Monday, January 14, 2008

Battles "Atlas"

This song popped into my life by accident, via various year-end lists extolling its various virtues. But come on, the song is called "ATLAS". That aside, it's a pretty amazing piece of music, prog without wonkery, rocking without drawing too much attention to itself...and it's a 2007. And the video is quite striking, with the band packed into a box lined with two-way mirrors, juxtaposing some visual recursion with the musical. But don't ask about the lyrics.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A New Latte in a New Cafe

You may notice that I'm very excited about this recent development. I'm even trying to see what it's like to work here -- that's my drink next to my laptop on the table. It has much larger windows than my office. But lest you think it's just me sitting there, check out this photo someone took yesterday afternoon just after lunch (Thanks, Susan!):
I'll post my reflections on the sociological role of the Cafe in science in the next day or so.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Priorities, Priorities

Stanley Fish on the role of the humanities, both in itself, and in the context of a recent report from the New York State Commission on Higher education.  Especially interesting to read the spirited defenses of the humanities in the context of Yale offering to spend more of its endowment "to increase financial aid, expand scientific research, and other initiatives."  

It's clear that it's hard to valuate (or monetize) the outcome of a liberal arts education -- but we do have to think what type of education makes a good scientist, not just one who refines other people's work, but one who makes lasting original contributions.  Of course I have no numbers either, but I'd bet it's one that doesn't simply emphasize taking lots of math and science classes.  Are there any studies of different educational systems (e.g. comparing the US with Europe, China, Japan, etc.) which could address this?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

A Cafe grows at Brookhaven

Lo: a year and a half after concept, the reality. It's a real thing, selling real coffee, in a nice, new, and high space -- and it's officially opening on Monday. Ta-da: The Brookhaven Cafe. While I'm working on a slightly longer piece on this now (for Monday or Tuesday), the important back-story is that this arose naturally out of a lab user group (the RHIC/AGS UEC), self-organized, and found great support from the lab community and administration.

There haven't been a large number of new, modern spaces at the lab, and there's never been to congregate and talk shop, as there has been for years at CERN. Now we have one, and a lot of people all over the lab are very excited about this.