Monday, April 02, 2012

Several items

My apologies to my readers for low blogging rate recently. Multiple papers, proposals, teaching, travel, etc. have all contributed to this slow-down. Here are a few brief items to consider:
  • The (nearly) final details have come out regarding the OPERA experiment.  Goodbye, superluminal neutrinos - we hardly knew ye.    Would've been fun!
  • It would appear that one can correlate political affiliation in the US with the somewhat ill-defined concept of "trust in science".  Much as it's tempting to make a wry comment here, I suspect that some of this is due to the very disparate nature of those self-identifying as "conservative" these days.  Either way, this is a problem, though.  Science (in the sense of careful, rigorous testing of hypotheses that allege predictive power) is an incredibly useful way to look at much of the world, and I would hope that this would be appreciated by the vast majority of people out there.
  • Someone has advanced the idea that Mitt Romney is a quantum object.  Clearly we should put him through some sort of interferometer to test this idea.  Alternately, he should interlace his fingers and make a loop with his arms - we can then thread magnetic flux through him and see if his response about the individual mandate for healthcare oscillates as the magnetic field is swept.
  • Visiting NSF is always enlightening.  I really hadn't appreciated before the quantitative problem that they face in proposal evaluation and administration:  the number of proposals that are submitted has more than doubled in the last few years, while their staffing has remained unchanged.  Even apart from overall resource problems (e.g., the runaway positive feedback cycle, when people realize that the odds of funding are bad, so they submit more proposals, making the odds of funding worse), just the challenge of properly handling all the paperwork is becoming incredibly difficult.
  • April Fools is always fun on the web.  This is one of my favorites.

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