Humanities

Category archives for Humanities

Periodically, some scientific celebrity from the physical sciences– Neil deGrasse Tyson or Stephen Hawking, say– will say something dismissive about philosophy, and kick off a big rush of articles about how dumb their remarks are, how important philosophy is, and so on. Given that this happens on a regular basis, you might wonder why it…

When I was going through the huge collection of photos I have from the Forum in Rome, I kept running across pictures containing two young Asian women (neither of them Kate). This isn’t because I was stalking them, but because they were everywhere, stopping for long periods in front of virtually every significant ruin and…

College Science Advice Tetralogy

I got off on a bit of a rant the other day about bad defenses of “the humanities,” but there’s a bright side. It finally got me to write my own, over at Forbes, which is basically the last piece of a tetralogy of advice for students: — Why small colleges are a great place…

Engaging in a bit of tab clearance before I head off to DAMOP tomorrow afternoon, I noticed that I still had How to Teach an Ancient Rape Joke open. This is because while I found it kind of fascinating, it’s not all that directly relevant to what I do, and I didn’t have anything all…

Both Roads Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And caused me no small amount of panic For traveling both of them would be good But there simply was no way I could Until I remembered quantum mechanics. So half my wavefunction I sent left And rightward steered the other half Both pieces of me with equal…

As previously mentioned, SteelyKid has started to get into pop music. In addition to the songs in that post, she’s very fond of Katy Perry’s “Roar,” like every other pre-teen girl in the country, and also this Taylor Swift song: I’ve seen a bunch of people rave about this, but honestly, I found it pretty…

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…

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…

Some Follow-Up on Teaching

Yesterday’s Open Letter to Neil deGrasse Tyson struck a chord with a lot of people, and has spread a good distance on social media, which is gratifying. Given the delocalized nature of modern social media, though, it means I’m having essentially the same argument in five different places via different platforms. In the interest of…

Method and Its Discontents

Given that I am relentlessly flogging a book about the universality of the scientific process (Available wherever books are sold! They make excellent winter solstice holiday gifts!), I feel like I ought to try to say something about the latest kerfuffle about the scientific method. This takes the form of an editorial in Nature complaining…