Archive for July, 2014

More on Learning Theories

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Tony Bates on Learning theories(via Stephen Downes)

Measurement in QM

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

This set of OneTab shared tabs collects some recent blog activity on the measurement process in Quantum Mechanics. This reminds me of the fact that once as a graduate student (in the '70s), on hearing once too often that the measurement process was a mystery because unitary evolution cannot take a pure state into a […]

On "Calling Out" the Insane Among Us

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

GMO advocate Keith Kloor has recently been reporting (in his blog at about the activities of a particularly insane anti-GMO activist whom I will not stoop to identify or link to.  Such vitriol does need to be called out (at least if it appears to be gaining any public traction), but there is a danger of […]

Winners Announced In The Rename “Global Warming” Contest! | William M. Briggs

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

Apparently, as one of the winners in Matt Briggs'  Rename “Global Warming” Contest, I have the option of writing an essay on "What I learned from Global Warming". This is a bit of a challenge since it presumes the existence of something I have not yet experienced to any great degree. But to the extent that plausible […]

Plus ca change ... meme chose!

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Recent events in Vancouver civic politics echo similar stories from four and thirty years ago!

Implications of the Free Will Debate?

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

At Templeton's BQO site, Alfred Mele asks What Are the Implications of the Free Will Debate for Individuals and Society? But before looking at the content, let me comment on that title. Sometimes titles are imposed by editors, but the chance that that one was put forward (or at least approved) by the author certainly reduced my […]

Mathematics, Mathematicians and Desire

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

On Monday I attended the Math Ed Ph.D. defense of my former colleague Veda Roodal Persad, but although I had had some earlier discussions with Veda I have to admit that I hadn't actually seen and read the full thesis, so any comment here is based solely on the oral presentation. The subject was Mathematics Education, […]

Save Us From the Parasitic Drones

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

There is a plague upon the  Earth! Every day of our lives your blood and mine is being sucked by a growing army of parasitic drones. You may barely notice their effect right now, but if the drones are not stopped your children and grandchildren will be condemned to lives of servile poverty. If it […]

Sexuality by Choice

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

I never felt comfortable with "Born This Way" as I had no objection to people being gay by choice. So even though I have no actual skin in the game, I am happy to read Brandon Ambrosino in the New Republic saying Macklemore's "Same Love" Sends the Wrong Message About Being Gay.


Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

I don't know if I should be called an atheist so I'm certainly not an atheistocrat but I'm sure as hell against all forms of theocracy so I'm happy to identify as an atheocrat. I had thought all  loyal citizens of the USA were supposed to accept such atheocracy as part of their constitution, but […]

Is Math "Hard"?

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

A math major talks about fear - YouTube A commenter objected to the statement that "math is hard" and I had to respond as follows. Some math is hard is and some is not. Memorizing 3+4=7 is not hard, but *proving* 1+1=2 took 162 pages of Russell and Whitehead's Principia Mathematica in 1910, and the […]

The "problem" of Richard Feynman

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

3quarksdaily points to this bit of nonsense about Richard Feynman (which in turn re-opens a number of earlier versions of the same "news"). What a pile of crap! Feynman was certainly "guilty" of occasional meanness, and of self-mythologizing to an almost absurdly grand (and completely unnecessary) extent, and also apparently of making sexist jokes in lectures (which, […]

Just Say No to Copyright Term Extension

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

Howard Knopf is right of course in his objection at EXCESS COPYRIGHT: Just Say No to Copyright Term Extension - Why More is Less: My Views on #TPP. But I would go further. No copyright on any work should ever be extended beyond that which was in place at the time of its creation. Not only […]

Who are the Authoritarians?

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Are the Authoritarians Winning? by Michael Ignatieff | The New York Review of Books is a disappointingly vapid piece by Michael Ignatieff in which he reviews a number of recent books about the global situation. Authority is just a matter of effective control - which always resides somewhere. Any government is based on a claim of […]