Links for 2009-10-23

  • "I am sworn to secrecy about a lot of the details, for good reason, but let me try to tell you from my perspective as an exam writer how to study for this dreaded event in your physics education."
  • "To flag my own genre here, "Six cents a word," should sound vaguely familiar to science fiction and fantasy writers, as that's the current going rate at the "Big Three" science fiction magazines here in the US: Analog (which pays six to eight cents a word), Asimov's (six cents a word "for beginners") and Fantasy & Science Fiction (six to nine cents a word). So, sf/f writers, in one sense you can truly say you're getting paid just as well as F. Scott Fitzgerald did; but in another, more relevant, "adjusted for inflation" sense, you're making five cents to every one of Fitzy's dollars. Which basically sucks. This is just one reason why making a living writing short fiction is not something you should be counting on these days."
  • "And it is this business of trillions of universes branching off willy-nilly every nanosecond that everybody found unbelievable [about the Many-Worlds Interpretation]. It's a convenient image for picturing the consequences, and I do intend to use it as such, but it's totally wrong when it comes to the fundamental physics. They are NOT "parallel universes". To the extent that you can consider them as separate universes at all, they're actually perpendicular. (The mathematical word for it is 'orthogonal'.)"
  • "[S]etting out to teach self-presentation is a tricky business. For one, it's genuinely difficult to assess or grade self-presentation or speaking in a way where feedback works to help a student improve. The major pedagogy you need is more akin to the pedagogy employed in performance or studio art, where the professor needs to react in the moment, and where some of the feedback needs to be as public and shared as the speaking itself might be. That can get very sticky or emotionally fraught for many students. If you're in a performance class, you expect that kind of judgment. If you're in a small discussion class focused on an academic subject, you might not be so willing to go through that gauntlet. "

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