Archive for December 6th, 2006

On Bayes’s theorem

December 6, 2006

Here is SciAm on Bayes’s theorem; link via Abi.

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Podcast of an interview with Google founders

December 6, 2006

Here is the transcript from SF Chronicle; link via Digg. The article also links to the podcast. Have fun!

Some more poetry

December 6, 2006

Jenny Davidson at Light reading lists some of her favourite poems; take a look!

More on Robert Irwin

December 6, 2006

Salon has a rather detailed article about the latest Robert Irwin book, its critiques, the legacy of Edward Said, and all that. Certainly worth a look!

Differences between reviewers and critics

December 6, 2006

Daniel Green at The Reading experience spells out the difference(s):

The reviewer is charged with the task of immediately assessing a given work for its value to a “general audience” at least as interested in keeping up with the newest and the latest as in plunging deeply into any particular book (dawdling over the current book only prevents us from moving on to the next hot release). Good reviewers certainly do help us decide what books may reward a more careful and concentrated kind of reading, but the very nature of periodical book reviewing makes it necessary for the reviewer to assume the role of cultural quality inspector. It’s the stage of literary life in which books are most conspicuously presented as commodities, another kind of “choice” to be made by the intelligent consumer.

But after this initial flurry in the literary marketplace and after most of the products offered by the “book business” have been consumed, ignored, or discarded, some books remain to be read and reread in the way Marly has described. They’re books (or poems or stories) that call on us to immerse ourselves in the experience of reading them for reasons that go beyond the timely and the trendy. And I like to think that there is a kind of literary criticism that corresponds to this order of reading, that both reminds us what works these are and helps us to enhance the reading experience. Such criticism also attempts to “dive” in the Melvillean manner, providing “information” of a sort through patient description of the text’s manifest (if not always immediately apparent) features (as experienced by the critic him/herself), but also drawing attention to the implications of the text’s formal and stylistic qualities or putting the work in a relevant context, especially the context of literary history. “Interpretation” might be involved, but it is not the kind of interpretation that encloses the work in critical amber, telling us what it “means.” It is interpretation meant to be supplemented, if not replaced, by additional informed interpretation.

A neat little not-to-be-missed piece.

You must be kidding me!

December 6, 2006

Here is a news item from /. Here is the American Department of Energy page. I am stumped; especially, after I saw this:

A page linked from Wikipedia’s article on solar energy calculates the land area that would need to be covered by solar collectors at 8% efficiency to meet the world’s energy needs (using 2003 figures). At 40% efficiency, it looks like a square 265 miles on a side in the American southwest would do it.

Take a look!