Wednesday, September 24, 2008


  1. Meet the MacArthur Fellows -- this year's winners of the 'Genius' awards of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

  2. Saul Hansell: How Wall Street Lied to Its Computers

  3. Sam Harris: When Atheists Attack. In an article largely about Sarah Palin as the Republican veep nominee, there's this great passage:

    The prospects of a Palin administration are far more frightening, in fact, than those of a Palin Institute for Pediatric Neurosurgery. Ask yourself: how has "elitism" become a bad word in American politics? There is simply no other walk of life in which extraordinary talent and rigorous training are denigrated. We want elite pilots to fly our planes, elite troops to undertake our most critical missions, elite athletes to represent us in competition and elite scientists to devote the most productive years of their lives to curing our diseases. And yet, when it comes time to vest people with even greater responsibilities, we consider it a virtue to shun any and all standards of excellence. When it comes to choosing the people whose thoughts and actions will decide the fates of millions, then we suddenly want someone just like us, someone fit to have a beer with, someone down-to-earth—in fact, almost anyone, provided that he or she doesn't seem too intelligent or well educated.

  4. Hugh McLeod: Good Ideas Have Lonely Childhoods.

    6. Human beings are messy creatures. I suppose the main thesis to this post is; the hard bit of having a "good idea" is not the invention of it, nor the selling of it to the end-user, but managing the myriad of politics and egos of the people who are supposedly on the same team as yourself. Managing the vast oceans of human chaos that all enterprises ultimately are, underneath the thin veneer of human order.

  5. Evolution of PhD resolutions.


  1. Animesh said...

    My best segment on the whole "elitist" thing is at this Daily Show video page.
    Forward to 7:00+ for the best part.

    A gem from Stewart. Watch it!

  2. Animesh said...

    Also, on the genius grant topic, here is a link to a melodious winner's coverage.

  3. Anonymous said...

    Coming from a humanities background, I find the danger in my own discipline where populism is taking root and any critical discussion is considered elitist. So academics are falling over each other to research the banal to provide us with illumination.

    Palin is only a public version of the same.