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Alice in Quantumland: A Charming Illustrated Allegory of Quantum Mechanics by a CERN Physicist

Alice in Quantumland: An Allegory of Quantum Physics is absolutely fantastic in its entirety, certain to engage the simultaneous states of entertainment and education with unequaled grace. Complement it with scientists’ answers to little kids’ questions about how the world works, then bend your mind by considering what it’s like to live in a universe of ten dimensions. For a look at how physicists’ understanding of the field has evolved…

Computer scientists quantify elements of writing style that differentiate successful fiction

“Predicting the success of literary works poses a massive dilemma for publishers and aspiring writers alike,” Choi said. “We examined the quantitative connection between writing style and successful literature. Based on novels across different genres, we investigated the predictive power of statistical stylometry in discriminating successful literary works, and identified the stylistic elements that are more prominent in successful writings.” –Computer scientists quantify elements of writing style that differentiate successful…

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Teaching “The Odyssey” at San Quentin

The opening of “The Odyssey” describes Odysseus as polytropos, a man “much turned” and “much turning.” He makes much happen, and much happens to him. When I selected “The Odyssey” as the first text for my English 101 course at San Quentin Prison, I worried about the choice. It’s a difficult work for readers of limited literary background, and I wondered how a population of mostly black and brown men…

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There’s No Substitute for Fiction

What do Peskin and Astington recommend for fostering constructive learning? Reading fiction. “Dramatic tension in stories is created when the various characters have disparate knowledge with regard to the action. This may be through error: The reader knows that Romeo does not know that Juliet lies drugged, not dead. Or it may be through deception: Pretending his assigned chore is an adventure, Tom Sawyer tricks his friends into whitewashing the…

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I Love Books: A Campus Library Evolves

I love books. I love smelling them, touching them, stacking them, unwrapping the plastic from a new purchase, and cracking the spine when I’m halfway through a hardback. (My wife *hates it* when I crack a spine). I love books. I love downloading them, searching them, copying-and-pasting passages, reading them to my kids at night when it’s dark save for the glow of my iPad (I read them the whole…

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Remember Who The Enemy Is

Good article on Catching Fire. (I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I like this analysis.) The personal is political because there is no personal. There is no private realm to retreat into. Haymitch tells Katniss and Peeta that they will never get off the train – meaning that the reality TV parts they are required to play will continue until their deaths. It’s all an act, but there’s no…