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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…

Way Less Scary Than Death

This week has been a particularly good one for highlighting how weird my career is. On Thursday, I gave a lecture for the Union College Academy of Lifelong Learning, talking for nearly two hours about Einstein (in Memorial Chapel, shown in the “featured image” above). On Friday, I drove clean across New York State (which…

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s TV talk show had its debut Monday night on the National Geographic channel, something that’s very relevant to my interests. It airs after I go to bed, though, so I set the DVR to record it, and watched it Tuesday afternoon. Then I was too busy yesterday to write about it… Anyway,…

A Quantum of Sunshine

It was nice and sunny this morning when I sat down at Starbucks to do some blogging, so I wrote a new Forbes post about the quantum physics that makes sunshine possible. This also brings in xkcd’s take on the fundamental forces, and even a little bit of SteelyKid. Sadly, it’s now grey and dreary,…

My Valuable Extra Phone

Back when we went to London for Worldcon (and then I went to Sweden for a workshop), I bought a smartphone in Heathrow thinking I could sell it back when I left. That turned out not to work the way we thought, but it’s served me well ever since as an e-reader. It can’t connect…

There has been a lot of stuff written in response to the Hugo award nomination mess, most of it stupid. Some of it is stupid to such an impressive degree that it actually makes me feel sympathetic toward people who I know are wrong about everything. One of the few exceptions is the long essay…

SteelyKid, Galactic Engineer

“Hey, Daddy, did you know that in five or six million years the Sun is going to explode.” “It’s five or six billion years, with a ‘b.’” “Right, in five or six billion years, the Sun’s going to explode.” “Well, a star like our Sun won’t really explode. It’ll swell up really big, probably swallow…

A Note to the University of Pretoria

So, the mysterious strings of digits that I wrote about the other day seem to be part of a class assignment from the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Students are being asked to go read and comment on blogs, and the random digits are individual student identifiers. This makes sense given the form and…

My Quantum Alarm Clock

One of the things I struggle with a bit when it comes to writing about cool modern physics is how much to play up the weirdness. On the one hand, people just can’t get enough of “spooky action at a distance,” but on the other hand, talking too much about that sort of thing makes…