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Sunday, March 07, 2010

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 Michael on 03/07 at 10:01 AM
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