In case you were happy

I’m here to depress you a little.

First off, we have the upcoming anniversary of Katrina, about which Jane Dark has a tough tale to tell:

The abandonment of a great city to time and tide is indeed both symptom and mark of empire on its downhill slide; it bears noting as well that pathetic, delusional and desperate regimes are equally an indicator of this decline.

I’m interested in what she has to say, but Ozymandias references are sooo AP English. She also disses on Stardust here, but I’m not touching that with a ten-foot Worldcon program.

Second, we have gender issues in physics again! One of the former Quantum Diaries bloggers makes a bit of a scene by writing well and interestingly about a Harvard theoretical physicist’s talk on black holes at the LHC, with the unfortunate addition of a detailed look at her clothes, hair, and body. Good times. It’s a good blog otherwise, and worth reading; I’m hoping that this is a either one of those writing-style misunderstandings or a Teaching Moment. Clifford got to it before me, but I’m mentioning it for the three of you who read this blog but not his.

This site says the Los Angeles Dodgers only have a 25% chance of making the playoffs, or thereabouts, which should depress you. The host runs millions of sims daily, basically Monte-Carloing major league baseball. It’s a little weird that each game is a coinflip, but I guess for a first effort it’s at least amusing. What it doesn’t say anything about is why Brad Penny can’t seem to be good in the second half, while everyone knows the age-old conventional wisdom: if you’re 6’5 and 260, you can’t pitch worth a damn after August. So much for another Cy Young.

To fix this horrible depression, you should listen to “C’mon Sea Legs” by The Immaculate Machine. Or just buy the whole damn record. I heard it in a hotel room recovering from exuberance the other morning in a Denver hotel (a Princeton string theorist marrying an MIT biochemist: more brainpower in connubial bliss I have never seen) and it blew my mind.

And that, as they say, is the memo.