Personal Websites and Academic Social Networks: Why? How?

People think that I’m a pretty tech savvy person. So I get a lot of questions about how to make personal websites and how to use academic social networks. In this blog post I will finally answer these questions in one place. First, I’ll go over the evidence about the unique value that academic social networks and personal websites can provide. And then I’ll show you how to make a website in under 10 minutes.

So when you finish this blog post, you should not only be able to make a decision about making an academic social profile and about making a website. You should also be able to make a website in a jiffy!

1.  Why?

There are lots of reasons why researchers will want to use (i) academic social networks (ASNs) and (ii) personal websites. It all comes down to making our research visible, accessible, and followable. But there are lots of things to say about how this works and what your options are. Here are some slides to help you understand the process and make a decision.

 

If you want to view, download, or share just the slideshow, then follow the bolded links directly below the slideshow.

2.  How?

Here’s a video about how to make a personal website …in just 9 minutes. No coding necessary! Just drag, drop, and type! Super easy! And free!

All you need is a computer, a Google account (e.g., Gmail), and either Google Chrome or Firefox.

Have questions? I am happy to help by answering questions below. But if you want an immediate answer, check out Google’s help page.

Questions?

If you’ve got questions, write them below. I’ll get back to you ASAP. Happy website making and academic social networking! And, of course, feel free to share this with people who might be interested.

 

Classroom Poster Sessions: A win for you and your students

Last week, the Free Will & Science course finished up their poster sessions. It was one of the most enriching classroom experiences I’ve ever witnessed.† In case you’re interested, here’s a post about the why and how of classroom poster sessions — including templates for your own classroom. Continue reading Classroom Poster Sessions: A win for you and your students

PDF Documents and Footnotes Decrease the Accessibility of Research

Once upon a time, I loved footnotes and PDF documents. Now I don’t. I prefer eBook format and endnotes. I admit that footnotes are handy sometimes. For example, when I read visually, it’s nice to have the notes on the same page as the body text. However, footnotes are not so handy for auditory reading. Neither are PDF documents. For instance, footnotes wreak havoc on auditory reading. They interrupt the audio stream of the main body of text — sometimes mid-sentence. And since many people have to rely on auditory reading to consume academic research, this means that PDF documents and footnotes decrease the accessibility of research.

1.  Books vs. Articles

Sometimes academic books are available in an eBook version that is amenable to auditory reading — e.g., Amazon’s Kindle format and Apple’s iBook format. And some academic books have a proper audiobook version — e..g, Amazon’s audiobooks. This is great, but… Continue reading PDF Documents and Footnotes Decrease the Accessibility of Research

APA Interview & Deleted Interview Questions

I recently answered some questions from Skye Cleary, managing editor of the APA blog. Some of the interview questions were really fun. In fact, I ended up going over the word limit. So I had to delete some things. But if you’re interested in the deleted interview questions, then you can find some of them below. The main interview is here: “APA Member Interview: Nick Byrd“.

The Deleted Interview Questions

What time of day are you most productive and creative?

My mind is at its best in the first 6-7 hours of my day. When I’m smart, I use those hours to accomplish the most demanding and important things on my to-do list. But when I’m foolish, I waste that time on mindless and/or unimportant work.

What do you like to do outside work?

Hmm. It varies:

What is your favorite quote?

“You cannot escape philosophy.”

I’m guessing that this has been uttered in one form or another by many people in many contexts. The last time I saw this line was when I read “Neuroscience Needs Behavior: Correcting a Reductionist Bias” in Neuron. Here’s a free copy of the paper.

What is your least favorite type of fruit and why?

Mango. That smell. Yuck. I feel sick just thinking about it.

What would you like your last meal to be?

Whatever makes my body most useful to science.

The Bias Fallacy

“They’re biased, so they’re wrong!” That’s a fallacy. Call it the bias fallacy. Here’s why it’s a fallacy: being biased doesn’t entail that everything one does is wrong. So when someone jumps from the observation that someone is biased to the conclusion that they’re wrong, they have committed a fallacy. It’s that simple.

In this post, I’ll give some examples of the fallacy, explain the fallacy, and then suggest how we should respond to the bias fallacy.

1. Examples of The Bias Fallacy

You’ve probably seen instances of the bias fallacy all over the internet.

In my experience, the fallacy is a rhetorical device. The purpose of the bias fallacy is to dismiss some person or their claims.

Like many rhetorical devices, this one is logically fallacious. So it’s ineffective. At least, it should be ineffective. That is, we should not be persuaded by it.

So if you’ve seen the bias fallacy online, then go ahead and set the record straight:

'They're biased, so they're wrong.' Not so fast! We can be biased without being wrong. #TheBiasFallacyClick To Tweet

And if you really want to have some fun, go ahead and join the discussion on Reddit. Continue reading The Bias Fallacy

Representative Art vs. The Real Thing: Which is more beautiful?

“…we think that the world would be improved if we could substitute for the best works of representative art real objects equally beautiful.”

G.E. Moore, Principia Ethica (§117,¶ 2)

 

I don’t buy it. 

Consider the statue of David. Now ask yourself, “Would this be more or less beautiful if it were an actual man standing on the pedestal?”

Continue reading Representative Art vs. The Real Thing: Which is more beautiful?

A Definition of ‘Fake News’ (and Related Terms)

If the public discourse in the United States is any indication, then people in the US mean different things by ‘fake news’. Naturally, then, it is time to agree on a definition of ‘fake news’. While we’re at it, let’s distinguish ‘fake news’ from other terms.

1.  Let’s Agree On Terms

As I see it, we will need to distinguish between at least three terms: fake news, conspiracy theory, and journalism.

A Definition of ‘Fake News’

Also known as “fictional news”. Characterized by outlandish stories — sometimes about paranormal and supernatural events. Any explicit claims to truth are obviously belied by their only semi-serious and comedic tone. Examples include many of the cover stories of the Weekly World News as well as some of the satirical punchlines of The Daily Show.

A Definition of ‘Conspiracy Theory’

Bad explanations designed to glorify their author and undermine the author’s perceived nemeses. Sometimes unfalsifiable. Alas, believed by many people. Examples are voluminous. Examples include certain explanations of the assignation of John F. Kennedy and InfoWars’ Alex Jones’s claims that the Sandy Hook shootings were staged.

A Definition of ‘Journalism’

Continue reading A Definition of ‘Fake News’ (and Related Terms)