Lies, damn lies

by Maria on October 13, 2004

Why are all required statistics courses essentially the same? They start off with bland assurances from the instructor that no knowledge of maths is required and that the concepts involved are pretty easy to grasp – all you need to do is turn up in class and do lots of practice questions. Oh, and have a positive attitude. Yeah, right.

I’m about to take the third stats exam of my life. As with the two before, failure is a barrier to continuing my ‘real’ studies. And, though this is my third tour of duty through histograms to simple regression, failure is a distinct possibility. The null hypothesis, that Maria has sufficient knowledge, nerve and luck to once again pass stats by the skin of her teeth, looks like being rejected. Of course I don’t blame myself, not entirely. I’d rather blame the teachers, or perhaps the subject itself.

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It looks like “Columbia University Press”:http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cup/ is bringing out a new edition of Political Liberalism. All things considered, I wish they wouldn’t. For the Rawls obsessed, more below the line.

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Pogo

by Henry on October 13, 2004

I’ve never known any more about Walt Kelly’s comic strip “Pogo,” than that it gave birth to the famous phrase “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Now, after reading John Crowley’s lovely “essay”:http://bostonreview.net/BR29.5/crowley.html on Pogo in the _Boston Review_, I want to read the lot.

Wearing Out Their Welcome

by Belle Waring on October 13, 2004

An unusual and welcome article in today’s Washington Post about a split between homegrown Iraqi insurgents and foreign fighters in Fallujah.

U.S. and Iraqi authorities together have insisted that if Fallujah is to avoid an all-out assault aimed at regaining control of the city, foreign fighters must be ejected. Several local leaders of the insurgency say they, too, want to expel the foreigners, whom they scorn as terrorists. They heap particular contempt on Abu Musab Zarqawi, the Jordanian whose Monotheism and Jihad group has asserted responsibility for many of the deadliest attacks across Iraq, including videotaped beheadings.

“He is mentally deranged, has distorted the image of the resistance and defamed it. I believe his end is near,” Abu Abdalla Dulaimy, military commander of the First Army of Mohammad, said….

Among the tensions dividing the locals and the foreigners is religion. People in Fallujah, known as the city of mosques, have chafed at the stern brand of Islam that the newcomers brought with them. The non-Iraqi Arabs berated women who did not cover themselves head-to-toe in black — very rare in Iraq — and violently opposed local customs rooted in the town’s more mystical religious tradition. One Fallujah man killed a Kuwaiti who said he could not pray at the grave of an ancestor.

If the city could be pacified before the elections without a large-scale assault, that would be a very good thing.

Fodor on Kripke

by Chris Bertram on October 13, 2004

Why does no-one read analytical philosophy (except for analytical philosophers) and what was the revolution wrought by Saul Kripke? “Jerry Fodor explains”:http://www.lrb.co.uk/v26/n20/fodo01_.html , over at the LRB.

Wingnuts at the ESF

by Chris Bertram on October 13, 2004

Over at “Harry’s Place, Gene picks up”:http://hurryupharry.bloghouse.net/archives/2004/10/13/social_forum_preview.php on the priorities of the European Social Forum, which is about to meet in London. I surfed over to “the programme of events and workshops”:http://www.fse-esf.org/en/programme/list.shtml and was disturbed to find that there’s a session devoted to promoting 9/11 revisionism:

bq. Members of the UK 9/11 network will be speaking including Ian Neal and Simon Aronowitz, editor of www.thoughtcrimenews.com plus a screening of 911 In Plane Sight 50 min short film followed by a question and answer forum…..Presenting the evidence supporting US government complicity in the 9/11 attacks, growing 9/11 truth movement and its implications for global peace and development.

I had a conversation last week with a very smart and likeable man from a Middle Eastern country who believes all this nonsense, and assures me that many of his fellow citizens do too. European leftists giving it further exposure, credence and legitimacy is the last thing we need.

Media reform?

by Eszter Hargittai on October 13, 2004

Let’s try to channel some of that energy from the last post toward a more productive discussion.:) Here’s a little Flash movie about how the media are covering the presidential campaigns. I doubt any of it will be shocking to most readers of CT, but it’s still worth a pause and some thought.

The site that features the video offers much information about media ownership and is quite a resource. But I found it difficult to locate concrete things one may be able to do, except donate money to the cause.

One section suggests ten policies to fix the media. Do you find them convincing? Realistic? Necessary? Unnecessary? Hopeless? Too vague? Too ambitious? Not ambitious enough? Discuss.

Not impressed

by Eszter Hargittai on October 13, 2004

I just received an email from a journalism student from a school in Florida asking to interview me about the cultural implications of the Internet for an article in a campus publication. She sent the email to my Princeton email account and also mentioned that she’d left a voicemail message for me at my Princeton number. I have not received any correspondence from this person on my Northwestern email account or phone number. My pages are the first hit on Google for searches of either my first or last name (and the two together). My site gets similar rankings (except for some sponsored links) on other major search engines as well. My Web site clearly states my current affiliation right up front directly below my name. My site’s old location at Princeton redirects to the new location. My old blog on Princeton’s servers lists my Northwestern address. What, exactly, is being taught to journalism students nowadays if, given all that, this person still couldn’t figure out where I work??

I’ll let you guess whether I decided to grant the interview.

UPDATE: Since people seem to deduce from this message that I sent the person a rude reply I should clarify: I sent her a polite note saying that I was unavailable for the interview at this time and wished her luck.

Nobels and blogging

by Henry on October 13, 2004

It turns out that Frank Wilczek, “co-winner of the Nobel prize in physics”:http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=scienceNews&storyID=6415036, is the father of “Amity Wilczek”:http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/natureisprofligate/2004/10/05#a158 who is now back blogging at _Nature is Profligate_. Amity has also gotten married during her hiatus – it’s hard to know where the congratulations should begin.