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Hal Harris's picture

"What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions" by Randall Munroe

Wed, 11/05/2014 - 15:52 -- Hal Harris

xkcd is a nerdy Internet daily cartoon that is written and drawn by a former NASA "roboticist". The subject matter is all over the map [yesterday's (11/4/14) is about TypographicChemistry], but tends to favor physics and computing. He encourages readers of the cartoon strip to send him outrageous questions, and he supplies outrageous but scientifically accurate responses. Some of the best of these have be come a surprising NYT Best Seller.

Hal Harris's picture

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier

Sat, 06/15/2013 - 15:53 -- Hal Harris

One of the pioneers in digital media and networks is disquieted by the dominance of the digital landscape by a few Siren Servers, who capitalized not on their superior products or expertise, but solely on their ability to extract a profit from each of the bits that make up Big Data. He thinks we all should be paid for our contributions, or at least the system be changed so as to provide incentives real contributions.

Hal Harris's picture

The Martian Chronicles: New Discoveries on the Red Planet, by Burkhard Bilger

Thu, 05/16/2013 - 15:10 -- Hal Harris

One could argue that the technological triumphs embodied in our robotic explorations of Mars far exceed those that put men on the moon.  Missing, however, is the drama of putting human life at risk, and the ease with which our imagination can put us in the shoes of the explorer. That is not to say that there is not a human element.

Arrietta Clauss's picture

Effective Peer Review

Fri, 04/27/2012 - 16:07 -- Arrietta Clauss

All academics are encouraged to become reviewers to keep abreast of new developments in their field, to help shape the direction of their discipline, and as their scholarly responsibility. The article has many more details and is worth a quick look.

Hal Harris's picture

Flip Flop Fly Ball: An Infographic Baseball Adventure

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 14:00 -- Hal Harris

What is this?  Art? Humor? Sports? Math? – or all of the above? With baseball season starting, I found it irresistible to recommend “Flip Flop Fly Ball”, which reminds me in some ways of the beautiful series of graphical exemplar books by Edward Tufte, and in others of Michael Lewis’ MoneyBall (the book, more than the movie, although the movie was ok).

Hal Harris's picture

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain

Fri, 05/01/2009 - 01:00 -- Hal Harris

What good is music? Oliver Sacks (author of The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, The Island of the Colorblind, and especially - for chemists - Uncle Tungsten) concludes in the Preface to Musicophilia that there is no apparent evolutionary advantage associated with human appreciation for certain combinations of sounds and rhythm.

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