Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Book - Initial Invitations

A double posting! You're so lucky...

So I've sent out a bunch of invitations to people to contribute chapters to The Book. I've received eleven replies so far; six yes, two gracious no's, two "no but ask again after summer just in case because I would like to, but am too busy", and one "not sure, I'm very busy, ask again after summer because I'd like to". I have seven I haven't heard from. Interestingly a couple of the more negative responses have come from people I thought would be definite yes's. Still, not a bad strike rate so far. I figure ten people, including myself, are sufficient, so I'm most the way there. More would be even better.

It's been a bit nerve-wracking. What if no one said yes? Or worse, no one even replied? That would be a blow to the ego. I'm by no means a titan in my field, but I do like to think what I do has earned me a somewhat positive reputation. That sounds a little boastful, but it's not really - much of science is reputation. Good science = a good reputation. We're all striving for that. So it is with some relief that I now have the six positive replies.

Is genius contagious?

Can associating with geniuses make you smarter? Perhaps a genius by association? I certainly hope so. I talked to a collaborator (and friend) of mine by phone this morning (he's in St. Louis). He's a very, very smart guy. It appears he has figured out some stuff that will completely transform our field. It's the kind of thing that when you hear it you go "Doh! That's so obvious! Why didn't I think of that?" For that very reason - it's simple, obvious and just makes sense - my collaborator will be taking a beating from some of the close-minded, powerful senior people in the field. Scientists are (usually) smart, but they're also people, and when you tell someone that something they've built much of their career around is probably wrong, the reaction often isn't pleasant. It will be an interesting couple of years for my friend.

Monday, May 22, 2006


Now why didn't someone think of this before? Have the leader of some nation visit Iraq and call for an end to the violence. Clearly this will work! Even as I type this, I imagine people all over Iraq are thinking "Mr. Blair wants us to stop fighting each other, so I'm going to take all my weapons and hand them over at the local police station. Then I'm going over to my neighbor's house, the one I lobbed a bomb at yesterday, and I'm going to give him a bunch of fresh flowers. Then all will be well in Iraq! Gosh, I hope my neighbor doesn't have allergies..." It's just so obvious!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Be careful who you call...

...because they might be listening. Bush's line that "Our intelligence activities strictly target al-Qaeda and their known affiliates" doesn't quite jive with the collection of data on the phone calls of "tens of millions of Americans". That's enough al-Quaeda and known affiliates to have destroyed this country long ago. Note that he said "known affiliates".

Is it just me or is this country becoming more and more like the various "evil regimes" Bush rails against?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Gotta run!

Hmmmm, this sounds funny, but isn't really. I'm really beginning to wonder whether people should be given some sort of test before being allowed to have children...

Thursday, May 04, 2006


As a parent I wanted to write something about this, but words fail me. What she did was wrong, what her parents did to her was wrong, and what the Johnson County District Attorney has done is also wrong. How very, very sad.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

And hit number 1000...

...came from Iraq!

Sorry little bro, you missed by one...

Monday, May 01, 2006

Curioser and curioser

See that Site Meter counter on the left? Not only does it count how many hits I get (my own are not counted), it also lets me track who visits (in the form of IP addresses and ISP's) and from where (city and country). More interestingly I can look at the page the visitor came to me from (careful guys - go somewhere innocuous after the porn site before visiting here). This can be interesting. Last week someone from the University of Oregon dropped by (hi!). He/she got to me after a Google search using the search words "dell d410 laptop problem sucks". Sadly when I tried the same search I couldn't find me...

I'm almost up to 1000 hits! Woohoo!