Pure Pedantry

Archives for November, 2006

Wired magazine is asking for nominations for the top ten sexiest geeks of 2006: Be they programmers, scientists, writers, architects or attorneys, please leave your suggestions in the comment space below. There are no rules for submission. The only guidance we can offer is: you know a sexy geek when you see, nay, experience one.…

Yesterday the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Massachusetts et al. v. EPA. In the case, several state governments are suing the EPA for failing to regulate CO2 as a greenhouse gas. There are many levels of legal conflict on which the justices could rule, summarized in the NYTimes coverage: On one level, the argument…

The Cost of Negotiating Drug Prices

Benjamin Zycher, fellow at the Manhattan Institute, questions of the wisdom of allowing Medicare to negotiate prices with drug companies. Actually what I don’t like about this debate is that is called “negotiating” drug prices. There is no negotiation that is going to take place. What will happen is that Medicare is going to tell…

Paul Tough, writing in the NYTimes, has an excellent long article about the challenges in teaching underprivileged and minority children. I was talking to my parents about this issue over break. I am from Denver — though I went to school in a relatively affluent suburb. In the Denver schools, the majority of students are…

A Web Experiment in Meme Speed

This is super interesting. Acephalous is trying to measure the speed of a meme — an infectious idea — as it spreads through the blogosphere. More importantly, he is trying to figure out whether they spread from the bottom up through low-traffic blogs or from the top-down through high traffic or both. Here is his…

Do you have an accent?

Take a fun test to see if you have an accent. My friends periodically give me hell because I speak like a newscaster — or that I have a “professor” voice. Anyway, now there is validation: I actually have no accent. Not shocking…I grew up in Denver. However, I was born in the South, and…

So Many Lemurs

There you go, lemurs! Way to speciate: The number of known species of the mouse lemur, the world’s smallest primate, has increased by 25% with the description of three new species, bringing the total to 15. Mouse lemurs are wide-eyed nocturnal animals that scamper around the forests of Madagascar, an island that harbors a tremendous…

I have a bunch of articles on politics here that I have been perusing. Free Exchange has a post on the moral benefits of growth. One of them is that it is prerequisite to the creation of jobs that allow women to be equal. They also have a post from a bit back about Europe’s…

Nerds in Japan

NPR had a great article about how otaku or nerd culture is driving economic growth: Take 24-year-old Kai. Sengoku Basara is her favorite computer game. An office worker by day, Kai spends her weekends dressed up as a 16th-century samurai, Chosokabe Motochika. Her chest is bound flat. She wears a gray wig, armored cuffs, high…

Cognitive Elements of Delusions

Mind Hacks covers an article in the Financial Times about delusions and how brain damage affects cognition: Some researchers have argued that this is the basis of a similarly curious syndrome, known as Capgras delusion, where someone believes that their friend, spouse or relative has been replaced by a near-identical looking impostor. In Capgras delusion,…