The Case For, and the Case Against, “The Case Against Education”

Four years ago, I read Bryan Caplan’s The Case against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money, a polemic about the form of education in the U.S. I disagreed strongly with a decent fraction of it, agreed strongly with a larger fraction of it, and overall found it stimulating — … Continue reading The Case For, and the Case Against, “The Case Against Education”

Things Fall Apart; The Bacterial Cluster Cannot Hold

About a recent paper from my lab: Deepika Sundarraman, T. Jarrod Smith, Jade V. Z. Kast, Karen Guillemin, and Raghuveer Parthasarathy, “Disaggregation as an interaction mechanism among intestinal bacteria,” Biophysical Journal (2022). Some bacteria stick together; others do not. We have seen these variations among bacteria inside the zebrafish gut, and it’s probably the case … Continue reading Things Fall Apart; The Bacterial Cluster Cannot Hold

How are tears like salad dressing? — What is biophysics? #9

In a charming letter published in 1774, Benjamin Franklin described an experiment in which he had poured “not more than a teaspoonful” of oil onto a pond, which he found sufficient to calm the water despite a choppy wind. What, you may be wondering, connects Franklin, ponds, tears, and salad dressing? In the last “What … Continue reading How are tears like salad dressing? — What is biophysics? #9

Books I Like about Energy, Climate, and Civilization

I regularly teach classes on energy, environment, climate, etc., for non-science major undergraduates at the University of Oregon. Inspired by some blog comments elsewhere, I thought I’d list list some books on this subject that I like. It’s especially worth noting books aimed at the general, non-specialist reader that are nonetheless quantitative. I firmly believe … Continue reading Books I Like about Energy, Climate, and Civilization