Friday, October 28, 2005

Alan Wolfe on Schmitt
Alan Wolfe's essay on the little known philosopher Karl Schmitt (found via Brett) is worth reading, even though it rehashes the familiar theory that liberals are interested in fairness, while conservatives are just interested in winning. But Wolfe also gets a couple of things wrong:
[Republicans] have recently gotten far out of the sheer element of surprise, leaving the news media without a vocabulary for describing their ruthlessness . . .
Actually, the news media do have a vocabulary for describing their ruthlessness. The problem is that they don't use it, partly because another ruthless Republican tactic is to call the media liberal and biased, and partly because they really do seem clueless. In 2000, for example, they could have given us the back story on Karl Rove and George W. Bush, but the media didn't do any historical research. And, of course, the American news media isn't really focused on news in the sense that the rest of the world uses that word.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Nothing is Completely Indescribable For Certain
Or to put it differently: we can't be certain that something is completely indescribable. There may in fact be things that are, but to claim that something is indescribable implies that one knows one attribute of that thing, namely the attribute of being indescribable. But you should not be able to know any attributes of that thing if it is truly indescribable. So to proclaim the existence of an "indescribable God" doesn't make sense, and thus doesn't work as an argument for an inability to define God.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Beethoven, The Five Piano Concertos with Leon Fleisher, George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra (plus Beethoven's Triple Concerto)

I'm kicking myself for not buying this sooner. Fleisher simply gets everything right.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

WALT: The Other Davidson Station
I just discovered (via Jrod) that WALT the student-run station at Davidson now has a new website featuring podcasts and this notice:
A WALT Freestyle Rap Battle is coming soon to a 900 Room near you - show up this Friday, October 28th at 10 for the best rap Davidson has to offer.

I didn't actually like WALT and my opinion of Davidson was mixed at best so it's odd that cute little nostalgic feelings appear when I hear about stuff like this. And while we're on the subject -- ten years ago I heard Richard Prior conducting the Davidson symphony. And two days ago I heard him conduct the Emory symphony and a Davidson grad was among the second violins.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The New York Times has an interesting article about 43folders and the lifehacker project. It includes a section about Mary Czerwinski, co-author of one of the most elegant studies on information retrieval. She was also kind enough to answer my questions by phone when I was working on my undergrad senior thesis. Surprisingly, the article doesn't mention How do People Work in their Everyday Office Spaces? An Ethnographic Approach.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Sex and Death

I was flipping through a sample copy of a introductory psychology workbook and found this. It's just special. I'll never look at the opening scene of Sunset Blvd. the same way again.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Here's an interesting post from Brett Marston that I will not comment on, lest I start swearing.

Happiness is a Warm Statistic

In this otherwise interesting article on happiness, I found this irritating sentence:
But ordinary people believe they are happier than average (an obvious impossibility) and that they'll be even happier in 10 years' time.

It's quite possible for most people to be happier than average. It's not possible for them to be happier than the median. Of course, many traits have a normal distribution so the median and mean are close, but you shouldn't assume that, especially if you're a professional reporter.