Lincoln’s Masterpiece

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln travelled to Pennsylvania to give a speech to various people connected with the Union victory at Gettysburg and the subsequent dedication of the Soldier’s National Cemetery. This being the Civil War, many of the `connected’ were relatives of fallen soldiers. The…

Publication Impact

I prepared this for a Wikipedia editor who felt that if you haven’t been on TV, you’re not important. Someone else erected my original page, which sat for 15 years or so. Now this person wanted evidence of my accomplishments. The point here is all…

Cylinder Illusion

Whatever this looks like, it’s really two sheets of dots sliding over each other. It’s all perfectly flat. But the brain interprets it as a revolving cylinder. To do this, it must assume a surface order, like “front-right, back-left.” Occasionally this assumption reverses, and the…

Politics Unusual

I went to a meeting recently, although in DC it might be called something else. It involved some sitting people and some talking people. To me that’s a meeting. It was organized by Patrick Kennedy, who is fighting for people with mental disorders, not least…

Seriously, What Box?

Business people have a useful expression about thinking  outside the box. Ironically, academics rarely say this. I could follow with “Instead, academics say” but really, they don’t, as a rule. They say “that’s a novel finding.” Except for the rare few–Paul Dirac, Louis Debroglie, Brown and Goldstein, Pasteur, David…

Data Stylist

I keep seeing “data scientist” under people’s names on Linkedin; in job listings; in ads for classes and tutorials, etc. I always think, what are the other things we do with data? Have a data salad? Make data-fiber bulletproof vests? Seal a cut with a…

London Science Museum

Francis Crick was possessed with the idea that consciousness was a discoverable thing. Most people believe this; they believe it’s a thing, that it’s in there, somehow; and sure, why not. Why not discover it. Because it’s a word. Psychologists of a certain type, mind…