December 3, 2008
I was particularly struck by the quote from Marc Bousquet, author of How the University Works: Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation (2008): "Most people who are paying tuition are shocked to discover the actual numbers of people who are teaching on a contingent basis, and they're shocked to discover the actual salary that they're being paid."
Really? Do undergraduates care if the prof. is tenure-tracked?
The article is essentially a write-up of the American Federation of Teachers' report "Reversing Course: The Troubled State of Academic Staffing and a Path Forward."
November 19, 2008
October 20, 2008
Or try this one and click on podcast on the left side of the screen.
A monograph is coming out in 2009.
September 28, 2008
September 11, 2008
Let me know if you can think of something in the public domain that we can use for an image.
August 22, 2008
On to some news.
You may all be interested to know that John Lynch from Arizona State developed a "big list" of HSTM blogs recently and I'm happy to say that we've made the list! If you interested in staying abreast with the hip and happenin', you might want to add these blogs to your daily reading list. Note that Suzanne Fischer's blog also made the list (and her blog is the reason I know about us making the list). Speaking of Suzanne Fischer, we all should give her a hearty congratulations on her new job as "Associate Curator of Technology" at the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Mich. Congrats Suzanne!
July 2, 2008
convivialities celebrating the end of the 2007-2008 academic year. Click any picture for a larger version:
HARG Retreat, O'Brien Observatory
Adrian is in his element.
There were deer. We wanted to share our beer with them, but they ran away.
The fruit was still good.
Sara and Maggie supervise the grilling.
Final ŒLSM Meeting - BBQ Wines
I believe this reaction was in response to Sid's tales of great personal peril.
Vincent and Sara hover over The Lineup.
Have you ever seen such unbridled enjoyment?
In this picture, Adrian and Barbara aren't speaking.
Sara works the grill.
John Eyler's End-of-Year Party
Surly bunch. They just sat there and scowled all night.
Rumors of my survival have been greatly exaggerated.
June 16, 2008
May 12, 2008
April 10, 2008
The LibX extension works with both Internet Explorer and Firefox, and there have also been versions created by a number of other libraries as well - so if you're not at the U, you might be able to find this extension at your own library.
Go to http://www.lib.umn.edu/site/libx.phtml to install the University of Minnesota version.
April 7, 2008
So far in this Junto commentary I've complimented the coffee, the alcohol, the food, and the environment. As a grad student, I'm not sure what else really matters, but luckily we had great presentations and a large turn out to boot. I believe that the final number of attendees was 71 with sessions being well attended all day on Saturday and most of Sunday. Of course, the usual faculty suspects were all there, plus a good group of graduate students from various universities. A good cohort of Iowa State students made the road trip up from Ames, many of them presenting and the rest were familiar from last year when they hosted the event. We also had a good group of University of Oklahoma students make the trip up from Norman (stipends must be good down there in Soonerville, they all flew instead making it a roadtrip). Guest appearances also occurred by grad students from University of Wisconsin, Missouri, Eastern Illinois, and Missouri University of Science and Technology. We also had great presentations from what us graduate students would call "professionals" from Linda Hall Library and Duke University. I would discuss the papers that I most enjoyed, but that would just show how prejudice I am towards the history of biology....
In general, it was a lively and successful Junto. There was even a graduate student party on Saturday night after the banquet in which our carefully manufactured home brew was unveiled. It turns out, if this grad school thing doesn't work out, a few of us in the department could have a future in the brewing industry....see our new label here.
Next year's Junto is being held at the Linda Hall library in Kansas City. I've never been to Missouri or Kansas, so I look forward to seeing familiar faces in a new place next year!
April 5, 2008
The history of American science as a field has certainly grown by leaps and bounds since the 1970s, but how much has that history filtered into the public consciousness?
March 10, 2008
Colloquium Review of Brian Woodcock's "Quantum State Collapse Along a Light Cone: History and Objections"
Overall, Woodcock's talk did include some good historical segments, though it was primarily philosophical. He discussed 3 main attempts to understand the quantum collapse over the years, dating back to the early 1960s. For the historians in the audience, these types of descriptions and analyses are familiar. However, like many of the philosophy of science talks that occur during colloquium (including last week's talk on philosophy of race and the use of it in statistical work), the speaker's conclusions tended to be prescriptive rather than descriptive. I think this is where philosophers and historians of science really differ. There are many approaches in the history of science that utilize conceptual and intellectual approaches that touch on many of the issues that philosophers attempt to deal with. Historians, however, do not make any conclusions about how science should work now. Though I have been spending a lot of time over in the Minnesota Center for the Philosophy of Science lately, and have been thinking much more about the philosophical aspects of biology, I realize that this descriptive/prescriptive distinction is one that will always keep me registering for HSS rather than PSA when they are having their joint meeting.
March 5, 2008
The database is located at http://ocp.hul.harvard.edu/contagion/.
February 28, 2008
Starting March 3, 2008, requesting a book from a Twin Cities campus library will be a one-stop process for University of Minnesota faculty, staff and students. The “Get It” link in the availability page of the MNCat library catalog consolidates book requesting services currently found in 4 places:
* Recall –changing the due date of a book that has already been checked out for earlier pickup at any convenient campus library
* Point-to-Point - for delivery of books not checked out, to be picked up at a more convenient campus library than the owning library
* Libraries to U – for delivery of books to on-campus faculty/staff offices
* MLAC Paging - for MLAC deliveries
An additional service is now being offered with the “Get It” link:
* Paging – pulling books from the shelves of a library to be held for users at the Circulation Desk of that same library
Get It will also provide an additional route for users to request In Process and On Order items. These requests will be directed to Technical Services for processing.
Users will no longer have to fill out web forms, but will have user and book information pre-populated when they initiate a request after logging into their account. All the user will have to do is make a menu choice indicating where they would like the book to be sent for pickup! This will include an on-campus office for UM faculty and staff. Once a book is either returned or found on the shelf, shipping will take place within 48 hours on weekdays; most requests shipped within 24 hours.
February 19, 2008
February 5, 2008
January 31, 2008
Congratulations to Hyung Wook Park, who was awarded the 2007 Nathan Reingold Prize for "'The Thin Rats Bury the Fat Rats': Animal Husbandry, Caloric Restriction, and the Making of a Cross-Disciplinary Research Project." He is featured in the current issue of the History of Science Society newsletter. The Nathan Reingold Prize (formerly known as the Ida & Henry Schuman Prize) is awarded each year to the best graduate student essay on the history of science and its cultural influences. Park is the first graduate student from Minnesota to be awarded this prize in the over 50 years of the competition's existence. Let's hope that he is starting a trend!
January 30, 2008
Topic 2: Evolutionary Psychology
February 1: Leda Cosmides & John Tooby, "Evolutionary Psychology: A Primer" online publication, http://www.psych.ucsb.edu/research/cep/primer.html
February 8: John Dupré, "The Evolutionary Psychology of Sex and Gender", chapter 4 of Human Nature and the Limits of Science, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2001, pp. 44 - 69.
February 15: John Dupré, "The Charms and Consequences of Evolutionary Psychology", chapter 4 of Human Nature and the Limits of Science, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2001, pp. 70 - 92Since many of you expressed interest in attending such a discussion, I hope you will be able to find some time over the next three weeks to attend. As usual, B.I.G. meets at 10:45-12pm in Heller Hall rm 737. It's an informal group, so feel free to come late or leave early. I look forward to seeing you there!
January 27, 2008
Bart, you've been in the philosophy department for 8 years now, but it's like we hardly knew ya. Good luck!
Games will take place at Ridder arena. Times are to be determined, but if there are any nights of the week you absolutely cannot play, let me know and I will try to accommodate as many people as possible.
The rules PDF is available from the IM sports website. The team registration fee will be $90, so it shouldn't be more than $10 per person, and likely less if we can get some numbers. To that end, if you know anyone else who might like to play, please have them send me their info.
No prior experience or equipment is required.
As a final order of business, I am also taking suggestions for a team name.
January 26, 2008
I thought I'd type up my reaction to yesterday's talk, focusing unsurprisingly on the exchange Antigone and I had with the speaker in Q&A. Here is a handout I have used in my COI class to deep-six instance confirmation. That may be helpful to those who weren't familiar already with the ravens. In what follows I assume everybody is.
So Strevens avoids some of Hempel's problems by recasting all ravens are black as a causal claim. That's a steep price to get out of trouble. As John Norton never tires of pointing out, it's not much help to cast your account of confirmation in terms of concepts that are even more poorly understood such as explanation or causation. But since IBE (inference to the best explanation) is my favorite account of confirmation, that objection doesn't carry too much weight with me (though bringing in causation would presumably set Hempel spinning in his grave).
The main problem with the account, it seems to me, is that the sliver of confirmation that he's looking at is just not where the action is in real science. Antigone put it very nicely in Q&A. In real science, you're not interested in confirming that all ravens are black, but in confirming some causal story about how raven-ness causes black-ness. And that claim is only indirectly confirmed on Strevens' account. He conceded when I asked him that that's not instance confirmation but something like IBE. In that case, IBE does all the interesting work. I think, however, that he was too quick conceding that point and later in discussion he actually had a better line of defense. Suppose you have two competing causal accounts of how raven-ness causes blackness. As long as they both entail that all ravens are black, the observation of yet another black raven indirectly confirms both of these accounts equally well. Other confirmation mechanisms (Bayes, IBE), it seems, need to be brought to distinguish between them. But, as Strevens pointed out, that's not necessarily true. These causal accounts correspond in real science to high-level theories which entail other laws subject to instance confirmation besides the one about ravens. So even though it may be a draw as far as the ravens are concerned, one may beat the other on some other entailed law that is subject to instance confirmation. So instance confirmation plus the indirect confirmation of higher level theories can capture more than one would think just focusing on the ravens. Still, the typical situation in science is probably NOT the one where you have two perfectly good competing accounts, but one in which you barely have the beginnings of one reasonable account. In that situation, the real work is done by IBE.
It was a strange experience listening to this talk about instance confirmation. It was a bit like someone telling me, after I thought I'd decisively overcome it at the age of 15, that there's something to Catholicism after all. So, I was very focused on what Strevens would say about the problems that killed instance confirmation for me. To me the white shoe is really indicative of two much more general problems with Hempel's account. The first is that it shows that it's hopeless to have a purely syntactic criterion of confirmation (of course, the grue paradox drives that point home even more forcefully). Strevens avoids that one by bringing in causation. But there's another problem that Strevens doesn't address. He's still assuming that the empirical domain of the theory can be carved up into instances independently of the high-level theory that is being tested. The white shoe illustrates that problem very nicely. The mechanism through which the white shoe seems to confirm that all ravens are black is what at Pitt back in the days we called "content cutting." If you spell out the set of instances in advance, the white shoe confirms because it eliminates a potential falsifier (an instance that could have been the dreaded non-black raven turns out to be another innocuous non-raven). Strevens' response to that one was that the hypothesis subjected to instance confirmation does the individuating of the instances. I don't believe that. It's the high-level theory that does that. That seems obvious in physics (but maybe that's because I'm a diehard Kantian), so I asked Ken Waters whether he could give me an example from the biological sciences. He mentioned ecology, which sounds like a great example to me. For these reasons I remain skeptical about instance confirmation.
January 23, 2008
Her talk is entitled "Silk and Sparks. A story of a journey between science and espionage in mid-eighteenth-century Italy" and will be in Vincent Hall, Room 20 from 11:15-12:15pm. Afterwards, Dr. Bertucci will be joining the current graduate students for lunch between 12:15 and 1:15pm. Please get in touch with Sara, who is coordinating the lunch, if you are a grad student interested in attending.
January 22, 2008
You need your UMN ID and password to log in.
Here's a snippet from library tech whiz Shane, who can summarize this better than I can:
Some of the features of myLibrary include librarian resource suggestions and recommended libraries for users based on department or discipline affiliation, the ability for users to save databases and ejournals to the page, easy access to MNCAT account information, and links and access to some of most popular services and tools offered by the libraries. All of these personalization and customization services are also available to our users through the myLibrary tab of MyU (https://www.myu.umn.edu). The myLibrary page can be accessed by saving a resource using the "Add To myLibrary" buttons located throughout the site, and at the top of the main web site header in the "myLibrary" toolbar link.
Good luck! Also, don't forget to visit CBI's blog. It's linked on the sidebar. http://blog.lib.umn.edu/horow021/cbi
In the interest of using it in the spirit in which I believe it was intended, here's a retrospective of this weekend's US Pond Hockey Championships, in which Maggie C, Jake, and I participated (along with a couple ringers) representing HSTM as "Maxwell's Demons".
Unfortunately, we came out of the weekend 0-4, do largely to a skiing injury that left Maggie on the IR, and the rest of us skating with no subs. Other than that, I think we acquitted ourselves and the program quite well on the ice, with both our perseverance and our snappy dress. Here is some photographic evidence that we were, in fact, out on the pond freezing our asses off at sparrow fart this weekend. You can click on any of these for a larger version:
This is the warming tent (actual warming subject to availability). We found out the full force of that disclaimer Saturday morning when we arrived and the gas had frozen overnight, leaving it a balmy -10° F or so inside. But then again, it's not the heat so much as the humidity that gets you.)
To you this might represent a crisp winter morning down by the lake where ruddy-cheeked little boys and girls play game in its purest form. To us it represents the crippling horror of having to shovel off several thousand square feet of rink before actually getting to play.
The jersey of our fallen comrade. Stay tuned for details of the number retiring ceremony to be held before next year's tournament.
When I asked this guy what he was up to, he simply mumbled that he dug it out, so it was his goddamn parking spot, and he'd be hog-tied and whipped with a bike chain before he let some snot-nosed, free-loading punk with a metastasized sense of entitlement take it from him.
Here's some in-game action, and a rare display of offense on our part.
This is Jake streaking up the wing. Come to think of it, an honest to goodness streaker could really have been an excellent tactical option for emergency situations. If you're willing to fill that role next year, get in touch.
I can't think of anything even remotely amusing to say about this picture.
This is a perfect example of why while the scoreboard might lead you to believe we were outclassed, closer examination reveals quite the opposite. I mean, look at those slobs. The bouncer must have been napping.
Despite our outlandish getups seeming restrictive, we found that coattails provide some loft, and result in increased stride frequency. We are negotiating with Easton Sports over licensing tweed-based performance technology (patent pending).
I'm providing a bit of extra scroll space here, because the next picture contains Cloverfield spoilers. You have been warned.
OH GOD, NUKE IT FROM ORBIT!
Thanks to Maggie for the photography, and for hanging around on the sidelines, freezing much more than we were, despite being unable to play.
January 21, 2008
This blog is very new and I would welcome any suggestions of content to include on the side bar at any time. Right now there is a small list of links and a few upcoming 2008 events. I would hope that both of these will expand over time. Also permanently on the side bar is the weekly colloquium series schedule. If you have any questions specifically about the schedule you should contact Barbara Eastwold, the administrative assistant for the program, as I am merely a blog administrator/graduate student and wield no real power.
Again, please feel free to post at any time. Anybody is welcome to post. If you have serious doubts about the inception of this blog or great praise for its creation, all flattery and blame should be directed to Dr. Susan Rensing as this was her brain child. Enjoy!