Links for 2010-05-25

  • "I think the comparison between ideological isolation in media and in face to face encounters is more like comparing apples and hedgehogs. They're thoroughly different types of interactions and we should have very different expectations for diversity and ideological isolation in each set. The media I consume damn well better be more diverse than the community I live in. That's what media is supposed to do - give me a broader view than I'm able to get from friends, family and coworkers. It's okay that there aren't any Thai people in my rural American town of 3,000, but if there are no Thai protests in my newspaper, there's something wrong."
  • "I've decided to structure the class [Image of Africa] from a series of contemporary images or tropes backwards into their historical development. Normally I'm uneasy about history courses which start from the present and move back in time, as this can have the effect of squashing all contingency, of making the present inevitable. In this case, I think it works well, because one of the central puzzles of studying these tropes is to understand how we recognize them and reproduce them even when we don't know their historical referents any longer. This is history as the detective's art, except that when we finally do get back to the scene of the crime and we know it's Colonel Mustard and the noose that did the deed, it's not necessarily clear what the crime actually was or whether it really matters any longer that it was committed. "
  • "It's true, I've never seen Lost before. But I watched the finale anyway, because I figured, how hard can it be? I'll pick it up as I go along.

    Here's what happened."

  • ""Should I consider going to graduate school?" Yes! That is, if you're contemplating a degree in a field for which there is a reasonable chance of securing employment. It's the channel though which useful contacts are made and networks are established. Graduate school is intellectually rewarding and a place where you make lifelong friends. For many folks graduate school is so exciting that they experience a big letdown when they discover that real life -- even securing a professorship -- generally scores lower on the stimulation scale. If you're stuck in a dead-end or mind-deadening job and graduate school offers a reasonable chance of escape, go for it.

    That is, if there is life after grad school."

  • "Hitting a golf ball. Or, in the lab frame, a golf ball hitting a surface. At 150 mph (about 250 kph)."
  • "Sunday morning was cool and foggy, and so we were not surprised to discover the garden full of craters and trenches. A snapping turtle the size of a manhole cover was busy laying her eggs."
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