How do they do that!

by Chris Bertram on July 23, 2003

I took the day off today for a trip to London (free lift from a mate who is a sales rep). The main thing I wanted to do was to go to the National Gallery. I’d been bowled over by a Bellini triptych I’d seen in the church of S. Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice recently and planned to look through the Bellinis in the Sainsbury Wing with the aid of the little MP3-player guide they loan you these days. Very useful, except when the number displayed next to the painting fails to correspond with the commentary (the gallery’s only Giotto linked to a commentary on Duccio). Anyway, my attention was drawn to something I’d never noticed before: a number of paintings, originally painted on wood panels, had been transferred at some time in their history to canvas, and in one case to a “synthetic panel”. Probably this is just everyday stuff for art conservators, but it struck me that it was amazing that a whole painting could be lifted off the surface on which it was originally painted and transferred to a new one. How?

Siren songs

by Henry on July 23, 2003

Tyler Cowen has a “couple”:http://volokh.com/2003_07_20_volokh_archive.html#105888482984762773 of “posts”:http://volokh.com/2003_07_20_volokh_archive.html#105896942112479124 suggesting that there is a serious libertarian argument against initiatives like the US government ‘do-not-call’ list for telemarketers. His argument is that government shouldn’t be in the business of restraining peoples’ spontaneity.

(warning: lengthy argument follows)

[click to continue…]

Confessions of a science junky

by Henry on July 23, 2003

One of the nicer things about trying to keep up a list of blogging academics, is that I’ve come across a whole bunch of blogging scientists. I’m a science junky, and love to read practitioners talk about how it’s done. Perhaps this is just discipline envy – we “political scientists” are often rather touchy about whether we’re actually scientists or not – but it probably has a lot more to do with my having read way too much science fiction over the last twenty years. Whatever. Anyway, to point you to a few particularly good science posts that I’ve seen in the last couple of weeks.

Chad Orzel, “here”:http://steelypips.org/principles/2003_07_06_principlearchive.php#105785171837597564 and “here”:http://www.steelypips.org/principles/2003_07_06_principlearchive.php#105766528719351705 on the discovery of a new type of subatomic particle. While you’re at it, check out his “index”:http://steelypips.org/principles/physposts.html of physics posts.

“Amity Wilczek”:http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/natureisprofligate/2003/07/13#a78 on how dung beetles navigate. This is a great blog on all manner of strange behavior in the animal kingdom.

“Cosma Shalizi”:http://cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/weblog/archives/000077.html on dumb research on mating behavior.

“John G. Cramer”:http://www.npl.washington.edu/AV/av_index.html who has an incredible list of essays on cosmology, the physics of warpdrives &c &c (OK: he’s not a blogger, but his “daughter”:http://www.kathryncramer.com/wblog/ is).

And (not a scientist, but debunking bad science nonetheless), “Belle Waring”:http://examinedlife.typepad.com/johnbelle/2003/07/just_not_so_sto.html on _ad hominid_ arguments.