Hello again — normal service is now resumed. Obviously having been away I have missed out on lots of interesting stuff, but I did see a few items that could be included in this week's links.
- The big astronomy event of last week was of course the transit of Venus. I entirely missed seeing it, mostly because I was lying in a tent listening to the rain at the time, but the wonderful thing about the modern world is that you need never really miss an event. So if like me you didn't see the real thing and don't think you'll be around in 2117, have a look at NASA's time-lapse HD video of it:
- There are also many great photographs of the event all over the internet. One of the nicest ones I saw was actually not of this transit but of the previous one, in 2004, taken by David Cortner.
- Sean Carroll: Does This Ontological Commitment Make Me Look Fat? Nice title, worthwhile discussion about objections to multiverse ideas.
- In my opinon, BBC Radio 4 is one of the best things about the UK. Luckily, you can also listen to it from outside the UK! Last week Kamin Mohammadi gave a very interesting personal talk about the social lives of young people in Iran, as part of the Four Thought series. Her main thesis was that life under an authoritarian regime is more creative — but even if you don't agree with that, you should listen to her simply for the stories of how young Iranians use rides in shared taxis to share some physical intimacy, or use mobile phones with Bluetooth technology to chat under their parents' noses! (Incidentally, if you download the podcast version of Four Thought from here, you can also hear the questions the audience ask after the talks, which isn't included in the first link.)
- Simon Wren-Lewis: The Euro: an alternative moral tale
- Francine Prose: Getting Them Dead. On the Obama administration's tactics of assassination of terrorist suspects (and the use of the English language).
- Three Englishmen Saved from Boiling Pot by Cannibal Chief, Who Was Friend At Oxford