Why the grammer snobs have it all wrong about the apostrophe

Was there ever a golden age of the apostrophe, when everybody used it the same? No.

Categories: education

Ten simple rules for passing an examination

Advice for students on how to do well in university level examinations, fairly and honestly. There are no secrets here, but it's amazing how many students do less well than they should because they haven't understood how university teaching works.

Categories: education

How flat-earthers use misrepresentations of scale to promote their ideas

Misrepresentations of scale are common in the literature of organizations that seek to deceive. However, it's sometimes difficult, or unhelpful, to draw diagrams to scale. This article tries to explain the difference between benign and pernicious distortions of scale. I'm picking on the flat-earthers for the purposes of illustration, but the presentational devices they use are common in business and politics as well.

Categories: science and technology, education, snake oil

How to give a presentation

Some guidance, mostly for students, on how to make a scientific or technical presentation.

Categories: education

How to write a technical or scientific report

Some guidance, mostly for science and engineering students, on how to write a scientific or technical paper. I've updated this slightly to deal with the rise in web-based publication but, frankly, I don't think that different standards apply to electronic and print reporting.

Categories: education

Why we only see one side of the moon -- the odd phenomenon of tidal locking

We only see one face of the moon from the Earth, and that isn't a coincidence. The same process that causes this effect also affects other celestial bodies, often in more interesting ways.

Categories: science and technology, education

The planet Vulcan: a cautionary tale that deserves to be better known

Why was the non-existent planet Vulcan so frequently sighted by astronomers in the nineteenth century, and what can contemporary scientists and science students learn from this episode?

Categories: science and technology, education