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Stories by Janet D. Stemwedel

Standing with DNLee and “discovering science”.

This post is about standing with DNLee and discovering science. In the event that you haven’t been following the situation as it exploded on Twitter, here is the short version: DNLee was invited to guest-blog at another site...

October 12, 2013 — Janet D. Stemwedel
“Forcing” my kids to be vegetarian.

“Forcing” my kids to be vegetarian.

I’m a vegetarian, which is probably not a total surprise. I study and teach ethics. I’m uneasy with the idea of animals being killed to fulfill a need of mine I know can be fulfilled other ways...

September 6, 2013 — Janet D. Stemwedel
Questions for the non-scientists in the audience.

Questions for the non-scientists in the audience.

Today in my “Ethics in Science” class, we took up a question that reliably gets my students (a mix of science majors and non-science major) going: Do scientists have special obligations to society that non-scientists don’t have?...

September 5, 2013 — Janet D. Stemwedel
Credibility, bias, and the perils of having too much fun.

Credibility, bias, and the perils of having too much fun.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog (or, you know, attentive at all to the world around you), you will have noticed that scientific knowledge is built by human beings, creatures that, even on the job, resemble other humans more closely than they do Mr...

August 30, 2013 — Janet D. Stemwedel
How far does the tether of your expertise extend?

How far does the tether of your expertise extend?

Talking about science in the public sphere is tricky, even with someone with a lot of training in a science. On the one hand, there’s a sense that it would be a very good thing if the general level of understanding of science was significantly higher than it is at present — if you could [...]..

August 27, 2013 — Janet D. Stemwedel

“There comes a time when you have to run out of patience.”

In this post, I’m sharing an excellent short film called “A Chemical Imbalance,” which includes a number of brief interviews with chemists (most of them women, most at the University of Edinburgh) about the current situation for women in chemistry (and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, more generally) in the UK...

August 7, 2013 — Janet D. Stemwedel

When we target chemophobia, are we punching down?

Over at Pharyngula, Chris Clarke challenges those in the chemical know on their use of "dihydrogen monoxide" jokes. He writes: Doing what I do for a living, I often find myself reading things on Facebook, Twitter, or those increasingly archaic sites called “blogs” in which the writer expresses concern about industrial effluent in our air, water, consumer products or food...

July 12, 2013 — Janet D. Stemwedel

Professional communities, barriers to inclusion, and the value of a posse.

Last week, I wrote a post about an incident connected to a professional conference. A male conference-goer wrote a column attempting to offer praise for a panel featuring four female conference-goers but managed to package this praise in a way that reinforced sexist assumptions about the value women colleagues add to a professional community.The women panelists communicated directly with the male commentator about his problematic framing...

July 9, 2013 — Janet D. Stemwedel

Addressing (unintended) disrespect in your professional community.

I am a believer in the power of the professional conference. Getting people in the same room to share ideas, experiences, and challenges is one of the best ways to build a sense of community, to break down geographical and generational barriers, to energize people and remind them what they love about what they're doing.Sometimes, though, interactions flowing from a professional conference have a way of reinforcing barriers...

July 3, 2013 — Janet D. Stemwedel

The ethics of opting out of vaccination.

At my last visit to urgent care with one of my kids, the doctor who saw us mentioned that there is currently an epidemic of pertussis (whooping cough) in California, one that presents serious danger for the very young children (among others) hanging out in the waiting area...

June 29, 2013 — Janet D. Stemwedel

C.K. Gunsalus on responsible -- and prudent -- whistleblowing.

In my last post, I considered why, despite good reasons to believe that social psychologist Diederik Stapel's purported results were too good to be true, the scientific colleagues and students who were suspicious of his work were reluctant to pursue these suspicions...

June 25, 2013 — Janet D. Stemwedel
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