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Stories by Janet D. Stemwedel

Soothing jellies.

Soothing jellies.

One day in to ScienceOnline Together 2014, my head is full of ideas and questions and hunches that weren’t there a day ago. I’ll be posting about some of them after I’ve had some time to digest them...

February 28, 2014 — Janet D. Stemwedel
The line between persuasion and manipulation.

The line between persuasion and manipulation.

As this year’s ScienceOnline Together conference approaches, I’ve been thinking about the ethical dimensions of using empirical findings from psychological research to inform effective science communication (or really any communication)...

February 21, 2014 — Janet D. Stemwedel
Professors, we need you to do more!

Professors, we need you to do more!

though we can’t be bothered to notice all the work you’re already doing, to acknowledge the ways in which the explicit and implicit conditions of your employment make it extremely difficult to do it, or the ways in which other cultural forces, including the pronouncements of New York Times columnists, make the “more” we’re exhorting [...]..

February 16, 2014 — Janet D. Stemwedel

Nature and trust.

Here are some things that I know: Nature is a high-impact scientific journal that is widely read in the scientific community. The editorial mechanisms Nature employs are meant to ensure the quality of the publication...

January 17, 2014 — Janet D. Stemwedel
How plagiarism hurts knowledge-building: Obligations of scientists (part 4)

How plagiarism hurts knowledge-building: Obligations of scientists (part 4)

In the last post, we discussed why fabrication and falsification are harmful to scientific knowledge-building. The short version is that if you’re trying to build a body of reliable knowledge about the world, making stuff up (rather than, say, making careful observations of that world and reporting those observations accurately) tends not to get you [...]..

December 23, 2013 — Janet D. Stemwedel
Don’t be evil: Obligations of scientists (part 3)

Don’t be evil: Obligations of scientists (part 3)

In the last installation of our ongoing discussion of the obligations of scientists, I said the next post in the series would take up scientists’ positive duties (i.e., duties to actually do particular kinds of things)...

December 19, 2013 — Janet D. Stemwedel
Careers (not just jobs) for Ph.D.s outside the academy.

Careers (not just jobs) for Ph.D.s outside the academy.

A week ago I was in Boston for the 2013 annual meeting of the History of Science Society. Immediately after the session in which I was a speaker, I attended a session (Sa31 in this program) called “Happiness beyond the Professoriate — Advising and Embracing Careers Outside the Academy.” The discussion there was specifically pitched [...]..

November 30, 2013 — Janet D. Stemwedel
Scientists’ powers and ways they shouldn’t use them: Obligations of scientists (part 2)

Scientists’ powers and ways they shouldn’t use them: Obligations of scientists (part 2)

In this post, we’re returning to a discussion we started back in September about whether scientists have special duties or obligations to society (or, if the notion of “society” seems too fuzzy and ill-defined to you, to the other people who are not scientists with whom they share a world) in virtue of being scientists...

November 28, 2013 — Janet D. Stemwedel
On allies.

On allies.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. –George Santayana All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again.

November 19, 2013 — Janet D. Stemwedel
Scary subject matter.

Scary subject matter.

This being Hallowe’en, I felt like I should serve you something scary. But what? Verily, we’ve talked about some scary things here: Dangers to life and limb in academic chemistry labs, and the suggestion that lab safety is too expensive...

October 31, 2013 — Janet D. Stemwedel
A Hallowe’en science book recommendation for kids.

A Hallowe’en science book recommendation for kids.

Sure, younger kids may think the real point of Hallowe’en in the candy or the costumes. But they’re likely to notice some of the scarier motifs that pop up in the decorations, and this presents as unexpected opportunity for some learning...

October 30, 2013 — Janet D. Stemwedel
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Scientific American Unlimited

Scientific American Unlimited