Friday, January 21, 2011

Linkable Links

* Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing" has apparently been banned from Canadian radio and television

* The practical difficulties of the (in-principle possible) task of making something that is to cats what lasers are to photons.

* John Wilkins talks about species.

* A discussion of civil rights advocate T.R.M. Howard.

* An argument that there's a close connection between Galileo's Dante scholarship and his physics. The basic idea in the argument is that a blunder in Galileo's lectures on the Inferno -- which had been important for his early reputation as a Florentine intellectual in a time and place when reputation was livelihood -- made Galileo realize the importance of scaling laws. (ht) ADDED LATER: Thony C corrects some misapprehensions arising from the article.

* Werner Arber has been appointed to head the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Arber is a Swiss microbiologist most famous for his work in discovering restriction enzymes, for which he shared the 1978 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Arber is replacing Nicola Cabibbo, and is the first Protestant to head the Academy in its 200-something year history. (Not 400-something, as the article says -- to stretch the duration back that far you have to include predecessor organizations that dissolved or were abolished at one point or another for 400 years. It would be more accurate to say that, barring some gaps, for 400 years there has been some organization doing more or less what the Pontifical Academy has been doing since the 1800s, but the Pontifical Academy itself is merely the latest instance.)

* Tim Troutman on unity and beauty.

* Will Thomas has an excellent post on Hume's 'philosophical chemistry' of sentiments and explanation of the passions.

* D. G. Myers on William James and the liberal arts.

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