7 Quick Takes (10/8/10)


Sorry for the delay in keeping up with my posts on sin and human nature.  It’s been a crazy week at school (I was busy running logistics for a debate on gay marriage between Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage and Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry).  You can check out the Yale Daily News‘s coverage of the debate here.

I’ll be making up for the lost time by writing posts in the series over the weekend.  The first topic coming up will be my most-cited historical example of training in immorality.


Oh, and speaking of that gay marriage debate…

I have an op-ed in the Yale Daily News today about our political system’s inability to resolve differences that stem from different sets of first principles.

When one speaker at the debate said that it was not unreasonable to ask gays to refrain from sexual relations for their whole lives, the Left erupted in a storm of hisses. Most liberals see a healthy, loving sexual relationship as a common goal that no one should be excluded from. The speaker, a Christian, would prefer to exclude gays, unmarried straights, and people in religious orders from what she regards as a lesser good in order to point them towards a higher one.

As long as both sides hold up different moral standards, both sides can honestly say that they honestly are trying to do good, even as they argue for diametrically opposed policies. Keeping this intention in mind, I can respect Ms. Gallagher. But I don’t know how to live with her in a democracy.


It’s Nobel season!  And I am extremely excited about the win for the discoverers of graphene.

Not only is graphene the thinnest possible material that is feasible, but it’s also about 200 times stronger than steel and conducts electricity better than any material known to man—at room temperature. Researchers at Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering; who proved that graphene is the strongest material ever measured stated that “It would take an elephant, balanced on a pencil, to break through a sheet of graphene the thickness of Saran Wrap.” (h/t The Big Think)

Oh, and did I mention it is most frequently isolated using scotch tape?


Last week, I got to see The Social Network which is a really excellent movie.  I recommend it heartily, and, in honor of the internet and social media, I’m using the rest of these quick takes to pay tribute to things I would never have known sans blogs.

Starting with… the worst graph in the world!

Take a good look at one of the most egregious graphs I have ever seen.  For the context (and the flaw, if you haven’t spotted it) head back to The Big Questions, where I found it.

As a bit of a statistics enthusiast, I love reading Flowing Data, which highlights good strategies for data visualization and offers up bad graphs like the one above for instruction and fixer-upper contests.


I’m so pleased with the microtargeting ushered in by social media, if only because it has brought this shirt into existence:

(h/t: The Daily What)


One of the most delightful things I get to do online is bond with costumers, particularly as Halloween draws near.  Since I’m going with a cyberpunk theme this year, my usual haunts at Steamfashion are less useful (inasmuch as costuming inspired by a fictionalized past is ever useful) but no less delightful.


And finally, to round out the list of gifts social media have brought us: Where the Ladies At? is an app that uses Foursquare data to point you in the direction of women.  Literally, the interface is a compass pointing to Ladies (or, at least, the direction you should walk to be in the highest concentration of women.

[Seven Quick Things is a blog carnival run by Jen of Conversion Diary]

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  • (4) Gave me the best laugh I've had all week. It's not really that awful of a graph until you realize that the right-hand axis is inverted, which makes it just scream "poorly-executed-propaganda." This is not something I get to scream very often, so I appreciate the opportunity.Hopefully the graphs I'm working on right now will come out better.