From the Greek meaning 'heavy with wine'
A blog devoted to science and reason
Written after a glass or two of Pinot Noir.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happiness Is A Cold Beer

CREDIT: Some hockey fan going by the screen name goodkiller
It's been shown in a study published by the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.  A mere 1/2 oz. brings a rush of the neurotransmitter dopamine and the resulting sense of pleasure.  The amount is so small it's inconceivable that intoxication is responsible for the effect.

And now from the land of sky blue waters,...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Medicine Would Have Worked

Here are the parents of an 8 month old baby they allegedly allowed to die.
CREDIT: NBC 10 Philadelphia
This is not the first child of Herbert and Catherine Schaible to die.  They had a 2 year old that died in 2009 from pneumonia.  That death led prosecutors to charge them with involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment.  Found guilty, the Schaibles were serving a 10 year probation sentence in which they were to required to seek medical attention whenever any of their children - and there are now seven left - fell ill.

Why didn't they see a doctor?  They don't believe in medicine.

"Don't believe in medicine" - What a crock.  No one needs belief in science-based medicine. All that is required is doubt, skepticism, and experiment. I don't believe that viruses, bacteria, and toxins cause disease, I have reason.

And we have reason to put these two in jail.  Allegedly.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The New University of California Will Have No Faculty

California Assemblyman Scott Will of Santa Clarita introduced AB 1306, a bill that would create the New University of California.  What's new about this institution?  No faculty.

That's right, no professors to teach the students.  The bill states 
The New University of California shall provide no instruction, but shall issue college credit and baccalaureate and associate degrees to any person capable of passing examinations.

Students will just gain the knowledge and skills on their own and then pay the New University to take the final exam and receive academic credit. 

Students - just think.  No homework, no papers, no labs, no group projects, no tests except for the final, no all-nighters, no falling asleep in class, no professors droning on, no problems finding open seats in classes,…

CREDIT: The University of California Los Angeles
Who writes and proctors the exams if there're no professors?  The New University will buy them from "qualified entities" who will also give the exams.

Who would drive over a bridge designed and built by civil engineers alumni of the New University? If this idea is so wonderful, why restrict it to associate and baccalaureate degrees?  Who wouldn't see a physician who earned their M.D. from a medical school at the New University? 

Assemblyman Wilk to his credit does realize that even if there's no faculty, the New University does require eleven trustees and a chancellor.  This chancellor will be "authorized to employ and fix the salaries of, employees to assist him or her in carrying out the functions of the university."  How many administrators does it take to run a university that has no campus, no faculty, and no buildings?  Probably more than we can imagine.

The problem of access to higher education has a simpler solution that the ones proposed by Wilk and Darrell Steinberg.*  Invest in the existing systems: the Universities of California, the California State Universities, and the California Community Colleges.

* Steinberg introduced AB 520 that will require the state's colleges and universities to accept credits earned in Massive Open Online Courses.