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Twitter Is Kind of Useless

The AAAS annual meeting was last week, which apparently included some sessions on social media use. This, of course, led to the usual flurry of twittering about the awesomeness of Twitter, and how people who don’t use Twitter are missing out. I was busy with other stuff, so I mostly let it pass, and of…

Real-World Physics and Objectively Pro-Injustice “News”

Over at Quantum Progress there was a recent series of guest posts about a social-justice-in-physics curriculum used by high school teacher Moses Rifkin. I sort of glanced at it, said “Huh, that’s sort of interesting,” and moved on, but this got picked up by some right-wing sites, and exploded. To the point where the awful…

“The Man Who Tried to Redeem the World with Logic”

No, I’m not talking about me! Check out an amazing Nautilus article of that title by Amanda Gefter, a fine science writer of my acquaintance.  The article tells the story of Walter Pitts, who [spoiler alert] grew up on the mean streets of Prohibition-era Detroit, discovered Russell and Whitehead’s Principia Mathematica in the library at age 12 while hiding […]

Problems with the Pipeline

Via Curt Rice (or, more precisely, somebody on Twitter who posted a link to that, but I didn’t note who) there’s a new study in Frontiers in Psychology of the STEM “pipeline”, looking at the history of gender disparities in STEM degrees. You can spin this one of two ways, the optimistic one being “Women…

10 unusual detector materials

The past century has generated some creative ideas for tracking particles. Hans had been waiting in the darkened room for 45 minutes. It was a dull part of his day, but acclimating his eyes was a necessary part of his experiment—counting...Show More Summary

Winter Thermodynamics: Foggy Glasses

We’re having a brutal cold snap at the moment, and while today’s early-morning dog walk was considerably warmer than yesterday’s, it was still 0F/-18C out, which is way colder than I like. When I came back in the house after the walk, my glasses instantly fogged up. But I had to take some stuff outside…

How Fast Is SteelyKid’s Nerf Gun?

SteelyKid is spending a couple of days this week at “Nerf Camp” at the school where she does taekwondo. This basically consists of a bunch of hyped-up kids in a big room doing martial activities– taekwondo class, board breaking, and “Nerf war” where they build an obstacle course and then shoot each other with dart…

QIP 2015 zombie-blogging, Day 5

Today’s highlight: an algorithm running in time, also known as “polynomial time” or “efficient”. Joseph Fitzsimons and Thomas Vidick. A multiprover interactive proof system for the local Hamiltonian problem(Plenary Talk) abstract arXiv:1409.0260 Thomas begins by reminding everyone about what … Continue reading ?

Coming Along Nicely, Broadly Speaking

Coming soon next to one of my favourite buildings... Probably a new favourite building, the Broad Museum for Comtemporary Art. (Click for larger image.) It has been a while since I've been down there during the day (mostly been at Disney Concert Hall (on the right) at nights the last few months, for concerts) and so I was happy to pass by it yesterday on a [...]Show More Summary

Top Blogging of 2010, Then and Now

The final bit of meta-blogging I’ll do this weekend is another look at what survives from past years. Unfortunately, when National Geographic took over, they broke our Google Analytics access, so I can’t see blog stats from before mid-2012 any more. I do, however, have this old post listing the top posts of 2010, traffic-wise,…

What Survives from 2013’s Blogging?

Continuing the weekend theme of meta-blogging, one of the questions I’ve occasionally wondered about in doing top-posts lists for a given year is the problem of a bias against recency– that is, that posts put up toward the end of the year are inherently at a disadvantage because they’ve had less time to integrate up…

Towards a Grand Unified Theory of Mathematics and Physics

A draft of an essay I’ve written, with plans to submit it to the FQXI essay contest, is available here. Constructive comments welcome…

The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time

Lee Smolin has a new book out last month, co-written with philosopher Roberto Unger, entitled The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time. To get some idea of what he’s up to, there’s a review by Bryan Appleyard at The … Continue reading ?

Short Items, and a Quick Book Review

Peter Orland has a new blog, Ensnared in Vacuum, where he’s writing about some non-perturbative QFT questions. Physics Today this month has book reviews of two books about theology and the multiverse (one of which I wrote about here). There … Continue reading ?

Top Blogging Actually Done in 2014

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post about what draws the most traffic here, I went through and pulled out the top 20 posts from the blog (by traffic) for the calendar year 2014 that were first published in 2014. Numbers after the links are the fraction of the total pageviews for the year that each…

Today I managed to…

...sweep the floor of the garage, and weed a little bit of a vegetable patch in the garden... Yesterday I managed to make a batch of bread... Yes, it turns out that with a newborn in the house, these are the kind of [...] Click to continue reading this post ?

What’s new for LHC Run II

The Large Hadron Collider gears up for restart. The most powerful particle accelerator on Earth has been asleep for the past two years. Soon it will reawaken for its second run. Since shutting down in early 2013, the LHC and its detectors have undergone a multitude of upgrades and repairs. Show More Summary

The Golden Age of Blogging Was 2010

When I was writing up the state of blogging post last weekend, I thought about pulling together a Top Ten Posts thing, but didn’t have time. also, Google analytics moved a bunch of stuff since the last time I used it, so I had a hard time locating the right options. Having tracked it down,…

Has Hubble found the Culprit?

Recall that some years ago the Hubble telescope found a rude message in the sky: It is said that many were offended by this sign. Some even thought it may have been left by their God as a sort of crude final message for those seeking meaning in the skies. Show More Summary

Craft astrophysics

Technicians on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey may be the last members of a spectroscopic survey to use hand-plugged fiber plates. A decade or two ago, technicians often spent the day snapping optical fibers into metal “plug plates” byShow More Summary

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