Links for 2009-12-31

  • “Richard Feynman started taking art lessons at the age of 44, and continued drawing for the rest of his life. These include portraits of his close friends, wife and daughter and professional models that posed for him at his friend’s studio. Feynman was also an avid supporter of topless bars, which he used to frequent a lot while he was at Caltech, which also explains why he loved drawing nude models.”
  • “In the last decade in high energy physics one could notice a trend towards more phenomenology. While I welcome this for obvious reasons, here as in any aspect of life one can desire too much of a good thing. I’ve read quite a few of papers where the word “phenomenology” was used merely as decoration, and in other cases “phenomenological” is essentially an excuse for inconsistency. Such fashion trends in the community and their side-effects however aren’t really surprising. What is surprising though is that the demand for “predictions” has been picked up by the public and has been used sometimes inappropriately as a measure for scientific quality. Thus I thought it would be worth clarifying what a scientific prediction is and isn’t.”
  • “Recently, Time named the 00s the worst decade ever. This is clearly ridiculous when you consider their comparison set includes decades featuring things like “The Atmosphere is Made of Pure Sulfur” and “Romans Fed My Hippie Flesh to a Fucking Lion.” But what if we narrow the criteria to the last 100 years, instead: 1910-2009. How would the 00s stack up? Would the 20s kick its goofy ass? Could it travel back in time like Marty McFly and give the 50s a massive wedgie? We’ll see, as we count down the top 10 decades of the century, in ascending order:”
  • “Only when the MLA is in town will you find listings such as “Hot English dork here, looking to play with another hot English dork.” And we guess that most of the time, Craigslist hook-up personals (seeking kink no less) aren’t illustrated by the cover of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.”