Archive for: December, 2008

A serious contender for dumbest excuse of 2008.

He defended the views he expressed in many of his radio programs and said that, because he consulted for so many drugmakers at once, he had no particular bias.
"These companies compete with each other and cancel each other out," he said.

The New York Times on psychiatrist and former radio host, Dr. Frederick K. Goodwin, whose NPR program "The Infinite Mind" was cancelled after it was discovered that Goodwin failed to disclose more than $1 million in income received for giving marketing lectures for drugmakers.
Dr. Goodwin seems a little unclear on the concept of conflict of interest.

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In which Ann Landers unintentionally blows my mind.

Dec 31 2008 Published by under Mathematics, Passing thoughts, Philosophy

In a frequently recycled list of proposed New Year's resolutions, Ann Landers urges:

Vow not to make a promise you don't think you can keep.

However, she fails to advise a course of action in the case that you think you might not be able to live up to this vow.
(Maybe she was too busy trying to construct a set containing sets that are not members of themselves.)

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Light in the darkness.

Dec 31 2008 Published by under Current events, Personal, Philanthropy

A colleague of Super Sally's forwarded her this*:

Generous.png

It's funny because it's true, and the pain isn't just from laughing so hard.

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Authorial pecking order.

Dec 30 2008 Published by under Academia, Communication, Tribe of Science

Some time ago, PhysioProf asserted that journal articles in the biomedical sciences listing two first authors are misrepresenting the reality of the involvement of those authors.

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Please apply.

Dec 30 2008 Published by under Academia, Passing thoughts, Personal, Philosophy

If memory serves, today is the day that the meeting of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association draws to a close. That meeting, always conveniently scheduled to fall in the interstices between Christmas and New Year's, and more often than not located in some East Coast city with nasty winter weather (this year, Philadelphia), is traditionally where philosophy departments from U.S. colleges and universities (as well as a few from elsewhere) conduct preliminary job interviews.
Except this year, apparently, a great many job searches have been frozen or canceled, owing to the fact that exploding economic markets have depleted endowments and state budgets and probably baskets of puppies and kitties and bunnies and chicks. There's some higher-than-average probability that a lot of the people at the Eastern APA this year actually spent most of their time giving and listening to papers. I can't even guess whether that would be more fun or less fun spending four days in the dance of presenting yourself as the ideal candidate (or, on the search committee side of the dance, of trying to discern from how those you are interviewing present themselves who might in fact be a good fit for your position and a good colleague in your department).
Since I'm not in Philadelphia but in sunny Los Angeles County at the moment, this is mostly idle speculation. However, during one of my infrequent sabbatical visits to my departmental mailbox a couple months ago, I retrieved a letter soliciting my application for a position in a philosophy department not my own.

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Futile cycles.

Dec 30 2008 Published by under Current events, Ethics 101, Politics

While we're speaking about revolutions and such, Hilzoy on the ongoing violence in Gaza:

I imagine what people on both sides are thinking is something more like: do you expect us to just sit here and take it? Do you expect us to do nothing? To which my answer is: no, I expect you to try to figure out what has some prospect of actually making things better. Killing people out of anger, frustration, and the sense that you have to do something is just wrong. For both sides.

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You say you want a revolution

Dr. Isis expresses reservations about signing on for Twisty Faster's revolution.
ScienceWoman offers a sketch of what her revolution might look like.
Me? I'm pretty exhausted from today's outing with my offspring, what with it being Winter Break, otherwise known as 24/7 parenting. But I have a few brief ideas of what I'd like to see on the post-revolutionary landscape.

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Friday Sprog Blogging: science on Liberty Island.

Dec 26 2008 Published by under Kids and science

On Tuesday, largely at the instigation of the Free-Ride offspring, the Free-Ride family went to Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty.

Liberty1.jpg

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Unprovoked Christmas YouTubery.

Dec 25 2008 Published by under Passing thoughts, Pop culture

In an earlier post, I neglected to mention that Uncle Fishy and RMD engaged a party bus to transport revelers to and from the dinner at Blue Hill at Stone Barn. Conditions on the roads were icy and treacherous, which means the trip took longer than it might have. Also, there was a wine pairing for each course of the dinner.
So, on the way back, there was singing on the bus. A lot of singing. There were folks on the bus who knew every word to Christmas songs I didn't even know existed. For example, "Dominic the Donkey":

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Metamorphosis.

The elder Free-Ride offspring drew this picture (on two sides of the same piece of paper).
I think I detect some M.C. Escher influence here.

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