Archives for October, 2012

Hating on Nate Silver

I recently heard a pollster remark, “When you give conservatives bad polling data, they want to kill you. When you give liberals bad polling data, they want to kill themselves.” That attitude has been well on display recently in the right-wing freak out over Nate Silver’s website. Silver currently gives Obama a 72.9 percent chance…

Romney on FEMA

Here’s Mitt Romney, from one of the Republican primary debates (moderated by John King of CNN): KING: You’ve been a chief executive of a state. I was just in Joplin, Missouri. I’ve been in Mississippi and Louisiana and Tennessee and other communities dealing with whether it’s the tornadoes, the flooding, and worse. FEMA is about…

More Politics

So, I saw Paranormal Activity 4 on Monday night. Short review: Pretty disappointing, but I’ll still go to Paranormal Activity 5 on opening night. I am happy to report, however, that my skills as a political prognosticator took a big hit from the debate. You see, one reason I was especially unenthusiastic about watching the…

Politics and Stuff

You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t been blogging much lately. That’s partly because this is an especially busy time of the semester. Try grading a thousand midterm exam problems in a few days and see how many brain cells you have left over for blogging. Mostly, though, it’s my general unhappiness with the way the…

Here’s a charming story: A math professor at Michigan State University allegedly stripped naked, ran naked through his classroom and screamed “There is no f*cking God!” before police apprehended him, according to several reports. The professor’s name has not yet been released, but online, students said he was “eccentric,” and that they “could probably have…

Do Mathematical Objects Exist?

I am slowly working on an article for Skeptical Inquirer about the ways in which religious apologists use mathematical arguments in their rhetoric. Among these arguments are the familiar creationist claims about probability and information theory, but there is also a family of arguments based on the effectiveness of mathematics itself. The basic argument is…