Category: Academics

Roundup The Academics? Monsanto Verdict Raises New Troubling Questions About Professors Working Under Corporate Sponsorship

Roundup_herbicide_logoFor a growing number of critics, the breakthrough verdict against Monsanto for $289 million over its Roundup weedkiller is an indictment of the company’s corporate culture but also of academics who were used by the company to discredit scientific studies linking the herbicide to cancer.  Former groundskeeper, Dewayne Johnson, 46, reportedly has only months to live but he just delivered a body blow to one of the largest corporations in the world. It is not that $289 million is a crippling fine for Monsanto, but the verdict of guilt based on a finding of actions taken “with malice or oppression” will likely trigger tens of thousands of such claims.  Not surprisingly, Monsanto is now ditching its name in favor of Bayer after its recent acquisition. Continue reading “Roundup The Academics? Monsanto Verdict Raises New Troubling Questions About Professors Working Under Corporate Sponsorship”

Liberty University President Calls For Trump Critics To Be Arrested

220px-The_ScreamLiberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. issued an alarming tweet that suggested that critics of President Donald Trump including James Comey, Rod Rosenstein, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Jeff Sessions, and Loretta Lynch should be arrested.  While we are living in an age of rage, such statements from a university president is deeply disconcerting.  This follows a disturbing poll showing a surprisingly large percentage of Republicans believe that the President should be able to shutdown media organizations.  It seems like the rising distemper in this country is turning us against the foundations of our system from due process to the free press. Continue reading “Liberty University President Calls For Trump Critics To Be Arrested”

Fresno State Professor Calls For All White Editors Everywhere To Resign After “Ableist” Poem Published By Nation Magazine

unknownRanda Jarrar, a professor of English at California State University at Fresno, became an infamous character when she previously celebrated the death of former first lady Barbara Bush.  The horrific tweets by Jarrar led to calls for her termination, which I previously opposed on free speech grounds.  Now, Jarrar is back after calling for the resignation of all white editors everywhere because The Nation published a poem that some viewed as “ableist.” In the meantime, the editors of the liberal magazine have been on a public campaign of self-flagellation over the publishing of the short poem.

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Giant Sphinx Head Discovery In California Desert . . . Calling Mr. DeMille

TenCommandments-bigposter-1923The 300-pound head of a sphinx has been discovered in dunes in the California central coast traces. Before you rush to re-read your Egyptian history, this sphinx is the work of that great Pharaoh Cecil B. DeMille. It turns out that after filming the silent movie “The Ten Commandments” in 1923, DeMille just left parts of the huge set to be claimed the desert. It is not a Hollywood archeological site.

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Virginia Tech Professor Warns Of “Petro-Masculinity”

download.jpgWe recently discussed the seemingly endless examples of binary gender stereotypes in our society, including the scourge of hot wings.  Now Virginia Tech Professor Cara Daggett seems to have found a form of toxic masculinity that is actually toxic: “petro-masculinity.”  Daggett has an essay entitled “Petro-masculinity: Fossil Fuels and Authoritarian Desire” in Millennium: Journal of International Studies.  She warns that fossil fuels are actually combustible mixes of “masculine identity” and “authoritarianism” among men. It seems the favorite GOP slogan of “Drill, Baby, Drill” is sexist on multiple levels. Continue reading “Virginia Tech Professor Warns Of “Petro-Masculinity””

Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys? University of Wyoming Is Under Fire For Mascot

images-1 The University of Wyoming has long rallied around it mascot of the cowboy and it markets the school with the slogan “The World Needs More Cowboys.”  That marketing campaign however has triggered a backlash against the mascot and objections that it is racist and sexist and culturally insensitive.  Willie Nelson warned about this in his song “Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys” when he sang “Them that don’t know him won’t like him. And them that do sometimes won’t know how to take him. But apparently not everyone agrees.”

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Toxic Hot Wings? Tulsa Professor Raises Concerns Over Chicken Wings As A Form Of Toxic Masculinity

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YouTube Screenshot Hot Wings

The wonderful thing about seeing all social and political conventions as expressions of gender bias is that there are endless number of subjects for academic exploration. University of Tulsa’s Emily J.H. Contois, for example, has found toxic masculinity served by the platter in programs like the popular YouTube show Hot Ones.  Contois suggests that the host of the show, Sean Evans, has a “white, heterosexual, cisgendered, everyman brand of masculinity.” Continue reading “Toxic Hot Wings? Tulsa Professor Raises Concerns Over Chicken Wings As A Form Of Toxic Masculinity”

Is Global Warming Is Making Us Stupider?

290px-The_Sun_by_the_Atmospheric_Imaging_Assembly_of_NASA's_Solar_Dynamics_Observatory_-_20100819It is bad enough that global warming may be slowly killing out planet, but what if the hotter it gets, the dumber we become in dealing with it? If a recent study is correct, that may be the case. According to Harvard researchers in n a PLOS Medicine article, the human brain functions 13 percent slower when it has to operate in extreme heat.

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Colorado State University Professor Criminally Charged After Allegedly Faking Offer Letter From University of Minnesota

Brian R. McNaughton, a former associate professor at Colorado State University, has been criminally charged for his alleged faking of an offer of employment from the University of Minnesota to secure a raise. That $5,000 raise became a costly addition as part of a criminal charge of attempting to influence a public official.

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Cosmic Whale Music: Listen To What Cassini Picked Up Near Saturn

 

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Credit: NASA

NASA has released an extraordinary tape of the sound picked up by the Cassini spacecraft as it plunged into Saturn on its final mission in 2017.  The craft captured plasma waves from Saturn to its rings and into one of its moons, Enceladus. It is mesmerizing. It has been describing as Saturn singing and it is strangely beautiful.

 

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Cambridge Under Fire For Hiring American Physics Researcher Who Advocated Monogamy On Blog Three Years Ago

300px-University_of_Cambridge_coat_of_arms_official_version.svgStudents at Cambridge are objecting to the hiring of American Aron Wall, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California-Santa Barbara who studies “quantum gravity and black hole thermodynamics.” It is not Wall’s academic credentials or theories that are controversial. Rather, three years ago, Wall wrote a blog post critical of Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, the decision protecting the right to same-sex marriage.  Wall’s criticism was of non-monogamous relations in the gay and lesbian communities.  One can easily see the objections to such arguments but critics have gone further to object that Wall’s personal views create a hostile or threatening environment. Continue reading “Cambridge Under Fire For Hiring American Physics Researcher Who Advocated Monogamy On Blog Three Years Ago”

Meltdown At Mizzou: University of Missouri Cuts Budget and Staff In Continuing Decline After 2015 Protests

University_of_Missouri_sealWe have been discussing the continuing problems at University of Missouri after the school mishandled the controversy over the actions of Professor Melissa Click who notoriously led attacks on a student journalist as part of protests. The school sacked Click, but the school proceeded to make a series of controversial concessions to protesters and forced the resignation of the President and Chancellor.The meltdown at Mizzou has continued this year with further deep budget and staffing cuts. This includes lay offs and the elimination of 155 positions. Continue reading “Meltdown At Mizzou: University of Missouri Cuts Budget and Staff In Continuing Decline After 2015 Protests”

LSAT Adopts 12 Different Gender Identity Options

500px-Gendersign.svgColleges and universities have been struggling to become more inclusive by allowing a variety of gender identities, including many asking that academics and staff post their preferred pronouns on emails or alter how they address students based on different pronouns.  Now the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) has adopted 12 different gender identity options for students to choose in creating their account. The choice include include “agender, “androgyne,” “demingender,” “queer or genderfluid,” “man,” “transgender man,” “non-transgender man,” “questioning or unsure,” “woman,” “transgender woman,” “non-transgender woman,” and “additional gender category/identity [fill in the blank].”

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UCLA Professor Dies During BDSM “Mummification” Game

Doran-George-e1464300730957-280x280Ucla_logoThe death of UCLA Professor Doran George, 48, has shaken the university after he was found dead during a bondage session at the home of a Hollywood executive Skip Chasey.  Chasey is known as Master Skip in the BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Dominance and Submission) community.  George, who insisted on being called by the pronoun “their” rather than “he” or “she”, was found wrapped “head to toe in plastic wrap and gaffer’s tape, with small breathing holes at the nose and mouth.”  George died in something called the “mummification” sex play.

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Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks