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One of the points I make repeatedly in teaching introductory mechanics (as I’m doing this term) is that absolutely every problem students encounter can, in principle, be solved using just Newton’s Laws or, in the terminology used by Matter and Interactions, the Momentum Principle. You don’t strictly need any of the other stuff we talk…

A few things about the academic job market have caught my eye recently, but don’t really add up to a big coherent argument. I’ll note them here, though, to marginally increase the chance that I’ll be able to find them later. — First, this piece at the Guardian got a lot of play, thanks in…

I’ve been sort of falling down on my obligation to promote myself– I’ve written two blog posts for Forbes this week, and forgotten to post about them here. The first is a thing about philosophy in physics, and how Einstein illustrates both the good and bad aspects of a philosophical approach. The second is a…

SteelyKid and the Makey Makey

A couple of weeks ago, after one of my Forbes posts, I got contacted by a publicist working for Makey Makey. They really wanted publicity in Forbes, but that’s above my pay grade; I did, however, say that it sounded like the sort of thing my kids would get a kick out of, and I…

Kids Keep You Young

A week or so ago, this statistical analysis of listening trends in pop music got a bunch of play on Twitter and Facebook, but I was too busy to do anything with it. The headline result, reported with all the accuracy you should expect of such things is people stop listening to popular music at…

I’m still in the late stages of an awful cold, but shook it off a bit to write a new conversation with Emmy, the Queen of Niskayuna over at Forbes: “HEY! YOU POODLES! STAY OFFA MY LAWN!” “Emmy! Stop barking!” I sit up. She’s at the gap between the fences, where she can see into…

So, Kate and I hired a babysitter last night, and went to see the new Avengers movie. You might not have heard of it, it’s kind of obscure… (There will be some mild SPOILERS below; if you’re intensely opposed to that sort of thing, don’t read the rest of this…) So, I didn’t realize it…

Giant Ants and Illegal Acts

A month or so back, when I went to Vanderbilt to give a talk, I met Robert Scherrer, the department chair down there, who mentioned he was starting a blog soon. That blog is Cosmic Yarns, and has now been live for a while, but I’ve been too busy to do a proper link. He’s…

Einstein and Revolution

As mentioned over the weekend, I gave a talk last week for UCALL, part of a series on “The Radical Early 20th Century.” I talked about how relativity is often perceived as revolutionary, but isn’t really, while Einstein’s really revolutionary 1905 paper is often overlooked. And, having put the time into thinking about the subject,…

Over the last month or so, it’s been kind of hard to avoid this book, even before it hit stores. Big excerpts in the New York Times and The Guardian generated a good deal of buzz, and arguments on social media. Unsurprisingly, as one of the main elements of the book is a look at…