Things that happened while I was off the edge of the Interwebs:

  • Cormac McCarthy (my office neighbor while I was at the Santa Fe Institute) won the Pulitzer for fiction for his novel The Road. Cormac is also (amazingly!) giving an interview on Oprah, which is almost as amazing as Pynchon appearing on the Simpsons.
  • A new branch campus for the University of Washington is moving forward. This is a compromise over a previous attempt by the city of Everett to establish an independent polytechnic, which they hypothetically called the “Washington Institute of Technology” (WIT…you have to have a sense of humor to teach there?) This will bring to four the number of posts I have under the category of WIT.
  • Quantum inteference in photosynthesis
  • Earth-like planet discovered only twenty light years away. (Probably) five times the size of as massive as the Earth. If we send off an expedition today, by the time we arrive we should have been able to evolve to survive in the five times higher gravity?
  • Papers scirate wants me to read while I was away: 0704.3432, 0704.2529, 0704.2575, 0704.2575, 0704.2241, and 0704.3142.
  • A horrible title for a Nature blurb, “Quantum cryptography is hacked,” about an experiment performed at MIT (Phys. Rev. A, 75, 042327.) Notice how an inacurate title leads to all sorts of bad follow ups. That’s almost egregious enough to induce a Rage Against Doofosity!

Washington Education Roundup

And now for something a little different 🙂 Yeah I’m growing tired of complaining about fault-tolerant haters too 😉
This article in the New York Times highlights concerns about math education here in the great state of Washington. Money quote:

In part, the math wars have grown out of a struggle between professional mathematicians, who say too many American students never master basic math skills, and math educators, who say children who construct their own problem-solving strategies retain their math skills better than those who just memorize the algorithm that produces the correct answer.

Which of course is silly. Mastery of basic math skills AND construction of their own problem-solving strategies is important for math education. It’s not an OR sort of game. Sadly I think “construction of their own problem-solving strategies” is a proxy for “water down the curriculum” while at the same time “mastery of basic math skills” is proxy for “only accepting answers done by the accepted algorithm.” Both are anoying as heck.
In related news, extremely long time readers of this blog are familiar with the WIT: the Washington Institute of Technology. WIT is my dream university which I’m planning on founding once I find the necessary billions of dollars to get it started. Well I’d better hurry up because the beginnings of a movement to build a polytechnic here in Washington: Seattle Times article here.

Why WIT?

Here’s why Washington needs the Washington Institute of Technology. More here.
Speaking of which, does anyone know of any institutes of higher education with elitist ambitions which have been founded in the last decade. I can think of only one, Olin.

Paul, Paul, Paul

No Paul, you’ve got it wrong. What this downtown property is good for is not a biotech center, but a new research university, a.k.a. the Washington Institute of Technology