Links for 2011-08-20

  • Things I can only teach you in research § Unqualified Offerings

    "When I'm teaching a regular class, I know the answer. Or I don't know the answer, but I think I do. Or I know I don't know the answer for sure, but I'm "pretty sure" what the answer is and I'm winging it because it's just that sort of day. But I can't say the things that I said to one of my research students today. (Note that this is a condensed summary, there was a lot of discussion between us, and a lot of pauses to examine data.)"

  • Brian Phillips on Conan the Barbarian - Grantland

    "As with Sherlock Holmes, Batman, and James Bond, every generation seems to get the Conan it wants. The question is why we want Conan at all. Howard's stories, written at the jolting speed of most pulp fiction, lack the deep-focus world-building of The Lord of the Rings, the poised cynicism of Michael Moorcock's Elric saga, and even the complex recurring cast of A Song of Ice and Fire.3 So what is it about this moody, shirt-optional relic of Depression-era fantasy that makes us keep the franchise fires burning?"

  • Another Thing to Sort of Pin on David Foster Wallace - NYTimes.com

    "Of course, Wallace's slangy approachability was part of his appeal, and these quirks are more than compensated for by his roving intelligence and the tireless force of his writing. The trouble is that his style is also, as Dyer says, "catching, highly infectious." And if, even from Wallace, the aw-shucks, I-could-be-wrong-here, I'm-just-a-supersincere-regular-guy-who-happens-to-have-written-a-book-on-infinity approach grates, it is vastly more exasperating in the hands of lesser thinkers. In the Internet era, Wallace's moves have been adopted and further slackerized by a legion of opinion-mongers who not only lack his quick mind but seem not to have mastered the idea that to make an argument, you must, amid all the tap-dancing and hedging, actually lodge an argument."

Tags

More like this

Over at metadatta, Sujit has video of Jim Carrey and Conan O'Brien talking about experimental physics. (There are a bunch of more serious things that I really ought to be posting-- I owe Dave an answer to his questions about X-Ray lasers, for example-- but there's an ice storm, I have a class to…
I didn't get to see this interview last night on Late Night With Conan O'Brien. After all, I usually show up at work between 7:00 and 7:30 AM. However, Hugh Laurie, star of House, was interviewed by Conan and revealed himself to be not unlike me in that he's definitely a booster of reason and…
There are a lot of reasons not to hold Arthur Conan Doyle up as a guide to solid scientific practice. The creator of the famously rational Sherlock Holmes was also an advocate of spiritualism and the existence of fairies, after all. Setting that aside, it would be a bad mistake to cite the work…
tags: Conan O'Brien, Martha Stewart, Conan O'Brien Invades Martha Stewart's Kitchen, humor, funny, comedy, offbeat, cultural observation, television, streaming video After having my kitchen invaded repeatedly -- six times, for those who care -- by strangers hired by IKEA to install the kitchen that…