Category Archives: Uncategorized

Links, Links, Links for Monday, 26 October, 2015

Hit me with your best SHOT

I spent last weekend in Albuquerque, at the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) annual meeting. On the way from the airport to my motel, the cab driver took me on an unsolicited “Breaking Bad” tour of the city. We saw the motel where lots of drug deals went down in the show (and, he noted, in real life.) We skirted the parking garage that was the site of a significant plot development. We waved hello to Jesse Pinkman’s house.

Local color, "European hospitality." Who needs the conference hotel?

Local color, “European hospitality.” Who needs the conference hotel?

In the spirit of my cab ride, here’s an ad hoc excursion through a few things that went on over the weekend. Continue reading

Lots of Links for Friday, October 9, 2015


Blood and Bones: Constructing Dinosaur Exhibits and the Smithsonian’s National Fossil Hall


On October 1st, NPR featured a story on the construction of the “nation’s T. rex,” a nearly complete Tyrannosaurus skeleton set to be the crown jewel of the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum’s new Fossil Hall, opening in 2019. The dinosaur, somewhat disappointingly nicknamed the “Wankel T.” (after the Montana rancher who discovered in in 1988), will, indeed, stand out among other dinosaur skeletons for some visible—and not-so-visible—reasons. Maybe most obviously, the Wankel T. is being displayed in a “natural” state of carnivory: rather than standing straight up, small arms waving prostrate in the air, the Wankel will be shown bent down, tearing into the flesh of a dead triceratops. Preparators hope that this life-like scene of consumption, though perhaps a bit disturbing to triceratops lovers, will capture the imagination of young visitors while encouraging a sort of “nature in action” form of display. Even more significant to paleontologists, though, is the fact that the Wankel is constructed with mostly real bones.

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What Can Reddit Tell Us About The Future of Science?

Back in January 2013, twenty-three year old Kim Suozzi passed away after her fight with glioblastoma, a rare form of brain cancer. Kim, a recent college graduate and neuroscience major, made headlines in the months leading up to her death for her decision to cryopreserve her brain in hopes that she would one day be revived. Unable to pay for the high cost of the procedure, Kim and her boyfriend Josh Schisler took her case to the Internet, determined to drum up donations to fund Kim’s dream. Ultimately, their campaign was a huge success: Kim raised the $80,000 dollars she needed to preserve her brain until neuroscientists figure out a way to bring her back to life.


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Sociologists would recognize economics as a science, or: How low can U go?

Paul Krugman noted on his blog Friday that the Federal Reserve’s estimate of the Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemploment (NAIRU), in other words the predicted lowest level of unemployment that won’t cause inflation to rise, has been falling for several years. “Estimates of how low U can go seem always to be a bit below the current level of unemployment,” he writes, and produces the following chart:

This chart reminded me of another visual, one that made quite an impact on me when I first saw it as an impressionable college student. Continue reading

Economists arguing about whether economists are scientists, part 1

Those of you who are not regular readers of the economics blogosphere have missed a hugely entertaining spectacle over the summer: prominent and articulate economists have been fighting passionately about whether economics is a science. In doing so, they’ve been attempting to answer some very fundamental questions, like what makes science science, what makes scientists scientists (and thus some economists scientists and others not), when some economists stopped being scientists, what economists think other economists think about what science is, when some economists stopped thinking other economists thought the same thing about what science is, and who insulted whom at a conference in Edgartown, Massachusetts in 1978.

Like introductory econ textbooks, some of the most widely-read econ blogs are written by heavy hitters within the profession, who somehow manage to balance teaching and research loads with astronomical levels of blog output. Continue reading