Life as an Extreme Sport

Another Kind of Fake News: Covert Marketing As Academic Research

Fake news and bad reporting (faithless journalism, perhaps) have been in the news pretty extensively since the election, and folks are trying to detangle trust, knowledge, and facts from fake news and click-bait headlines. One topic I haven’t seen addressed much is news around science articles – oh, I see the discussion of click-bait headlines and the flipflops of EGGS GOOD/BAD/WHO KNOWS. But what I don’t see so much of is a discussion of author affiliation. For example, the Washington Post published a Wellness article about choline last week that caught my eye. There were an awful lot of claims being made about this supposed wonder-nutrient we don’t get enough of, and reading the original article seemed like a good idea. So I did. Now, something that might not occur to folks is a normal part of reading academic articles for me: looking at author affiliations and disclosures for conflicts-of-interest.

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Safe Spaces and Trigger Warnings – A Joke or A Necessity, or Something Between Extremes?

There’s been a lot of talk lately about trigger warnings for college courses and safe spaces on campus, to the point that The Onion is mocking the idea of someone made uncomfortable by confronting beliefs that are not her own. One of the frequently held up examples is a op-ed that wants to merely facilitate discussion with professors on how to best support students who are triggered by potentially triggering materials–and already I’m sure people are rolling their eyes at the use/over-use of triggered (a compulsion I have, too). But then I remember Jessica. Jessica was bubbly and sarcastic and bitchy and going through a bad divorce that made my divorce look like a Disney movie, but it was at the same time and like many things, the broad details of divorcing students trying to navigate the University of Washington was much more important than the finer details of her

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A Primer on Apologies

I’ve talked before about trust as a limiting factor, and the steps to take to repair trust. But I haven’t actually spelled out an important first step to that, which is the apology. And, as you might know, today Nature apologized for a piece of correspondence published earlier this week that has people slightly irritated (see list, end of post). While Nature’s apology is better than a nonpology, it’s not actually a full apology, and it doesn’t surprise me that it’s not being as well-received as the editors likely hoped. I detailed some of my issues with the apology on Twitter this morning, but I wanted to take the time to actually expand on what is necessary for a complete apology. You can find quite a few different opinions on what constitutes an actual apology. I am fond of a four stage approach: Recognition, Responsibility, Remorse/Regret, Remedy. I think it’d

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How Many Times Does “Don’t Promote Misogyny” Need to Be Discussed?

In December, Nature published an editorial reporting on the results of their effort to broaden diversity in their pagest to increase the number of women contributing to their content. Some of the news is good (an increase in female authors) and some isn’t (a decrease in referees). Overall, though, it seemed like a nice bit of accountability, showing the actual effort being made to move away from the Old Boys Club of science. Which they then went and undid completely this month, by publishing the following letter (right) from Lukas Koube, titled Research: Publish on the Basis of Quality, Not Gender. Where do you even start with something like this? Do you start with the blatant misogyny? The barely-veiled Men’s Rights Activist language? The false idea that women aren’t represented in the sciences because they have babies? Do you just pound your head against the desk until you feel better?

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Know When to Ask, Know When to do More Research

I had a pretty strong idea of what I wanted to go to graduate school for – and it may surprise you to know that I didn’t think I was going to find what I wanted in a philosophy department.Of course, that’s where I ended up, and we know how that turned out. Separate from those issues, I really didn’t play well with people who saw no point to applied ethics (Or maybe not; one presumes you know me if you’re reading this.) The thing is, none of my professors from undergrad really knew where I could do what I wanted, either.Another thing worth talking about some time would be the people who encouraged where I ended up for Grad School v1.0. Not for the encouraging, but for the conversations I had a few years later with several of them, which boiled down to “oh yeah, we knew those risks

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