Category Archives: Academia

A Femi-narcissist reader

Do read my previous post first! And I should credit “Ban This Filth!” for the caption to the Laurie Penny tweet. In addition to the Dan Hodges blogpost that I linked to at the end of that one, here are some other relevants articles worth reading that I couldn’t shoehorn in. Here’s Mrs Trellis, writing a Dear Joan letter to feminism to explain why she’s […]

The Femi-narcissists

At the height of the BBC’s “Jimmy Savile crisis”, when police were estimating that the old, dead child rapist and his associates had assaulted at least 40 boys, a female media twitterer tweeted that she had no sympathy for the BBC’s predicament at all, after the way they had blocked her promotion, because she was […]

The opposite of scholarship

John Rentoul quotes India Knight: Gove’s proposals are, to me, socialist in their intention, which is to equip every child with the sort of education that has traditionally been available to only a very few. How is that wrong? And what do left-leaning academics think they’re doing when they say, “Ooh, no, the children won’t […]

Dancing about architecture

There is a small, ugly overlap between the kind of people who complain about reduced state funding for the arts and education in the UK and the kind of people who excuse the burning of books, advocate the closure of places of learning, attack performances of classical music, and disrupt debates in bookshops. Outside this […]

Phonies

While I’m on the subject of ideologues ignoring facts, this thread over at the Website of the obnoxious Local Schools Network is both informative and entertaining, unlike the article that started it. One of Andrew Old‘s contributions late in the debate says much of what I think about most quack educationalists in two paragraphs: And […]

Astronomy Photographer Of The Year 2012

Here’s a superb narrated BBC slideshow of winning images from the Astronomy Photographer Of The Year competition. The slideshow is by Paul Kerley, with narration by Chris Lintott and Olivia Johnson.

Making Money By Telling Women The Correct Way To Have Sex

Further to my post about rescuing fallen women, the Heresiarch examines how evidence-abusing ideologues compete to cash in on prostitution.

“It’s not his fault, miss; he’s Anger Management.”

People will focus on what Katharine Birbalsingh said about the failure of this country’s educational establishment to serve poor black boys, but the bigger disaster, in simple numbers, is its failure to serve working-class whites. Pseudoscience, whether it’s Marxism or eugenics or anti-vaccine hysteria or educationalist psychobabble, is often characterized by rich people making money […]

Support World-Class UK Research Universities

Which of this month’s begging letters from my almae matres more rapidly and effectively earned its place in my bin? Was it the one from Oxford University that began: Dear Mr Counsell Today the defining struggle in the world is between relentless growth and the potential for collaboration. which, if it means anything at all, […]

“Aimless Hostility”

A few days ago, John Gray reviewed A C Grayling’s latest book Ideas that Matter: The Concepts that Shape the 21st Century. To my surprise, someone I know linked to the review approvingly. I was surprised because the review is tosh: hysterical, pompous, and so self-fiskingly stupid that it’s not even necessary to read the […]

Sounds of silence

Via Slashdot, here’s an abstract of a study of graffiti found on the walls of the Joseph Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago, performed by a member of its IT staff. You can also browse the full dataset, including photographs of the inscriptions made available under a Creative Commons licence. The take-home messages (as […]

“Bringing this agenda towards fruition”

The resignation of Hazel Blears reminded me again that this nation’s government now has a “Department for Communities”. Letting that phrase pass my lips without implied quotation marks would be like vomiting into my mouth without washing it out. Thanks to Kevin Harris’s “neighbourhoods” blog, I can sample a little of that department’s output, a […]

Not Dead

Thank you very much to the PooterGeeker who sent me a Minolta SLR camera, lenses and other exciting goodies. You are star. I feel guilty writing so little lately when my readers are so nice to me. The person who sent me that amazing gift is someone I have never met in my life, which […]

Golly!

Mecha-Streisand Strikes Again

Harry’s Place is down because of a threat of libel action. The Ministry of Truth has the details. This will turn out to be a good thing, because the University and College Union, an organisation whose representatives seem unfamiliar with the way the Internet works, will soon learn the meaning of “The Streisand Effect“.

Clinical Research Paper Of The Year

Via The Motley Fool, comes this essential abstract from the scholarly journal Digestive Surgery: Red Hot Chilli Consumption Is Harmful in Patients Operated for Anal Fissure – A Randomized, Double-Blind, Controlled Study Pravin J. Gupta Fine Morning Hospital and Research Center, Laxminagar, Nagpur, India

Trouble At T’ Degree Mill

Another “shocking state of our universities today” story has appeared on the BBC news Website. A report from the Quality Assurance Agency says the degree classification system is broken. I smiled when I read this bit: The reports from the QAA raise some worries about the effectiveness of the external examiner system, in which examiners […]

Taking Irony To The Next Level

This morning I received an email from a community college in Canada asking permission to publish a link on its Website to the Website of Index on Censorship.

Signs Of The Times

The “pictures” included a front-page one of the torturer dressed in a pink nurse’s outfit that stopped just above the tops of her black stockings For those of you not up to date with the PooterGeek soap opera, having been made redundant from my first permanent job in science (when the Medical Research Council closed […]

Busy Tone

I’m so tired with work I’m starting to have hallucinations. I’d swear Richard Dawkins starts rapping 1 minute and 6 seconds into this YouTube video. (Christopher Hitchens throws shapes from 1:49 or thereabouts.) Go here for the torrent. [via]

Future News: Headlines Of 2108

NASA ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE ON CENTAURI IV AND ENCOUNTER POPULATION OF HUMANOIDS SO PRIMITIVE THAT THEY STILL HAVE FACEBOOK ACCOUNTS. PANEL OF HISTORIANS VOTES ON MOST HATED FIGURES OF 21ST CENTURY. SADDAM HUSSEIN, CLONED HITLER, HEATHER MILLS-MCCARTNEY TOP POLL. HUMPHREY LYTTELTON FORCED TO STAND DOWN AS PRESENTER OF I’M SORRY I HAVEN’T A CLUE AFTER EXPOSURE […]

I Want A Percentage Of The Gross

Remember William Hurt Grows A Beard? Now Dennis Quaid has grown one too.

Gum Shoe

Mick Hartley links to a Times report of a “serious” novelist suing the proprietors of a neighbouring factory because the fumes it produced so affected her concentration that she was reduced to writing genre fiction. It’s not just a funny hook for a news story; it’s a delicious illustration of how class and status in […]

Index on Censorship

One of the reasons I’ve been quiet these past few days is that I’ve been working on a new Website for the journal Index on Censorship which went live over the weekend. The purpose of this post is to send some of my Google karma to their new URL: “indexoncensorship.org“. If you believe in free […]

The Irreligious Policemen

Not having a telly, I didn’t catch the latest from Richard Dawkins, but when I visited his Website to look for clips, I saw this photo of him: All I could think of was Michael Mann directing Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens in an atheist actioner: [A convertible Ferrari screams through downtown in slow motion, reflections […]

Lightly Worn

Beachy Head[click image to enlarge it] I was eating breakfast in an hotel in Cambridge the Saturday morning after I shot that college ball. A tall, intense-looking man with a beard sat down at a table nearby. He pulled a hardback book out of his briefcase and began underlining paragraphs heavily with a soft pencil. […]

Character Development

Dismissing David Cameron and his gang as “toffs” is feeble, but I’ve noticed a few commentators refining that line lately. The Spectator blog points at Trevor Kavanagh, Political Editor of The Sun—there’s a job—claiming that the workrate of the Cameroonies compares unfavourably with that of either the Blairites or Brownites (as recounted by Alastair Campbell), […]

Dialectical Minimalism

Damian: [T]he impression I get is that Norm is more forgiving of Eagleton’s errors of reasoning than he should be Norm: Damian leaves an impression about my viewpoints that I feel I have a right to comment on. Damian: I’d happily place a bet with Norm on which of the two of them will be […]

Bald Eagleton

I write short posts. Much goes unsaid. I often write ironically. Some subjects are better approached that way; or it’s just more fun for me to tackle them sideways. What I do say, I say in plain English in the hope that my words at least are clear to everyone who reads them. Reading Norm […]

Professor Wakes Up At End Of Seminar

Norman Geras is disappointed by Terry Eagleton. You have to wonder how closely Norm’s been reading Eagleton’s output over the past few years decades.