Well, here I am, having moved over to WordPress from Blogger. Reason? I liked the layouts on WordPress a little better and, besides, change is good! Of course, now I suppose I ought to let people who link to Quantum Moxie know about the move.
Well, the latest issue of The Quantum Times has “hit the newsstands” (or inboxes, as the case may be), and the lead article is from Barry Sanders on a recent conference he organized in Iran. It is a fascinating read. Some equally fascinating photographs can be found at Lorenzo Maccone’s site and Aephraim Steinberg’s site. Unfortunately they are not labeled, but Lorenzo has told me a bit about some of the ones on his site. Many are from Esfahan and some details are given in The Times.
I asked Barry what it was like going to Iran and his answer was surprising. I had expected that visiting Iran would have been a bit like visiting East Berlin during the Cold War. Apparently, it is nothing of the sort. Barry remembers getting into trouble four times in one day once in East Berlin but says that Iran is very relaxed and laid back. Apparently it is even somewhat tolerant of other religions. Barry’s Jewish and openly attended synagogue for the High Holy Days, and some of Lorenzo’s photos are of the Armenian Christian Church in Esfahan.
It makes you realize how stupid politics can be sometimes. You’ve got these guys with bloated egos (or ideological agendas) on both sides, thumping their chests at each other, while the everyday folks just go about their business. The problem is when these blow-hards make life difficult for the rest of us. I mean, I’m not one of these “can’t we all just get along” types, but sometimes I do think the bickering just gets pointless after awhile. Wouldn’t we all be happier if we just left each other alone to do our own things which, in some cases, might mean reaching out and chatting with another culture? Unfortunately, as the world’s population gets larger and larger, the planet gets more and more crowded which ultimately leads to people getting on each others’ nerves more. That’s why I like – at the absolute maximum – small-town living (country living is even better – fewer people to bug you).
Now this is cool: GalaxyZoo. I love participatory science (I was an early user of SETI@Home and have been running LIGO’s version for awhile as well). Every time I do something like this I feel that small tug pulling me back toward cosmology.
While I am a sports fanatic in general (and even used to watch obscure sports late at night on ESPN before they became a media giant), Football is my favorite sport, hands down. So I was excited to find this in the latest newsletter from the APS: Nanobowl I. Essentially, make a video about the physics of football, post it to YouTube, and send an e-mail to the judges. The winner gets $1000 and a nano-trophy. Yes, that is correct: the trophy is a football helmet and field that is so small you need an electron microscope to see it. The trophy is being manufactured by a group at Cornell University. I’ve offered it as an extra credit project to my students and I’m hoping to garner a lot of interest in the contest here at Saint A’s. I should come up with one of my own too, though I suppose it’s geared more toward students (but $1000 would be immeasurably helpful at the moment).