Joho the Blog » 2008 » September

September 30, 2008

Letting the FOX count the hens

Sounds at the end like the room may be laughing at the reporter…

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Universal academic directory

Academia.edu lets you add yourself to its gigantic Tree of University Departments. It’s a slick, slidey, Ajaxy UI, and there seem to be only benefits to adding your name to it, even though it will forever be incomplete.

The question is whether it’s easier and more beneficial to count on participants to centralize their contact info at Academia.edu or to hope that universities somehow might agree on a metadata standard — a microformat — for how they list faculty members on their own sites. Since the latter isn’t happening, the former becomes appealing. (Thanks to John Palfrey for the link.)

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September 29, 2008

Sarah Palin plays the age card

I’m a little confused by Sarah Palin’s joshing that she’s been listening to Biden’s speeches in the Senate since she was in second grade, especially with John “26 Years in the Senate” McCain standing right next to her.

What’s next, comb-over jokes?

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Fiscal physics

From Greg Mankiw‘s blog:

From a freshman physics quiz given at Princeton a few days ago:

Problem 1. A famous thought experiment in economics involves dealing with a financial crisis by dropping money from a helicopter.

Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve Chairman and former Princeton Economics Professor, decides to try this out over his old hometown. With his helicopter flying 1.0×10^1 m above the center of Fine Tower and in the direction of Nassau Hall, Ben gently releases a briefcase containing $1 million. Using the information that (i) Fine Tower is 6.0 × 10^1 m high, (ii) Nassau Hall is 1.5 × 10^1 m high and (iii) the centers of the two buildings are 3.0 × 10^2 m apart, and ignoring air resistance as you normally would:

a. [2 pts] How fast should Ben’s helicopter fly so that the briefcase lands in the center of the roof of Nassau Hall?

b. [1 pt] How long is the briefcase in the air?

c. [1 pt] How fast is the briefcase moving when it hits the roof of Nassau Hall?

d. [1 pt] How much faster would the financial relief have reached Nassau Hall if the briefcase had contained $2 million instead?

Thanks to Princeton Professor Shivaji Sondhi for sending this along.

Greg is an economics professor at Harvard.

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September 28, 2008

University home page word cloud

Matt Pasiewicz at Educause has created a word cloud out of 1,000 university home pages. Nothing too surprising, but interesting nonetheless.

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Daily (intermittent) Open Ended Puzzle: Top Ten Reasons Palin Cancels Debate

Here’s a contest idea from my brother Andy. Submit your entries as comments. Prize: Nothing at all.

Top Ten Reasons Sarah Palin Cancels the VP Debate

Suspicious Russian tourists spotted across the Bering strait in Dezhnevo

Wrasslin’ a bear

Learns Tina Fey will be watching

When taken on tour of White House by McCain handlers, is “inadvertently” locked in Cheney’s man-sized safe

Schedule for memorizing state capitals thrown off by need for new schedule to memorize states

Speechless after finally looking up what “MILF” stands for

On deadline to finish her book, “Namin’ Your Baby the Alaskan Way”

Not yet confident how to work in those hilarious hair-plug zingers

No matter how hard she scrubs, she can’t get Kissinger’s moral stank off of her

Stuck in traffic on the Bridge to Nowhere

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Ethanz on Africa in Amsterdam at Picnic

Ethan Zuckerman is doing his usual raise-the-bar conference blogging, this time from Picnic in Amsterdam. See his roundup of the “Surprising Africa” day at Picnic. And that’s preceded by a post about an African architect, Francis Kéké, Ethan has long admired. Ethan is always an eye-opener.

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Who does Rachel Maddow remind you of?

Maddow looks like Jon Stewart

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Science photos

Here are the eight winners of the New Scientist visualization/photography contest. Beautiful.

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September 27, 2008

Washington Post debate mashup

The Washington Post has a nice set of interactive features for “decoding” the debates.

You know what would be even better? The open access Larry Lessig and a left-right coalition is calling for.

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