Links for 2012-05-30

In which we look at the evolution of Republican attitudes toward higher education, the early days of nuclear secrets, the science of communicating science, the amazing things you find in textbooks, and the unwritten rules of science journalism.


  • Confessions of a Community College Dean: Thoughts on Romney and Higher Ed

    Over the past decade or so, though, Republicans — as opposed to conservatives, which they are not any more in any meaningful sense — have shifted their position. Now they’re openly hostile to higher education, except in for-profit form. Rick Santorum’s “what a snob!” comment, for all of its artlessness, pretty much encapsulated the id of the party in its current form. (The same could be said of Santorum generally.) Some of that is the lingering residue of hippie-bashing, but the recent surge in stridency can’t be explained that way. (I don’t recall a hippie resurgence in 2010.) I think it goes a little deeper than that. The higher education landscape in its current form represents a direct disproof of the core of Republican ideology. That’s why they hate it so much. It reminds them of the conservatism they left behind.

  • A tale of openness and secrecy: The Philadelphia Story | Print Edition – Physics Today

    At the University of Pennsylvania were nine scientists sympathetic to that message [opposing trying to keep nuclear research secret]. All had been involved with wartime work, but in the area of radar, not the bomb. Because they had not been part of the Manhattan Project in any way, they were under no legal obligation to maintain secrecy; they were simply informed private citizens. In the fall of 1945, they tried to figure out the technical details behind the bomb.

  • Reading List for National Academies’ “Science of Science Communication” Lecture on the Media & Science Policy Debates | Age of Engagement | Big Think

    The lecture this was for is over, but it’s probably still a useful guide to research about the way science is communicated.

  • Thanks, Textbooks.


  • The Unwritten Rules of Journalism – Science Careers – Biotech, Pharmaceutical, Faculty, Postdoc jobs on Science Careers

    I don’t blame science reporters for flubbing facts on occasion. Science is difficult to understand, and scientists famously lack communication skills. \ But the problem extends beyond simply misunderstanding the science. In fact, science writers appear to obey a collection of unwritten rules when trying to convey science to a mainstream audience. Such as:

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