Humanities

Category archives for Humanities

One of the perils of book reviewing, or any other form of literary analysis is putting more thought into some aspect of a book than the author did. It’s one of the aspects of the humanities aide of academia that, from time to time, strains my ability to be respectful of the scholarly activities of…

Advancing by Subtracting

I’ve got draft versions of all the chapters of the book-in-progress now, which is great. Of course, when you add up all the words in those chapters, it comes to 92,000, when the contract calls for 70,000. Which means I’ve entered the part of the writing process where progress is measured not by how many…

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…

Bad Words and Great Books

There’s a new wrinkle in the endless controversy about Huckleberry Finn, with NewSouth Books preparing an expurgated edition replacing “nigger” with “slave” throughout. Sentiment in the parts of the Internet I frequent is mostly against the change, which has been made with the goal of getting it back on high school reading lists, which it…

It’s time now to talk about two of the greatest mentor figures in the literature of the fantastic. You know their stories well, I’m sure, but the parallels between them are eerie: Both are gruff but kindly mentor figures who provide crucial guidance for the young and naive protagonist of the story as he moves…

The Problem of the Humanities

I’ve probably gotten a dozen pointers to Gregory Petsko’s open letter in support of the humanities, addressed to the President of SUNY-Albany, over the last couple of weeks (the link is to a reposting of the letter at Inside Higher Ed; it was originally on Petsko’s own blog). I haven’t linked to it or commented…

Nobel Prize Betting Pool

It’s that time of year again– the Swedes will be handing out money to famous scientists, with the announcements of who’s getting what starting one week from today. Thus, the traditional Uncertain Principles Nobel Prize Picking Contest: Leave a comment on this post predicting the winner(s) of one of this year’s Nobel Prizes. Anyone who…

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…