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New issue of Symposium magazine

Symposium magazine (“Where Academia Meets Public Life”) has some fun stuff this month:

Learning to Read All Over Again
Lutz Koepnick
What produces better students – reading in print or reading on-line? The answer is both.

The Elusive Quest for Research Innovation
Claude S. Fischer
Much of what is considered “new research” has actually been around for a while. But that does not mean it lacks value.

Science Journalism and the Art of Expressing Uncertainty
Andrew Gelman
It is all too easy for unsupported claims to get published in scientific publications. How can journalists address this?

A Scientist Goes Rogue
Euny Hong
Can social media and crowdfunding sustain independent researchers?

Still Waiting for Change
Sylvia A. Allegretto
Economists and policymakers alike are ignoring a huge class of workers whose wages have been effectively frozen for decades.

One Professor’s Spirited Enterprise
Bob Benenson
A burgeoning distilling program has successfully combined science and business at Michigan State University.

Slow and Fast Learning in the Digital Age
Linda Essig
The proliferation of online learning tools requires us to take a closer look at how we think, teach and learn.

The authors of these articles include a professor of German and film studies, a sociologist, a reporter/novelist, an economist, a food writer, and a professor of arts management. Enjoy.

One Comment

  1. Entsophy says:

    I loved the “gentleman researcher” thing from “A Scientist Goes Rogue”. I’m guessing 80% of Americans are wealthy enough that they could self fund their own research and still have more free time and better living conditions than almost any of the famous scientists from before 1900. They would have greater control over what they worked on, they’d be able to work on topics of greater significance earlier in their career, and they wouldn’t fill up journals with so much crap. They would also have greater control over their personal life and wouldn’t be tied down to the first place that offered them tenure.

    Statisticians are in an especially good position to self fund. They can make plenty of money doing statistics, and their are no laboratories to build. With cheap computers, open source tools, and the Internet, the only thing stopping most people from self funding is that it’s not the social norm currently.

    There’d probably be a lot “Nassim Taleb” types running around, but so what? I prefer some in-your-face attacks on fundamental questions then endless pedestrian papers churned out by researchers who’s only goal in life is to professionalize the art of being a mediocrity. There’s more to be gained by correcting one of Taleb’s errors then their is by carefully reviewing yet another paper which introduces a new estimator and derives it’s asymptotics. Gag me till I puke.

    One thing grates though: the comment about “I don’t really want to resurrect that tradition of the male-dominated, aristocratic leader class”. Thats pretty much pure poseur posturing. Almost all of the great scientist were middle class. It depends on who you rate as a great scientist obviously, but I’ve seen estimates in the 90+ percent range for how many were middle class. The middle class is the sweet spot: not rich enough where you can afford to do nothing, but not poor enough so that you have to struggle to survive. Sir Isaac Newton, marquis de Laplace, and Lord Kelvin weren’t born with titles.

    Besides, how is opening serious research up to almost any living soul with the skill, training and desire to do it, regardless of their current circumstances, resurrecting a “male-dominated, aristocratic leader class”? The author of that article works in biology; a field which has “about 58 percent of all bachelor’s, master’s and doctorates in biology are awarded to women” (see here: