Issue 37: January 2010
Preliminaries to a science of the mind by Roy Harris. Do you have a mind? Answers to this question have
divided Western thinkers for centuries, and still do. Mindboggling
sets out to identify a nucleus of basic issues about the mind, and present the
main arguments for and against in each case. Targeted to a lay
readership, each chapter discusses a different theory, myth or idea about the
mind. Anticipate wails from theorists whose theories have been given
short shrift. Mindboggling is available on Amazon, from Bookshops
or direct from Publishers.
Television by Bienvenido León.
The book is a clear and systematic guide to the narrative
and rhetorical techniques used by science documentary filmmakers. The book is
priced at £18.50, but for direct orders we are offering a 20% discount.
Science is a collection of articles from the first five years of The
Pantaneto Forum. We are offering a 20% discount for direct orders.
We accept as a fact of life that when it comes to public
finances: politics always trumps economics, but in areas of public health and
social policy, scientists often forget that the same rule applies. Recently, in the UK, the chief government drugs
expert and chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs was sacked
for “crossing a line into politics”.
Other members of the same Council also resigned in protest. So what is the scientific evidence for
effective treatment for drug addicts? In
“Policy makers ignoring science and scientists ignoring policy”, Dan Small and
Ernest Drucker review evidence of programmes in four different countries on
heroin addiction. The question politicians
(and the public) have to face is: “Is drug addiction a public health issue
which has become embroiled in criminality, or a crime issue with public health
Government funding in the universities in the UK has
not kept up with the increase in student numbers. Consequently, academic staff have come under
increasing pressure, and in the light of the worsening economic conditions this
problem is going to get worse. L. de
Meis et al have looked at this problem in Brazil and conclude that a
significant proportion of Brazilian scientists will leave academia as a result
of stress and burnout. Many scientists
in the UK would recognize
the same problems unfolding in the UK.
Online learning has already become a significant factor in
university education. In “Successful
online learning – the five Ps”, Jim Flood characterises the five important
factors in making online learning a successful venture.
At the Pantaneto Forum,
I have always encouraged articles on science in Africa,
which, I believe, will become much more important on the world stage over the
coming generations. In Malawi, Alice Saiti describes a teacher education
programme, run from Mzuzu University, for science and mathematics teachers,
who, in Malawi
are, in general, very poorly qualified.
The course that the university has run has been successful in raising
the standards of science and mathematics teaching, and could serve as a model
in other countries.
The proceedings of the Science Matters conference,
which we reported in Issue
28, October 2007, have just been published and are available from the
publishers – World
ignoring science and scientists ignoring policy: the medical ethical challenges
of heroin treatment, Dan Small and Ernest Drucker
The growing competition
in Brazilian science: rites of passage, stress and burnout, L. de Meis, A.
Velloso, D. Lannes, M.S. Carmo and C. de Meis
Interventions in Improving the Teaching of Science and Mathematics in Community
Day Secondary Schools in Malawi:
Assessment of the Impact,
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