Daily Archives: March 16, 2010

Henry David Thoreau’s Room at Harvard

I knew a guy who who was a highly placed person at Harvard College, and had gone to the College for his undergraduate education. I’ll call him “Dean.” Prior to his attending Harvard, he had already become a major fan of Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau, of course, went to Harvard. So when Dean was accepted to Harvard, being a major Thoreau fan, he endeavored to find out what room in the Freshmen Halls (at Harvard, “Hall” = “Dorm” for Freshmen, “House” = “Dorm” for Sophomores and beyond), was Thoreau’s. I am not sure what records or resources he used to try to figure this out, but he managed to do so. And it turned out this was to be the easy part.


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The paper: “Science blogs and public engagement with science: practices, challenges, and opportunities”

I am avoiding commenting on the recent paper “Science blogs and public engagement with science: practices, challenges, and opportunities” by Inna Kouper (here). Bora has made extensive comments on the paper that I recommend (here) and as usual, Bora has done an excellent job linking to all the other stuff on the blogosphere about it.

The reason I avoided commenting on the paper is that I didn’t like it a whole lot, but did not want to get into a huge blog fight about it. I have mixed feelings about the communications field as it is, and I’m not sure sometimes if what I’m looking at is intellectually or academically unsatisfying or if I’m just not tuning in correctly to the material.

Anyway, the paper has been discussed widely enough that I thought you should know about it. The link above will get you to the original. My main two reactions to the paper are: 1) The sampling (which blogs are looked at) is not what I would have done; and 2) I find it fascinating that a communications paper about the blogosphere would not site the relevant blogging about the topic, and stick entirely to academic journal articles.

I’ve lost track of who, but someone out there suggested that this paper would be more valuable as a commentary than as a peer reviewed paper. Maybe. But if you read Bora’s post on it, you’ll see that the problem here was not the peer review process or the peer review context, but rather, the apparent failure of the journal editor(s) to apply the reviews that were carried out.

On an unrelated note, check out this one at Almost Diamonds, where Stephanie Zvan looks at genre.

Naked Science will look at Alien Life

I just heard from Richard Greenberg (NASA) that National Geographic’s Naked Science show will be talking about Alien Life on April 1st. (There is room for a joke or two about the date, I suppose!) Part of the show will involve Richard talking about Europa.

You may remember the Europa-Richard Green connection (and all the politics and controversy, and interesting science connected with that) from this review of Richard’s excellent book.