There are, of course, wild tigers and leopards in India (though far fewer than one would like); there’s a small pocket of lions, and there are no cheetahs. I’ve always been amazed by maps showing past distributions of cheetahs extending into nearly all of India, since one never comes across cheetahs in Indian stories. There’s … Continue reading Cheetahs and Tigers
Greetings from New York City. My work is very simple. I have come to New York because it is the most forlorn of places, the most abject. The brokenness is everywhere, the disarray is universal. You have only to open your eyes to see it. The broken people, the broken things, the broken thoughts. The … Continue reading City of Glass
A few weeks ago, following a post on Steve Hsu’s blog, I read an interesting essay by Steven Pinker on science and the humanities: “Science Is Not Your Enemy An impassioned plea to neglected novelists, embattled professors, and tenure-less historians.” It seems these days there’s a deluge of text on the state of the humanities, … Continue reading On how impractical cuisine can save the humanities
A very quick post: Working on an education-related grant, I’m learning all sort of things about the university, some of which I’d be happier not knowing. Such as: dorm housing costs are very expensive. In a vague sense, I knew this, but I wasn’t actually aware that the on-campus room and board costs are about … Continue reading Butler not included (or is he?)
There was some conversation in the department today about science funding trends, the discouragingly low success rates for grants, etc. Just to have a place to point to, I’ll post some graphs, with almost no commentary. Here’s science funding over the past few decades, in constant dollars, from Paula Stephan’s excellent How Economics Shapes … Continue reading Graphs of Science Funding
When I was an undergrad at Berkeley, aside from doing radio astronomy, I worked in Paul McEuen’s lab examining electronic transport in nanostructures, working especially with a great postdoc named David Cobden. Looking through the contents of last week’s Nature, it was a fun surprise to see pieces by both of these people: one paper, … Continue reading Books + Berkeley
Being on the academic, rather than the athletic, side of the University of Oregon, I’m not gifted with my own private hydrotherapy pool, hand-woven Nepali rugs in my office, or the use of a barbershop with imported Milanese utensils — all appallingly featured in the University’s new football center that has attracted lots of much-deserved … Continue reading It wasn’t a rock / It was a rock lobster!
UPDATE: The really amazing media coverage of this is: http://www.theonion.com/articles/scientists-create-microscopic-mona-lisa,33423/ The Onion! I’m very impressed. My friend Jennifer Curtis at Georgia Tech has a paper out featuring a clever nanolithography technique, in which heating an atomic force microscope tip generates a temperature gradient that guides chemical reactions at a surface. Controlling the position and temperature … Continue reading The Mini Lisa
A quiz question for local readers: Where on the University of Oregon campus did I take this photo? Like most people, I tend not to notice things above me. S. (age 4) pointed out these beautiful abstract bicycles as we were wandering through campus. Who knows what other ceiling-situated art there is? Continue reading Up!
A few people have asked what the title of this blog means. In a lull between activities during the camp for post-tenth graders that I’m working with this week, one of the students asked me to tell them a story. So I told them the Indian folktale of the eighteenth elephant, which goes like this: … Continue reading The Eighteenth Elephant