Saturday, August 30, 2008

Inspirational Pregame Speeches

The blog the Art of Manliness has a post about Inspirational Football Locker Room Speeches. It includes two videos from Georgia Tech: the 2007 games against Notre Dame and Clemson.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Awards arrive infrequently but bring some pleasant attention, and I have been enjoying some of that this week due to the announcement that our Clinic Planning Model Generator has earned an award from the the Maryland Daily Record magazine.

Of course, developing and testing such a software is a team effort, and many students have contributed to the success of the project. And none of it would have been possible without the financial support of our sponsors at the Montgomery County, Maryland, Advanced Practice Center for Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response. The award goes to me, but it is really for all of them.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Commonplace Book

The May 2008 issue of First Things included a column by Alan Jacobs about his writing a commonplace book. Such books first appeared in the sixteenth century as a way for readers to cope with the panic of feeling swamped by information. In a commonplace book, one records notable passages from other works. Commonplace books eventually disappeared, replaced by journals of one's own thoughts.

Jacobs then compares these books to blogs:
It is curious that the history of the weblog, insofar as it can be fully understood, mirrors that of the commonplace book. The term weblog seems to have been coined by a very strange man named Jorn Barger, and for him it is simply a log of interesting stories he discovers on the Web.

(Barger's weblog is Robot Wisdom.)

But blogs are now most often online journals (see, for example, Further In & Higher Up, Mike Warner's interesting record of his journeys around Great Britain, Europe, and the rest of the world).

For those who do keep blogs with links to other web pages, Jacobs concludes with a warning:
The task of adding new lines and sentences and paragraphs to one’s collection can become an ever tempting substitute for reading, marking, learning, and inwardly digesting what’s already there. And wisdom that is not frequently revisited is wisdom wasted.

Book reviews

We were at the beach last week and had beautiful weather while Hurricane Fay was drenching everyone back home in Florida. In addition to other activities, I caught up on reading some back issues of Touchstone and came across the following items of interest:

A review of What’s So Great About Christianity. The review is by Thomas C. Reeves, and the book is by Dinesh D'Souza.

A review of Cormac McCarthy's The Road, a post-apocalyptic novel in which a father and son try to survive and keep alive something like a conscience. The book won the Pulitzer Prize.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mars needs lawyers

A post on the First Things blog brings to our attention an abstract for an article in a journal called Political Theory. The article is about UFOs and sovereignty, and the abstract includes the following sentence:
Drawing on the work of Giorgio Agamben, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida, the puzzle is explained by the functional imperatives of anthropocentric sovereignty, which cannot decide a UFO exception to anthropocentrism while preserving the ability to make such a decision.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


A post on the First Things blog led me to The Art of Manliness blog. Today's article there is about how the "indie" culture is really about consumption of a certain class of goods.

Even more interesting is a post by Cameron Schaefer on how one becomes a man: serving others, being consistent, and being humble.

A more practical post covers how to shine shoes.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Buried in a Pringles can

Fredric Baur, the man who invented the cylindrical Pringles can, died in May. I read today in Industrial Engineering, a magazine published by the Institute of Industrial Engineers, that, after he was cremated, some of his ashes were buried in a Pringles can. (Baur's Wikipedia page has links to short news wire articles about it.)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Wikipedia and a war of words

It is not my favorite magazine, but it is the one we get the most often - the Washington Post Magazine arrives every Sunday. It had the wonderful Jeanne Marie Laskas column Significant Others, which she is no longer writing. It also has the sometimes stupid, sometimes hilarious Gene Weingarten.

Today's issue has an article about the president of Iran that provides some insight into how Wikipedia works. (More precisely, the article is about his controversial Wikipedia entry.) As someone who has contributed a tiny bit to Wikipedia (including some things in the article on Henry Gantt), it was very interesting.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

New Religions

Today's Style Invitational released the winners of its contest to invent and name new religions. Here are my favorites:

Oxymormons: A sect of polygamous monogamists.

Church of the Guiding Light: Adherents believe that no one truly dies; those who expire will become renewed as their evil twins -- after a season or two.

Church of St. Andrew: Followers of a little-known Scottish monk who manifested stigmata in nine places on each hand; its members celebrate these 18 bloody holes by playing golf every Sunday morning.

Confusionism: The belief that death is final. No, just a temporary interruption. Maybe an abstract plane. Or something transcendental. I think.

Geek Orthodox: A sect that worships technology, but only up to the 2003 upgrades.

Jews for Allah: A group even more conflicted than Jews for Jesus.

Lowest Common Denominationalism: The religion that lets you get away with the most stuff without going to Hell.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Listening to your Car

For anyone whose GPS has told them to make a legal U-turn: Yesterday the Washington Post had an article by Joel Garreau about listening to GPS navigation devices.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Maybe it's a Puma

A large feline was sighted on the University of Maryland campus earlier this week. The first reports said it was a cougar. Turns out it is probably a breed of cat called the Savannah, which is extremely large. Here is an excerpt from the email the University sent Friday evening:
The markings and size of the feline do appear consistent with a type of cat called a Savannah Cat. This is a hybrid of a Domestic Short Hair cat and a Serval, which is a larger African feline. Savannahs can grow to be as large as 35 pounds and can be a great deal larger than normal domesticated cats. They have been referred to as the Great Danes of the cat family.

The cat was still on the loose last night.

For some reason I'm reminded of a Smothers Brothers routine about pumas.