Well, we spent more than half an hour on lockdown this morning. This was not a drill, so there was apparently a real concern for student and staff safety based on conduct reports. The lockdown has now been lifted, and we await an explanation from administration.

Fortunately for me, I was in the middle of my prep, so I had no students freaking out in the classroom to contend with. In these circumstances, they all typically try to whip out their cell phones and call mommy, overloading the local service providers and making life difficult in general for emergency personnel. So I'm glad I didn't have to deal with that.

Though, of course, all my doors were locked, as were the doors to my doors. There are no windows at floor level accessible, so I'm pretty well sequestered, and I keep a few makeshift weapons handy by either entrance. Call me paranoid, but growing up on military bases and knowing where all the bomb shelters were seems to have had an effect on my sensibilities. I just kind of think this goes with doing my job, and already having a sort of action plan in my hand in case the 'unthinkable' happens just strikes me as part of the job.


It appears that the incident in question may have been a hoax involving possible self-injury on the part of a female student, rather than an actual assault (stabbing was alleged). Well, that would be a relief, but I'm also gratified that our system apparently worked in this case. I'm now off to a staff meeting to discuss our response to the situation. I'm happy with the way our administration is being proactive in handling this matter.



This is the conclusion of PZ Mwahaha's urbane rumination on how to best promote scientific literacy, especially the understanding of evolution. PZ gave this talk at the end of the 2008 'Integrating Evolution, Development and Genomics' symposia which I attended last weekend. PZ had a lot of interesting things to say, and I hope that he'll 'do the right thing' and eventually put a transcript of all his remarks up for people to consider.

PZ says, in part:

  • Blog about science!
  • Write letters to the editor, and op-eds, about science!
  • Write books about science! *
  • Make movies about science!
  • Support your local science teachers!
  • Don't debate creationists in public, but do discuss things with them. Creationists are not all stupid. Many of them want to reason with you, and you may find many of them reasonable and able to consider a different point of view.
These are all good pieces of advice, but he saved his 'magic trick' on how to communicate ideas in all these forums for the conclusion of his talk. It's worth sharing:

I took this on a Flip video recorder, and the uncompressed audio (other than an inadvertent chuckle from yours truly) is a little low. Turn your speakers up, and see if you don't start nodding your head in agreement.

* Gentle reader, I encourage you to urge PZ to follow his own advice here with some (gentle, remember?) teasing. He needs to write that book!

**And, since I'm urging you to urge him, that no doubt makes me.....wait for it...... PZ's Demiurge.