Fraudulent Peer Reviews Result in 107 Cancer Research Retractions

Normally, I laugh at the foibles of some of the more insular parts of the science community.   After all, some studies are born to be scorned (see Twitter, New Real Peer Review @RealPeerReview).
But this? This is evil. Over 100 cancer research studies retracted because of peer review fraud– that is, the peer reviewers are fraudulent accounts set up and written by the researchers themselves or their paid cohorts.  
You need fake peer reviews so you can move up in your chosen bubble and get grants. I get it. So go make up stuff about the love life of rats or fictional television characters, feminist intersectionality and Candyland or something.  If you’re going to lie, it’s reprehensible enough without lying about stuff that means life or death to others.
Retractionwatch is less amusing, usually, than Real Peer Review, but it’s worth keeping an eye on as well.
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A friend took this picture, it’s a place I will never be visiting. It’s not far from here, apparently, in the mountains.  It’s a small village, and part of it is only accessible via this bamboo and steel cable footbridge.

There is a church here. They recently had a gospel meeting and afterward had a meal and some recreation together.  Note the basketball.  When I tell you it’s everywhere here, know this didn’t even surprise me. I almost didn’t notice.

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Taaaaa-hoooo! Every morning between 8 and 9 the man comes walking briskly down the road, pole across his shoulders, a galvanized metal bucket with lid at each end. He is selling taho, a drink of warm, freshly made tofu, sago pearls and a home brewed brown sugar syrup.

I offered to buy some for the helper as this is her day to be here. She turned me down. I am never sure when she says no-thanks to something I offer if she really means it or if she is just being polite, but I know she meant it about the taho- later she apologized and said, “I am… um… not fond with taho.”

There’s more about it here-

she writes from Cebu island, which is the next island north of ours. She is charged less than I am. I don’t know if it’s because Cebu is cheaper or our guy serves bigger cups or because I am Amerikana. It happens.
We pay 20 pesos a cup, whic h is about .40.

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Flannery O’Conner on Teaching Literature

In 1963, Flannery O’Connor addressed the claim that “students do not like to read the fusty works of the nineteenth century, that their attention can best be held by novels dealing with their realities of our own time.”

Her response:

“English teachers come in Good, Bad, and Indifferent, but too frequently in high schools anyone who can speak English is allowed to teach it. Since several novels can’t easily be gathered into one textbook, the fiction that students are assigned depends upon their teacher’s knowledge, ability, and taste: variable factors at best. More often than not, the teacher assigns what he thinks will hold the attention and interest of the students. Modern fiction will certainly hold it.

“Ours is the first age in history which has asked the child what he would tolerate learning, but that is a part of the problem with which I am not equipped to deal. The devil of Educationism that possesses us is the kind that can be ‘cast out only by prayer and fasting.’ No one has yet come along strong enough to do it. In other ages the attention of children was held by Homer and Virgil, among others, but, by the reverse evolutionary process, that is no longer possible; our children are too stupid now to enter the past imaginatively. No one asks the student if algebra pleases him or if he finds it satisfactory that some French verbs are irregular but if he prefers [John] Hersey to Hawthorne, his taste must prevail.

“I would like to put forward the proposition, repugnant to most English teachers, that fiction, if it is going to be taught in high schools, should be taught as a subject and as a subject with a history. The total effect of a novel depends not only on its innate impact, but upon the experience, literary and otherwise, with which it is approached. No child needs to be assigned Hersey or Steinbeck until he is familiar with a certain amount of the best work of Cooper, Hawthorne, Melville, the early James, and Crane, and he does not need to be assigned these until he has been introduced to some of the better English novelists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

“The fact that these works do not present him with the realities of his own time is all to the good. He is surrounded by the realities of his own time, and he has no perspective whatever from which to view them. Like the college student who wrote in her paper on Lincoln that he went to the movies and got shot, many students go to college unaware that the world was not made yesterday; their studies began with the present and dipped backward occasionally when it seemed necessary or unavoidable. . . . ”

“The high school English teacher will be fulfilling his responsibility if he furnishes the student a guided opportunity, through the best writing of the past, to come, in time, to an understanding of the best writing of the present. He will teach literature, not social studies or little lessons in democracy or the customs of many lands.

“And if the student finds that this is not to his taste? Well, that is regrettable. Most regrettable. His taste should not be consulted; it is being formed.”

from Flannery O’Connor’s “Total Effect and the Eighth Grade,” published in The Georgia Bulletin in 1963, reprinted in Mystery and Manners (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1961)


(from the Circe podcast Close Reads)

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High School Nature Study

Nature Study for high school:

Nature study continues throughout all the school years for Mason’s students, and indeed, it should continue beyond. As adults we should still be taking an interested, curious notice of the natural world around us.

For a good idea of what sorts of things older students can do for nature study, you should visit this blog.
The post linked above contains ‘a list of Special Studies from the chapters in Furneaux’s “A Nature Study Guide” which CM mentions as a reference book for outdoor work.’  You want to read the whole thing, but here are just a few examples:

Gradual transition of bud-scales into leaves.
Simple experiments to demonstrate the manner in which the sap flows.
Germination of various seeds under different conditions as to moisture, food, heat and light. Records kept Plants reared from seeds, in a good soil, for continuous observation. Records of life-history.
The growth of bulbs and corms.
The growth of potato plants from the tubers under varying conditions. Make records.
Spring flowers (chiefly outdoor studies):
Habitats and habits.
Calendar observations.
Cultivation of flowers in the school garden.

Rearing of caterpillars or other insect grubs for the study of their metamorphoses.
Observations of aquatic creatures in the school aquarium:
Development of frogs’ eggs.
Various aquatic larvae.
Water snails. Small fishes.
Marine life as seen in the rock-pools.
Studies of Earth, Air and Sky.
Daily path of the sun: rising, setting, altitude at mid-day.
Lengthening day and increasing warmth.
Spring winds and showers. Droughts and dust.
Planets visible at the time. Appearances and movements.
Stars. Their apparent motions. Conspicuous constellations.

Summer Studies

The flowers and weeds of the garden:
The struggle for existence.
How plants are protected – thorns, spines, prickles, etc.
Forms and arrangement of leaves. Leaf mosaics. Functions of leaves.
Storage of food in rootstocks, tubers, bulbs, etc.
Calendar of summer flowers. Records of observations on the habitats, habits, flowering, fruiting, etc….
The jetsam of the seashore.
Various human activities in town and country.
Weather charts: how made, and their use.
The rocks and soils of the neighbourhood:
Building and paving stones. Their properties.
Other mineral products of the neighbourhood.
Disposition of rock-beds in the locality.
The forces moulding the land:
Streams and their action.
Action of the sea on the land.
The atmosphere as a denuding agent.
Clay, chalk, coral, and other interesting rock-formations.
The magnetic compass: its principle and use:
How to find the geographical North by means of the compass, the pole star, and the sun.
The northern constellations of stars always visible:
Their apparent daily motion.
The Milky Way. The universe.


So they are getting more involved in record keeping, studying habitats, ecosystems, biomes, noting more in depth observations of seasonal changes.  Their studies include biology, botany, earth sciences, astronomy, and more.


Nature Study, Know the World

Nature Study as science

As a help in school discipline (from Comstock)

The Value of I Do Not Know (from Comstock)

More advice from Comstock

Nature study ideas

Nature study is first hand observation, not watching a movie.=)

listen to the Intro to Comstock on librivox





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