Apparently I spend half my time reading Crooked Timber.

Žižek gets a lashing for his lazy contrarianism.

A great piece by Michael Bérubé on the Sokal hoax and its aftermath.

Scott Aaronson thinks people should vote to cut funding for quantum computing via YouCut. Why? Because “seeing my own favorite research topics attacked on the floor of the House” would be hilarious (and it would too!).

Marc Lelarge has a new paper up on diffusion and cascade effects in random networks. Fun reading for the break, assuming I can get time.

Some new ways of measuring impact factors.

One thought on “Linkage

  1. The Sokal piece suffered from a couple of significant flaws. One was that the point about Sokal – inscrutability as a plus for publication in some circles – is largely missed by the author; his piece is often too convoluted, meandering, and theoretical for its own good. I suppose that is somewhat necessary in defending those who bought into a paper that was intentionally too convoluted, meandering, and theoretical (or, in brief, B.S.). Still, the defense of falling for Sokal was rather weak and not necessary for the rest of the essay.

    Also, towards the end, the author – as many with leftist agendas do – treats all “enemies” of science as conservative and interchangeable: creationists, anti-vaccine activists, and climate change “deniers” (a term that should be objectionable by implicitly comparing critics of a certain type of scientific process to neo-Nazis). In fact, most of the anti-vaccine folks – like Robert Kennedy, Jr. – are members of the anti-pharma left, not the pro-business right. The other two disciplines are also quite different from one another, not only in their development and flaws, but also in what they’re trying to do: Evolution is mostly concerned with the past, and mainly cares about the future to the extent that it is like the past. Climate change is mostly concerned with the future, and mainly cares about the past to the extent that it is like the future. Suitably enough, it is Bohr that is brought to mind here: “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” This alone makes climate change skepticism far more reasonable than evolution skepticism.

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