“A liquid moon”

Winter Trees – William Carlos Williams All the complicated details of the attiring and the disattiring are completed! A liquid moon moves gently among the long branches. Thus having prepared their buds against a sure winter the wise trees stand sleeping in the cold.                          […]

Mathematical and Scientific Crises

[This post is wildly speculative. File under ‘playing with ideas.’] On the continuing and fascinating saga of the ABC conjecture and Mochizuki’s befuddling proof: Five years ago, Cathy O’Neil laid out a perfectly cogent case for why the (at that point recent) claims by Shinichi Mochizuki should not (yet) be regarded as constituting a proof of the […]

The piranha problem

A fundamental tenet of social psychology, behavioral economics, at least how it is presented in the news media, and taught and practiced in many business schools, is that small “nudges,” often the sorts of things that we might not think would affect us at all, can have big effects on behavior. Thus the claims that […]

When I say people, I mean mathematicians

On the wave equation and the beginnings of Fourier analysis: “Very soon after that, people began…when I say people, I mean mathematicians.” I only know Rudin from his analysis books, but come on, man! What, are you worried that someone will think mere people would be interested in this? Another not great moment comes a few […]

The first 100 pages of “The Righteous Mind”: Reactions

It’s interesting so far! Here are some passages that caught my attention: Emotion is a bit harder to define. Emotions were long thought to be dumb and visceral, but beginning in the 1980s, scientists increasingly recognized that emotions were filled with cognition. Emotions occur in steps, the first of which is to appraise something that […]

Jewish Internment Camps in Canada, 1940 -1943

European refugees who had managed to escape the Nazis and made it to Britain, were rounded up as “enemy aliens” in 1940. Many were interned on the Isle of Man, and 2,300 were sent to Canada, mostly Jews. They were transported on the same boats as German and Italian POWs. They were sent to camps in New […]

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