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We interrupt this hiatus in progress

So I took the week off like a lazy bum and totally forgot about two things. 

One, voting in the 3 Quarks Daily Arts and Literature Prize ends at 11:59 tonight (Eastern time).  Unfortunately, 3QD has one of those voting devices that allows people to see the results as they vote, so you can all see that each of my two entries has picked up one vote so far.  This is embarrassing.  Yes, I know the posts weren’t all that good, or all that literary, but one vote?  Help me, my friends, let’s at least get to three.  The voting booth is here.  I know I have very few Sunday readers (largely because I almost never post on Sundays), but what the hell.

Two, and more important, I forgot to post this picture of the Best T-Shirt Ever.  (If you right-click and “view image” you can see a somewhat larger image.)

It was a gift from people at Penn State’s Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos, which I visited on Tuesday, February 23 at the invitation of Hannah Williams (she’s the one on the left).  Why was I visiting the Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos, you ask?  Because Hannah had the great idea of inviting people from around the university who don’t work on gravitation or the cosmos to come in, talk about their work, and share notes with people who do work on gravitation and the cosmos.  I was there to talk about the fallout from Ye Olde Sokale Hoaxe, the legacy of T. S. Kuhn, the difference between brute fact and social fact, and the way that Down syndrome and disability studies reside at the intersection between brute fact and social fact.  It was much fun, and there was much food.  Also, a whole mess of really good questions.  This was only the second time I’ve done a presentation for physicists (the first time was April 1995, at Illinois), but I have to say, these ultra-interdisciplinary get-togethers are very enjoyable.  When else do you get to talk about the perihelion advance of Mercury and the debates over autism in the space of 90 minutes?  (Hmm, it turns out that you can download a Mercury Perihelion Procession of your very own from the Wolfram Demonstrations Project.  I do love the Internets for things like this.)

So when the 90 minutes were up, Hannah presented me with this shirt, saying that the group wanted to see how I react when I am proven wrong.  You’ll recall, of course, that back in January I wrote, “the reason all the T-shirts say ‘RACE FOR THE CURE’ is that ‘RACE FOR THE REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION’ doesn’t fit neatly on one side of the shirt.” As you can see, I am quite wrong about this.  And, as usual, very very happy to be wrong.  Because now I own the Best T-Shirt Ever.  Thanks, Hannah!  And thanks, people from the Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos!  I look forward to meeting you again in the playoffs, when the Institute for the Arts and Humanities faces the Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos in the interdisciplinary-institute quarterfinals.  We’ll bring the cosmopolitanism, and you bring the quantum foam!

And don’t forget, the post that inspired the Best T-Shirt Ever is one of the nominees for that 3QD prize.  For that alone, it deserves three votes, no?  11:59, people.

See you soon.  Until then, keep racing for the reasonable accommodation!

Posted by on 03/07 at 10:01 AM
  1. Voted.  Now Moloch has 2… smile

    Posted by  on  03/07  at  12:01 PM
  2. We’re almost to three!  Thanks, MikeEss.

    Posted by  on  03/07  at  12:12 PM
  3. They’re both at 3 now!

    Posted by  on  03/07  at  12:21 PM
  4. Four for each. We can stop now.

    (By “george” I think we’ve done it!)

    Posted by  on  03/07  at  12:38 PM
  5. Mission accomplished.  Now back to that election to determine America’s Most Dangerous Professor!

    Posted by  on  03/07  at  12:45 PM
  6. Which reminds me: in looking through the Horowitz archives of aught-six I came upon the epic thread in which Gavin M. and Marita the Left-Handed Goalie first met.  As everyone in the Intertubes knows, Gavin and Marita have since married and procreated.  Much happiness all around.

    There is an important lesson here for all of us:  even a wanker like David Horowitz can indirectly bring more joy into the world, if he is properly mediated by a lively comment thread.

    Posted by  on  03/07  at  12:53 PM
  7. I was vote #12. You’re only 185 votes away from the lead! The momentum is yours!

    Posted by Orange  on  03/07  at  01:39 PM
  8. As long as MB plays within himself for the next eleven hours, 18th place is definitely a remote possibility.

    Posted by  on  03/07  at  02:02 PM
  9. Just wanted to point out that I’m single.

    Posted by  on  03/07  at  04:10 PM
  10. oh crap, I was supposed to pester people to vote all week long.


    Posted by  on  03/07  at  04:18 PM
  11. Well, Elliot, you have eight and a half hours to make up for it!  Right now the “cure/ accommodation” post (I think we have to give up on “Time After Time,” alas) has 19 votes, good for 30th place.  Don’t worry about the lead—all we have to do is to make it into the top 20 and we make it into the semifinals, where we can be personally rejected by 3QD editors Abbas Raza, Robin Varghese, Morgan Meis, and Azra Raza.

    Right now the top 20 looks like this:  5 posts over 100 votes, another 8 over 50, another 5 over 30.  The 19th and 20th place posts have 29 and 27 votes.  We’ve just picked up 18 votes in five hours. If we can get another 18, I think we’ll sneak in.  Elliot, can you deliver 18 votes by midnight 11:59?

    Posted by Michael  on  03/07  at  04:32 PM
  12. Also, I suppose it might also be kind of my fault in a way, more or less, for, you know, going on hiatus and everything.

    Posted by Michael  on  03/07  at  04:36 PM
  13. You know this type of “last minute campaign” would be a lot easier on facebook....

    Posted by  on  03/07  at  05:55 PM
  14. What is “facebook”?

    Posted by Michael  on  03/07  at  07:00 PM
  15. Oh, now it’s a contest—six hours to go, tied for 23rd.  Maybe I should join Facebook after all.  Or not!

    Posted by Michael  on  03/07  at  07:03 PM
  16. Have the robocalls started yet?

    hopefully the viral world of facebook come through or not.

    Posted by  on  03/07  at  09:17 PM
  17. So, er, naturally I didn’t forget to vote, but out of curiosity, I returned to the site at 9:55 PM (Eastern), and the box said “Poll closed.” Obviously the last minute Bérubé surge caused someone to panic and pull the plug prematurely.  I’m torn between blaming Muster Mark and Murray Gell-Mann.

    The Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos and Pancakes sounds like it collectively has the right attitude.  It takes me back to my only trip to State College, back in ‘94, when I was looking into alternative physics graduate programs, and the presence of grand gravitars Ashtekar and Smolin made Penn State worth a side trip.  Insert reference to appropriate Robert Frost poem here.

    Posted by  on  03/07  at  11:10 PM
  18. Yep, that poll is closed.  But they said 11:59!  They did!  And Blondie doesn’t even have a song called “9:55”!

    It’s all my fault.  I should have written something more literary, and I should have joined Facebook.  But at least I have the best T-shirt ever.

    Posted by Michael  on  03/07  at  11:26 PM
  19. And congrats on owning the best T-shirt ever. 

    Captcha is further as in furthur, which brings this up at this particular moment in time time time time:
    I am trying to remember if i remember if an acid test party ever ends.  Alas i trust i will find out.  In the mean time, belle hiatus.

    Posted by  on  03/08  at  07:37 AM
  20. This being (as in the verb to be in the plural sense “are” for captcha) to which i am referring.

    Posted by  on  03/08  at  07:41 AM
  21. Hard to believe, but we made it!  Just, just barely ... we’re in 20th place, no doubt having gotten there by a margin of one vote.  Thanks, everyone—now I get a nice tile to go with my T-shirt!  The contest is out of our hands now:  we can turn things over to the 3QD editors and let them choose among the posts that actually, you know, had something to do with arts and literature.

    And I didn’t even have to join Facebook.

    Posted by Michael  on  03/08  at  10:43 AM
  22. That was close. Now next time you need to make sure that the thugs you used during your ML election are back on the payroll and using threats and coercion to ensure victory.


    Posted by  on  03/08  at  12:23 PM
  23. Greetings,

    I just have a quick question for you but couldn’t find an email so had to resort to this.  I am a progressive blogger and the owner of the mahablog.  Please email me back at when you get a chance.  Thanks.


    Posted by  on  03/08  at  04:19 PM
  24. What eliot said—back in the day we’da had you up 10,000 with a few scripts, and cowed the 3QD editors with threats of mockery.  There would have been no (captcha coming) doubt about the outcome.  I date the decline from becoming director of an Institute for Arts and Humanities.  Not just a little Center, no, an INstitute.

    Posted by  on  03/08  at  06:25 PM
  25. Not at all related to your post but I thought you might make light of this:


    And this:


    Posted by  on  03/15  at  05:10 PM





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