Blog 115. Is STEM best for education?

Is a STEM program the best guide for improving our schools?  STEM—the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics—is advertised as “innovative learning,” and “the future of the economy.”  That’s what you see when you type <STEM education> into a Google search. Continue reading

Blog 113. Information, misinformation and survival

Scientific news magazines now feature articles that reach out, not only to scientists, but to the educated public.  The journal Physics Today, once of interest only to physicists, now has a section entitled People and History.  How come? Continue reading

Blog 99. Why can’t I make a difference?

As best I can tell, satisfaction comes from accomplishing something we regard as useful and meaningful.  That seems to be true, whether you are a scientist, entrepreneur, gardener, or Mafia hit man.  Most of us want to make a difference.  We want to believe we’ve altered something for what we regard as the better.  To assert our importance, we erect large monuments in graveyards Continue reading

Blog 95. Gentrification by Zen?

The term “Zen” suggests a process that is easy, masterful, and calming—something most of us are eager to experience. (1)  And “gentrification” sounds like a gentle transformation of a pig sty into a pastoral abode.  However, urban “gentrification” means conversion of decaying inner city housing into a “higher and best use,” Continue reading

Blog 91. Can just anyone open a scientist’s email?

The 1/10/2016 New York Times (1/9/2016 web edition) offered an op-ed entitled, “Scientists, Give Up Your Emails.”  The author, a journalist named Paul Thacker, asserted that agencies (including universities) should not keep secret the personal communications of scientists who work for the government.  Continue reading

Blog 90. How to boil an egg in a microwave.

Submerge the egg in a mug of water.  Turn on the microwave for one minute.  Listen for  snap as the eggshell cracks.  That’s ok, the crack relieves pressure.  Reduce power to 40% and run the microwave for another minute.  At 35 seconds you will hear a loud pop.  Continue reading