Archive for the ‘Trivia’ Category

Exquisite is the word!

June 24, 2008

You must take a look at this wash basin! Oh, it is ever so lovely!

Why are scholars allowed wear gowns?

April 4, 2008

I did not know why till I read DeLong’s post (but for the pointer by Henry at Crooked Timber, the probability that I would have missed the post is very high):

I am confronted by the ghost of medieval scholar Ernst Kantorowicz. Ernst Kantorowicz–right-wing authoritarian anti-Democratic anti-communist German nationalist–was asked as a condition of his appointment to the University of California faculty to swear this oath:

Having taken the constitutional oath of the office required by the State of California, I hereby formally acknowledge my acceptance of the position and salary named, and also state that I am not a member of the Communist Party or any other organization which advocates the overthrow of the Government by force or violence, and that I have no commitments in conflict with my responsibilities with respect to impartial scholarship and free pursuit of truth. I understand that the foregoing statement is a condition of my employment and a consideration of payment of my salary.

He refused and protested:

Ernst Kantorowicz: There are three professions which are entitled to wear a gown: the judge, the priest, the scholar. This garment stands for its bearer’s maturity of mind, his independence of judgment, and his direct responsibility to his conscience and his god. It signifies the inner sovereignty of those three interrelated professions: they should be the very last to allow themselves to act under duress and yield to pressure. It is a shameful and undignified action, it is an affront and a violation of both human sovereignty and professional dignity that the Regents of this university have dared to bully the bearer of this gown into a situation in which–under the pressure of bewildering economic coercion–he is compelled to give up either his tenure or, together with his freedom of judgment, his human dignity and responsible sovereignty as a scholar…

Take a look!

A tale of sex, plagiarism, quatum mechanics and printers

December 16, 2007

Go to Scott Aaronson’s Shtetl Optimized for the full story; via Brad Delong.

What is pseudocide?

December 11, 2007

Anne Applebaum at the Slate explains:

… a pseudocide—or faked suicide …

She goes on to give more information about real and fictional pseudocides. Take a look!

Wisdom of passers-by

December 3, 2007

Seth has a nice, historical piece of information.

A few links: Medieval Africa, College Quidditch and Unparticles

November 28, 2007
  1. Philobiblon reviews a book about medieval African kingdoms:

    The Royal Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay: Life in Medieval Africa is one of those books that does just what it says in the title: this introductory text by Patricia and Frederick McKissack sets out a brief history, a short outline of the life and economies of the kingdoms, and describes the sources on which this information is based – and their contradictions.

    That’s great, and is probably all most readers are going to want, since I suspect most will, like I did, come to the subject from the starting point of almost total ignorance.

    Sounds very interesting, isn’t it? After reading Amitav Ghosh, I always wanted to know more about medieval Africa; this looks like the book I should try first.

  2. Grrslscientist has a must-read post on College Quidditch teams and their (earth-bound) Quidditch games (with a video to boot — just don’t miss it):

    To play earth-bound Quidditch, brooms are required, leaving only one hand available, making the game harder as you chase the game ball, a slightly deflated volleyball.

    Each team has seven cape-clad players, consisting of three chasers who throw the ball among them as they work down the field. If they get it through one of three circular goals (hula hoops on poles), the team scores 10 points.

    At the same time, two other team members fling around dark balls called bludgers in an attempt to distract and knock over opposing players. When a player is hit with a bludger, s/he must drop any ball s/he is holding and run around to her/his goal zone before s/he can make any more plays.

    Seekers try to catch the most elusive ball, the Golden Snitch (pictured, right). In the Rowling books, the Golden Snitch is a small ball that flies about independently. In real life, it hangs in a sock from the shorts of a player selected for fleetness and agility. As in the books, the Snitch disappears for periods of time, reappearing on the field to shrieks of the crowd. The Snitch player has a much larger boundary than the others, often covering a large part of campus. Seekers are the only players who can follow the Snitch. Catching the Snitch is worth 50 points and, as in the Harry Potter books, once the Snitch is caught, the game ends.

    By the way, making a remote driven mechanical snitch should not be too difficult, right? I am getting ideas!

  3. Doug at Nanoscale views points to a nice, pedagogical review on quantum magentism and criticality, which sounds very interesting (and, manages to sneak-in a link to a critique of Garrett Lisi’s paper along the way).

Mystery woman (women)?

November 27, 2007

Eurocrime does a bit of blurb comparisons, finds close resemblance in the photos and hobbies of Caro Peacock and Gillian Linscott, and wonders if they are one and the same!

RKN’s “blogpost” about Nobel for himself

November 25, 2007

Raj at Plus Ultra has the details.

More on Japanese surprises

November 21, 2007

Didn’t I tell you that Japanese never stop surprising me? Here is the latest:

At last, bored Japanese drivers have a way to amuse themselves. Engineers from Hokkaido have created roads with grooves at varying intervals, which produce a series of ‘notes’ as cars pass over them. It could even help cut speeding — the tunes apparently sound best at 45 kilometres per hour.

Who could ever have thought of that?

Cooking the book

November 16, 2007

We are not talking about account books, nor is the word cooking is figurative:

This annual report (for a Croatian food company) ships wrapped in foil, and needs to be baked in an oven in order to make the thermal-reactive ink illustrations show up.

After reading, can it also be eaten?