Meta-Contest Results

A week ago, I suggested a meta-contest for The Trouble With Physics, with a copy of the book going to the person with the best suggestion of an appropriate way to give away the book. The turnout wasn’t exactly overwhelming (maybe a little too abstract to really draw people in, or maybe too obviously fishing […]

Confounded by High School Physics

Physics Web has a story about new discoveries in excitonic systems with the eye-catching headline BEC’s confound at higher temepratures. The main idea is that two exotic systems have been found in which quasi-particles undergo Bose-Einstein Condensation at realtively high temperatures– 19 Kelvin for a system of “polaritons,” and room temperature for a system of […]

Fencing: All About the Bling

Inside Higher Ed had a story yesterday about the release of the new graduation rate data for college athletic programs. The data are summarized in the table at right. The two columns in the table show the graduation rate under the federal standard, and the new “graduation success rate” which fixes some of the problems […]

The Torture Bill

John Scalzi saves me some typing: I’m proud to be an American, but I’m tired of being ashamed of my government. I’m tired of having to count the seconds until this bilious waste of a president is shoved out the door in January of 2009. I’m tired of hoping that some members of the president’s […]

How Others See Our Arguments

Over at Evolution Blog, Jason Rosenhouse looks at the String Theory argument through the New Yorker‘s article about Woit and Smolin, and draws a parallel with his own field: As an outsider looking in, I would want to know how physicists respond to these charges. After all, creationists level precisely the same charges against university […]

ScienceBlogs Diet Update

I got yet another comment about how much weight I’ve lost today, from somebody who’s only met me a half-dozen times. Apparently, I used to be quite the fat slob, or something. Anyway, for those who care, the third-quarter weight-loss figures are below the fold, including a spiffy color graph. Because it’s not science without […]

Classic Edition: Needles in Haystacks Are Easy

The fourth and final post in my 2003 series attempting to explain experimental particle physics to the lay reader. This one talks about the specifics of the “pentaquark” experiment that was announced that year, and provided the inspiration for the whole thing. It should be noted that that discovery is by no means certain, but […]

More Nobel Speculation

Blogging will be light today, as I’m giving an exam and making another magnet coil. I’ve also been working on getting the Blogger SAT Challenge results ready to go– big roll-out coming soon!– so I haven’t been able to pre-schedule posts. All I have time for this morning is a quick follow-up to yesterday’s betting […]