Saturday, September 10, 2011

Weekend Links

1. How to identify people by place names? For example, Indian, Annapolitan, etc.

2. The Great Bank Robbery by Taleb and Spitznagel:

3. Financial Complexity at the Aleph Blog:

4. Debate between Paul Krugman and Steve Landsburg.

5. Mathematics and it effect on communications:

6. Did Einstein discover E=mc2?

7. Mankiw's 10 principles of Economics:

8. Questions and Answers at The Chicago Manual of Style Online:

9. On popularity of data analysis software.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

The style sheet Hemingway appreciated

Hemingway told a reporter in 1940,"...the best rules I ever learned for business of writing." (about the style sheet of the Kansas City Star)

Few of those rules:

  • Use short sentences.
  • Use short first paragraphs.
  • Eliminate every superfluous word
  • Be careful of the word “also.”
  • Be careful of the word “only.”

Hat tip:

Hemingway's page at Kansas City Star:

Style Sheet:


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Final journey: Guiding to the Burrow

From :
( You may want to read first before watching ) known for its unusual reproductive behavior, which involves stinging a cockroach and using it as a host for its larvae...

...A 2003 study[2] using radioactive labeling demonstrated that the wasp stings precisely into specific ganglia of the roach. It delivers an initial sting to a thoracic ganglion and injects venom to mildly and reversibly paralyze the front legs of its victim. This facilitates the second venomous sting at a carefully chosen spot in the roach's head ganglia (brain), in the section that controls the escape reflex...

...The wasp proceeds to chew off half of each of the roach's antennae.[1] Researchers believe that the wasp chews off the antenna to replenish fluids or possibly to regulate the amount of venom because too much could kill and too little would let the victim recover before the larva has grown. The wasp, which is too small to carry the roach, then leads the victim to the wasp's burrow, by pulling one of the roach's antennae in a manner similar to a leash. Once they reach the burrow, the wasp lays a white egg, about 2 mm long, on the roach's abdomen. It then exits and proceeds to fill in the burrow entrance with pebbles, more to keep other predators out than to keep the roach in...

(Hat tip to DR)


Thursday, July 07, 2011

Writing Tips from Maria Gardiner & Hugh Kearns

From the article of Maria Gardiner & Hugh Kearns in Nature:

  1. Write before you feel ready — because you might never feel ready. It's amazing how people magically feel ready when there is an imminent deadline.
  2. Don't wait to have a clear picture of the paper. As you start putting down your ideas, you may actually clarify them.
  3. Snack write — work in short, frequent bursts instead of waiting to sit down for big blocks of time. Those blocks hardly ever come, and when they do, they don't usually get used very productively.
  4. Set specific times in your schedule for writing — don't leave it to chance, because chances are it won't happen.
  5. Writing means putting new words on the page or substantially rewriting old words. It does not mean editing, reading, referencing or formatting — and it definitely does not mean composing e-mails.
  6. If you refrain from writing because you worry that what you write won't be good enough, try noting the adage that to write well, you first have to write.
  7. To really increase the quality and quantity of your writing, get feedback from mentors and colleagues — it can be painful, but it works.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

US Senate Report on Financial Crisis

The United States Senate released a report yesterday titled, "Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collapse". According to The New York Times, the report has a description about business practices and reckless activities among firms, banks, federal regulators that has a bearing on the crisis.

The pdf file of the 650-page report can be downloaded from this link at FT:

NYT also has an interactive page for the report.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Modern Science Writings

In the book "The Oxford book of modern science writing", edited by Richard Dawkins, the selections are from the following books (some are articles or just poems). You may want to see how many of them you can finish in 2011 in its original glory. Please comment if there are any typos and errors in the compilation.


Alan Turing:::::Computing machinery and intelligence

Albert Einstein:::::Ideas and opinions

Alister Hardy:::::The open sea

Arthur Eddington:::::The expanding universe

Barbara & George Gamow:::::Said Ryle to Hoyle

Brian Greene:::::The elegant universe

C P Snow:::::Foreword to Hardy's Apology

Carl Sagan:::::The demon-haunted world

Carl Sagan:::::Pale blue dot

Claude E Shannon & Warren Weaver:::::The mathematical theory of communication

Colin Blakemore:::::The mind machine

D'Arcy Thompson:::::On growth and form

Daniel Dennett:::::Darwin's dangerous idea

Daniel Dennett:::::Consciousness explained

David Deutsch:::::The fabric of reality

David Lack:::::The life of the robin

Donald C Johanson & Maitland A Edey:::::Lucy-Beginnings of humankind

Douglas Hofstadter:::::Godel, Escher, Bach-The eternal golden braid

Edward O. Wilson:::::The diversity of life

Ernst Mayr:::::The growth of biological thought

Erwin Schrodinger:::::What is life?

Francis Crick:::::Life itself

Francis Crick:::::What mad pursuit

Fred Hoyle:::::Man in the universe

Freeman Dyson:::::Disturbing the universe

G C Williams:::::Adaptation and natural selection

G G Simpson:::::The meaning of evolution

G H Hardy:::::A mathematician's apology

Garrett Hardin:::::The tragedy of the commons

George Gamow:::::Mr. Tompkins

George Gaylord Simpson:::::The meaning of evolution

Helena Cronin:::::The ant and the peacock

Ian Stewart:::::The miraculous jar

J A Wheeler & Kenneth Ford:::::Geons, black holes and quantum foam

J B S Haldane:::::On being the right size

J B S Haldane:::::Cancer's a funny thing

J Robert Oppenheimer:::::War and the nations

Jacob Bronowski:::::The identity of man

James Jeans:::::The mysterious universe

James Watson:::::Avoid boring people

Jared Diamond:::::The rise and fall of the third chimpanzee

John Maynard Smith:::::The importance of the nervous system in the evolution of animal flight

John Tyleer Bonner:::::Life cycles

Jonathan Kingdon:::::Self-made man

Julian Huxley:::::Essays of a biologist

Lancelot Hogden:::::Mathematics for the million

Lee Smolin:::::The life of the cosmos

Lewis Thomas:::::Seven wonders

Lewis Wolpert:::::The unnatural nature of science

Loren Eiseley:::::The immense journey

Mark Ridley:::::The explanation of organic diversity

Martin Gardner:::::The fantastic combinations of John Conway's new solitaire game 'Life'

Martin Rees:::::Just six numbers

Matt Ridley:::::Genome

Max F Perutz:::::A passion for crystals

Nicholas Humphrey:::::One self - a meditation on the unity of consciousness

Niko Tinbergen:::::Curious Naturalists

Oliver Sacks:::::Uncle Tungsten

Paul Davies:::::The goldilocks enigma

Per Bak:::::How nature works

Peter Atkins:::::Creation revisited

Peter Medawar:::::Science and literature

Peter Medawar:::::Darwin's illness

Peter Medawar:::::The phenomenon of mind

Primo Levi:::::The periodic table

R A Fisher:::::The genetical theory of natural selection

Rachel Carson:::::The sea around us

Richard Feynman:::::The character of physical law

Richard Fortey:::::Trilobite!

Richard Fortey:::::Life - an unauthorized biography

Richard Gregory:::::Mirrors in mind

Richard Leakey & Roger Lewin:::::Origins reconsidered

Robert Trivers:::::Social Evolution

Roger Penrose:::::The emperor's new mind

Russell Stannard:::::The time and space of uncle Albert

S Chandrasekhar:::::Truth and beauty

Stephan Hawking:::::A brief history of time

Stephan Jay Gould:::::Hen's teeth and horse's toes

Steve Jones:::::The language of the genes

Steven Pinker:::::The language instinct

Steven Pinker:::::How the mind works

Steven Weinberg:::::Dreams of a final theory

Sydney Brenner:::::Theortical biology in the third millennium

Theodosius Dobzhansky:::::Mankind evolving

W D Hamilton:::::Geometry for the selfish herd

W D Hamilton:::::Narrow roads of geneland