This is, apparently, a time for reflection. What have I been up to?
And so this is Korrasmas
Things have been Done
Kuvira is fallen
A new ‘ship just begun
We all knew it
Well, other than watching cartoons?
At the very beginning of 2014, I posted a substantial revision of “Eco-Evolutionary Feedback in Host–Pathogen Spatial Dynamics,” which we first put online in 2011 (late in the lonesome October of my most immemorial year, etc.).
In January, Chris Fuchs and I finished up an edited lecture transcript, “Some Negative Remarks on Operational Approaches to Quantum Theory.” My next posting was a solo effort, “SIC-POVMs and Compatibility among Quantum States,” which made for a pretty good follow-on, and picked up a pleasantly decent number of scites.
Then, we stress-tested the arXiv.
By mid-September, Ben Allen, Yaneer Bar-Yam and I had completed “An Information-Theoretic Formalism for Multiscale Structure in Complex Systems,” a work very long in the cooking.
Finally, I rang in December with “Von Neumann was Not a Quantum Bayesian,” which demonstrates conclusively that I can write 24 pages with 107 references in response to one sentence on Wikipedia.
“Autopsy found a large fluid buildup in the pericardial sac. By the time of admission, the effusion made it grow three times its regular size that day.”
Greg Gbur: Long suffering at the hands of the ghosts, I have eaten an Energizer. Now the hunter becomes the hunted.
Physics has forsaken this place. Asteroids pass through each other, vanish before me, appear behind me.
Continue reading Livetweeting Classic Video Games
Brian Switek: We should start thinking about this now: when there’s no more ice at the North Pole, where will we say that Santa lives?
“Santa? Why, darling, everybody knows that Santa lives with Cain and Abel in the Lord Shaper’s domain of the Dreaming. He makes a list, checks it twice, and if you’ve been naughty, you’ll fall asleep and wake up, and wake up again, and again…”
Continue reading Planning Ahead
Ta-Nehisi Coates: Forgive all the cartoon talk. I spent the day trying to understand, whatever I didn’t understand, about [The New Republic]. More Monday.
Me: I’m reading this as saying that ’80s cartoons are essential for understanding TNR.
TNC: Yes. But I haven’t figured out why…
This little exchange, and the Jem and Robotech discussion which led up to it, got me to thinking about the cartoons of my own childhood. In turn, that called something to mind from my years of studying the Found-in-Used-Book-Store-Basement Canon. Quoting from Antonia Levi’s Samurai from Outer Space: Understanding Japanese Animation (1996):
Why do young Americans stick with an art form that is so foreign and so difficult to understand, an art form that actually makes them work? Generation X’s image does not usually include much emphasis on the work ethic. Yet, this is the generation that has chosen to tackle a challenging art form purely for the purpose of entertainment. One reason, of course, is that the Baby Busters simply aren’t as lazy as Boomer curmudgeons would like to believe. The other reason, however, is that anime more than repays the effort by providing its fans with a fantasy world more compelling and more complete than they can find anywhere else. Okay, it’s escapism, but for a generation whose defining characteristic is that they are the first set of Americans who will not do as well as their parents, good escapism is worth a little effort.
Plus ça change, amirite?
Shimer College: the worst school in America?
Subhead: This tiny, eccentric institution in Chicago was just voted the worst place to study in America. But does Shimer, which shuns lectures and has no societies or clubs, deserve such an accolade? Jon Ronson went there to investigate.
In the body, we have a bit more detail:
This is a ‘great books’ college. The great books of the western tradition, not the professors, are the teachers: Da Vinci’s Notebooks and Aristotle’s Poetics and Homer’s Odyssey and de Beauvoir’s Ethics of Ambiguity and Kafka and Derrida and Nietzsche and Freud and Marx and Machiavelli and Shakespeare and the Bible.
Continue reading Concerning “Great Books”