• General

    Khan Academy

    As I think I’ve mentioned here before, I’m studying some maths over the summer – Calculus and Linear Algebra 2 (MATH2000). I’m enjoying it, and I’m pretty confident that I can succeed in this course. There are two things that could make me fail. One is if I don’t simply…

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    Keeping Our Sense of Humour

    Good sense and a well thought out argument in this article from The Spectator about the Twitter Joke Trial: That Joke Isn’t Funny Any More An important subtext is that humour plays in the realm of ambiguity. It is the antithesis of simplistic literalism. As much as anything, the attacks…

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    AAAAAaaaarrrrgggghhhhh!!!!!!

    Kenneth Davidson at The Age hits the nail on the head so hard he buries half the hammer head: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/real-problem-with-schools-is-the-gap-between-rich-and-poor-20101121-182hd.html Damn it, this crap is why we voted Howard out, over 3 years ago… and we’re getting even more of it!

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    End of Week 3

    Into the home stretch now! This is the morning of November 22, so in 10 days from now it’ll all be gone! Almost $350 raised so far for research into prostate cancer and depression. It’d be awesome to hit $500 by the end of the month – hint, hint. http://au.movember.com/mospace/518546/

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    Ah Well…

    So, the results I’ve been waiting for for about 6 months – the outcome of my application for a Future Fellowship – came out today. And I didn’t get one. Can’t deny it’s disappointing – it would have been an exciting next 4 years of research and a great career-booster.…

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    Pffftt

    So, yesterday the Apple home page said “Tomorrow is just another day. That you will never forget.”1 The announcement was meant to be in relation to iTunes, and something that might have justified the hype would be making it a lot easier to move music around between devices. I have…

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    Quantifiably Legendary

    (this post is devoted to unseemly bragging, so if that sickens you please feel free to skip it) The university has just released a new index of research performance that is meant to combine all the various research things academics do and give that a single number. I’m opposed to…

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    Biocentrism: We Are The Creator! (or, um, not…)

    It’s lots of places around the web at the moment, since he’s got a book out, but here’s a short article from the Huffington Post by Robert Lanza on his notion of ‘biocentrism’. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-lanza/biocentrism-the-new-face_b_231622.html It’s a little stronger than even the strong anthropic principle in that it seems to use…

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    Movember Awesomeness

    I know I’ve been spamming all my friends with this anyway, but this blog is less ephemeral than Facebook and Forum posts (and *much* less so than Twitter), so I thought I’d immortalise the process here.

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    Armageddon Sick Of This (sorry)

    Good review/interview on Salon of a new book talking about threats to human life on earth: http://www.salon.com/books/our_picks/index.html?story=/books/feature/2010/11/08/apocalypse_science_interview My own best guess is that it won’t be anything as sexy as Skynet robots, nanobot grey goo or whatever. My top candidates for doing it to ourselves are the (still enormous though…

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    It’s baffling to me

    A similar battle in Victoria to the one in NSW that I’ve talked about here before, over religious education and alternatives in primary schools: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/thou-shall-not-teach-humanism-alp-20101106-17i8t.html The unwillingness of the ALP to stand up to the churches for the dream of free and secular education for every Australian baffles and angers…

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    Second Best? I beg to differ

    Recent UN report puts only Norway ahead of Australia in terms of quality of life on measures such as education, income, life expectancy and so on: http://www.theage.com.au/travel/travel-news/united-nations-names-australia-as-the-second-best-place-in-the-world-to-live-20101105-17g3f.html?autostart=1 Taking climate into account as well, though, I feel like I live in the best country in the world, and in one of…

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    I hate the smell of bull… dust in the morning

    …and so does Ross Gittins of The Age. Here’s a really nice article using the actual evidence to look at a spurious claim, with some digression into bulldust detection more generally: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/food-figures-overcooked-20101102-17cez.html