Humanities

Category archives for Humanities

Communication as Art and Science

I alluded to this on Twitter, and meant to leave that be, but the other thing I was going to blog today didn’t come together, and I probably shouldn’t leave a cryptic tweet as my only comment. So… One of the links getting passed around a lot in my social-media circles is this Tumblr post…

The Social Construction of Gravity

One of the more annoying points of contention back in the days of the Sokal hoax and the “Science Wars” was an argument over social construction. This is, loosely speaking, the idea that our understanding of the world is not strictly rational and objective, but is heavily influenced by interactions with other people, and the…

On the bright side, I’m unlikely to read anything more stupid and insulting today than this Inside Higher Ed article arguing that it would be wrong to shrink graduate programs in English, because the higher education market is Special: When you shrink graduate student enrollments (the supply side), you inevitably also shrink the size of…

Miscellaneous Liberal Education Stuff

The posts on box-checking and liberal arts teaching generated a fair number of comments that I haven’t really had time to address individually, across a few different social media platforms. So I’m going to collect some of the more important stuff here, in one catch-up post. –A few people, mostly in places that aren’t conducive…

What I Learned From the Liberal Arts

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post about liberal education and the failure modes thereof, I thought I should try to do something constructive and make suggestions regarding how you might go about a “poetry for physicists” kind of thing. After all, one of the things I find intensely frustrating about a lot of “crisis in…

Malcolm Gladwell Is Deepak Chopra

I’m sure I’ve done more than enough wibbling about TED for this week, but the only major physics story at the moment involved the Higgs boson, and I’m thoroughly sick of that. So let’s talk about Malcolm Gladwell and journosplaining. Gladwell has a new book out, David and Goliath that from all reports is pretty…

There’s been a bunch of discussion recently about philosophy of science and whether it adds anything to science. Most of this was prompted by Lawrence Krauss’s decision to become the Nth case study for “Why authors should never respond directly to bad reviews,” with some snide comments in an interview in response to a negative…

The Writing Process

9:30am Thursday, Starbucks Work steadily on the work-in-progress, researching a few points here and there, adding a bunch of words, making various line edits. 11:15am Thursday, Starbucks Realize that the stuff I added would work better if split off into a new subsection. 11:30am Thursday, Union College Meeting with the Dean. No writing. Sigh. 1:30pm…

Assyrian Books and Quote Chasing

While reading bits of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Space Chronicles yesterday, I ran across this quote, attributed to “an Assyrian clay tablet from 2800 BC”: Our Earth is degenerate in these later days; there are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end; bribery and corruption are common; children no longer obey their parents;…

Always Write the Introduction Last

Here are some excerpts from the introductory sections of the very first drafts of some book chapters: [BLAH, BLAH, BLAHBITTY BLAH] and [Introductory blather goes here] and Blah, blah, stuff, blather. There’s a good reason for this, based on the basics of scientific writing, namely that the Introduction should give the reader a rough guide…