Back in the early 1980s, while living in my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, I fell in with a group doctoral candidates in the genetics department of the University. I was and remain no genius when it comes to science. At that time, the lab in which these scholars worked, under the direction of a man named Fred Blattner, was on the cutting edge of genetic research. So perhaps only initiates into that world really understood what was going on in the Blattner Lab, as it was known.
The old friend who introduced me to this circle, Tim Durfee, remains a close friend of mine. So I was delighted this week when he sent me a PDF from the Genome Web on a new technology, developed at Columbia University, to bring what was once the arcane science of DNA sequencing into middle school and high school classrooms. Tim will develop the analytical software for this endeavor, and he is clearly excited about it.
For this is, in fact, exciting: bringing real-world scientific inquiry into the high school classroom can only be a good thing. If this interests you, you may want to have a look at this PDF: PlayDNA Works on Bringing DNA Sequencing, Big Data Analysis to Secondary Schools.
“The book is poorly written, full of repetitions, replete with borrowings from unbelievers, and spoiled by the author’s atheistic bias and his flimsy psychoanalytic borrowings.”
Excerpted from: Barnard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.
(Here’s more essential reporting from Diane Ravitch’s Blog on Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. You know, as a fan of cheap comedy, I loved the Dumb and Dumber movies; that doesn’t mean, however, that I think they should inform federal education policy.)
Diane Ravitch's blog
When Betsy DeVos became Secretary, she left the board of Neurocore but did not give up her multimillion dollar financial investment. Ulrich Boseris, a journalist, signed up for Neurocore services in Palm Beach, Florida.
He describes what happened to him, then concludes:
SO WHAT DOES IT SAY that our education secretary is backing Neurocore?
For one, it seems that feeble science doesn’t bother DeVos. The budget document released by her department on Tuesday emphasizes that education decisions should be informed by “reliable data, strong research, and rigorous evaluations.” But like her boss, President Trump, DeVos apparently isn’t one to let evidence get in the way of what she wants to do. A recent study of school vouchers by DeVos’s agency showed that one program dragged down math scores by as much as seven points. Still, DeVos champions voucher programs, dismissing her opponents this past week as “flat-earthers.”
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“Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket.”
Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Portable Curmudgeon. New York: Plume, 1992.