So why are exams a bad idea when you want to check whether a bunch of science undergrads understood what you taught them? Well, one part of the problem should be obvious to anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of science:exams are not very good experiments. There is no way to control for interference of irrelevant, extraneous factors. When scientists conduct a study, in any field and with any methodology, they seek to control for irrelevant interferences. For example, when psychologists test hand-eye coordination, they’ll do something like only taking right-handed people with healthy hands and eyes, in order to make sure that the results aren’t skewed by irrelevant differences between individuals.
I’ve also changed the blogs settings so that comments are now open on old posts, too (they used to close automatically after two months). Feel free to rekindle the discussion on the Tirade, or on any other old post.
As you may have noticed, I’ve been redesigning the website over the last couple of days. It was one of those things I wanted to do at some point but really wasn’t planning on starting, until I suddenly got sucked into it and started obsessing. I’m sure I’ll still find some little detail to “fix”, then another, then another, but at this point I’m willing to declare the redesign complete and successful.
Of course, if you notice anything that seems off, let me know.
Over the past couple of days, for some reason, Akismet has not been catching spam anymore, meaning I get a good 10-20 e-mails a day about spam comments awaiting my attention. Until this is figured out, I’ve restricted comments so that you have to be signed up to comment.
Mattan just told me that he had tried to post comments to some of the posts recently and they weren’t posted, nor did he get any kind of error message. I’ll be looking into this over the coming days and hopefully fixing it; if it happens to you, please let me know. Meanwhile it might be a good idea to keep a copy of any long comments before sending them.
I’ve just installed Disqus (prounounced “discuss”), which I think will make it easier for more people to participate in discussions here. But right now I’m still getting it set up and you may not be able to see or make new comments until I’m done.
If there are any problems with the comments after today, please let me know ASAP!
(This is also the reason the blog theme has suddenly switched. I think I’m going to keep this font once I fix it!)
UPDATE: I decided to drop Disqus and stick with normal comments for now. Though I did switch the content font. :)