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Hal Harris's picture

Mistakes Were Made (but not by me: Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

Fri, 10/01/2010 - 01:00 -- Hal Harris

I bought "Mistakes Were Made ..." for on a long plane ride, thinking that it would be a light, entertaining read. It did turn out to be very entertaining, but it also has affected the way I think about politics, law, ethics, and the teaching of science.

Hal Harris's picture

The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education

Wed, 09/01/2010 - 01:00 -- Hal Harris

In 2002, President George W. Bush signed the bill that made No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. It was a culmination of sorts of tides that had been growing for years, through both the Clinton and Bush administrations, toward sweeping reform in US schools.

Hal Harris's picture

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from The Periodic Table

Thu, 07/01/2010 - 01:00 -- Hal Harris

Sam Kean is not a chemist, and he seems to have had little help from a chemistry-literate editor in writing this collection of stories about most of the elements of the periodic table. To a certain extent, his chatty and colloquial style helps to bring chemistry to an audience that is science-phobic (the c-word does not appear in the title or subtitle, presumably for this reason).

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The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York

Tue, 06/01/2010 - 01:00 -- Hal Harris

The central story of the Poisoner's Handbook is a war between poisoners and chemists working to detoxify poisoned beverages. The surprising thing is that the poisoners work for the US government and the detoxifiers for criminals. The setting is the years between 1920, when the 18th amendment started prohibition, and 1933, when the 21st repealed it.

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On Fact and Fraud: Cautionary Tales from the Front Lines of Science

Sat, 05/01/2010 - 01:00 -- Hal Harris

David Goodstein has enjoyed a long and productive career at the California Institute of Technology as a professor of physics and as Vice Provost. He brings to this small book on scientific ethics the perspective of an administrator of scientific research, a viewpoint that I have not seen expressed in any other place.

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Lithium Dreams: Can Bolivia Become the Saudi Arabia of the Electric Car Era?

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 01:00 -- Hal Harris

There was a time when it was possible to estimate the size of the total US thermonuclear arsenal by measuring the ratio of Li-6 to Li-7 in commercial sources and knowing the amount of the metal in the economy. (Li-6 had been removed to make hydrogen bombs.) Now the lightest metal is prominent in other kinds of energy schemes.

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