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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).

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Letters to a Young Chemist

Sun, 01/01/2012 - 00:00 -- Hal Harris

Imagine yourself to be an undergraduate science major, with some interest in the possibility of a career in chemistry. Wouldn't it be interesting to have lunch with more than a dozen (actually seventeen) accomplished academic researchers, who could tell you about some of the cool things that their work has discovered, and what they are currently excited about.

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Hacked!

Sun, 10/02/2011 - 02:00 -- Hal Harris

Computer security became a personal issue for Atlantic Monthly national correspondent James Fallows when his wife Deb's g-mail account was hacked. Bogus e-mails appealing for emergency money were sent to everyone on her contacts list, six years of mail, photographs, and records were deleted, and Mrs. Fallows was locked out of her own account.

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Leveling the Field: What I learned from For-Profit Education

Fri, 09/02/2011 - 02:00 -- Hal Harris

One would expect a long-time educator like me to know more about the largest university in the United States (enrollment of 530,000) and I have wondered what the University of Phoenix is really like. I see their large office buildings with prominent signs everywhere but, since they do not offer programs in science, their activities are essentially orthogonal to what I do.

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A Red Herring Without Mustard

Fri, 07/01/2011 - 01:00 -- Hal Harris

Flavia de Luce is still at it. The precocious eleven-year-old chemist that we first met in "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie", my Pick for September 2009, has continued to solve the mysterious deaths that occur just about every year in her 1950's English hamlet of Bishop's Lacy.

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Nuclear Energy: What Everyone Needs to Know

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 01:00 -- Hal Harris

Do tsunamis affect global warming? Well, the 2004 Indian Ocean catastrophe probably indirectly decreased the amount of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere by destroying the lives of 200,000 victims and the livelihoods of probably 250,000 more. Of course, it also negatively affected coral reefs, mangroves and other wetlands, forests, and plant diversity.

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Theo Gray's Mad Science: Experiments You Can Do At Home - But Probably Shouldn't!

Mon, 05/02/2011 - 02:00 -- Hal Harris

My son gave me this book as a Christmas present in 2009, with the expectation that I would make it one of my Picks. The sentiment was amply appreciated, but I did not make it a Pick then because I didn't want to feel responsible for the maimings and deaths that could result from trying many of the "experiments" described.

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Creation Myth

Sun, 05/01/2011 - 01:00 -- Hal Harris

Chances are that you have a computer mouse in your hand as you read these words. That object, now ubiquitous throughout the world, originated in the mid-1970's in Xerox's PARC laboratory in Palo Alto, which was a competitor to the famous Bell Telephone Labs in New Jersey.

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