Site Update

Posted: September 19, 2010 in General
Tags: ,

This is a short week. I’ve got a lot of ideas in the works for posts, but haven’t gotten around to writing them up properly. I have plenty of excuses, but they’re really immaterial at the end of the day. In lieu of them, I’ll distract you by updating the site layout. Other stuff is below the fold.

This week has been more hectic than I would have liked. My boss was out of town for most of the week, which meant that I could catch up on doing all the unglamorous parts of my job.

This meant going through a whole bunch of notes and trying to scrape together all the things that are true and writing them up in a nice way so that I don’t spend a whole lot of time redoing things that I’ve already figured out.

You might not think that this is a common problem in science, but really it is. Scientists, by and large (though there are notable exceptions) tend to be quite a bit absent minded. We forget what we were doing yesterday, because something new an interesting has our attention today. There’s always something new and exciting to learn.

Somehow, we forgot to teach this aspect of science to our children. (By our children, of course I mean yours, because I want nothing do with children of my own. I’ll educate yours once they get to college, but other than that, I want no part of them.) This is a non-trivial problem in our educational system, however. One of the most important factors in creating scientists is inspiring curiosity at a very young age. If there’s one thing missing in the curriculum in the college of education, it is teaching students to be curious about the world, and giving them the training to ask the right questions.

However, I’ve digressed from my main point (I’ll do that a lot today), which is that even though I spent most of the week doing dull boring parts of science, this week was a good science week. “How?” you might ask. Well, one of the boring parts of science is reading a whole bunch of articles in scientific journals. These articles are chock full of new and innovative ideas, yet can often be quite soporific. A big part of my good science week was finding some interesting articles in a totally different field that directly relate to the work I’m doing. I can’t post the details yet, but hopefully we’re back on track and will have something publishable in the near future.

So, the moral of the story is this: I’ve not had time to give you a proper blog this week. I apologize. but I tell you that I really have a decent excuse. I’ll be trying over the next few weeks to get this blog back on track. The redesign (really it’s just a change of theme) is the first thing I did to get myself back focused on this space. Eventually, I’m going to get back to writing regularly again. I’ve been neglecting my creative writing side for too long, and I need to get back to doing that sort of thing again. I’m contemplating prose this time, which is something new for me. We’ll see how it goes, and if anything useful comes of it, perhaps it might even get posted here.

  1. Ellie says:

    Asking the right questions? Hell, just asking questions. If they ask enough they’ll eventually figure out what they want to know. 🙂

    Speaking of interesting science things, would it be possible to get a link to your thesis?

    • Jason Ellis says:

      I’ve found that just asking questions isn’t enough. Contrary to popular belief, there are stupid questions. It takes a bit of training to figure out how to ask the right questions to actually learn something. I can spend all day asking questions that won’t get me anywhere near the things I’m interested in learning. 🙂

      The real problem I’m finding is that students are less and less curious. They don’t want to know anything. They are (sometimes) willing to learn stuff because they have to (for a grade, degree, what have you), not because they want to know it. If students aren’t curious about the world, then there’s not a lot that one can do to get them asking questions.

      Also, send me an email and I’ll send you my thesis. 🙂

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