How many drug trials for Alzheimer’s disease have failed? Why do so many new therapeutic drugs fail in development?

This topic came up in the context of a conversation with my colleagues in the Science Gallery, who are putting on an exhibition called Fail, which will explore the question: ‘Can we change our perception of failure in order to embrace this essential driver of innovation?’ There have been many failed Alzheimer’s disease drug trials. This is… Read More

Gender segregation advice from Universities UK: Wrong in principle, wrong in practice

Universities UK have issued a booklet which has caused lots of controversy (see the comments on the first link; see this; this; this; this on twitter and there are many more). Here’s the attempt at explanation: Since its publication, there has been some public debate on a small component of the guidance: a hypothetical case study (p.27) in which an external speaker on faith in… Read More

Sometimes, very smart people say (kinda, sorta) uninformed things: Last comments on teaching and MOOCs (for a while)

From the Fast Company profile of Sebastian Thrun: It’s hard to imagine a story that more thoroughly flatters the current sensibilities of Silicon Valley than the one into which Thrun stumbled. Not only is reinventing the university a worthy goal–tuition prices at both public and private colleges have soared in recent years, and the debt burden… Read More

The MOOCs don’t work … part xyz

The FT continues the sceptical realism with a super piece on MOOCs (reg req). All sorts of interesting material here – costs and motivation may be the key issue for US college students. MOOCs promise to address part of the equation, but the problems run much deeper than a broadband connection and a video of somebody delivering the… Read More

Some thoughts on the origins of the lay psychology of torture, PTSD, communication and memory provoked by ‘America Is Likely to Torture Again’ – Conor Friedersdorf – The Atlantic

Face It: America Is Likely to Torture Again – Conor Friedersdorf – The Atlantic [My book ‘Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation’ (Harvard UP) can be preordered from Amazon (.com) – more details at end of post] (Above: a demonstration of the ‘water torture‘ in the Museo della Tortura, Siena, Italy; pic by author) Face It: America Is… Read More

More contra MOOCs – that pfffft sound is the bubble deflating

I wrote here before sceptically about MOOCs, essentially saying ‘don’t believe the hype’, and that lots of people are going to lose their shirts betting large on web delivery as the new university. The few I’ve looked at end up feeling a little an online version of the Open University courses that used to be broadcast late at… Read More