grobstein's picture

On beyond an algorithmic universe

Very rich conversations this week with Stuart Kauffman, a theoretical biologist, Alan Baker, a philosopher, and Scott Gilbert, a developmental biologist, first over dinner and then during a panel discussion with additional input from Mark Kuperberg, an economist, and Billie Grassie, founder of the Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science.  Delighted if any of them wanted to weigh in with their own thoughts in the on-line forum below (along with anyone else interested in the

Paul Grobstein's picture

Alternative perspectives on randomness and its significance

Interesting lunch conversation with Mike Sears over winter break, following up on issues that have arisen in the evolving system open discussions.

drichard's picture

What is Life?


Paul Grobstein's picture

Multiple worlds, multiple interpretations: quantum physics and the brain

Very interesting seminar last night by Guy Blaylock on the multiple worlds interpretation of quantum physics.  Nice example of the principle that a given set of empirical observations is always subject to multiple interpretations, ie that there is always a perspectival or "subjective" element in scientific stories.  And an interesting dissection of reasons for preferring one or another several stories, a dissection that might in turn lead to some new stories.

As Guy neatly pointed out, the "traditional" interpretation of quantum physics has several "weirdnesses," with one more coming up in discussion:

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