First Nothingness Post
Today my messed up sleep schedule caught up with me. I crashed – in the most utterly desperate-to-sleep-kind-of-way – in the afternoon and was awakened to the most annoying sound around : the cell phone. The call, once my mind was able to collect the sounds emanating from the receiver into a coherent string of words, led to a very pleasant evening at my friend Amy’s place. There I wrote my German homework, took her pugs for a walk, had a delicious meal, and watched the penultimate episode of season of the best show on TV (Veronica Mars).
An update on the dissertation front:
On Monday I met with one of the professors on my committee. He thinks, and I agree wholeheartedly, that my project is not sharply defined yet and lacks motivation. (Of course he is too nice to actually say it like that, but it’s clearly what he was trying to say.)
But what was really productive about this meeting was the time I spent the night before brainstorming what is exactly keeping me from going full steam ahead on my work on an intellectual level; I think there is a strong subplot being performed on the emotional level, but I’ll leave that swept under the rug for now.
The major problem I found is that in order to decide what to read and how to divide up the chapters, I need to have a coherent methodology and conceptual framework and motivating questions. But in order to come up with the methodology, framework, and questions, I need to have read a lot. It is the old chicken and the egg problem.
However, in this brainstorming, I decided that the direction I really want to push in my dissertation is pedagogy. And like that, I simply just picked my framework. Full stop. I can’t quite figure out how that got lost in the shuffle of the last two quarters, but ever since helping my undergraduate advisor on his book on pedagogy in physics, I have been interested in the topic. It freaks the hell out of me that I’m still conceptualizing my dissertation on such a broad scale now: it’s really late in the game. What’s important it to stop feeling guilty and just do it.
On an aside, I got an email from someone who read the draft (translation: not nearly done) of the paper I wrote on Julian Schwinger for a research seminar (I put it online here). One part of the paper deals with Schwinger’s fascination and involvement in cold fusion. The guy who emailed me told me there was a typo and an error in the paper, and then goes on to say that: “Subsequently, 3400 papers were published, including about 1000 peer-reviewed ones, and the experiment was replicated by dozens of institutions thousands of times, so I think it's fair to say that Fleischmann and Pons were right, and it hardly matters that their first paper was rather messy.” Well, if you say they were right…
Now for what you all have been waiting for.
My list of links:
- The Supreme Court has changed its flavor with the introduction of the new justices. The NYT reports on it here; Slate does something similar here.
- More court news. The Da Vinci Code lawsuit has been ruled on. But in the ruling comes another mystery: The Peter Smith Code. (The ruling is here; the code is decoded here.)
- Do you like Nelly’s song Grillz? Do you even know what I’m talking about? If not, watch the video below. (It changed my discourse: “wife beater” is now “wife beat.”)
Then read the article which begins: “Government lawyers tried to remove and confiscate the gold dental work known as "grills" or "grillz" from the mouths of two men facing drug charges.”
- “Physics in America is at a crossroads and in crisis, just as humanity stands on the verge of great discoveries about the nature of matter and the universe.” What would you say if a student started out a term paper that way?
- Google + History of Science = Scientometrics.
- Get the latest in and on the web on a single sleek page, if you’re a big geek. Which I am.
- I dare you to watch this rather fantastic video and not think: Brokeback.
- If you somehow missed Colbert at the Correspondence Dinner like I did, you can stop your self-flagellation. You can watch them here.
- Need to confess something? Not Catholic? Is the fact that you’re not Catholic something you need to confess? Be trapped no longer: you can now confess online, for all to read and provide you with absolution. Or I can sell you some indulgences. I think I have a few extras.
- There is just something too cool for school about mohawks. I cut my hair a couple of days ago. I really wanted to give myself a mohawk. I don’t know why I didn’t.
- Want to know how to be Blur-esque?
- SEARCH ME.
- English. Spanish. Yiddish. French. Navajo. Samoan. And Morse Code. Some of the languages the Star Spangled Banner has been turned into.
- Please get me this for Christmas. It’s just slightly cooler than my $1 Carebear’s watch.