Posted tagged ‘link love’

My Contribution to Closing the Enthusiasm Gap this Fall + Some Link Love

July 28, 2010

You’ve all heard, no doubt, that the big advantage the GOP + its tinfoil auxiliaries have this fall is the reported greater enthusiasm for such goals as repealing the non-existent-but-zombie-death-panels than that felt on the Democratic side for, among much else, preventing the return to power of those that got us into our current fix.

Well, there’s lots to do about that, and what follows won’t help much.  But it won’t hurt, either.  Enjoy:

Now, some links for edification, amusement, and perhaps action.  (Don’t miss the one above — Sen. “Diaper” Dave Vitter is a source of never ending wonder.

And in partial response to Vitter’s astonishing fail, check out Atul Gawande’s latest on end-of-life care (and the consequences of the absence of such care). I plan to blog on this a little later, but don’t wait on l’il old me.   The article is essential reading.

I’ve been meaning to tout this for a while but again, as a partial response to Vitter, to the ongoing Jeremy Lord “lynchgate” fiasco, and to a whole range of shenanigans too miserable to recall here (enthusiasm gap, remember) check out Batocchio’s elegant The Five Circles of Conservative Hell.

This is a little self-aggrandizing, given how Jennifer Ouellette begins her analysis, but she’s got a lovely takedown of Amazon anonymous reviewers of science books up at Cocktail Party Physics.

Henry Farrell’s got me salivating over a novel about, among other things, the birth of linear programming.

I’m a few days behind in my reading (days?–ed.), but I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight Kathy Olmsted’s lovely reminiscence about Daniel Schorr.  It’s not the memories that stand out, in fact, as it is the critical assessment of the state of journalism, especially on TV.  Not to give it away, but there are only two cohorts:  Schorr and not-Schorr, and one is vastly different, and better, than the other.

And what would the sultry days of summer without an official celebration of Sex Week.  Carl Zimmer is on the case.

More grimly, Ed Yong, who continues to do so much work that I suspect him of being a collective of at least three symbionts occupying the same meat envelope, writes of the dangers to phytoplankton from a warming ocean.  This is fate-of-the-planet stuff.  Which is why, of course, we should return the party of global warming denialists/defeatists to power.

And with that eternal return of the same (thanks, Freddy!), I’m done for now.

That’ll do for now.

One More Link: Paul Krugman Explains It All Edition

October 2, 2009

Once again I missed the Ig Nobels — bozo, me, given the proximity to that glorious milestone in the academic year.

But Paul Krugman was there, delivering a 24/7 lecture:  twenty four words of hopeless jargon from within one’s discpline followed by a Hillel-like* seven word account of that field.

Here’s the transcript, in full.

*Hillel explained the essence of Judaism to an impatient inquirer in an aphorism some 26 words long.  Not quite seven, but not bad.  (The shortest form of Hillel’s reply to the demand that he teach the meaning of Torah in the time his interlocutor could stand on one leg in a mere twelve words, which is getting close to Ig Nobel glory, saying,  “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow”

Image:   “A dark and dismal valley,” illustration to the Icelandic legend of Gold-brow.  Published in celandic Legends : Collected by Jón Arnason : Translated by George E. J. Powell and Eiríkur Magnússon, Richard Bentley, London, 1864. This illustration facing page 19. Digitized version from Google Books,

A couple of quick Friday links.

October 2, 2009

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this NYT front of the web story on MIT student bloggers as leaders of the pack.

Then there’s this nice bit of self-analysis by Carl Zimmer, debunking a false equivalence  between evolutionary polemic* (by Dawkins) and evolutionary persuasion/instruction (by Zimmer), as posited in a Nature review of new books by both men.

And last, at least in this quick start-of-the morning list, a fine bit of historical writing on the roots of the term and concept “algorithm” prompted,  I am pleased to say, by my own polemic on The Atlantic’s abuse of the term.

*Please note that the word “polemic” is used here as a descriptive term, not one of abuse.  It has the sense described in this etymological definition:  1638, “controversial argument or discussion,” from Gk. polemikos “warlike, belligerent,” from polemos “war.” Meaning “one who writes in opposition to another” is attested from 1680.

Image:  Press with chained book in the Library of Cesena, Italy