One of the enormous ironies of the Covid-19 pandemic is that what should be an unquestioned triumph for science seem to have actually reduced trust in science for many. In less than a year science provided the tools to end a global pandemic, including an understanding of transmission, sophisticated models of epidemiology, and multiple safe and highly effective vaccines. You’d think that would bring folks for once and for all into the science-is-great-and-I’m-thankful camp – but no. Continue reading
Last week, I exulted in the astonishing scientific triumph represented by the availability – already! – of vaccines for Covid-19. This week I’m going to let myself slide back into curmudgeon mode, just a little bit, because I think there’s an important way in which some folks are missing the point of the Covid-19 vaccine story.
Like a lot of posts here at Scientist Sees Squirrel, this one is inspired by several different events lining up in my head to point in a common direction: Continue reading
Well, I survived – barely – my first full semester of teaching online;* and I’ve jumped into my second. Will it be the last? My colleagues certainly hope so, with “I can’t wait to get back in the classroom” beginning to be the most distinctive vocalization of Homo professorius. And you don’t have to look far to find media articles condemning online teaching: it’s lazy, it’s short-changing students, it’s unfair, it reduces learning to watching YouTube.
What if all that is wrong? Continue reading
Yesterday evening (as I write*) I spent 40 minutes filming three minutes of video. It was a clip explaining how to collect aquatic insects, for my newly-online-with-lab-at-home Entomology course. That “40 minutes” is just camera-rolling time. It doesn’t count planning what to film, travel to location, or editing the video later for posting (I only stepped on a slippery rock and swore on camera once; but it was a good reminder that I should probably learn how to bleep the audio track). Continue reading
Emma Despland is a friend and colleague who’s blogging here as an ecologist – but also as a citizen and and a parent. Her thinking about our current pandemic melds these perspectives, and that in itself is an interesting and important thing to me. That’s because scientists are, of course, just people like everyone else, who call their friends and bike with their kids when they’re not running an analysis or thinking about the Earth’s systems. And the scientist perspective and the citizen perspective and the parent perspective aren’t mutually exclusive. Read on:
Covid-19 has imposed dramatic lifestyle changes on many of us, most of which I think we see as short term inconveniences that we hope will soon pass. However, this imposed slowing of the pace of life creates space for reflection. Despite the obvious tragedy and fear, not all the new experiences we are living are bad. Some, perhaps, have something to teach us about the world we’d like to live in when all this is over. Continue reading