Gender and the Academe
Commanding positions by Jessica Shepherd
Shepherd reports on how some UK universities have opened doors for women to acquire administrative positions. Universities such as Oxford Brookes University and University of Winchester are one step ahead the gender equality ladder as they admit female chancellors, vice chancellors and other administrative offices. Shepherd also points out that women usually put off applying for an administrative office until they get better accomplishments. On the other hand, men are more of risk-takers when it comes to applying for a position.
In 2006, 42% of senior management posts in UK universities were held by women, while in 2003, 28% were, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency. It might not be by much, but the percentage of professors who are female has also nudged ahead from 15% in 2003 to 17.5% in 2006. And it is the new universities, in particular the post-92s such as Oxford Brookes, that are leading the change.
Science, Technology and Society
Moral Machines by Gary Marcus
Driver-less cars may be what we see in the streets soon enough. But given a difficult situation, will this machine do the “right” thing?
Building machines with a conscience is a big job, and one that will require the coordinated efforts of philosophers, computer scientists, legislators, and lawyers. And, as Colin Allen, a pioneer in machine ethics put it, “We don’t want to get to the point where we should have had this discussion twenty years ago.” As machines become faster, more intelligent, and more powerful, the need to endow them with a sense of morality becomes more and more urgent.
Science (Or Pseudo-science?)
Piltdown Man and other phantom species by Rebekah Higgitt
Higgitt lists down the hoaxes that once entered the intellectual bank of human evolution.
Although the specimens were forgeries, the fact that they were named, illustrated, published and discussed meant that the species nevertheless achieved some sort of existence, at least for several decades. It feels a little as if there should be some sort of limbo, perhaps similar to the place that ballpoint pens and odd socks go, reserved for these phantom species.
Anthropology and the Academe
(Image via The Guardian)
Controversy erupts (again) as the legendary Napoleon Chagnon publishes his book, Noble Savages. If you’re not familiar with Chagnon, refer to one of our previous posts here