Posts

Pants on Fire

The big news from Tuesday's debate was the post-debate confrontation where Elizabeth Warren accused Bernie Sanders of calling her a liar.  So was he lying or she?  I don't know, but my guess is that it was a far more familiar phenomenon, a misunderstanding - she thought he told her a woman couldn't win and he didn't think he told her any such thing.  The fact that this happened a couple of years ago makes it more likely that memories have been reshaped in the meantime.

In any case, I mostly blame Warren.  She is the one who chose to escalate to nuclear weapons, saying Bernie said a "Woman couldn't win."  Pretty clearly, this is an attack that can hardly go unanswered.  If he said it, why is it just coming out now?  If he said it, or some version of it, what was the context?

If you decide to bring a gun to what had previously been a pretty civil conversation, you really shouldn't be surprised if you wind up with a bullet hole.

Advantage Biden.

Book Review: Isaac Newton, by James Gleich

Isaac Newton is arguably the most important physicist and the most important mathematician.  In physics, he discovered his three Laws of Motion, Universal Gravitation and a raft of things in optics and other sciences as well as inventing the reflecting telescope.  In mathematics his great invention was the calculus.

James Gleich wrote a justly popular biography of Richard Feynman, but Feynman was a very charismatic character.  Newton was reclusive, unfriendly, and habitually secretive, so he is a much harder target for a biographer.  Even many of his notebooks disappeared from public view for centuries.

Gleich sketches his childhood.  His father died when he was small, his mother remarried and her husband didn't want him around so he was shipped off for a number of years.  Some of his earliest experimentation was with sundials, which he made many of.  He was always an experimenter and builder of tools.

His years at Cambridge were filled with study but he was all but invisible to c…

Impeachment Hearings

...Off to a soporific start except for Devin Nunes's comic turn as a deranged Putin operative.

Your Next Uber Driver

It seems that they will work for Fruit Loops.

https://boingboing.net/2019/10/24/scientists-train-rats-to-drive.html

Trump to Ukraine:

Nice country you got there.  Be a shame if you didn't have any Javelin antitank missiles to defend it.

But there is this one favor you could do for me.

Quora: Why Are Physicists So Smart?

My favorite answer:
Physicists are ungainly, untalented, unattractive, unpopular, and predominately undesirable people, who weren’t good at sports and couldn’t get dates in high school. This freed up their time for math and/or science, which they happened to be good at/interested in. Physicists, therefore, spend their whole lives in their niche, using their one ability trying to achieve fame and acceptance in an academic context. Also, they can’t dance. Frankly, I got to say the "can't dance" part stung a bit.

Just Like a Virgin...

...coding for the very first time.

I'm taking a class in Astro which requires computer problems in the form of Python notebooks.  I actually took a course in Python once, but I have no clue anymore as to how the hell to program in it much less store the result in notebooks.  OK, that's a slight exaggeration.  Hello World only took me two tries, but a more serious problem is that it is so long since I actually did programming for a living that I really don't get the technology of packages, etc.

There is also a lot of syntax I need to learn or relearn.

I'm thinking of asking Joe Biden if he has a spare record player on which I can listen to some tutorials.