I’m back: link dump.

Well, I’ve returned from the hinterlands of Québec, having spent a few fun days visiting my wife’s family and seeing the sights, and I’m back into the grind.  A few things piled up while I was gone – both in terms of work and interesting news – so in terms of blogland I’m going to clear the deck with a bunch of links from the tabs that are currently cluttering up my Firefox.  Here we go:

  • Québec police are going after speeders and imparied drivers:  Listen, I don’t like to generalize about a group of people, but I’m going to allow an exception to the rule here, because Québec drivers are ignorant of the principles of defensive driving.  Signalling to change lanes is not an option, people.  Weaving in and out of lanes is dangerous.  And no, going 160 km/h on a 100 km/h highway is not a recipe for safety.  Oh, and the next person who cuts me off is getting … well, nothing, because I can’t think of an act of retribution that wouldn’t jeopardize me, but I’m beginning to understand the phenomenon of road rage.
  • Jim Prentice says that Canadian Carriers are in for it now, oh boy:  Canada recently did a spectrum auction similar to the one that the FCC did in the United States, and our Minister of Industry says that this will mean more competition for cell phone carriers here (see my recent rants about all three of the major carriers here).  I sure hope that he’s right.
  • Clay Burrell at the Beyond School blog has a thought provoking post on Why History isn’t Learned, and How Story Helps Change That. I played with the test that he proposes and scored pretty well (though I would indeed quibble with some of the inclusions! 🙂 ).  It’s great fun, and a good read, so go take a look.
  • PZ at Pharyngula is being very mysterious about possible sacrilege to the cracker…
  • Here’s a good read by Olivia Judson on some examples of natural selection in the New York Times (though why it’s in the Opinion section as opposed to Science baffles me).
  • Oh God, Britney Spears has stuck her nose in to the anti-vax shenanigans.  On the other hand, considering the cloud of fail that follows her around, maybe this is actually a good thing.
  • At The Frontal Cortex, Jonah Lehrer continues a long series of posts insisting that there’s no such thing as “talent”.  The comments to that post contain a good counter-argument.
  • A good post on epigenetics from Pharyngula.
  • The first edition of The Giant’s Shoulders blog carnival came and went, leaving many, many good posts in its wake.  I’ve got a post in it, and the carnival’s very existence is guilting me into doing more science writing.

Hmm, I think I’ll end that on a high note, since my browser is looking a lot less cluttered now and I think that I might be able to get some actual work done.  Enjoy!

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3 Responses to I’m back: link dump.

  1. Clay Burell says:

    Okay, W, I’ll bite: what inclusions would you quibble with? 😛

  2. Winawer says:

    Well, we could start with the Egyptian Pharaohs – it’s a bit of a confusing one, because the first dynasty was circa 2900 B.C. while the last Egyptian dynasty was somewhere around 525 B.C. (and the Persian and Ptolemaic dynasties went into the A.D. years). So it could actually come before or after half of the items on the list. 🙂

    I also wonder about the term “Scientific revolution”. I know that some historians label the late 16th and early 17th centuries as starting the “Scientific Revolution’, but I’ve talked to some historians of science who tell me that this is by no means a settled matter. (Don’t even ask me how *that* conversation got started!).

    As for “The Romantic Period”, I’m of the opinion that this is known much more as an artistic and musical movement than an intellectual or historical one, so I’m not surprised that it confused my wife (who has enough art history from her B.F.A. to be the authority on this in the house..)

    Ah, but who cares. Except for the Pharaohs, most of my objections would be of the trivial, academic kind. The main point is that the exercise is a really cool idea, which unfortunately I think a fair majority of the people on the street would fail utterly…

  3. Clay Burell says:

    Thanks for the input. Actually, I agree with each point. The pharaohs were an afterthought that I don’t usually include, Romanticism is something that seeps in from my cultural history side (and it’s a way to plug Beethoven, Keats, and Blake into the French Revolution/Napoleonic timeframe, plus to plug as a “story/plot complication as a reaction to industrialization and the “disenchantment” of the cosmos due to Newton’s displacement of God with the Clockwork Universe, etc).

    As for the Scientific Revolution, it’s a hard one too, but for high school, to peg it with Bacon, Copernicus, Kepler, Bruno, et al is a good start. I don’t feel that one’s too inapt.

    Thanks again. See you on the flip side.

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