7 Quick Takes (2/3/12)

--- 1 --- Before I launch into the link round-up, I'd love it if you could do me two mitzvot.  About.com is taking nominations for best atheist blog, and, as I explained yesterday, I'd love for my weird, crossover, argumentative blog to be included if you care to vote.Also yesterday, I posted a strange time-travelling thought experiment to nail down some intuitions about epistemology.  I'd love it if you comment with your reactions before I discuss mine.  Merci! --- 2 --- The Superbowl ha … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (1/27/12)

--- 1 ---Goodness, I had fun times tonight.  A local science museum hosted a Pandemic! game night.  (It's a collaborative board game where you and friends try and contain and eradicate diseases).    I think I have never sworn so much in such a short time.  --- 2 --- Going to the game night meant I missed watching the latest GOP debate, but that's fine by me.  Now that I've seen First Things's evaluation of the candidates a la Austen, I know nothing else needs to be said until the g … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (1/20/11)

--- 1 --- It's almost time for my new distance learning CS courses from Stanford to start up (yay!), so I definitely want to lead off these quick takes by linking to Wired's interview with Peter Norvig, who taught the AI course I took last term and works with Google to design self-driving cars. Wired: [H]ow useful is the Turing test?Norvig: I don’t like it that much, in part because I don’t care about the philosophy angle. I want to build something useful. We already know how to make hum … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (1/13/12)

--- 1 --- I bought girl scout cookies from a coworker this week, and now I'm wishing I had sprung for more than two boxes of Thin Mints.  You see, the Girl Scouts allowed a biologically male seven year old who identifies as a girl to join up, and now there's a proposed boycott.  Good for them for letting the kid in, and, have you ever heard a sweeter LGBT activism pitch than eat cookies for change?I was a Daisy and a Brownie, and I found the Girl Scouts mostly boring.  Instead of building ch … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (1/6/12)

--- 1 --- Tomorrow is Christmas in the Orthodox calendar and it looks like the British Heart Foundation people are aware of that fact and got me an early present!Send this video around.  TV has given everyone some really terrible CPR training. --- 2 --- And speaking of useful and exciting science, check out this one-way tube, designed by Nikola Tesla (yes, that Tesla).The little side spurs in Fig 1 redirect air or liquids back in the only direction of flow the tube permits. … [Read more...]

7 Christmas Traditions

--- 1 --- Hullo all and Merry Christmas!  I'm home with my family, looking forward to Chinese food and a movie.  It seemed like a fun time to share some traditions of my atheist family Christmas.--- 2 --- On Christmas Eve, some folks read "Twas the Night before Christmas" aloud as a family.  At my parents' house, we read David Sedaris's Santaland Diaries (his essay about his job as an elf in Macy's Christmas wonderland).  We pass the book along in turns, or when someone is laughing too hard … [Read more...]

7 Hitch Takes (12/23/11)

--- 1 ------ 2 --- I haven't read Hitchens's god is Not Great (though I did beat everyone else in DC to the library to grab Hitch-22 yesterday).  Possibly because of my age, I didn't learn about Hitchens in the context of atheism, I knew him as one of the people on the wrong side of the Iraq war debate.  Hitchens was a brilliant writer, but his didn't always marshall them for good cause.I didn't have any particularly strong feelings about Hitchens until I heard about his decision to be w … [Read more...]