Monthly Archives: February 2005

This week’s sign that the apocalypse is nigh

Okay, so I’m working on a new, secret blog. I haven’t even given anyone its address (don’t worry, you’ll be notified of its existence soon enough). I put up a couple sample posts, just so something would be “there” as … Continue reading

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Gates in snow

I found one picture of the “Gates” in the recent snow storm. Anyone find any more?

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On charity

This morning I attended my wife’s church, as I always do when she’s involved in the music program there (she’s a wonderful oboe player, and I’d never miss a chance to hear her perform [or lead worship, as Presbyterians call … Continue reading

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Light posting today

Sorry, not particularly inspired to write lengthy prose this morning. A couple interesting links: Fernham on “Gates” Walking robots (If you watch this video I think you’ll agree we don’t need to worry about these things taking over the planet … Continue reading

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What are we doing when we watch a movie?

Most schools of literary criticism suggest that it’s fruitless to attempt to consider what the intentions of the author are; we can only examine the “text” itself: it is the only solid evidence we have. Similarly, critics toss up their … Continue reading

Posted in Psychology | 3 Comments

Are some people born to code?

Fair warning: I’m writing about this question with my “ordinary guy” hat, not my “psychology writer” hat. Over at Macrumors they’re talking about whether just anyone can program a computer, or if it takes a special kind of mind to … Continue reading

Posted in General, Technology | 2 Comments

Marshall McLuhan redeemed — sort of

A couple weeks back, I posted a rant about Marshall McLuhan. Basically I was arguing that while the medium may be the message, the medium isn’t the only message. There was a fair bit of commentary on my post, both … Continue reading

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I’m way too uninvolved in my community

On Sunday when I was driving through town, I noticed there were a few bedsheets strung from some of the trees along the road. Most of them were painted with some kind of message like “We love you, JoAnne.” I … Continue reading

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Feminists only, please

Today Alas, a Blog has a discussion thread for “feminists only.” It’s an interesting concept, attempting to enforce rules on a blog discussion. It’s not that all blogs don’t have at least some level of rules. For example, John Scalzi … Continue reading

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Are artists vision experts?

Today’s reading is “Artists as Experts in Visual Cognition,” by Aaron Kozbelt of the University of Chicago (Visual Cognition, 2001). We need to incorporate many skills in order to make visual sense of the world. We must be able to … Continue reading

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Social Sanity?

Kevin Drum is advocating a means by which Social Security could be privatized in a meaningful way. As he points out, if reasonable leaders were seriously advocating such a plan, he could get behind it. The problem is, Drum admits … Continue reading

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Blogging for dollars

Slashdot pointed me to this blog designed solely to maximize advertising income. Apparently its proprietor, Michael Buffington, designed the blog as an experiment. He spends about an hour a day culling links from Google News searches on asbestos, a topic … Continue reading

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What does the shadow know?

How do we tell where an object is in a three-dimensional world when our eye only gives us two dimensions worth of information? Today’s reading (“Moving Cast Shadows Induce Apparent Motion in Depth” by Daniel Kersten, Pascal Mamassian, and David … Continue reading

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Personal blog versus memoir

Michael Blowhard has an interesting post about why he prefers personal blogs over personal memoir: I’m generally annoyed by book-length memoirs, on the grounds of “If I know you, sure, maybe I’ll be interested. But otherwise your life better make … Continue reading

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Aaaaaaaaagh!

I should say that I do not like fiddling with technology. I like technology, but I like it to WORK. I get no enjoyment out of the debugging process. Nonetheless, I was all psyched to set up my home network … Continue reading

Posted in General, Technology | 5 Comments

Critical theory and physics

There’s been quite a discussion over at Uncertain Principles that relates to my Salman Rushdie-inspired diatribe last week on literary criticism. Chad Orzel took the opportunity to riff off my suggestion that students be taught close reading before they are … Continue reading

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The copyrighting of space

When I was in Rome last summer, one of the most amusing and surreal moments was at the Colosseum, where at least a dozen couples were attempting to take wedding photos. I tried to take a photo of the people … Continue reading

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Where is the light coming from?

Today’s reading is “Prior Knowledge on the Illlumination Position” by Pascal Mamassian and Ross Goutcher of the University of Glasgow (Cognition, 2001 [PDF link]). When we see an embossed seal such as a notary stamp, how do we know which … Continue reading

Posted in Psychology | 4 Comments

The details of the Bush plan, simplified (and complicated)

Brad DeLong is quoting a long explanation of the Bush Social Security plan by Matthew Yglesias The White House says the average worker can expect a 4.6 percent real rate of return on his private account. Under explanation two, this … Continue reading

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A defense of literary criticism — sort of

You didn’t think I was going to leave the Salman Rushdie thing alone after just one post, did you? I was intrigued by the social aspects of Rushdie’s visit, but he did have some interesting things to say as well. … Continue reading

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