Random Thoughts

Venice is a wonderful place to visit, if you have a week or even a weekend to spend immersed in art and history, or just to get lost in it and enjoy the romanticism of the place. However, if you live there you tend to hate the town as much as you love it.

Take a house move for instance: nowhere is a house move a kid's game -it is in fact a well-known cause of stress in any circumstance. But in Venice it may become a real trauma. The problem is multi-fold: houses do not usually have an elevator; stairs are usually too narrow for any piece of furniture; space in front of one's windows may be too limited for any manouver.

During just two months, the buzzword “diaosi” has invaded China. Its essence, and hence its popularity, has to do with one particular problem in China:

I feel stuck, stuck in the continued reflection of what DSM labels mean to individuals and how they conceive their identities. Perhaps this is because so much of what I read on the internet in our online community is about identity and labels. It seems many of us are focused on what it means to be autistic and who controls the right to label and define.

Looking at suchlike:

Can somebody explain "Black Friday" in scientifically satisfying ways (read: leave your party book out of it)?  What is this seemingly dramatic drop in prices that is adjusted so to endanger public safety rather than to ensure a more "rational" adjustment over longer times that perhaps "naive capitalistic" models predict to be more lucrative for all (consumer, seller, society that ensures the marketplace)?
When I was a young guy living in Florida, on one station we used to get reruns of a television show called "The Saint". I liked the stick figure cartoon and the halo that would appear above his head in the beginning. Roger Moore was cool.
What big trends can you expect to take hold in 2013?  THE WIRED WORLD IN 2013 is a new annual trend report that covers a broad range of topics across eight sections; from science to arts, politics to medicine and culture to the environment.

I have two articles in the issue, one on science and one on environmental policy - that's right, Richard Branson and James Dyson only get one but they love Science 2.0 twice as much.

You can buy it on newsstands, get it within the Wired UK app on iTunes/Kindle/Android or buy a digital copy at this link:

Scientists take a great deal of pride in the Scientific Method, and not just because it’s a method named after them. The Method is the basis for their authority. It is the universally accepted tool for finding all facts about the universe, the unbiased straight-and-narrow path that we wish all of the world’s irrational people would find more often.

Oh, you think that’s condescending? How do you know? What are your controls?

Since spot weather events are once again proof of global warming, reversing the trend of 2007 to 2011 when we were told that local weather was not evidence against global warming, it's time to think about the upcoming Ice Age - because we are having a big storm in the northeast, weeks later than when we had a giant snowstorm in 1980 Pennsylvania that knocked out our power for a week, so NYC media writers desperate for pageviews say it must be due to climate change.  
Physics professor Paul Frampton of UNC Chapel Hill is sitting in an Argentine jail, busted for trying to smuggle out 2 kilos of cocaine, but that hasn’t stopped him from asking for a raise on his $107,000 annual salary - raise as in he wants it doubled.

Hey, he has tenure. And a lot of citations.

Frampton is in a spat with the school because he says they are improperly withholding his salary. They contend his being in an Argentine prison cell for virtually all of this year means he can't possibly be doing any work, even for a tenured professor.
How do you make an A-list film with a B-movie budget?  You use clever writing, moody atmosphere and then some creative camera work. Result: a lot of fun.