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"A Pyramid Scheme"

"Imagine a job where about half of all the work is being done by people who are in training. That is, in fact, what happens in the world of biological and medical research." --- NPR reports [audio] on postdocs & the scientific workforce as part of a series on the funding crisis in biomedical research. The series also includes When Scientists Give Up [audio], and U.S. Science Suffering From Booms And Busts In Funding [audio].
posted by Westringia F. on Sep 16, 2014 - 53 comments

Math, myths, and Vikings: storytelling and social networks

"An unusual article recently appeared in the magazine of the Royal Statistical Society and American Statistical Association. It featured web-like diagrams of lines connecting nodes, a hallmark of research that analyzes networks. But each node, rather than being a plain dot, was the head of a burly, red-bearded Viking sporting a horned hat, his tresses blowing in the wind." [more inside]
posted by gingerbeer on Jul 18, 2014 - 11 comments

The Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery

The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery is an annual weekend conference discussing food, its history, and culture. Since 1981 the papers presented at the Symposium have been collected into a conference volume called the Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, most of which have been made available for free in their entirety via Google Books. Each volume consists of about 25-40 papers surrounding the theme of that year's Symposium (e.g. Eggs, Authenticity, or The Meal). [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Jul 17, 2014 - 8 comments

Routledge Gives Free Access to 6,000 eBooks

After digitizing over 15,000 books, Routledge has made 6,000 of these e-texts free for viewing during the month of June.
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 27, 2014 - 8 comments

Publisher, be damned! From price gouging to the open road.

In the journal Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation, the proposition paper 'Publisher, be damned! from price gouging to the open road' (replicated) criticises the large profits made by commercial publishers on the back of academics’ labours, and the failure of the Finch report on open access to address them. After a lengthy delay, the paper was eventually published, but only with a large disclaimer from the publishers (Taylor and Francis) and after a stand-off with the editorial board. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Jun 7, 2014 - 36 comments

The joy of seeing your work in print

I Sold My Undergraduate Thesis to a Print Content Farm: A trip through the shadowy, surreal world of an academic book mill.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Mar 24, 2014 - 46 comments

Con Men! Artistocrats! Nancy Boys! Radiothearpy and More!

The Trickster Prince is academic and historian Matt Houlbrook's blog about the ephemera and little-known stories of the English inter-war period (and before) with a focus on class-jumping, queer narratives, "faking it", and urban society in the 20s and 30s.
posted by The Whelk on Feb 5, 2014 - 13 comments

"Overall, I think that Diamond is like Mao: 70% right and 30% wrong."

Anthropologists weigh in on Jared Diamond's latest: lack of citations, ethnographic carelessness, and the smoothing of complex narratives into quotable fables. The World Until Yesterday has prompted a flurry of commentary from anthropologists unenthusiastic about the physiologist turned evolutionary biologist turned geographer. In a recent London Review of Books, leading political anthropologist James C. Scott doesn't buy Diamond's description of the modern nation-state arising to curtail primitive tribal violence "[i]n a passage that recapitulates the fable of the social contract" given how "slaving was at the very centre of state-making." Anthropologist Alex Golub, who shares Papua New Guinea as a major research site, wrote "Still, it is telling that we live in an age when a member of America’s National Academy of Sciences and one of the world’s foremost public intellectuals has less concern for citations and footnotes than do the contributors to Wikipedia." David Correia pulls no punches in his opinion piece "F*ck Jared Diamond" calling Diamond's resurrection of environmental determinism as racist apologia and his latest book as essentializing primitivism in order to define Western industrialized exceptionalism. [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi on Nov 19, 2013 - 268 comments

Free Palgrave Pivots

Hey, scholars, academics, and assorted geeks: Palgrave MacMillan is offering their first 100 Palgrave Pivots (midlength academic writings from around 25,000 to 50,000 words) for free until 11/1 at 1:00 p.m. GMT. Go!
posted by Pater Aletheias on Oct 29, 2013 - 19 comments

Journal of Irreproducible Results

On 4 July, good news arrived in the inbox of Ocorrafoo Cobange, a biologist at the Wassee Institute of Medicine in Asmara. It was the official letter of acceptance for a paper he had submitted 2 months earlier to the Journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals, describing the anticancer properties of a chemical that Cobange had extracted from a lichen.
posted by benzenedream on Oct 3, 2013 - 45 comments

The Mysterious Phantom Scoop

Fraudulent & hoax manuscripts submitted to academic journals typically present false findings by real authors. This time, however, the paper contains real (and previously unpublished) results... by fake authors. (via retractionwatch) [more inside]
posted by Westringia F. on Oct 1, 2013 - 24 comments

Weilue: The Peoples Of The West

This country (the Roman Empire) has more than four hundred smaller cities and towns. It extends several thousand li in all directions. The king has his capital (that is, the city of Rome) close to the mouth of a river (the Tiber). The outer walls of the city are made of stone. - A Third Century Chinese Account Composed between 239 and 265 CE, Quoted in zhuan 30 of the Sanguozhi. Published in 429 CE. Draft English translation
posted by The Whelk on Sep 1, 2013 - 28 comments

Edmund S. Morgan

"Curiosity is the principle motivator of all important work." Distinguished historian Edmund S. Morgan died on Monday at the age of 97. [more inside]
posted by colfax on Jul 9, 2013 - 8 comments

Why Is Science Behind A Paywall?

A large portion of scientific research is publicly funded. So why do only the richest consumers have access to it?
posted by reenum on May 18, 2013 - 62 comments

The Minerva Controversy

The Department of Defense recently announced the creation of the Minerva Research Initiative (PDF), also known as Project Minerva, providing as much as $75 million over five years to support social science research on areas of strategic importance to U.S. national security policy. The initiative indicates a renewal of interest in social science findings after a prolonged period of neglect, but it also prompts concerns about the appropriate relationship between university-based research programs and the state, especially when research might become a tool of not only governance but also military violence. The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) has invited prominent scholars to speak to the questions raised by Project Minerva and to address the controversy it has sparked in academic quarters.
posted by infini on Mar 7, 2013 - 17 comments

On questioning the quality of a publisher

Dale Askey is a librarian. He blogs. In August 2010, Dale was a tenured associate professor at Kansas State University, where librarians are granted faculty status. There, Dale blogged about the quality, and prices, of publications from Edwin Mellen Press. Edwin Mellen Press has served McMaster University (Dale's current employer) and himself with a three million dollar lawsuit, alleging libel and claiming aggravated and exemplary damages. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Feb 9, 2013 - 60 comments

The Rules Of The Game

Anne Helen Petersen, the voice behind "Scandals Of Classic Hollywood" (previously) and "doctor of celebrity gossip" gives us an academic rundown of the hows and whys of the last hundred years of Hollywood Star Making, celebrity, PR, marketing, fandom, and scandal management.
posted by The Whelk on Jan 24, 2013 - 7 comments

"Consider hybridisation in the following way. The mixing of a unicorn with a dragon leads to a hybrid, the rhinoceros!”

Thanks, Textbooks. A Collection Of The World's Finest Academic Writing. (Updated Every Monday). *or not
posted by Toekneesan on Dec 7, 2012 - 26 comments

Why we can't have nice research reporting

Just because you don't like a study doesn't mean it's wrong. Gawker takes the rest of the blog world to task for misinterpreting this new paper on women who watch televised sports. [more inside]
posted by DiscourseMarker on Jul 17, 2012 - 34 comments

alt-ac census

Who are the alt-acs? They are people with graduate education (mostly in the humanities and library science) who have decided to pursue alternative academic careers. They choose to skip the "dues-paying crap" often associated with pursuing a traditional tenure-track job, and avoid languishing in unrewarding adjunct assignments. They also tweet like mad. The results of a new (and, as of this writing, ongoing) #alt-ac census show alt-acs thriving in diverse positions; there's a strong contingent involved in the digital humanities, but also a historian at the U.S. Department of State, an exhibit developer at the National Constitution Center, and a self-employed "Editor, musicologist." [more inside]
posted by Orinda on May 16, 2012 - 26 comments

A Serious Business

Sure, the follies of art-speak are easy to laugh at, but often criticism of it begins and ends with a dismissive chuckle – which ignores profounder problems. Why should academic terminology be the default vehicle for discussing art? Why is there such an emphasis on newness, schism and radicality? Even when the art itself may be enjoyably throwaway, language pins it to deathlessly auratic registers of exchange. This suggests a subliminal fear that, if the subject in question is not talked up as Big and Culturally Significant, then the point of fussing over it in the first place might be called into question, bringing the whole house of cards tumbling down - Dan Fox, the associate editor of frieze magazine, discusses the contemporary art scene in detail.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 12, 2012 - 43 comments

The Lairds of Learning

Who are the most ruthless capitalists in the Western world? Whose monopolistic practices makes WalMart look like a corner shop and Rupert Murdoch look like a socialist? You won’t guess the answer in a month of Sundays. While there are plenty of candidates, my vote goes not to the banks, the oil companies or the health insurers, but – wait for it – to academic publishers. Theirs might sound like a fusty and insignificant sector. It is anything but. Of all corporate scams, the racket they run is most urgently in need of referral to the competition authorities.
posted by veedubya on Aug 30, 2011 - 134 comments

Universities condemn plagiarism. So it's kind of news when your Dean of Medicine does it at grad.

University of Alberta Dean of Medicine Philip Baker is so inspired that he plagiarizes graduation speech from one last year at Stanford. He claims only parts were not cited properly as inspiration while grads at the ceremony claim it was an outright lift. The tip-off? "Velluvial matrix." The U of A Guide to Plagiarism here for reference.
posted by reiichiroh on Jun 12, 2011 - 64 comments

Zigguraticity, Pyramidality

College Bowl was an American tradition for more than 50 years: two teams of four players each, who are read a toss-up question which anyone could answer alternating with a bonus question which only the team which got the toss-up question could answer. It was officially cancelled in 2008, due to a variety of factors. A strange new format dominates its successors: pyramidal quiz bowl. [more inside]
posted by curuinor on Mar 11, 2011 - 61 comments

Findings

Findings: A Daily Roundup of Academic Studies Serious, Sublime, Surreal and Otherwise, compiled by Kevin Lewis
posted by Pater Aletheias on Dec 11, 2010 - 12 comments

The Meaning of Degrees

Too anxious to take exams? University of Manitoba will give you a PhD anyway. A professor is suspended for disagreeing with that decision.
posted by binturong on Nov 3, 2010 - 102 comments

Words voiced

textsound is an online experimental sound journal. Some poetry, some music, all mp3s. Ten issues (so far).
posted by klangklangston on Sep 9, 2010 - 6 comments

The Authors Forgot About Rock and Roll

An article in the June issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society of the Biological Sciences finds that "differences in reproductive strategies are driving individuals' different views on recreational drugs": namely, that views on sexual promiscuity are more closely related to views on recreational drug use than religion, political affiliation or other predictors. The study suggests attitudes against recreational drug use are an evolutionary attempt to promote reproductive stability.
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Jun 16, 2010 - 21 comments

A Failure to Communicate

Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and Sage Publications are suing four librarians at Georgia State University for making portions of electronic copies of articles available to students when the text is places on reserve in the library, which is likely protected under fair use. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Jun 16, 2010 - 29 comments

As the academic freedom levee breaks...

ColdChef (2006): "Also, Dr. Ivor van Heerden is the fucking man. And he wrote a hell of a book, which will probably eventually get him fired." It did. van Heerden is suing LSU for wrongful termination, and the AAUP is investigating. [more inside]
posted by DiscourseMarker on Apr 15, 2010 - 21 comments

Short Versions

Dissertation Haiku
posted by Miko on Aug 18, 2009 - 34 comments

The Best Film Ever Made

With all this talk of Sandy Smith (epilepsy warning on that last link), his greatest project still wants for submissions. Smith: In May 2007 I commissioned an essay from a supplier of tailor-made academic essays. I requested a 1500 word essay that was to "prove that Junior... is the best film ever made." This essay was to make reference to various writers including Freud, Barthes, Baudrillard and Jameson in proving it's case. Yes, that Junior. [more inside]
posted by nímwunnan on Sep 21, 2008 - 9 comments

I'm teh uglee kid on teh internets

Study: Internet Not Dumbing Down Kids, Who Were Stupid Anyway. Full report! (warning: PDF) The information literacy of young people, has not improved with the widening access to technology: in fact, their apparent facility with computers disguises some worrying problems. Young people have unsophisticated mental maps of what the internet is, often failing to appreciate that it is a collection of networked resources from different providers. (Like tubes!)
posted by parmanparman on Jan 20, 2008 - 43 comments

Academic "Job Talk" advice

Advice on Academic Job Talk Visits by Siva Vaidhyanathan.
posted by mattbucher on Jan 10, 2008 - 33 comments

People who play gnomes are more likely to be annoying in real life.

Nick Yee's Daedalus Project (touched on previously) is dedicated to the study of human behaviour in MMOs. His recent dissertation names "The Proteus Effect": a correlation between MMO characters' appearances, and their players' behaviors. "In the final study (pdf), I showed that the Proteus Effect persists outside of the virtual environment. Placing someone in a taller avatar changes how they consequently negotiate in a face-to-face setting." His archives cover a lot of ground, and current MMO players can help by taking the survey. For a little lighter reading, refer to his critique of Internet Addiction Disorder, a "condition" that started as a joke, but almost made it into the DSM-V.
posted by mek on Sep 2, 2007 - 11 comments

Psychiatry in pictures

Psychiatry in Pictures is a monthly feature of The British Journal of Psychiatry which often demonstrates art created by the psychopathologically afflicted. Other installments include portraits of important figures in the history of psychiatry, paintings drawn during art therapy, and photographs of (quite inhumane) psychiatric treatments.
posted by charmston on Jul 18, 2007 - 15 comments

Best openings of essays/academic works

Best opening (or closing) paragraphs of academic works, a discussion at Crooked Timber. (This is of course different from first lines of novels, as discussed here, there, and elsewhere.
posted by LobsterMitten on Feb 23, 2007 - 39 comments

Philosophy as practiced in most English-speaking philosophy departments today.

Long .pdf paper on the state of mainstream "analytic" philosophy. In a recent thread, we discussed the current state of philosophy departments in English-speaking countries. Philosophers are often asked why we don't take Ayn Rand seriously as a philosopher, or why we aren't up on literary Theory or deconstruction, etc. The short answer is that most academic philosophers in universities in the English-speaking world are engaged in a broad consensus (about how to do philosophy, what counts as a good question, etc) that's called "analytic philosophy" for short. Here is a long, informative encyclopedia entry by Scott Soames describing the history and current state of play in analytic philosophy. If you want to understand the background of the currently dominant school of philosophy in the US, UK, Canada and Australia, this will explain it. Link goes directly to a 44-page .pdf file.

Here are a few bonus bits: Jerry Fodor on Why no one reads analytic philosophy. One of the Philosophy talk podcasts from the Stanford philosophy department, on The Future of Philosophy. Some answers at askphilosophers.org -- a site where you can ask questions directly of professional philosophers -- that say the distinction between analytic and continental philosophy should be retired. (In a way, I agree, but the terms are used so widely that it's useful to get a sense of what they're meant to describe.) The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on what different philosophers have meant by "analysis".
posted by LobsterMitten on Aug 24, 2006 - 56 comments

Electric Bouguereau

Bouguereau who? In 1900, his contemporaries Degas and Monet reportedly named him as most likely to be remembered as the greatest 19th century French painter by the year 2000. After about 1920 though, Bouguereau and the academic tradition fell into disrepute. His name was not mentioned in encyclopedias for decades. (You probably haven't heard of him unless you read this here.) Conspiracy? Or systematic suppression by the 20th century art establishment? (warning - some art NSFW - the 'him' and 'his' links)
posted by Smedleyman on Nov 29, 2005 - 26 comments

SWM ISO SWF

Researchers from the University of Chicago and MIT (PDF file) have analyzed data obtained from an unnamed major online dating service to try to uncover how the online dating market works. Shockingly, they have discovered both sexes care strongly about physical appearance and a woman's choice depends on the income and education of the men. Recent NY Times article about same. Paper authors other papers here.
posted by Fozzie on Jul 4, 2005 - 44 comments

Sakai!

The Sakai Project, an open-source course-management software program for educational institutions is being publicly released today. Backed by the University of Michigan, Indiana University at Bloomington, MIT, and Stanford, Sakai hopes to free Universities from commercial products, which have reportedly become increasingly expensive. Here's a nice little write-up from the Chronicle of Higher Ed.
posted by Ufez Jones on Jul 15, 2004 - 8 comments

Bad Writing = Good Writing?

Bad Writing = Good Writing? The academic journal Philosophy and Literature used to hold a "Bad Writing Contest" to ridicule dense, unreadable academic prose... but a new book argues headache inducing sentences are necessary to express subtle theoretical points.
posted by gregb1007 on Oct 30, 2003 - 28 comments

SmallPox 2002 - Silent Weapon...

SmallPox 2002 - Silent Weapon...
It is April 2002, and a smallpox outbreak occures in New York. 4 and a half months later and 60 million people across the planet are dead. Tonight, The BBC broadcast a fictional documentary as if it were filmed in 2005, looking back at the smallpox pandemic that swept the world in 2002 and killed 60 million people. Heavily rooted in fact, it was disturbing viewing, to put it mildly. Did anyone else in Europe see this?
posted by tomcosgrave on Feb 5, 2002 - 22 comments

Racial stereotypes hurt academic performances

Racial stereotypes hurt academic performances --on standardized tests--for whites.
posted by antimarx on Dec 4, 2001 - 21 comments

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