Archive for the ‘Big Picture’ Category

Visualizing Environmental Impact

I just received an evaluation copy of Anthony N. Penna’s The Human Footprint: A Global Environmental History (Wiley-Blackwell) in the mail today. It looks fantastic, at least from my cursory first glance: an environmental studies text from a historical/anthropological point of view. I also like Andrew Goudie’s The Human Impact on the Natural Environment (also [...]

Southern CA Fires and Other Hazards

Because I’m from Pasadena, I’ve been keeping a close eye on what’s been going on with the Station fire. This is the one that’s been burning in the San Gabriel Mountains north of the LA basin for the past week or so. Because the fire is threatening a lot of places I know pretty well, [...]

Google Puts Oersted on its Home Page!

It’s not showing up on Google’s logo page, but today’s Google banner is in honor of Oersted’s linkage between electrical current and magnetism. Hans Christian Ørsted – Google Search.

Places and Spaces: Mapping Science

A while ago, I was preparing a post critiquing a map of domains of scientific knowledge based on users’ database searches. The post never made it to completion, but the idea apparently caught on with other people besides just me. Indiana University has a fascinating exhibit with a bazillion maps of domains of scientific knowledge, [...]

The Secret(?) Lives of Science Profs

I’ve been toiling all week over a post about what science professors actually do and where our salary comes from… when what do I see on the New York Times site? An article that pretty much fits the bill. In a post on the NYT “Wild Side” blog, guest columnist Steve Quake writes about how [...]

Perhaps I am Misguided?

An insightful email from Boris Korsunsky, a high school physics teacher,  just came through the PHYSLRNR mailing list. This excerpt (emphasis is mine) gave me pause: Besides, even if the hypothetical professor is well-versed in PER [physics education research - ed.] and enthusiastic about teaching, what is important at the college level may not be [...]

Hooray, Science!

After Obama’s inaugural, the opinions fly about the “rightful place” of science in US society. A few interesting ones: New York Times: Essay – Elevating Science, Elevating Democracy Uncertain Principles: Science is What Makes Us Human Scienceblogs: Rightful Place Project Nanoscale Views: “Science” and Inaugural Addresses I’m sure there are others… point me to ‘em [...]

Why Do I Need to Know This?

Do your students ever ask you why they need to understand math/physics/chemistry? Ask them if they like ice cream. At workbook, Michael Laiskonis of Le Bernardin explains how careful planning – thanks to some chemistry and math – makes for good ice cream. Workbook: Doing The Math.

Global Change – A Long View

We who teach the introductory-level environmental science courses often single out humans, as a species, for changing the global physical and biological environment. The changes are so great, we say, that a group of geoscientists has been pushing to call our current epoch of geologic time the Anthropocene. Perhaps we give ourselves too much credit: [...]