Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New Science Scout Badges!

Yay, the Order of Science Scouts has new badges! There are two more I can claim and add to my roster. Ok, one and a half, but I'm rounding up:

The I Have Survived Dangerously Inclement Weather in the Name of Science Badge. It comes with working outside, I suppose. No actual tornadoes, at least not in the line of work, but heat waves, hail, lightening storms, flooding, blinding snow and ice, yes, all of the above. All in cases where we really, really should have packed up and gone inside. I've gotten much more careful with my own safety now that I'm in a supervisory position. It's one thing if I do something stupid, it is quite something else if I let someone else/encourage someone else to do something stupid on my watch.

The I Have an Actual Human Skeleton in my Office Badge. I don't now, but I did. The skeletons I have around now are either real ones (from animals) or casts (from people). When I was an undergrad and a grad student, introductory physical anthropology classes were taught using real human skeletons. In some cases, they were purchased from medical supply houses; in other cases, they were archaeologically-recovered remains. In my opinion, however, there is absolutely no good reason to use real human skeletons in introductory courses. It is not respectful. And all of the skeletons used in these settings suffered damage as a result. The bones were from -people-, people! I think there is a need for exposure to real skeletal material in upper level and graduate classes, particularly when you get into the huge variations that actually exist between individuals and when dealing with pathologies and trauma, but hopefully by the time students have reached this point, they have developed a different way of being around human remains. But this also is ethically fraught, and the wishes of descent groups and living relatives must, imo, be taken into consideration, as must how the teaching will work. There is a big difference between having bones around that get dragged out for classes, and having an assemblage with which students can get important experience by helping to record and analyze.

1 comment:

Ink said...

Wow! Those are some cool badges!