Links for 2009-09-05

  • "Here is the scene LaHaye and Jenkins are stumbling toward: Nicolae sits in his office, meditating on his evil scheme and the worldwide suffering it will cause. In walks the hero.

    If that hero is anyone other than Buck Williams, then we're in for some fireworks. Pick a hero, any hero. In walks Buffy Summers, armed with wisecracks and a nasty scythe-looking thing, matter-of-factly informing Nicolae that his scheme stops, now. In walks the Doctor, unarmed except for a sonic screwdriver and a boundless, inexplicable confidence, cheerfully explaining to Carpathia that he gets one last chance to do the right thing, to leave the planet alone for good. Or else."

  • "Damn. And I just tried defending science journalists to a clearly unhappy Sheril Kirshenbaum, and then someone goes and reports, "Magnetic Monopoles Detected..."

    You can stop there. They haven't been. In fact, if you go to the actual paper in science, they say so right in the abstract"

  • "The unspoken assumption is that, when the curent news media falls (what ever that means--AM radio, decades later, can still be profitable), a Glorious Reign of ...Something Else will take its place, and we will all be empowered to publish in exciting new media formats, erm, Something Really Groovy.

    But there's a flipside to that vision, and given how so many revolutions ultimately work out (not well), it's worth considering. Perhaps what we'll see is more corporate control of information, more massively funded disinformation, and more truthiness, not less."

  • "[T]he majority (by a wide margin) of applications I get are boilerplate applications from all fields with no regard to the project nor the content of the job ad. Sadly, I have to report that the majority of these applications is from India - about 40 or so thus far, by my guesstimate. For crying out loud, I even get horticulturalists and other botanists sending boilerplate applications to that position! The other day, I get what to me, for some weird reason, just took the cake. The person managed to disqualify her-/himself already in the first three sentences:"
  • "At times during your graduate career it can become difficult to stay motivated and avoid burnout. During graduate school you must learn not only how to become an effective researcher in your field, but also how to manage frustration and, at times, a feeling that you lack the necessary motivation to move forward. There are several things you can do to remain motivated and focused on what it takes to progress through your program and earn your graduate degree."
  • "My to-do list -- the issues and challenges I think American higher education needs to address during the next decade - will follow in a forthcoming essay. But the don't do list is just as important. Two are on it because, for the moment at least, no practical solution is at hand and to pretend otherwise would be to waste time and energy. One represents a kind of third rail that trying to change becomes not just quixotic but outright dangerous. The last item, for all its importance to the nation, belongs on a different to-do list, one more focused on higher education's research as opposed to its educational mission. "
  • A discussion of an ill-fated attempt to amend the Hugo rules to produce more nominations for women.
  • Paul Krugman explains the recent history and current state of the astronomy of the social sciences.
  • "This leads us to a question: what is the general formula for the number of guys who will fill in N urinals if they all come in one at a time and follow the urinal protocol? One could write a simple recursive program to solve it, placing one guy at a time, but there's also a closed-form expression. "

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Paul Krugman explains the recent history and current state of the astronomy of the social sciences.

Do you mean astrology? If not, can you explain the analogy, please?

By Wilson Fowlie (not verified) on 05 Sep 2009 #permalink

Do you mean astrology? If not, can you explain the analogy, please?

I mean that as an analogy to astronomy about 50-100 years ago. Economists, like older astronomers, are unquestionably approaching their subject in a scientific manner, accumulating data and identifying some relationships between things. When everything finally gets sorted out, though, the quantities they're measuring will turn out to be the negative logarithm (or some other non-linear function) of the things that really matter.

It seems like the authors of the monopole study are about as guilty as any journalists. There's self-promotion and there's willful disregard for accuracy

Thank you, Chad.

By Wilson Fowlie (not verified) on 09 Sep 2009 #permalink

I mean that as an analogy to astronomy about 50-100 years ago ...

Are you missing an order of magnitude there or something? If you wanted to make an analogy to astronomy 500 or more years ago, I could sort of understand this statement. Otherwise, it doesn't make any sense.