In my latest attempt to debunk some of the nonsense that passes for analysis among Internet marketers I decided it might be worthwhile to talk about large systems theory. The problem, of course, is that there really is no "large systems theory" (or a universal theory of large systems). At least, we are still searching for the theory that will universally explain all large systems regardless of what field of thought in which we are discussing them. We know that large systems exist and we intuitively feel that there is something characteristic about large systems which makes them large.
Credit: Millionaire Chess tournament
When I was a kid, no one outside Texas played Texas Hold 'Em. We played Stud, we played Draw, we played Liar's, but not Hold 'Em.
Like Esther Williams movies and organic food, some things just make their way into pop culture and there is no rational reason why. Texas Hold 'Em is now the most popular card game in the country, every month or so our neighborhood gets together at one of our homes and puts in 20 bucks each and we go at it.
This may surprise, but Ludwig Wittgenstein, for many the greatest philosopher, or anyway the most eminent exponent of analytic philosophy according to Roger Scruton, maintained that music (!) was the most important to him, not formal logic or philosophy. On the other hand, it is known for at least a century, this I take from a mentioning in Bertrand Russell’s “The Analysis of Mind”, that artistic skills, apparently especially that of drawing pictures, suffer when the brain starts using more resources for rational tasks. Similarly, some who lose logic functionality due to stroke start drawing very well.
Mackie's at Taypack Ltd. has been around since 2009 but the joint venture between the Taylors, Perthshire potato farmers, and Mackie's of Scotland, has finally figured out a way to differentiate themselves from Frito-Lay: they are making potato chips flavored like whisky and haggis
Everyone knows what Scotch is. Haggis is sheep stomach stuffed with meat and barley. Scotland's National Poet, Robert Burns, sang its praises in his works.
Given its rampant crime, corruption and money issues, a lot of residents of Illinois publicly wish they could give Chicago away. They almost never had it at all.
The original proposed northern boundary of Illinois was a straight line from the southernmost tip of Lake Michigan to just south of the Rock and Mississippi River confluence - had it been approved, the northern 51 miles of the Illinois Territory would have become Wisconsin when it became a state in 1848.
George Clooney used to copy my haircuts.
People who knew me in the 1990s always marveled at my classic, parted-on-the-side, immaculately coiffed style. It was retro, just like the term "marvelous' is today. Prior to that, I had a classic Caesar no-part look. He showed up in the television show "E.R." sporting that and I dismissed it as coincidence but when he then jumped onto my "Mad Men without the goop" look, I became suspicious and switched again, to a slicked-back "1980s martial arts villain" look, before changing to what I have now; a random part, more California, less Northeast serious. When you are young, it is a struggle to be taken seriously in the physics and engineering world but I am older now, so it's all cowboy boots and casual.
Charles Hard Townes (AP Photo)
Charles Townes has a lot going for him; he just saw his 99th birthday and 500 people showed up to cheer for him. He has a Nobel prize and a younger wife - Frances is 98.
Oh, and he invented the laser, which just about everyone on planet Earth has heard of.
Mission Accomplished. Now it's time to go back home.
After two space shuttle missions and almost two decades, astronaut Mike Massimino has left NASA for Columbia University in New York. During the final servicing mission of the Hubble Space Telescope in 2009, Massimino became the first astronaut to tweet from space, and he now has nearly 1.3 million followers.
"Going Deep" With David Rees premieres tonight on National Geographic Channel and if you have little time to decide whether or not to watch it, you are in luck because I can be brief - it's a good show.
"Going Deep" is fun for all ages and levels of expertise because he starts into the concepts and then really goes deep, just like he says he will.
How deep is science writing these days? Pretty darn deep.
Way back when Science 2.0 started there were not a lot of great science writers. There were well-known ones, but not great ones. Journalism was in flux and mainstream media didn't respect it much, and scientists respected science journalism even less than media corporations did. The best writers just didn't go into science journalism. One of the reasons that a pillar of the Science 2.0 mission was revamping science 'communication' was because the public had stopped respecting journalists and scientists felt like they got a lot of things wrong. If science journalism couldn't win Pulitzer Prizes, at least it could be accurate and that meant making scientists the journalists.