Humanities

“An ancestor of mine maintained that when you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” -Mr. Spock, Star Trek Sometimes the truth is hard to handle on its own, so we resort to fiction to make it a little easier to swallow. Have a listen to Summer Fiction’s song, By The Sea,…

Back on Thursday when I was waiting to be annoyed by a speech, one of the ways I passed time was reading stuff on my phone, which included This Grantland piece about Charles Barkley and “advanced stats”. In it, Bryan Curtis makes the argument that while Barkley’s recent comments disparaging statistical tools seem at first…

Leonard Nimoy Has Died

Sad news: Leonard Nimoy, the sonorous, gaunt-faced actor who won a worshipful global following as Mr. Spock, the resolutely logical human-alien first officer of the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie juggernaut “Star Trek,” died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83. His wife,…

I really never thought of spiders as being “pretty” until I came across these two new species of peacock spiders discovered in southeast Queensland, Australia by Madeline Girard (graduate student from the University of California, Berkeley, who is specializing in peacock spiders). Peacock spiders are not only beautiful, they also engage in elaborate dances during…

“Established by the state.” Those are the four words at the center of an upcoming Supreme Court case that could strip affordable health insurance coverage from millions of working families and result in billions of dollars in uncompensated care costs.

In Which I Am Outwitted by a Six-Year-Old

SteelyKid has developed a habit of not answering questions, whether because she’s genuinely zoning out, or just not acknowledging adults, it’s not clear. (She’s going to be a real joy when she’s a teenager, I can tell…) In retaliation, I’ve started giving imaginary answers for her, which generall snaps her out of it, but I’ve…

Yesterday was Founders Day at Union, celebrating the 220th anniversary of the granting of a charter for the college. The name of the event always carries a sort of British-boarding-school air for me, and never fails to earworm me with a very particular rugby song, but really it’s just one of those formal-procession-and-big-speaker events that…

Fry On the Problem Of Evil, Part Two

There’s lots of good blog fodder out there, but I don’t want to let too much time go by before finishing my discussion of Stephen Fry’s presentation of the Problem of Evil. See Part One for the full context. Of all the responses I’ve seen to Fry’s interview, there was one that was so bizarre…

Read the Whole Thing

Jon “Men Who Stare at Goats” Ronson has a new book coming out, and has been promoting it with excerpts in major newspapers, most notably the New York Times Magazine and the Guardian. In these, he tracks down people whose lives were wrecked by massive public shaming campaigns over idiotic things they wrote on social…

The Poetry of Science IV

With a skull and Keats, there was little choice but to write about the new online items in rhyme. So with apologies to Shakespeare, Keats and the scientists, as well as the people at SpaceIL, here are today’s grab bag of poems. As usual, follow the links.       On a Lone Cranium Alas…