Culture

Category archives for Culture

A lot of pixels have been spilled lamenting the death of Borders books, a rather large fraction of them being used to say stupid things. Particularly in the “they killed off independent bookstores so good riddance to them” vein– it’s great that you lived in a place that had good indie bookstores and enough hipsters…

Prompted by this and this, among other things, one of the critical questions of the modern age: Harry Potter is a: Magic is a classical phenomenon, no matter what you may have heard, so you can choose one and only one option.

Tribes, Classes, and Networking

Via Jessa Crispin on Twitter, there’s a really excellent article in the Paris Review about Harvard and Class: When I applied, I thought it would be great because I would get to meet lots of smart people. Those were the kinds of people I liked to be friends with, and I thought there would be…

Science Poll: Get Real

If you look at the schedule of events for DAMOP next week, you will see that there is a movie showing scheduled for Tuesday night: Real Genius. This seems like an excellent excuse to run a poll: Real Genius is:survey software While the meeting will largely involve quantum mechanics, this is a purely classical poll,…

Calendrical Innovation

Union operates on a trimester calendar, with three ten-week terms (September-November, January-March, April-June), rather than the two 14-15 week semesters used by most other colleges and universities. This has some advantages in terms of flexibility– even science and engineering students get to take terms abroad, which is harder to swing in a semester system– and…

Problematic Tigers

SteelyKid is, as I have noted previously, half Korean, a quarter Polish, and an eighth each Irish and German. Her parents are irreligious, the extended family is Catholic (more so on my side than Kate’s), and she goes to day care at the Jewish Community Center. In other words, a thoroughly American sort of upbringing.…

On Multitasking

After chasing a bunch of kids with cell phones off of his lawn, Kevin Drum has kicked off a discussion of “multitasking”, specifically about whether it’s merely a threat, or a positive menace. He points to an interview with Clifford Nass, a researcher who says his experiments show that nobody is any good at doing…

Advertising Reveals Our Culture

I’ve been watching a lot of basketball lately, and between the channel-flipping and occasional single-game windows, it has not been possible to use the DVR to avoid seeing commercials. Which means I’ve seen a lot of the current paradigm of advertising in America, which seems to consist of two main modes: Smug and “dickish”: The…

Everybody Thinks Scientifically

Everybody’s favorite science blogger did a podcast with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and has been posting highlights of it. One of these, on scientific thinking, has a bit that I don’t quite agree with. Tyson says: I think the, if it were natural to think scientifically, science as we currently practice it would have been going…

I’m taking some flak in the comments to yesterday’s book recommendation request post, so let me illustrate what I meant with an example. Lots of people recommended the Andrew Lang Fairy books, which are freely available online. I looked at the first story in the first book, which is plenty entertaining, but also has this…