A Graph All Freshman College Students Should See

October 14, 2016

I currently teach freshman biology for science majors where between 30-50% of the students drop the class or get less than a C. The problem is not only academic unreadiness, it is lack of self-awareness: Many have no clue as to how unready they are for science or health-related fields. Shockingly, some of them repeat the class and fail this class three times in a row! I shared this article with them to give them some much needed perspective. I stumbled on it by accident when I was looking up average SAT scores for biology majors. The scores of my students are none of my business, but showing them the scatter plot should give them a rough idea of where they stand. A scatter plot for each major would be far more helpful because some majors are less demanding, but given that many who take my class lack basic academic skills, I think this one is very helpful. If your student took the ACT instead of the SAT, this link provides a conversion.


New Video

December 14, 2015
I just posted a new video on the relationship between development and consumption. I hope this encourages instructors to teach more development-related issues.
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Environmental Consequences of Growing Fuel on Land Confirmed

October 18, 2015
I have always been strongly against used land to grow fuel as both costly and bad for the environment. This article finally documents some of the adverse consequences that up to now had only been a matter of speculation.
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Portable Wind Turbine

October 6, 2015
While there are many version of portable photovoltaic panels, this is the first time I have ever seen a portable wind generator. I look forward to seeing the price when it becomes available to see how it compares with photovoltaics.
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Robust Evidence that "Farm Dust" Protects Children from Allergies

September 4, 2015
Since my son suffers from many allergies I am always on the look-out for good articles on how this condition can be minimized. I am particularly intrigued by the "hygiene hypothesis" which presumes that rate at which people suffer from allergies has increased because children growing up in cities and suburbs are not regularly exposed to pathogens and parasites as their rural counterparts. This contrast is more evident in more affluent countries, perhaps because city dwellers in less affluent ...
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Lab Manual Addendum

August 21, 2015
I have just written an addendum with updates and improvements to four of the lab activities. If you already have a copy of the lab manual, please download a copy to keep your book up to date.

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Video Page Re-make

August 16, 2015
I have just re-organized the video page by replacing all of the Youtube videos with Vimeo. The reason I did this is because Vimeo allows viewers to download personal copies of the videos. I want people who purchase the lab manual to be able to watch these videos offline in case the internet connection in their school is down.
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Busy Summer

August 8, 2015
I have not posted anything because I was in China for two weeks (family reasons) and I was brutally busy in the preceding weeks. These days I will be preparing my exhibit for the annual meeting of the American Ecological Society. It is only 40 minutes from where I live so this is a rare opportunity for me to display my book for instructors all over the U.S.
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Ax-Grinding at Ratemyprofessor

July 5, 2015

Someone recently made the "misteak" of registering for my class. To set the record straight, I never give "pop quizzes". I give frequent quizzes and allow students to prepare a 4X6 notecard which may be used during each quiz. If you want to vent about your professor, then "you can be my guess" but at least tell the truth. This is why I recommend better screening of college applicants.

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Solar Impulse Lands in Hawaii!

July 3, 2015
The Solar Impulse just landed in Hawaii after 5 days of solo flight from Nagoya, Japan. This is a big deal because it is perhaps the riskiest portion of the first RTW flight on a manned plane that is powered entirely by photovoltaic panels. Kudos to Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg for making it happen. As you may well know, the Piccard family has been setting records for dangerous pioneering research for generations. But how many of you know that Bertrand's grandfather served at the rea...
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About this blog

This blog was originally created in January 2013 to serve as a means for providing updates on science activities from the environmental science lab manual Ecology, Development, and Sustainability. I have now expanded its purpose to include other items of interest to science teachers. 

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