Saturday, March 15, 2014

Links for LINKs

Get it?
LINK: low income, no kids, an appropriate category for many academics

OK, on with the links.  As always, these are provided by you, the reader.

Here's the latest installment of why women don't study science and engineering.  As a chemist myself, this is a problem that interests me.  This article is noteworthy in that it doesn't blame anybody.

Here's your article about shooting students.  Numerous people asked me to post this last week.  I didn't want to because

  1. I don't like the quality of discourse in most gun control discussions and I didn't want to see that at the Water Cooler.
  2. For all the academics we have around here (and CM & RYS before), it's almost entirely free of politics.  That's refreshing.
  3. This editorial, in particular, is poorly reasoned, even for an attempt at satire.  In fact, it's closer to a what an NRA hack might write if he wanted to make fun of the way gun control advocates frame the issue.

OK, OK.  I relent.  I hope you're happy.

Our final link is to an essay writing website. Yes, yes, this is awful.  Let's get that out of the way.  What I find so interesting is the angle they use to sell their product.  The educational system is broken.  PhDs have no jobs.  College is a meat grinder.  Why not compensate for those injustices with just one more?  Instead of saying, "Your prof is an asshole for assigning this paper" they actually suggest that their service helps professors too.

The other amusing aspect is the irreverent way they talk to students.  I guess you can do that if your customers understand that you're doing it ironically.  Here's a sample from their FAQ page:
... If you seriously think that a CUSTOM-WRITTEN essay can be caught by plagiarism software, you probably shouldn't be in college. The whole reason why you're using this services is so that your lazy ass doesn't itself have to plagiarize. Long answer? We source and cite everything we write on the basis of our long experience of non-plagiarizing. Short answer? No, you're not going to get caught unless you do something stupid like tell everyone that you bought an essay.
Overall, the site is cleverly written.  I wonder if how much they would charge to write that report I owe to the college accreditation committee?


  1. I did enjoy the article about women in STEM fields. I wonder if the author is on to something? I started college in a STEM field and ended-up with a STEM PhD, as a woman. I cared about grades, but I was usually happy with a B (procrastination, lack of studying), while my roommate would freak out that her life was over if she got a B, she was a history major! The only time I was upset at a grade was in the second semester organic chemistry class I took as an elective (I like being punished). I got a C, my first ever C and I was mortified. At the time my adviser said to me, "Hey, you are human!" It helped to think of it that way, because no one is perfect. Looking back, the fact I was taking an overload of courses, including three science classes (I stubbornly wanted that Chem minor) was probably a major factor. As an undergrad I was in a male dominated major, but it never felt that way of course I did not care!

    That said nothing gets me more upset when I hear people telling my daughter is a girl and she can not play with cars, but she must play with dolls and things. Hell no!!! Girls should not be relegated to playing with dolls, kitchen toys, etc. At home she happily plays with her cars and she is starting to use Legos, because I don't want her to ever feel like such things are only for boys.

  2. I doubt the idea that women don't major in science more often because they're afraid of getting bad grades. This argument strikes me as an update of the old argument that women don't major in science more often because they're afraid, which I also doubt, since I've seen too many counterexamples.

    "Conventional wisdom" has long held that although physics majors tend to get lower GPAs, their lower GPAs aren't held against them when they apply for medical schools. Try finding a medical school that will admit that: I tried, when my physics department was starting our program in biomedical physics.

  3. From the URL: