‘Professor hunters’ dig in on the digital battlefield

Read my article on the attacks against two Humbolt University professors in the digital age, published in ‘Times Higher Education‘ on 27 August 2015.

An extract:

According to an article in the German magazine Der Spiegel, left-wing students have a new hobby: harassing professors with political views contrary to their own. They do so anonymously, and with considerable impact. Online ratings of professors are already controversial, but this is a whole new dimension.

One of the victims is Jörg Baberowski, professor of Eastern European history at the Humboldt University of Berlin, who claims that the “fanatics” have been pursuing and stalking him for more than a year, with “ever more rubbish on the internet”. Professor Baberowski complains that they photograph him whenever he appears in public. He is highly regarded and, in 2012, won the Leipzig Book Fair prize for his book on Stalin. However, he has come under fire from the Left, who accuse him of relativising Germany’s guilt over the Second World War.

Read more…

“In deserted fields, danger” (for ‘Times Higher Education’)

“In deserted fields, danger” by Brian Bloch

Read my article on the motivation to pursue an academic career in Germany, published in “Times Higher Education” on 26 September 2013.


An extract:

A career in research is not attractive to Germans, suggests a study conducted by the country’s Federal Statistical Office. A large proportion of graduates do not continue with research once they get the coveted “Promotion” (this “false friend” to anglophones is the German word for a doctoral degree).

Out of some half million people who held doctorates in 2011, the study revealed that just under 100,000 were still working in research at universities, scientific organisations or in industry, while more than 400,000 are employed outside research (although about half these are medical doctors, who constitute a somewhat different category).

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“Loving Your Stocks? Don’t Take This Cliché to Heart” (for Investopedia)

“Loving Your Stocks? Don’t Take This Cliché to Heart” by Brian Bloch

Read my article  on falling in love with stocks and the difficulty parting with them, published by Investopedia on 16 September 2013.

An extract:

Joachim Goldberg, a German behavioral finance specialist and co-author of the book “Behavioral Finance,” which was first published in 1999, often warns people not to “fall in love with shares.” Women, he argues, are better investors than men, partly because they are better able to get rid of stocks (and presumably men, too) that are no longer financially worth keeping.

The love analogy is an appealing one, but more is going on here than the cliché would suggest.

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“Jagged Little Pills” (for ‘Times Higher Education’)

“Jagged Little Pills”  by Brian Bloch

My article on the use of artificial stimulants by students (in Germany)

was published today, 04. April 2013 for the Times Higher Education online.

An extract:

Recent research in Germany reveals that one in five students “takes something” to improve academic performance. The substances can range from fairly innocuous caffeine tablets to Ritalin, amphetamines, even cocaine. Critics here are extremely concerned about what they refer to as “pharma- turbo” or “brain doping”.

Students’ motives for all this pill-popping range from staying alert and concentrating better to overcoming nerves, tension and anxiety (many brain dopers reveal neurotic symptoms). However, as an article in the newspaper Die Welt points out, the notion of pills “that make you clever” is just wishful thinking.

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“Examining Stereotypes in Investing” (for Investopedia)

“Examining Stereotypes in Investing”  by Brian Bloch

My article on invalid generalisations in the investment industry

was published on 29. March 2013 for Investopedia.

An extract:

Reading about a successful misselling damages claim the other day, I noted another reader commenting cynically on the fact that “a little old lady” had been given a generous award by the court. She had been talked into parting with her savings to invest in a second home in Spain at the height of the property boom. Soon afterward, disaster struck as the bottom fell out of the market and the investor was awarded substantial compensation. While she was indeed given negligent advice and deserved to be compensated, it struck me immediately that it is not only little old ladies who need protection, and sometimes, they may be more informed than big young men.

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“From where I sit – P.S. Ich liebe dich” (Research on Flirting Strategies) | Times Higher Education

Read my article published on February 22, 2012 in the ‘Times Higher Education’.

The article was slightly censored! Below is my original closing paragraph.

Clearly, flirting strategies constitute a promising academic field, both theoretical and applied. This is a branch of psychology that can be extended to all levels – online, offline, vertically and of course horizontally. Furthermore, there is room for both lateral thinking and action.

“Are PhD students being served?” (for ‘Times Higher Education’)

“Are PhD students being served?”  by Brian Bloch

My article on Problems with supervision in Germany

was published today, 13. October 2011 for the Times Higher Education online.

An extract:

“German universities may be focused on improving their research, but doctoral students have highlighted serious flaws in their teaching.
The Deutsche Universitätszeitung (German University Newspaper), or the “duz“, has published two articles, one recently and one a few years ago, on problems associated with doctoral supervision.
A study reported by the duz in 2004, revealed that although two-thirds of students felt they were generally well supervised and did not regret doing a doctorate, serious shortcomings were nonetheless conspicuous.”  Read more>>

From where I sit – Gems in the research scrapheap (for ‘Times Higher Education’)

T.H.E.“From where I sit – Gems in the research scrapheap” by Brian Bloch

My article was published today, 1. September 2011 for the Times Higher Education online.

An extract:

“An English-language journal has recently been launched in Germany that focuses on “failed” research. That is, it publishes material rejected by mainstream journals because it did not yield the desired results or was in some way unsatisfactory. However, the work is still useful in its own way and worth reading.”  Read more>>