Einstein's Legacy Keeps on Expanding

He escaped Hitler’s Germany and devoted the rest of his life to humanitarian and pacifist causes with an authority unmatched by any scientist today, or even most politicians and religious leaders. He used his celebrity to speak out against fascism, racial prejudice and the McCarthy hearings. His FBI file ran 1,400 pages. His letters reveal a tumultuous personal life – married twice and indifferent toward his children while obsessed with…

The Case Against Textbooks

Here’s what you can do with a text book: read it. You can also lose it, rip the pages out, deface the cover, and generally abuse it until it has to be replaced. But as far as a delivery vehicle for content goes, you can basically only consume it by reading it. Here’s what you can’t do with a textbook: You can’t annotate it. How strange is it that students…

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The Play's the Thing: Drama versus Theatre

Years and years ago, there was a production of The Tempest, out of doors, at an Oxford college on a lawn, which was the stage, and the lawn went back towards the lake in the grounds of the college, and the play began in natural light. But as it developed, and as it became time for Ariel to say his farewell to the world of The Tempest, the evening had…

Hacking the Papal Election

How hard is this to hack? The first observation is that the system is entirely manual, making it immune to the sorts of technological attacks that make modern voting systems so risky. The second observation is that the small group of voters — all of whom know each other — makes it impossible for an outsider to affect the voting in any way. The chapel is cleared and locked before…

questions

I don’t believe that the internet is a leveller of genders. In fact, in many cases, it seems to be the opposite. I spend a lot of time on IRC (internet relay chat), where my IRC nick is not gender-neutral. On many occasions I have joined IRC channels to ask technical questions, and have encountered people who say things like, ?Oh, I don’t know the answer to your question, but…

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How To Measure Blogs, Part One… and what to do with the data

Simply counting the volume of conversations and comments and the number of trackbacks is one indication of the size and scope of the network surrounding your blog. Whether or not those comments are in agreement or disagreement requires content analysis, but presumably positive or neutral comments would be indicative of a healthy relationship between the blogger and his/her audience. Examining the credibility and authority of the people who are commenting…