April 27th, 2009


Meme: April Flowers

Today I thought it would be fun to make a meme about flowers. Most people enjoy flowers, and even if you don't grow them yourself, you see them as you drive around. Other folks are welcome to copy this meme on their blogs or reply to it here.

1) What flowers are blooming right now in your area?
2) What is your favorite flower that grows where you live, and why?
3) What is your favorite exotic flower, and why?
4) Do you prefer cut bouquets or live plants?
5) Do you like flowers growing in beds, naturalized flowers, or both?

Here are my answers...

1) Tulip, grape hyacinth, cherry, crabapple, apple, strawberry, saskatoon, gold currant, honeysuckle, violet, dandelion, petunia, lobelia.

2) Gold currant, also sometimes called clove currant: Ribes aureum. It has trumpet-shaped yellow flowers with an intense spicy-sweet fragrance.

3) Gardenia. When I visited Mexico, one of my teachers was so fond of gardenias that she would buy a bouquet every other day or so. They were really cheap and their sweet fragrance would fill a whole room. I fell in love with them and started buying some for myself.

4) Live plants.

5) Both, but I tend to favor naturalized flowers.

This Week on Hypatia's Hoard of Reviews


Science Fraud

The rules of science are meticulous. They mix poorly with the rules of business and politics. The result is usually frustrated scientists and shabby science. The following article describes a study that reveals some of the problems:

Many Scientists Admit to Misconduct

Few scientists fabricate results from scratch or flatly plagiarize the work of others, but a surprising number engage in troubling degrees of fact-bending or deceit, according to the first large-scale survey of scientific misbehavior.

More than 5 percent of scientists answering a confidential questionnaire admitted to having tossed out data because the information contradicted their previous research or said they had circumvented some human research protections.

Not only does this suggest that we really need to revise the way science is funded, published, and otherwise handled ... it also hints at wider problems. If following the rules does not meet people's needs, if the rules are stupid or arbitrary or unevenly enforced, and/or if people hate the ones responsible for making and enforcing the rules, then the rules will be broken. Not once or twice, not by spectacular troublemakers or poorly disciplined failures, but frequently and by large numbers of people. Sometimes they just bend the rules a little in ways that are pervasively damaging. Other times they ignore the rules and do what works for them. It doesn't matter, really, because the mess at the end is similar. If the rules are a mess, they don't work and people don't follow them.

We have a lot of rule systems that are a mess, and people aren't following them. We should work on fixing that before so many people get so far into the habit of ignoring the rules that they can't follow even the good ones.