Wednesday, January 07, 2015

On a roll

If you pay US taxes, you might be interested in this piece from Salon about getting rid of their military academies (West Point, Naval, Air Force, and Coast Guard Academies). I had sort of drunk the Kool-Aid that these were worthwhile and produce good officers, and so it was, at the least, a very different perspective. And it's written by a full professor at one of these academies.

My last post mentioned Scott Aaronson's feelings on sexism and feminism, and now I find myself trying to find women to invite to a workshop I'm organizing. Partly it's sad how hard it is to come up with anyone, and partly I worry because sometimes I find myself thinking about whether some given candidate is attractive. Am I sexist for thinking about such a thing or am I a feminist because I admit to having such thoughts but try not to let them affect any decisions?

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Sundry

I've been absent quite a long time. I'd apologize if I felt like I owed you all anything :).

In case you've missed it, you might spend some time reading what Scott Aaronson has been saying about women and feminism. It's gotten a lot of attention. I'd start with his comment and then follow it with his follow-up post. Whatever you think of all that, if you have the stomach for a nice helping of bile, you might read this afterward (a comment points out the link and Scott has seen it).

I don't think I was as socially handicapped as Scott (at least when it came to finding mates), but his experiences certainly ring true. At first I wasn't sure how brave he was being, but then I recalled once asking a financial question in an online forum. I was very surprised both at the nastiness of the responses and at how much the nastiness affected me. I don't think I have terribly thin skin, but it took some time to just let the comments go.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Prestige

This piece in The Economist doesn't sound correct to me. It describes a study of the citations achieved by physicists who move from one institution to another to evaluate whether more prestigious institutions inherently produce better research. I have no idea how the researchers may have controlled for the reasons and timing behind a move nor am I convinced that citations are a good pathway to an evaluation of the quality of research.

In any case however, I strongly suspect that success breeds success, regardless of institution.