Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Teaching Assistance

I started TAing my first class (ever) today - statistical and dynamical models of brain functions. I think I should get off pretty light work-wise. The professor is writing the exercises, and there are only around ten people in the class, so I'm just responsible for grading assignments and running the recitation section. In a masterstroke of scheduling genius, the recitation is set for the hour immediately following the class, so no one has time to look at the homework or think about anything before their sole opportunity to ask for explanations, clarifications, and elaborations. I'd be more incensed by the inanity of this, except it means less work for me, and I have plenty of things to think about on my own. Of course, out of ten students, exactly 0 are female. Girls in computational neuroscience are like honest politicians: it's a great idea on paper, but somehow it doesn't seem to occur in the wild.

Speaking of papers, here is an excellent one: Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitational challenge: systematic review of randomised controlled trials. I hear they're still looking for volunteers for a randomized controlled study of parachute efficacy. Regardless of the implication underlying the article, I suspect the authors still prefer drugs tested in double-blind, placebo-controlled studies to copper bleeding bowls and leeches. You may also be interested in reading about the relative willingness of men and women to accept the social and sexual advances of strangers. Unfortunately, this is an article about the paper; I can't find the paper itself for free.

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