Monday, July 26, 2010

Offshore Stem Cell Clinics Sell Hope, Not Science

This morning on NPR, reporter Richard Knox discussed how some overseas companies are offering stem cell treatments to customers over the web for spine injuries, heart disease, and many other conditions. However, for many of these conditions stem cell treatment is not the answer, and customers often spend thousands of dollars on stem-cell therapies with little benefit to themselves.

Read or listen to the full article here.

Should the national governments or other international regulatory organizations try and put a stop to this kind of false advertising, or this a case of buyer beware?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Oil Debate Spills into Academe

Interesting article about some university faculty who initially volunteered to help BP with the oil spill cleanup, and the reasons many of them decided to back out after reading the fine print.

See full article here.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Coordinating Efforts and Ensuring Transparency for Relief Work in Haiti

In an Op-Ed in the New York Times, former U.S. President Bill Clinton and the current Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive discuss the efforts of the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission to coordinate rebuilding efforts and to meet needs of the Haitian people six months after the earthquake that hit the nation in January 2010. In disaster relief efforts of this kind, issues of transparency and collaboration are key as organizations try and make sure that funds and support get to those most in need, and that the hundreds of NGO's and other programs now in Haiti work together to provide sustainable solutions for the many communities affected by the earthquake.

Finishing Haiti's Unfinished Work, New York Times, July 9, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

British Panel Clears Climate Scientists

A British panel has exonerated a number of scientists who had been accused of manipulating their research to support preconceived ideas about global warming. This includes Phil Jones, a leading climatologist at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, who stepped down from his research position as the investigation was pending. After the results of the inquiry were released, the university immediately reinstated him into a job resembling his old position.

However, the panel also rebuked the scientists for their reluctance to release computer files backing up their scientific work, and declared that a graph they had produced about climate change in a 1999 publication was "misleading" and should have contained caveats. The inquiry started after a series of embarrassing email messages set by Dr. Jones and other scientists were taken from a computer at the university and posed on the internet. The emails led to a deluge of accusations from climate-change skeptics, and has resulted in a series of five reviews on the research and conduct of scientists involved in this controversy. While these reviews mostly supported the research findings of the scientists, they did fault them for "...failing to display the proper degree of openness" in responding to demands for backup data and other information under Britain’s laws governing public records.

For more information, please see the New York Times article of July 7th.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fighting Cheating and Plagiarism in Universities

Colleges turn to technology and online tutorials to try and solve the problem of student cheating and plagiarism, as reported in this recent article from the New York Times.
Does your university rely on other methods, such as honor codes, tutorials, or class discussions about plagiarism? Do these technologies work to reduce student plagiarism, or should they be part of a wider program?