Author Profile:  

Biography »

Publications »

5 word thesis hell
By James
Posted in syndicated on 16 September 2010
Stats: and Comments Off

Anyone and everyone studying towards a PhD is probably familiar with PhD comics- PhD standing for “piled higher and deeper”. It’s basically a window into the world of academia, and the hell of being a research student.

The most dreaded part is the thesis. An epic dissertation on which all future hopes and dreams are pinned. I’m wondering if the pain of thesis writing is actually universal, or whether some people actually enjoy it.

I’ve set up #5wordthesishell on twitter to find out. Send your descriptions of the thesis writing process in exactly 5 words!

here are some samples so far

  • Please have a nervous breakdown
  • Drowning in your own shit
  • I want my life back!!

<!–

–>

read more

Enough of these mindless attacks on scientists integrity
By James
Posted in syndicated on 25 June 2010
Stats: and Comments Off

We are all different, as scientists and as people, with individual aims, beliefs and motivations. Some do their best to communicate what they do and why they do it, and some people respond with curiosity and interest. Just see, for example, the excellent periodic table of videos and sixty symbols websites from my alma mater, The University of Nottingham.

<!–

–>

read more

Science vs Religion: To be Settled by Golden Goal
By James
Posted in syndicated on 16 June 2010
Stats: and Comments Off

It’s a question that just won’t go away. Mary Midgley’s comment is free article for the Guardian on 12th June, listed also on the science page, tries to examine whether evolution disproves the existence of God.

I would probably describe myself as an apatheist. I don’t believe in God, but this doesn’t really bother me, nor does the fact that other people hold opposing views. What I am interested in though is the quality and relevance of the argument.

<!–

–>

read more

Daily Mail Fearmongering Bingo
By James
Posted in syndicated on 22 May 2010
Stats: and Comments Off

The rules are simple, take an article on science, technology or health from the Daily Mail, and count how many times the following words or phrases are used.

  • Fear
  • Danger
  • Alarm/Alarming
  • Playing God
  • Risk
  • Fall-Out
  • Pandora’s Box
  • Plague
  • Weapon
  • Mistake
  • Wipe-Out
  • Step To Far
  • Concerns

<!–

–>

read more

Evidence based policy: what are we really talking about?
By James
Posted in syndicated on 6 May 2010
Stats: and Comments Off

Anyone reading this post will probably have seen Martin Robbins’ litmus test series for The Guardian, in which the respective political parties were asked a series of specific questions on science policy.

A running theme is that of evidence-based policy. Though Ben Goldacre has been a vociferous supporter of evidence-based health policy for a number of years, it’s become a deeply important issue in the wider scientific blog-o-circle in the run up to this election.

<!–

–>

read more

Jenkins vs The Volcano
By James
Posted in syndicated on 20 April 2010
Stats: and Comments Off

Simon Jenkins’ CIF article for the Guardian yesterday could easily be paraphrased as saying that the ongoing flight restrictions were “health and safety gone mad”.

Though the former Times editor dressed up the classic taxi driver’s thesis in a thick layer of dramatic cliché, it’s a lazy, sarcastic, and ill-reasoned argument, showing a deep misunderstanding of risk.

<!–

–>

read more