May 10, 2007

From the comments

Posted in Academia, Blogging at 4:22 am by ndsmith

I recently got a comment on an old post of mine from Thorin (is there a name for this kind of thing?). This post was shortly after starting my blog. I feel like I’ve gone through so many phases in my view of my blog that it was interesting to see an old post. What I had to say related to my thoughts on education.

I had quoted from an small piece, written by a Professor John Dolan and published with his obituary in the proceedings of the APA. I did not know and still don’t know anything about John Dolan or his philosophical leanings, running across the article by chance. Anyway, Thorin provides some really interesting insight into Dolan as a teacher. It seems that sometimes the thought can be enlightened while the disposition may sometimes be otherwise.

He also got me thinking about Douglas Hofstadter, which was cool. I remember that discovering Gödel, Escher, Bach in college felt like the opening sequence of The Never Ending Story: as if I walked into a kind of esoteric fairy tale. The argument is interesting and the book is written extremely well. At the time I was an undergraduate obsessed with Derrida and I remember becoming bored with Hofstadter’s focus on was foundations; and I just didn’t buy the AI suggestions.

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“Support the ‘Oops!'”

Posted in Politics at 3:48 am by ndsmith

That line has nothing to do with this post. It’s a quote from Stephen Colbert.

Also: Jon Stewart’s recent interview with George Tenet is one of the best I have ever seen. Stewart gets Tenet to address the real issues involved in the publication of his new book, At the Center of the Storm. I haven’t read the book, but I heard Tenet with Jim Lehrer and he seemed evasive and I felt that he was hiding something. But Stewart manages to both convince me to see things from Tenet’s side and to probe into Tenet’s real beef with the administration.

May 2, 2007

Are the Current Approaches to Global Warming a case of ‘too little too late’?

Posted in Environment, Politics at 4:21 pm by ndsmith

George Monbiot’s recent editorial highlights an interesting and disturbing fact: in terms of the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, we are already in danger of reaching global warming levels of 2 C or higher (these are widely agreed to be “dangerous” levels). He also points out that even the EU and Britain, who are most progressive in setting reduction targets in greenhouse gases, are trying to fudge the numbers rather than face up to the drastic measures that need to be taken (Monbiot suggests an 85% per capita reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for the UK over the next 25 yrs.).

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May 1, 2007

Changes in Patent Policy

Posted in Law at 4:22 pm by ndsmith

For those of you out there who know a lot more about this than I do, I found this interesting piece in the HuffPo on recent Supreme Court rulings on patents. I think everyone agrees that patent politcy has not kept up with the changing landscape of innovation and technology. It seems that the courts are ever so slowly moving in the right direction, in two instances: interpreting patents in terms of the right to earn a royalty rather than the right to monopoly, and making patents more difficult to obtain, particularly on innovations that would be obvious to a person of ordinary skills in the industry.

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