Politics

Category archives for Politics

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…

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

Let me say these things, because they are important. Bora was wrong. Scientific American was wrong. Ofek was wrong, Wrong, WRONG. If you follow science blogs beyond this one, you have no doubt run across the gigantic debacle that erupted this past weekend; if not the first few paragraphs of this Slate piece give a…

Men, Women, and Graduation Statistics

There was a great big New York Times article on women in science this week, which prompted no end of discussion. (I also highly recommend Bee’s response at Backreaction.) It’s built around the personal story of the author, Eileen Pollack, a physics major at Yale who decided not to go to grad school, and her…

On Corrective Incentives

SteelyKid’s kindergarten teacher is big on incentives and prizes– there are a number of reward bags that get sent home with kids who excel in some particular area. I’m not entirely sure what’s in these, because SteelyKid hasn’t gotten any yet. This isn’t because she misbehaves– from all reports, she’s very good– but she’s in…

On Class and Skills and Education

In a comment to yesterday’s post about the liberal arts, Eric Lund makes a good point: The best argument I have ever heard for doing scholarship in literature and other such fields is that some people find it fun. I single this out as a good point not because I want to sneer at the…