Tuesday, February 25, 2014

To enter the Ivory Tower or not

I really like the ``Talking Points Memo" blog...though it's moved way beyond blog to a full-fledged news/analysis outlet. And so I'm happy to link to a discussion of academics and to what extent they do or should influence the real world. The discussion was kicked-off by a Kristoff column in the NYT and isn't really about the sciences. Nevertheless, folks here might find it interesting in terms of established people looking back on the paths they chose and their chosen paths (not always the same). I'm not providing much in the way of links, but things shouldn't be too hard to find.

As for Svik's request for more anger, I'll keep it in mind. The anger is surely there, but it can be hard to disguise the players appropriately.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Measurement Uncertainty in the Real World (of Olympics)

The NYT covers the first tie in an Alpine Olympic event. The times are reported to the hundredths place, but the times are actually recorded with two more digits that were not identical for the two contestants. The tone of the article is almost like it's some conspiracy to cover up the last two digits...taking it on faith that a device which is ostensibly accurate to the ten-thousandths of a second will yield a measurement with that same accuracy despite all that is involved. It would have been nice to have a more informed discussion of why measurement uncertainty isn't so simple...perhaps elsewhere such a discussion occurs. I need to remind my students of this example.