Politics

Category archives for Politics

I was invited to a dinner last night hosted by one of the umbrella organizations for fraternities on campus, with a stated goal of improving communication between faculty and frats. It ended up being kind of a weird crowd– most of the non-students there were Deans of one sort or another; I think there was…

Friday Miscellany

I got book edits this week, gave an exam on Thursday, and pre-registration for our spring term classes is just beginning, so I have a parade of students begging to get into this course or that one to deal with. So I have no more time for detailed blogging, but will do a bit of…

On Irony and Ivory Towers

The outrage of the moment in academic circles is this Nick Kristof column on how academics need to be more engaged with a broader public. And it’s really impressive how he manages to take an idea that I basically agree with– I regularly give talks on the need for scientists to do more outreach via…

Food Takes Time

Kevin Drum and Aaron Carroll report on a new study of the effect of new grocery stores opening in “food deserts” in poor neighborhood. The study is paywalled, so I can’t speak to the whole thing, but both of them quote similar bits making the same point: no statistically significant effects on the BMI of…

A Billion’s Not That Much

The local sports-talk radio station is running a bunch of commercials from a tax prep service in which a loud announcer declares that “People who did their own taxes left one billion dollars on the table last year. That’s billion with a ‘b.’” and urges people to “Get your billion back!” by paying for their…

About five minutes into my class Wednesday, my cell phone rang. I silenced it right away, but recognized the number as the kids’ day care. And I knew right away what it was: The Pip has had a bit of a cough for a while, and wasn’t all that happy that morning. Sure enough, when…

When I wrote about Benjamin Bratton’s anti-TED rant I only talked about the comment about the low success rate of TED suggestions. That was, admittedly, a small piece of his article, but the rest of it was so ludicrously overheated that I couldn’t really take it seriously. It continues to get attention, though, both in…

How Fast Should I Drive?

We spent this past weekend in Florida, visiting Kate’s mom and her husband, who moved down there in October. This was a huge hit with the kids, who were very excited to fly on an airplane (four of them, actually, as we changed planes in Baltimore both ways). They also got a big kick out…

The Extensive Banality of Evil

We had a very late colloquium talk on Monday– on the next-to-last day of our fall term exam period, so student turnout was a little disappointing– by the science historian Dieter Hoffmann from the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, who was in town visiting a colleague in our history department. He told…

On Private Science Funding

A couple of weeks back, DougT won this year’s Nobel betting pool, and requested a post on the subject of funding of wacky ieas: could you comment on this: http://www.space.com/22344-elon-musk-hyperloop-technology-revealed.html and the phenomenon of the uber-rich funding science in general. It seems to me that there used to be more private funding of science, and…