The Word You are Looking for is “Exodus”

The depletion of writing talent over at ScienceBlogs may be the end of the world. I would not know and do not particularly care. The times, they are a changing. What gets me, and I’ll admit this is pedantic, is the use of inappropriately dramatic language to describe what is, really, a relatively minor event. The event is now known as The ScienceBlogs DiasporaTM. Continue reading “The Word You are Looking for is “Exodus””

Statistical Importance, in Architecture

Art is a subjective experience. Just like those hippie artists to fly in the face of the millenia old of tradition[1] of putting things in order so that we might judge one another. As we know that the average human being is quite likely to go around enjoying just any old piece of art that they find appealing without requiring a full understanding of the work’s place in society, history, and artistic development, it is extremely important that we regularly convene panels of experts to tell us what is good and important. The only other option is chaos. And, as everyone knows from post-apocalyptic novels, chaos always leads to eating babies. The American Film Institute has made a cottage industry out of producing ranked list of mostly American films, providing a convenient framework to demonstrate that almost all arguments over cinematic preference stem from the other person being a cultural Philistine[2]. Vanity Fair has now weighed into the fray of artistic judgment with “Architecture’s Modern Marvels”, a ranked list of the “most important works of architecture created since 1980”.

What, if anything, do these ranked lists tell us about works of art?

Continue reading “Statistical Importance, in Architecture”

What a real scientific discussion looks like

John Timmer on some climate change back-and-forth.

After reviewing debates over two papers published in American Geophysical Union journals,

These situations tell us a couple of valuable things about the current state of climate science. First of all, they make it obvious that papers that go against the consensus can still get published, even when they come from people who very notably fall outside the scientific community’s mainstream. And, in fact, the scientific community takes these things seriously—seriously enough to check the math and examine the data sources.
Continue reading “What a real scientific discussion looks like”

Infography Done Right?

Infographics are the new black. Usually, they simply represent an aesthetically compelling way to present data in order to convince you of the infographers point. Occasionally, this artistic presentation of data represents a thoughtful way to view data in order to address a particular question. Eric Fischer‘s Locals and Tourists images are just such an approach.

<i>Image: <a href="">Locals and Tourists #1 (GTWA #2): London</a>, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from walkingsf's photostream</i>

Eric starts with a question:

Some people interpreted the Geotaggers’ World Atlas maps to be maps of tourism. This set is an attempt to figure out if that is really true.

Continue reading “Infography Done Right?”

The Comments “They” Don’t Want You to Read

Science 2.0 is all about open debate involving both scientists and non-scientists. Science 2.0 is a good thing. What does Science 2.0 need to make it go? It needs two things.

1. Anyone is free to provide express their opinion on a topic.
2. The community is free to provide commentary on that opinion.

These sound simple, but in practice they require courage and a thick skin.

Continue reading “The Comments “They” Don’t Want You to Read”

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