Thursday, 2 April 2015

EASTER CHUCKLES

And a serious thought
Improbable Research is a vast, happy, open conspiracy of many volunteers (scientists, journalists, teachers, students, and all sorts of other people) in many countries.
Our goal is to make people laugh, then make them think. We also hope to spur people's curiosity, and to raise the question: how do you decide what's important and what's not, and what's real and what's not — in science and everywhere else?
'The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" but "That's funny..." ' – Isaac Asimov
'Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth' – Sherlock Holmes
Among other things Improbable Research does it also administers the Ig Nobel Prizes – and it now puts out regular podcasts:
The podcast is all about research that makes people LAUGH, then THINK — research about anything and everything, from everywhere — research that’s good or bad, important or trivial, valuable or worthless. 
http://www.improbable.com/category/the-weekly-improbable-research-podcast
Here is an example:
C. W. Moeliker, The first case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard Anas platyrhynchos (Aves: Anatidae)
Mind the gap

Many years ago I was much involved with middle-ear conditions for their potential systemic developmental effects upon children and their families, sometimes serious but only rarely accounted for. It was this involvement that led me to an academic article with a title and a generalisable significance that might perhaps nowadays have attracted the attention of Improbable Research:
Michael Bloor, Bishop Berkeley and the adenotonsillectomy enigma: an exploration of variation in the social construction of medical disposals
http://soc.sagepub.com/content/10/1/43.abstract
This article certainly spurred my own curiosity, and reassured me on asking the question: how do you decide what's important and what's not, and what's real and what's not — in science and everywhere else? I heartily recommend it still.

My take on this was that practitioners say what they say, and they do what they do – and that between the two may lie a gap that may worthy of serious consideration, as are the causes of this gap and the way one might respond to it.

There is very little academic published nowadays either about or from within Conductive Education, in 'the journals' or in book form. There is of course frequent online mention of 'What is Conductive Education', and there is lore. Sometimes I find it hard to credence that what is written can be considered to describe what is a given centre's actual conductive practice (and what the centre's conductors say about this) – and I have to wonder how anyone could believe that what is written could possibly lead to the results such as are to be met in the lore.

Michael Boor's article was one of my first windows on to the sociology of the professions and their practice. As people in Conductive Education often say 'More research is needed'. Add its sociology to the list of perspectives worth taking. It might offer some chuckles still.

Reference

Bloor, M. (1976) Bishop Berkeley and the adenotonsillectomy enigma: an exploration of variation in the social construction of medical disposals, Sociology, vol. 10, pp. 143-61




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