Sunday, March 29, 2015

Physics with Global Implications

An interesting article in the NYT about two MIT-trained physicists central to the negotiations between the US and Iran.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


  • Despite the assertions of this piece in the Atlantic, it's not that hard to setup and run a mail server. I used to do so before my campus IT was finally successful in getting me not to. And I'm not much of an outlier.
  • Interesting study of icicles in the NYT:

    They do not yet understand the physics of the ripple formations. But they have uncovered some strange facts. The spacing of the ripples doesn't seem to vary with different levels of impurities. "The ripples have a universal wavelength of exactly one centimeter, no matter what you do," Dr. Morris said. "That's the real mystery"

  • I'm truly pissed with my colleagues on some committee related to dreaded outcomes assessment. Their ability to waste so much time on such trivial matters is not so surprising, but their lack of appreciation for science (even among some ostensible scientists) is astonishing and disappointing. And I suppose much of my anger is that I let myself invest a little time and allowed them to ensure it would be in vain.

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?