Oppenheimer on Bohr (1964 UCLA)

Oppenheimer on Bohr (1964 UCLA) I came across this 1964 UCLA talk by Oppenheimer, on his hero Niels Bohr. Oppenheimer: Mathematics is “an immense enlargement of language, an ability to talk about things which in words would be simply inaccessible.” I find it strange that psychometricians usually define “verbal ability” over a vocabulary set that …

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Not Knockwurst

Topic for an American holiday weekend: How did the Vienna sausage come to be associated with a person who performs dangerous or showy stunts? Or, for that matter, with a general exclamation of excitement or appreciation? The Vienna sausage I’m talking about is, of course, better known as a wiener, which, I’ve explained with extreme …

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Tiny Things that Live in Little Bottles

As I mentioned in my previous post, it can be a fun challenge to explain your scientific research to people who aren’t scientists. A week or so ago I came across a website that challenges you to explain something complicated using only the thousand most commonly used words. So here’s my effort about our long-term evolution experiment with E. …

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Vocabulary Builder

I spent a good hour and a half this morning struggling over a blog for the Oxford University Press website, and now I’m pooped. I don’t even know whether they will take it, so I feel like I’m letting both of my regular readers for the Thornapple blog down. I’m sworn off of my usual …

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Robert’s Stories

A bunch of us were sitting around in a circle this week talking about food sovereignty. A lot of the talk was about legal rights and obligations, but one person had something different to say. He was a big man, at least fifty and maybe older. It’s often hard to tell with someone whose daily …

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House Made

Norman Wirzba was on campus at MSU this week. He gave a rousing foodie talk to an audience of mostly undergraduates. He was encouraging them to think about where their food comes from, and since Norm is a theology professor at Duke University, he didn’t shrink from the God-talk in making his case. I picked …

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