Links (2018-07-11)

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Birthdays

Doing something different with the birthdays. Rather than discuss the birthdays of the past week, I’ll be doing a heads-up on those of the coming week. So this week is a double shot of both.

  • 1907-07-07 Robert A. Heinlein
  • 1913-07-11 Cordwainer Smith
  • 1923-07-12 James E. Gunn
  • 1779-07-15 Clement C. Moore
  • 1944-07-17 Thomas A. Easton
  • 1971-07-17 Cory Doctorow

What can you say about the giant that is Heinlein? Cordwainer Smith, on the other hand, has given his name to a “Rediscovery” award. If you don’t know him, discover him for yourself! Start with The Best of Cordwainer Smith or some other comprehensive collection of his weird and wild stories. I’m regrettably unfamiliar with Gunn directly, but I know he’s contributed much as an author, editor, critic, scholar, and more. (I have many books from several of those categories I need to read Real Soon Now.) And, yes, that is that Clement C. Moore: Twas the night before, etc. Easton reviewed for Analog for many years and, for instance, has just recently co-edited a pretty good anthology. And I don’t know that I’d love everything Doctorow‘s done but I loved “The Man Who Sold the Moon.” Okay, so it’s not the most original title but it’s good.

Music

First up is a video. Second is an audio file. I couldn’t find it on utoob (gasp) so I had to find it at archive.org and figure out how to embed it.

Cowbell – “Tallulah”

Thee Invaders – “The Blah” (archive.org has more, including “I Wanna Eat Your Brain”)

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2 thoughts on “Links (2018-07-11)

  1. What’s the problem with modeling? Pretty much all of physics is about modeling, even at the level of making predictions about artillery by modelling the Earth as being flat. I’m aware that some on the right have taken to saying “It’s not real! It’s just a model!” but that’s intellectually bankrupt. It’s like saying the Theory of Evolution (or Relativity, for that matter) is “only a theory.”

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    • There’s no problem with modeling, as such. That’s why I praised the “better modeling.” I just think there’s often insufficient skepticism about the models – I’m not advocating that “It’s not real! It’s just a model!” but criticizing “It’s a model! It’s real!” Many models are like motion-capture body suits with just a couple of sensors. They don’t give a very precise picture of actual events. Also, just because even a precise model can get you from A to B doesn’t mean that’s the only way to make that journey or that it was, in fact, the route taken. Maps are indispensable; I was just saying they aren’t the territory.

      Coincidentally, this was in my RSS feeds today:

      The various models for neutrino emission from blazars, developed in blissful theoretical isolation, have now had their first encounter with real data, and none can explain the exact details seen. Theorist Eli Waxman of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel believes the models “will require a complete modification.”

      (I’m not sure how one can make a “complete modification” – a large modification or a complete replacement, maybe – but that’s beside the point. Also beside the point, but related to my main one, is that, even in these articles, people use the terms “convincing” and “compelling” almost as though they were synonymous with “conclusive.” It’s precisely because science is under such siege that scientists need to be more cautious, careful, and precise than ever.)

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