I’m back, tired and a little sun-scorched, from my trip to Northern Cape (northwest South Africa). Since my brain is still feeling quite fried after the 800 km drive back to Johannesburg yesterday, all I’m really doing today is catching up on what’s new in my absence.
- Mount Kelud still hasn’t erupted, despite intense seismic activity beneath the volcano on Saturday – but it looks like the false alarm was a temporary reprieve at best (check out the photo of smoke rising from the crater lake in the sidebar of the last link).
- Julia and Brian have both commented on the distressing news that the BBC have decided to solve the problem of finding a replacement for David Attenborough by eliminating the need for one: the Beeb is acting as a lion to the wildebeest of its Natural History Unit, and axing a third of the unit’s staff, with just 10 out of 33 researchers surviving. I foresee a repeat of the decline of the once-great Horizon, and I despair. Oh, and BBC? You’ve just neutered one of the more compelling arguments for the license fee. Well done.
- Given my post on the controversy over the teaching of evolution in South Africa, it was rather apt that we had a near run-in with a creationist on last week’s excursion: the landlady of the guesthouse we were using presented us with a thick anti-evolution (senso “all of modern science”) screed, which one of her neighbours – clearly less impressed by our talk of billions of years than she was – asked her to pass on to us as a prelude to a discussion which didn’t take place. This is probably fortunate – I’m getting a little tired of being handed books which will apparently convince me of The Truth, despite their blatant parodying of science, outright lying through the use of misquotes, and reliance on sweeping declarations in bolded, underlined capitals rather than anything resembling actual evidence or reasoned argument. It was therefore encouraging on my return to be pointed to some home-grown resistance to antiscientific thinking down here, in the form of this post over at Prometheus Unbound, by George Claasen of Sceptic South Africa.
- Yami kindly included my ramblings on gender issues in academia in the latest Scientiae carnival, even though I suspect it was more valuable for me to write than for others to read – I’m in a quite different mental place from where I was even a year ago in my thinking about these issues, and I’m still not sure I’m expressing it particularly coherently.
- Lab Lemming has rather amusingly translated an annoying Avril Lavigne song into an academic milieu. There’s a video just asking to be made.
- Greg Laden has joined Scienceblogs – and it looks like I really need to talk with the overlords about my contract.
Did I miss anything else of interest?