BioBlog

History & ‘right to try’

Alison Campbell May 30, 2018

Over the last few years, OracA has written quite a bit about the so-called ‘right to try’ legislation that has been enacted in many US states – and, as this post of his describes, will now most likely become a thing at the federal level. (I say “most likely”, given President Trump’s history of wanting to significantly reduce … Read More

Talking about what we should teach

Alison Campbell May 10, 2018

While I was on holiday (Japan – it was wonderful!) – I read Tom Haig’s interesting article about ‘curriculum wars’ over on Education Central, and it reminded me of the concerns I’ve held for some time that we don’t really talk enough about *what* to teach in our classrooms, be they university-level or in the secondary sector.  Several years back (how time … Read More

There are horses for courses, but snails for faces?

Alison Campbell Mar 21, 2018

I first wrote about the snail facial back in 2015, in response to an article in the Herald on Sunday on that very topic. Today, the fact that there’s a story on the very same subject on the Stuff webpage suggests that there is always an appetite for woo (although when I read the story just now, I was … Read More

Why is one person’s science another’s conspiracy theory?

Alison Campbell Mar 13, 2018

One of the things that’s become quite obvious, in the various anti-vax comments that I’ve followed and responded to on line, is that people with ‘alt’ views have very firm ideas on what constitutes ‘the truth’. And it’s not something that mainstream organisations, authorities, or scienceA are seen as offering. And so (on a new UNICEF New Zealand post) we see: … Read More

UNICEF and friends VS the outspoken Anti-vaxxers

Alison Campbell Mar 07, 2018

Back in mid-February, UNICEF NZ posted a piece on the importance of vaccines. Shortly thereafter, the comments thread had been overrun by anti-vaccination pro-disease activists. (I have to say, I’m really impressed with the person who does UNICEF’s social media. Talk about grace and dignity under fire!) This seems to happen every time a story about vaccine-preventable disease hits the … Read More

What are the challenges for First-Year Core Science Courses?

Alison Campbell Feb 28, 2018

Professor Karen Burke da Silva was the keynote speaker at Day 1 of the 2017 First-Year Science Educators’ Colloquium, held in Wellington. Her topic: Transforming large first year science classes: A comprehensive approach to student engagement. Currently at Flinders University, she’s been instrumental in setting up an ‘integrated teaching environment’ that’s seen a drop in withdrawals, and a marked … Read More

Poor little Pangolins – Driven headlong to extinction by human greed and stupidity

Alison Campbell Feb 20, 2018

Pangolins are strange little creatures, with their diet of ants and termites, and the entire outer surface of their bodies covered with armour-like scales (face, belly and the inner surfaces of the limbs are either hairy or naked). When in danger, pangolins are able to roll up in a ball, presenting only that armoured surface to a predator. Actually, … Read More

The MMS zombie rises to shamble once more…

Alison Campbell Feb 20, 2018

I’ve written about MMS – the “Miracle Mineral Supplement” – several times beforeA (here and here, for example). I guess it’s a useful thing to hold up to show how something can clearly be woo – eg claims that it kills/cures practically everythingB under the sun – and yet people still buy the stuff. Buy it, and potentially … Read More

Engagement and Experiences in Undergraduate Science Education

Alison Campbell Feb 14, 2018

At FYSEC2017, Gerry Rayner led a session called “Undergraduate science education in the 21st century: issues, needs, opportunities”. Gerry kicked off by commenting that education has a greater impact – on students, teachers, and the wider society in which education systems are embedded – when people work together across a range of disciplines. What are the issues currently … Read More