Links for 2010-08-18

  • Here's a clue: If you need to use a web-based "calculator" to decide whether to go to class or not, it doesn't matter whether you go to class or not.
  • "At first sight, physicists seem like normal people. But ask what keeps them up at night and you realize the magnitude of their outworldliness. "
  • "It occurs to me that while the vast majority of "just a theory" disclaimers are intellectually dishonest, there is one issue that reasonable laymen find disconcerting about evolutionary biology: It's a historical science in large part (although there is a large component of the field devoted to contemporary phenomena such as antibiotic and pesticide resistance). You can't do a controlled experiment on the past. A reasonable person might wonder if we can really be as confident in evolutionary biology as we are in experiments that can be repeated under controlled conditions.

    Also, one might wonder if all of the indirect reasoning involved is really valid.

    What people don't know is that most of the other things in science and technology involve indirect measurement. "

  • "Rule 1: Spend as much time on logistics as on content

    Most events run by amateurs are "amateur" because they fall down on details. They have a great idea, or a great speaker, but the event turns out mediocre because the sound system doesn't work or because there's no parking nearby. It's more fun to focus on the big stuff, but getting the little stuff wrong will kill you just as dead as getting the big stuff wrong."


More like this

Britain's Nobel winner condemns science funding reform | Science | ""There is a lot of focus now on trying to get very quick pay-offs in research. It is a huge mistake. Basic science has paid off far more than any directed research," Ramakrishnan said. "If you don't invest properly…
Scientists and Kool-Aid § Unqualified Offerings "In my department weâll often produce documents that have lots of buzzwords, but nobody really takes it seriously. You can always get appreciative chuckles in a department meeting if you poke fun at your own handiwork. Higher on the food chain,…
Colliding Galaxies For Fun and For Science! : Starts With A Bang "Galaxy Zoo has developed an outstanding game where you can help astronomers by doing something that humans easily defeat computers at: visually matching galaxies to simulations!" (tags: science astronomy computing internet blogs…
What higher education costs § Unqualified Offerings "There's a lot of talk going around about the cost of higher education.  Let's look at some numbers in the state university system here, which focuses on undergraduate education." (tags: academia education economics blogs unqualified-offerings…

Thanks for the link. Btw, when I was googling for what keeps physicists up at night, I also came across one of your blogposts. Always down to earth as you are, it seems what keeps you up at night is writing grant proposals.

I have on occasion been kept up late by working in the lab. I don't think that really counts, though. So, yeah, the only physics problems that have kept me from getting to sleep at night have been funding-related.