All entries by this author

Yale Meets the Union *

Sep 11th, 2003 | Filed by

Student awakened by chanting at 8 a.m. – it’s an outrage!… Read the rest

The Plant Protection Racket

Sep 11th, 2003 | By Thomas R. DeGregori

Inferiority as a Luxury Item

Before the Industrial Revolution, artists and artisans would strive to make a work as perfect as possible. They used the technologies of their time to make as fine a product as their skill and limited technology allowed. Given the long painstaking efforts involved in creation, such items were few in number and available to only a minuscule number of elites. They were the crowning achievement of their time and brought great prestige to those fortunate few who owned them. Renaissance painters used the mathematics of perspective to create their trompe l’oeil (a French term meaning “trick the eye.”) David Hockney’s recent claim that some of the Renaissance artists achieved realism by using a camera obscura … Read the rest

Reburying Remains a Great Idea? *

Sep 10th, 2003 | Filed by

Forget rights and better living condtions, here are some bones.… Read the rest

Martha Nussbaum on Genocide in Gujarat *

Sep 10th, 2003 | Filed by

Myth-making and falsification of history play a large part in Hindu nationalism and its terrors.… Read the rest

Happy Birthday to Us

Sep 9th, 2003 8:50 pm | By

Well, just think – Butterflies and Wheels is a year old. Yes, it’s our birthday. Depending on when you start counting – if it’s from the first day there was anything at all on the site, then the birthday was a few days ago. But I’ve decided to count from the first articles we posted in News, and that was September 10. Three hours from now in London where one leg (or wing) of BandW is, and eleven hours from now in Seattle, where the other leg is. Close enough.

It’s funny – we expected a good deal of hostility and criticism. In fact one of us was looking forward to it, and has been disappointed that we’ve had so … Read the rest

Our Birthday *

Sep 9th, 2003 | Filed by

It’s been a year now.… Read the rest

Embarrassing Mistake in ‘Ecstasy’ Research *

Sep 9th, 2003 | Filed by

Wrong drug given, study retracted from journal Science.… Read the rest

‘Autistic’ Economics? *

Sep 9th, 2003 | Filed by

Insurgents say mathematical modelling excludes too much reality from economics.… Read the rest

Advanced Math? Wozzat? *

Sep 9th, 2003 | Filed by

Helping the bottom of the class is good, but so is fostering talent.… Read the rest

Did Habermas and Suhrkamp Skim? *

Sep 9th, 2003 | Filed by

If not, why did they change their minds about Ted Honderich’s book?… Read the rest

Fair and Unbalanced

Sep 8th, 2003 10:40 pm | By

There is an interesting post and discussion on Crooked Timber today, on the tension between trying to work out a reasoned position on issues like global warming, and the political commitments of some (or all?) of the sources one relies on to make such judgements. It grabbed my attention because of course that tension is what B and W is all about. Also because I bump against it (can one bump against a tension? never mind, two idioms collide) all the time in going about my daily task of finding news and other links. ‘Hmm, interesting article, makes some good points, but do I really want to link to the Washington Times/Reason/the Telegraph?’ Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Well…actually … Read the rest

Putting the Boot In *

Sep 8th, 2003 | Filed by

Clive James ponders Twain on Cooper, Macdonald on Cozzens, and finds it good.… Read the rest

Susan Greenfield Interview *

Sep 8th, 2003 | Filed by

Is there a tension between popularisation (and celebrity) and serious research?… Read the rest

Radical Islam is Not Modern but Modernist *

Sep 8th, 2003 | Filed by

Postmodernists despise facts as ‘positivist’ but they are a vital weapon, Terry Eagleton says.… Read the rest

Postmodernists in the Bush Administration *

Sep 8th, 2003 | Filed by

Truth is a construct, therefore who knows, maybe tax cuts for the rich will create jobs.… Read the rest

A Scientist in Arts Faculty Territory *

Sep 8th, 2003 | Filed by

Where opinion is sacred while facts have a long leash.… Read the rest

Orthorexia Nervosa? *

Sep 8th, 2003 | Filed by

‘Cooking food is not natural.’ Neither is living in a house or reading books. So?… Read the rest

Psychiatry No Better Than Astrology? *

Sep 8th, 2003 | Filed by

Richard Bentall differs from Laing because he is a scientist.… Read the rest

Doubt is Possible

Sep 7th, 2003 8:22 pm | By

This is an interesting little case study in the use and abuse of evidence, investigative techniques, language and rhetoric, inference and conclusion. One of those (all too familiar) occasions when attention-seeking and self-aggrandizement dress themselves up in scientific (or pseudo-scientific) vocabulary and give the whole enterprise a bad name.

Dominique Labbé, a specialist in what is known as lexical statistics, claims that he has solved a “fascinating scientific enigma” by determining that all of Molière’s masterpieces…were in fact the work of Pierre Corneille…”There is such a powerful convergence of clues that no doubt is possible,” Mr. Labbé said. The centerpiece of his supposed discovery is that the vocabularies used in the greatest plays of Molière and two comedies of Corneille

Read the rest

The Quiche Party *

Sep 7th, 2003 | Filed by

When political commitments get confused with consumer choices, rhetoric is in play.… Read the rest