Humanities

Category archives for Humanities

Hannu Ranjaniemi’s The Quantrum Thief has generated a lot of buzz, but doesn’t seem to be available on this side of the Atlantic (not without exorbitant shipping charges, anyway). As a result, I haven’t read anything of his, so I was happy to see “Elegy for a Young Elk on the Short Story Club list.…

All the Myriad Inceptions

In comments to yesterday’s post about my favorite Many-Worlds story, a couple of people mention “All the Myriad Ways,” a Larry Niven short story. I don’t think I’ve ever actually read the story, but it gets brought up all the time, so I’m familiar with the concept. It’s an angle on Many-Worlds that I don’t…

Back in one of the communications skills threads, Karen comments about science and humanities: It’s easy enough for a humanities major to avoid doing much science in school. The converse is not true. It strikes me that for those earlier scientists who attended univeristy, both their early education and university years were more suited to…

Academic Poll: Talk or Poster?

The Steinmetz Symposium is today at Union, as mentioned in yesterday’s silly poll about fears (I love the fact that “Wavefunction Collapse” leads “Monsters from the Id” by one vote at the time of this writing– my readers are awesome). As a more serious follow-up, there were two presentation options offered to the students, and…

Back when I was in grad school, and paper copies of journals were delivered to the lab by a happy mailman riding a brontosaurus, I used to play a little game when the new copy of Physical Review Letters arrived: I would flip through the papers in the high energy and nuclear physics sections, and…

The always interesting Timothy Burke has a post on the economics of conference attendance, inspired by Brian Croxall’s essay about why he didn’t attend the MLA. The key problem for both of them is that the way the academic job market is structured inn the humanities forces job seekers to attend the MLA for “screening…

The Ethics of Santa

Janet has a post grappling with the ethical implications of telling children about Santa Claus. SteelyKid is too young for this to be an issue yet, but on this issue, like many others, I turn to my favorite literary philosopher, Terry Pratchett: “All right,” said Susan. “I’m not stupid. You’re saying humans need… fantasies to…

Where Were You When…?

I failed to write something on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall yesterday, partly because I think the other six million blog posts on the subject had it pretty well covered. Another factor, though, was the fact that I don’t have the sort of crystal-clear recollection of where I was and what…

Via somebody on Twitter, Copyblogger has a post titled “7 Bad Writing Habits You Learned in School,” which is, as you might guess, dedicated to provocatively contrarian advice about how to write, boldly challenging the received wisdom of English faculty: What is good writing? Ask an English teacher, and they’ll tell you good writing is…

With Polymaths Like These…

It’s hard to say exactly why I found Edward Carr’s article on polymaths so irritating, but I suspect it was this bit: The monomaths do not only swarm over a specialism, they also play dirty. In each new area that Posner picks–policy or science–the experts start to erect barricades. “Even in relatively soft fields, specialists…