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Miscellaneous thoughts on politics, people, math, science and other cool (if sometimes frustrating) stuff from somewhere near my favorite coffee shop.
September 1st, 2012
in Corvallis

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June 19th, 2017

I blame my grandmothers!

Coconut trees cover the Kerala landscape, like the Douglas Fir here in Oregon.

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June 18th, 2017

The following is a slightly modified post from three years ago**********************It is one of my favorite movies ever.  It is not only because of the fantastic movie it is, or for how uniquely the movie depicted humans and aliens communicating with each other,

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June 17th, 2017

As I pulled into the parking spot, I noticed her.About thirty years old.  She was in the driver seat, with nobody else in her car.  The left hand held the smartphone to her ear, and the right hand was gesticulating, a lot.And then I saw her face.She was crying.She th

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June 16th, 2017

Wandering with questions, and not caring for the answer

As a graduate student, I was in heaven in the libraries.  I had never seen so many books, magazines, and newspapers in my life in the old country.  And now I had a much bigger problem than ever before: H

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June 15th, 2017

For the most part, I go about the world as if I am an eighty-year old, grumbling about everybody, and complaining that the world has gone to dogs.  Field Marshal Grouch I am!But then, I also behave like a eight-year old when I crack awful puns--and laugh at my jokes even before anybody else has had the time

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June 14th, 2017

One of my big problems is this: I can't figure out how to shut the thinking off.  Even worse, because I think about things a lot, I am always shocked that most people don't think.  So much so that I cannot even imagine what not-thinking means!I recall that when I was in high school, I read somewhere th

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June 13th, 2017

Over the years, I have read plenty of trashy, potboiler, fiction.  I have also read a number of serious works of literature. The past few summers even included syllabi that I carefully constructed (FYI: The 2016, and

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June 12th, 2017

Soon it will be the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere.  But then, every day has seemed long like the longest day ever since the disastrous November election. The president campaigned on various hateful themes, including putting an end to Muslim refugees and to undocumented immigrants. Those

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June 11th, 2017

The crisis of scientific authority

When I was a kid, and even into my teenage years, the larger ethos was one of unquestioning acceptance of scientific expertise and authority.  Even back then, jokes were in plenty about accountants fudging numbers or lawyers enabling cheaters. But, scientists and science were nothing to be joked about.What

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June 10th, 2017

Way back in November 2014, well before trump even announced his candidacy, I blogged about a Cornell professor's research on "confident idiots":What’s curious is that, in many cases, incompetence

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June 9th, 2017

We can't rewind, we've gone too far

It has been a few days since the president theatrically announced that he is pulling the United States out of the Paris agreement on climate change.  I cannot even begin to understand his (ill)logic!I am increasingly reminded of my younger days in the old country, when politicians would simply lie through t

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June 8th, 2017

A couple of days ago, I read this short story in the New Yorker.   It felt so real.  I could easily picture in my mind the characters portrayed there, and their circumstances and emotions.I then rea

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