Thoughts During Break Time

Ah. I see that it’s been three days since my last confession. Gosh.

Well, it’s been a quiet weekend here in, er, my part of the universe. Good time for reflection and rest. I had a couple of posts I was going to do but in the end decided to break the pattern and change up my Saturday and Sunday, and the “change up” did not include the blog. So sorry about that.

I’m taking a break between an interesting meeting (that I will tell you about) and my office hour. The sun’s shining outside and it is not oppressively hot, surprisingly, so I’ll keep this short and poke my head out there again before my Physics 151 visitors arrive.

Some of the things on my mind: […] Click to continue reading this post

NPR on Blogging

Well, it is more or less the tenth anniversary of the blog. Not this blog – the whole weblogging thing. NPR did a rather nice radio pastiche to survey the business of blogging. It was done with good humour – they made a radio blog, with audio versions of hyperlinks, scrolling, and so forth. It’s rather amusing, and even somewhat informative as a bonus. They interview various people including (of course) Justin Hall who is identified as one of the earliest bloggers. He’s an interesting guy. I met him briefly when he was here at USC’s Interactive Media Division, during that meeting on academic blogging I blogged about a while back. You can start out finding out a bit more about him and blogging by google searching. Sooner or later you’ll hit the […] Click to continue reading this post

Many Meetings

I’ve had a huge number of meetings and other activities going on in the last two weeks. A great deal of it involved things I’d love to blog about. But I’ve found myself rushing off to the next thing, eventually coming home, having some time to myself, and then falling into bed before I can summon the energy to type. So what to do?

One option is to spend the morning catching up on the blogging… but that won’t happen because I’ve decided to devote the entire day to an engaging project (not physics) that’s I’ll tell you about later.

So let’s see… I’ll end this post with a trio of pictures I was probably not supposed to take a couple fo nights ago (so have a wicked shiver down your spine from handling contraband goods), and leave you to guess what the occasion was. Daily Show fans might recognize the central figure, if not the set.

root of all evil […] Click to continue reading this post

What Matters?

palm flower frondsI’ll let you know.

Huh? Today, I’ve to think about two things I have to talk about over the next couple of days. I’ve to give a physics seminar on Thursday at UCSB, but more urgently, I have to think about What Matters To Me and Why. Why? This is because in the Spring I agreed to be one of the presenters of the four-times-a-semester USC event of the same title, hosted by the Center for Religious Life. This excellent series is run by Rabbi Susan Laemmle, the Dean of Religious Life, with a committee of students. Here’s how it is supposed to work (extract from their site):

At each WMMW session, the featured guest spends about twenty minutes addressing the topic “What Matters to Me and Why,” and then the floor is opened to informal dialogue for the remainder of the hour. Just as there is no one way to address the topic, so there will be no one direction in which dialogue will proceed. The student contact from the WMMW committee introduces the speaker and makes sure that the session goes forward in a professional yet friendly manner. An indirect purpose of WMMW is to maintain an arena in which people can talk about important, personally charged questions in an open, mutually respectful way.

A typical session is described here. This is going to be a tough one. Not because nothing matters to me but because everything seems to matter, and I cannot effectively rank these things to say what matters most in any way. I only learned yesterday that I only have about 20 minutes to say what it is that matters. This either makes things harder or easier, I can’t decide yet. Probably harder. Now I really have to think.

I jokingly thought a few months ago that I ought to just look at my last few blog posts the day before and just talk about what’s in those. What can I see… Well, there’s public transport, community and the environment, composting and gardening, science and television (and scientific honesty). Not bad. (Good thing I did not do that post on dating. Probably not a good topic for WMMW…) I can probably weave something out of those. Do I blog about those things by accident, or because there are some themes there that are being brought out? What are the big themes in those then? Random scattered thoughts follow…. […] Click to continue reading this post



I mean the good type of Hummers: Hummingbirds! (Some types of which are already visiting the garden even though the flowers they like are most not ready yet. One of my Budlea plants died – from the frosts I think – and another is ill. I expect to get three more of them from the market this week. The hummingbirds like them (butterflies love them), although they prefer the Mexican Sage plants which are right […] Click to continue reading this post