Three Research Articles That Changed My View on Blogging

In the past two years I’ve read many thought provoking articles on blogging. Unfortunately many of these articles are hidden behind the great academic firewall. Researcher and blogger danah boyd explains how and why many academic articles are behind “heavy iron walls” in her blog post ‘open-access is the future: boycott locked-down academic journals.

While subscription fees may keep academic journals going it prevents interesting articles from circulating widely and circulation creates discussion. Fortunately there are also many great research articles out there in the open. I’d like to share three pieces that changed the way I think about blogs.

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Superman’s Evil Baby Nemesis Wagging Dogs and Reading Palms

Good news! These past couple of weeks have seen a resurgence of actual science and interesting science factoids for all the sci-blog watchers out there, the political infighting has thankfully moved into the background where it belongs. Not that political infighting isn’t fun for political junkies to watch and get a giggle out of, but when science bloggers won’t blog about science there’s a real dearth of fun stuff to write about.

As you can probably tell from this installment’s title, there is humor, fear, factoids and stranger-than-comic book discoveries out there to delight the seeker. Starting with stranger-than-comic book discoveries, Chris Rowan at Highly Allochthonous blog informs us that Scientists have discovered ‘Kryptonite’ !

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Blogging: When It Pays To Have Friends

You may have heard a little science blurb over the past weekend — something about fruits improving the antioxidant qualities of alcohol, or some such. What you didn’t know is that there was a blogging related to-do that came out of the whole thing, and it raised an interesting issue:

When does it pay to have friends?

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All Hell Breaks Loose In Sci-Blog Land!

The science blogging community has been inundated over the last week-plus with commentary on the subject of “framing” and whether scientists should be framing things in easy-to-digest sound-bytes for consumption by the general public. It started with an article in Science Magazine by Matthew Nisbet and Chris Mooney, entitled “Framing Science.”

This was followed by an NPR On the Media segment and another article by Nisbet and Mooney in Sunday’s Washington Post titled Thanks for the Facts. Now Sell Them., and it seems like everyone who is anyone has weighed in on the topic.

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The Most Silent Spring, ‘Going Grad’ and Neuronal Equality

Happy April to one and all! This year it went from freezing all the way to mid-summer 80+ degrees in 12 hours, making me just that much more concerned about global warming. In this science blog round-up I’m going to start out with some positively apocalyptic signs and omens almost as weird as the fact that dogwoods beat azaleas this year for early blooming. Before I get into regular old ‘weird science’ and brain-stuff, that is.

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21Classes multi-user blogging application for the classroom

21Publish, who provide software to allow groups to create their own shared blog platforms, has announced 21Classes, a multi-user blogging application specifically designed for creating classroom blog portals.

Hosted on 21Publish servers, teachers can set up a private blog platform for their students, with features including a class homepage to communicate with students, and independent but interconnected blog accounts.

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Silly Science, Head Cheese, and the Hairless Vulpes of Carolina

This edition of science blogging is going to look at some scientific tidbits about brains… and minds, as those seem to come attached to brains. There has been quite a lot on the subjects these past couple of weeks, thus lots of meaty stuff (apologies to those who gag at the thought of head cheese) to learn from.

On the subject of food, Berkeley professor of psychology Seth Roberts offers two blog posts about Brain Food, from the Scientific Blogging site. In Part 1, he talks about omega-3 fatty acids taken as supplements to improve sleep. His sources include walnut oil, flax oil capsules and salmon. His informal research on himself and from reports on nutrition forums indicate increased intake of omega-3s also helps symptoms of mood disorders, and in other studies has shown decreased susceptibility to Alzheimer’s. Which looks to be a pretty good reason to put omega-3s into one’s diet even if you sleep like a baby!

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Australian State Bans YouTube From Schools

… Goverment schools, that is. “Why?” you might ask? Is it because its related to the watching of inappropriate content? The distraction of young minds while they ought to be focused on more scholarly pursuits? None of the above. Its related to bullying. Which is something that I’ve blogged about on more than one occasion — students using YouTube as a tool to terrorize others.

Is it the right solution, though?

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The Future of Education is in the Blogs

901am’s David Krug’s article, “Educators Flock to Blogging”, maybe a peek into the future of blogging.

One Principal believes blogging is the future of education. And I tend to agree. The ability to quickly assess a students understanding of the course material is huge. And teachers can easily interact with students in the comments section and in the classroom forums. Likewise tools can be create in which to rate, and/or grade posts to help teach students where they need to improve. Built in spelling tools will help students create a solid understanding of grammar and excellence in performance.

Blogging will change the way future generations of students adapt to an ever changing society. Homeschooling will become more prevalent as tools become available to network with other homeschoolers and share classroom materials.

In my opinion, one of the leaders in this “blogs as educational tools” revolution is, a free blogging service for educators. [Read more…]

Bloggers And Generalizations

Bloggers are fond of making sweeping statements, according to an observation by Lifespy blogger Alex Maximo on his personal blog. He says these generalizations tend to lead to unsound arguments, especially if absolutes are used, because these are tantamount to logical fallacies.

I do observe that some bloggers (myself included) are very much liable to commit sweeping statements. It’s a fallacy that’s quite common to commit. I know teachers of college freshman English will be so frustrated knowing that a good number of their spawns are going against the rules of academic writing. And it’s just one of the many inductive fallacies and all the other logical fallacies that one can commit in writing.

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