Bats aren’t bugs

by John Holbo on May 5, 2004

I shouldn’t, but what the heck.

Steven Den Beste has a long post in which he articulates his view that:

we are actually engaged in a three-way war. It’s something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the most important consequence of it is simply the recognition and acknowledgement that it is a three-way struggle.

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Send Lawyers, Guns and Philosophers

by Brian on May 5, 2004

While all the epistemologists were “safely tucked away in Moscow”:http://www.class.uidaho.edu/inpc/7th-2004/, Massachusetts tried to slip some unreasonable provisions into its draft death penalty statutes.

bq. One of the major recommendations is raising the bar for a death penalty sentence from the normal legal standard of guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt” to a finding of “no doubt about the defendant’s guilt.” (“New York Times”:http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/03/national/03DEAT.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1083769665-5fdOsijTKGYxWSfW2htAmw)

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Women in science.. at the top

by Eszter Hargittai on May 5, 2004

This is a more personal note although certainly related to topics discussed on CT and I’ll add some stats to give it some context. Congrats to my Mom for being elected a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences this week! The Academy has been around since 1825 and in all that time has had a total of eighteen women elected to its membership. The three women elected this week boosted the number up from fifteen. My Mom is only the second female chemist ever to become a member. The Academy altogether has no more than 200 members younger than 70 years old at any one time. (Members 70 or older do not count toward the 200 so there are just less than 300 current living members.)

Apparently the gender ratio is similarly abysmal in the science academies of other countries. Tabulations have shown that although in a few countries (e.g. Norway, Finland) the percentages are a bit higher around a whopping ten percent, among many other countries such as the UK, Germany, Israel, Denmark, France the figure is around four percent.[1] The state of things is especially striking given that nowadays women often make up more than fifty percent of those getting college degrees (although that’s distributed quite unevenly across fields). Sure, it takes time for people to go through the ranks, but a significant number of women have been getting degrees in science for a while yet the pipeline narrows for women at every step of the way from college degrees to graduate degrees to post-docs to assistant professorships to full professorships to membership in science academies.. all the way to the Nobel Prize.

fn1. Joan Mason: “Not much room at the top for women”, Forum, Journal of the Association for Women in Science and Engineering, No.8, Autumn/Winter, 1999/2000, p.3.

Bristol

by Kieran Healy on May 5, 2004

So Bristol was great up to the point where the hotel phoned me at 7:30 this morning saying that my car had been broken into. Back window knocked out and crap everywhere. They didn’t steal the “Ligeti CD”:https://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/001804.html.

40 years of academe

by Chris Bertram on May 5, 2004

John Sutherland in the Guardian looks back over “40 years in British higher education”:http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/columnist/story/0,9826,1209332,00.html and tells us what has changed for better and for worse. The goods include the breakthrough of women and the provision of decent coffee; the bads are salary erosion, the PhD as a sine qua non for appointment, overspecialization and worsening staff-student ratios. And in between? Surprisingly, the RAE is on that list.

Suckage

by Henry on May 5, 2004

“Max Sawicky”:http://maxspeak.org/mt/archives/000395.html is right – Ted Rall sucks. And he sucks even more than usual in this “hysterical diatribe”:http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=127&ncid=742&e=7&u=/uclicktext/20040504/cm_ucru/anarmyofscum, charmingly entitled “An Army of Scum (Or, We’re Looking For a Few Good Homosexual Rapists).”

According to Rall, the US army is equivalent to the SS.

bq. Now it’s official: American troops occupying Iraq (news – web sites) have become virtually indistinguishable from the SS. Like the Germans during World War II, they cordon off and bomb civilian villages to retaliate for guerilla attacks on their convoys. Like the blackshirts who terrorized Europe, America’s victims disappear into hellish prisons ruled by sadists and murderers. The U.S. military is short just one item to achieve moral parity with the Nazis: gas chambers.

You don’t have to be an apologist for Abu Ghraib to recognize this as nonsense. Even if it turns out that there are systematic abuses in US interrogation of prisoners, there’s no comparison between the US army and Hussein’s crowd, let alone the SS. I imagine that the shrill and obnoxious tone of Rall’s recent writing is not entirely unconnected to the fact that he has a book coming out this week. He’s the Ann Coulter of the left – a shameless self-publicist trying to build a career out of moral superiority, cheap shots and relentless, vicious stereotyping. To be avoided at all costs, in other words.