links for 2009-07-14

  • "In some circles, 'college' is an undifferentiated term for a place that other people go to get the kinds of jobs that other people get. It's probably some kind of racket, though the exact workings are hard to detail.

    In some circles, 'college' is a place to find a mate, go to football games, and/or party. It's a sort of way station between childhood and adulthood, with no particular connection to the outside world. It's an expected stage of life â it's just what you do after high school â regardless of whether you have any idea what you're doing there.

    For some, 'college' is a place to get trained for a job. One college is pretty much the same as any other."

  • "This aquarium is distinguished by an emphasis, going back to its founding, on the biology of the Monterey Bay region: it has coral reef displays and some exotic critters from far away, but the big installations are local (kelp forest, sea otters, tidepool environments, and the like). There's a tank of jellies (what we used to call jellyfish) that is so hypnotic and relaxing I wasn't sure I could walk back to the car after sitting in front of it, and a big new section on seahorses. Go there, it's wonderful. But the visit on the whole made me sad, for three main reasons. "
  • "Recently someone asked me how to give funnier talks. My first response was to recoil at such an insolent question: doesnât everyone know that at the core of my shtick lies a unique and ineffable je ne sais quoi that canât be packaged, bottled, or resold? But the truth was not that I couldnât give advice; itâs that I didnât want to. For if everyone knew how easy it was to keep an audience at least half-awake, how would people like me maintain their edge? By proving better theorems? Having something new and relevant and say? These questions answer themselves."
  • "I wonder if this solution method ("solution by LOL?" "SoLOLution?") can't be extended to a method for theory research. Think about a subject area and then think of the funniest result you could derive in this area. "Wouldn't it be funny if..." And then instead of just laughing at the conjecture, maybe you should actually check and see if your humor is actually well tuned to the universe."
  • "From the decrepit, dust-ridden shelves of the KB Library comes the dirt speckled copy of Introduction to Quantum Theory: Third Edition by David Park, a book that introduces the field of quantum theory.

    While from the clean, well kept new shelves of the newly renovated Main Library we have Introducing Quantum Theory: First Edition by the team of J.P. McEvoy & Oscar Zarate, an âinternational bestsellerâ that also seeks to introduce the field of quantum theory.

    Fun now follows."

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