The sex lives of plants

The biology of sex determination has come to the forefront of the culture wars, but if you’re a plant biologist, the idea that sex determination is complex is old news. Jennifer Blake-Mahmud’s The Secret Sex Lives of Plants spent time last Fall improving Wikipedia articles on these topics. A student in the class made major improvements … Continued

Striving toward a more equitable Wikipedia

Wikipedia serves as a subtle form of information warfare against colonized populations. The colonial act of erasing cultures includes the psychological condition of feeling as if you cannot and should not “disrupt” the information architecture. – Alexandria Lockett in Wikipedia @ 20 Wikipedia is the world’s largest reference work, and it has also become the most freely accessible … Continued

Expanding Wikipedia’s coverage of African topics

Despite being the largest project of its kind in human history with a reach that’s global, Wikipedia’s coverage skews heavily toward articles about the Global North. In much of the rest of the world, coverage can be spotty, and that’s especially true for a topic like politics. This is why a class like Martha Wilfahrt’s African … Continued

From living building materials to printed organs

Some of the most interesting classes work on topics that leave you with a sense that the future is now. Many of the articles Edmund Palermo’s Biology in Materials Science class worked on leave you with that sensation. Living building materials are building materials that mimic properties of living organisms. These include compounds like self-replicating concrete, self-mending biocement, … Continued

Improving reproductive health articles on Wikipedia

The nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court has brought the issue of abortion access back into the forefront and people try to understand the impact her confirmation might have on abortion rights in the US. I grew up in a country where abortion was neither legal nor uncommon. While I never … Continued

How we helped voters get neutral information

The 2020 elections are fast approaching in the United States, and as people prepare to vote (often from home, by mail) they’re looking for information that can help them make up their minds. At first glance that seems surprising: Surely almost everyone has made up their minds about whether they support Donald Trump or Joe … Continued