Category Archives: Science

Is ‘Iterating Grace’ re-iterating ‘Milwaukee’?

Consider an evening in New York City in late September 2013. Two men and a woman are in the Brooklyn apartment of one of the men, or more likely in her pied-à-terre in Manhattan. Or perhaps nowhere, since I am hypothesizing about this gathering, not recounting. They are reviewing the events of the day, which saw the culmination of a project that the men had begun five years before and of which the woman had learned only a little less than a year earlier. Her subsequent role had been solely as observer and recorder of events, until this morning, when she became a minor participant as well.

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“Would you like melatonin with those?…”

Four years ago this summer, as part of deciding to have cataract surgery, I read a lot about eye health and function. Coincidentally, I also read a story in the Sports section of The New York Times: ‘Hitters With Blue Eyes Are Wary About Glare’. Who knew that people with blue eyes, of whom I am one, are more susceptible to glare and brightness than those with dark eyes? Not me, although I then immediately understood why I always needed to wear sunglasses, even on days or at a time of day when almost no one else was doing so.

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Randall Munroe buys a house (or not)

sheep_TRP_comm Consider this question: How can a cartoon drawn by a physicist in Massachusetts impact the housing market in the Lake District of southern Chile? If you thought, oh, that sounds like one of those T. Rowe Price commercials that proclaim, “We understand the connections of a complex global economy,” that’s exactly what I intended… when I wrote it.

In the case of those five commercials, however, the opening is a teaser, for example, “How can power consumption in China impact wool exports from New Zealand, textile production in Spain, and the use of medical technology in the US?” The economic secret behind each combination goes unstated, but presumably if you become a T. Rowe Price customer, you will get the decoder ring, or a white paper, that will make it all clear.

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Long day’s journey into bitly

…with apologies to Eugene O’Neill.

For the past two years, I have checked in from time to time with bitly and added to my posts about what I found. What started as an amusing projection — how could the URL-shortening service evolve as they began to run low on 6-character hash strings? — turned somber, morbid, even sepulchral. Most recently, I wrote in The bitly dea(r)th watch that, because of Twitter’s DIY shortener, t.co,

…it was [now] less a matter of when bitly would run out of unique hash strings and much more a matter of when the world might run out of bitly. Would the dearth become a death, not to put too fine a point on it?

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