Archives for June, 2010

I Am Baffled Regarding Chris Mooney

The kerfuffle of the moment in the science blogosphere once again relates to Chris Mooney, who is pretty much a kerfuffle looking for a place to happen at this point. This time around it centers around a Washington Post op-ed that is basically the executive summary of a American Academy of Arts and Sciences paper…

I have now finished all of the short fiction on this year’s Hugo Award ballot (links to most nominees are available here), and I have to say, the pickings here are pretty slim. The stories that aren’t forgettable or preachy are deeply unpleasant, leaving me wanting to put a lot of stuff below “No Award.”…

Links for 2010-06-30

The Kagan Hearings: Elena Kagan does her best John Roberts impression. (1) – By Dahlia Lithwick – Slate Magazine “Yet the ghost of [Thurgood] Marshall himself comes in for tremendous abuse today at the hands of Republican members of the committee. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., starts the ball rolling by accusing Kagan of having clerked for…

Bad and Good Presentation Graphs

I gave a short introduction to how to give a presentation today to the students who will be presenting their research in our twice-weekly Summer Student Seminar Series. This included examples of a data slide that is bad in the ways that students’ first attempts at data slides tend to be bad, and the same…

World Cup Update and Poll

The dogphysics karma joke is pretty much dead, as countries with current or future editions of How to Teach Physics to Your Dog have gone a dismal 1-3-0 in the first round of elimination play. I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did, honestly. The big story of the World Cup at the moment…

Big News in Tiny Physics

A couple of significant news items from the world of particle physics: There was a conference on neutrino physics recently, and the big news from there is that two experiments measure something funny with neutrino oscillations, namely that the oscillations seem to proceed at different rates for neutrinos and antineutrinos. This is a really surprising…

Links for 2010-06-29

slacktivist: Rendering unto Krugman “But knowing their hypocrisy, he said unto them, “Why are you putting me to the test? Bring me a dime and let me see it.” And they brought one. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this — FDR’s or Herbert Hoover’s?” They answered, “Roosevelt’s.” And he said unto them,…

Photons: Still Bosons

Last week, Dmitry Budker’s group at Berkeley published a paper in Physical Review Letters (also free on the arxiv) with the somewhat drab title “Spectroscopic Test of Bose-Einsten Statistics for Photons.” Honestly, I probably wouldn’t’ve noticed it, even though this is the sort of precision AMO test of physics that I love, had it not…

Crowd-Sourcing Physics Questions

There is a proposal for a Physics Q&A site along the lines of Stack Overflow for computer stuff. Like many such projects, this largely conflates “physics” and “theoretical particle physics,” so I’m not sure how much of a contribution I can really make. I’ve got plenty of theorist readers, though, so if this seems like…

Insults Are Easy, Community Is Hard

Josh Rosenau makes an excellent and important point regarding prayer meetings and the Gulf oil spill: that the point is not so much that God will stop the oil gushing into the Gulf, but that religious groups are a key community organization point for getting people together to work on the problem. He puts this…