The 2012 edition of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) are in, and once Asia leads the way, with China, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea and Japan scoring very well, while many first-world nations, such as Australia, the U.K. and the U.S., lag behind.
In Canada, which placed 13th overall in mathematics, “alarm . . . → Read More: PISA international test scores show Australia, Canada, UK, USA lagging
Homer contemplates pi
Mathematics in the Simpsons
In a newly published book, Simon Singh presents a too little-known back story about the Simpsons TV show: underlying much of the clever screenplay are numerous references to somewhat sophisticated mathematics both in the Simpsons and in the follow-up Futurama.
Simon Singh is no stranger to either . . . → Read More: Pi in the Simpsons
Fundamental, wide-ranging and curious research is the basis of a country’s development. Cuts to CSIRO won’t help. CarbonNYC/Flickr
Like many scientists, I was apprehensive in advance about the Abbott government’s approach to science policy. Would it be pragmatic but fact-based or would it be ideological and politically driven?
Sadly it has only taken two . . . → Read More: Australia needs fundamental research to build a great country
One of the most perplexing side-effects of the Information Age is the means it unfortunately grants to many pseudo-scientific and science-denial movements to gain foothold and mutually strengthen numbers. Gone are the days when everyone would read or listen to common, well-researched, professionally written news.
Nowadays, everyone can withdraw into a self-imposed cocoon of “personalized” . . . → Read More: When skepticism becomes denial: The unholy alliance between science denial movements
Once again, Texas has joined a list of U.S. states that are fighting a rear-guard war against the progress of modern science.
On September 9, 2013, the National Center for Science Education and the Texas Freedom Network issued a joint news release expressing alarm at comments made by members of a Texas state committee . . . → Read More: Please mess with Texas: Texas textbook fiasco threatens US science
For many years, educators in the U.S. have been able to do little more than cry at the disappointing test scores. For example, in the 2011 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), which tests mathematics and science, U.S. eighth graders ranked 11th in mathematics and 10th in science. While not disastrous, these scores . . . → Read More: Massachusetts leads the way in science and math education
On 21 Aug 2013, at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky (a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio), an employee was struck by lightning, as he was clearing guests away from the museum’s zip line, in the wake of an approaching thunderstorm. Fortunately, the employee was not seriously injured and was quickly released from a nearby hospital.
. . . → Read More: Troubles beset Kentucky’s Creation Museum
Creationists on dinosaurs and dragons
On 5 Aug 2013, creationist Ken Ham addressed the issue of why dinosaurs are not explicitly mentioned in the Bible, given that, according to the creationist worldview, the earth and all its living inhabitants were created in a few days about 6000 years ago (so that dinosaurs were created with . . . → Read More: Did dinosaurs live with humans? Were dragons real?
Lattice Sums: Then and Now (Authors’ Website) Volume 150 of Encyclopedia of Mathematics and its Applications J. M. Borwein, University of Newcastle, New South Wales M. L. Glasser, Clarkson University, New York R. C. McPhedran, University of Sydney J. G. Wan, Singapore University of Technology and Design I. J. Zucker, Kings College, London PUBLISHED: August . . . → Read More: Lattice Sums: Then and Now
The 1996 Sokal hoax
Readers may be aware of the 1996 “Sokal hoax,” wherein Alan Sokal, a physicist at New York University, wrote a parody of a postmodern science article, entitled Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity, and submitted it to Social Text, a prominent journal in the postmodern studies field. . . . → Read More: Brown, Sokal and Friedman on nonsense in psychology