Archive for October, 2006

Never stop asking yourself:

What do you want to be?
lovely lines by Anne Nwokoye

Don’t Mess With Me

black cat

Last I-beam

well, they signed the last I-beam:
and hoisted it.


What to do with butternut squash?

I’d postponed dealing with the butternut squash fresh from the farm. Just the thought of all the possibilites—deterred me till I came upon this post from Dejamo’s Distracted on which is said to originate from where there are 288 recipes using butternut squash out of a total of some 281,476 recipes from all over the world.

Butternut Squash Saute
1 small Butternut squash
1 Tsbp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Cut the butternut squash in half crosswise at the narrowest point. Cut each half in half again lengthwise. Peel each section with a vegetable peeler or a flexible sharp knife. Use a teaspoon to scrape out the seeds and strings. Cut into 1/2″ dice.

Heat large skillet over high heat. Add olive oil. When it smokes, add squash cubes ad toss well. Sprinkle with salt, cinnamon, cumin and pepper. Saute over high heat, tossing frequently, until browned outside and tender but not mushy inside, about 10 minutes.

Taken from a recipe for Black Bean and Butternut Squash Tacos found on

Servings: 4

Wikipedia: “squeaky clean”?

At a conference in Brazil (ISMB) this summer, an acquaintance complained how after noticing that a number of her students had the same error in their homework she tracked it down to Wikipedia. Having found the source of their confusion, she felt it incumbent upon herself to go in and edit the mistake in the Wikipedia entry. As a user of Wikipedia, I never cease to be amazed what a vast trove of information it is, vivid testimonial to our collaborative social insect behavior with over 5 million articles to date.
Wikipedia’s article count has shown rapid growth.
300px-wikipedia_growth.pngThis week, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported an assistant professor, Alexander Halavais, deliberately posted a number of errors in Wikipedia in order to see how long it would take for them to be noticed, hypothesizing they would “languish online for some time”. Remarkably, the erroneous posts were corrected within 3 hours of being posted.

I mentioned this story at dinner, and my brother protested that the entry about him in Wikipedia (!) is INCORRECT, and would I change it? They have his date of birth wrong, and made him a year older. I just tried, and I CAN’T edit the part of the entry which has the misinformation!

Post Script: I checked the entry last night (since I was at my brother’s) and low and behold– the top part got corrected! I wasn’t sure if this was because even though I was unsuccessful at editing it myself I sent some sort of message into the — or if it was a synchronous correction. However my brother noticed that the entry at the bottom was still wrong, at which point I was sufficiently enabled I was able to make the correction myself…

The evolution of beauty

The big idea that won’t die

Being under attack is some kind of coming of age for string theory, according to a former skeptic turned convert in an article in the The Ottawa Citizen. Jim Cline, a string cosmologist, considers string theory to be the most likely framework to explain the world at a deeper level. String theory is based on the idea that the smallest known particles, such as electrons, are not really pointlike, but rather extended bits of “string.”In fact, present-day experiments can’t distinguish them from points. This is awkward for physicists, who judge the validity of a theory by experiment, since at the moment there is no direct evidence to say string theory is correct.

Peter Voit's Book on String Theory

Such criticisms have been brought to the public eye recently in the book Not Even Wrong by mathematician Peter Woit. According to Woit, among the bogus claims are that string theory predicts:

-supersymmetry and extra dimensions and that the LHC will test these predictions
-observable effects in the CMB (Cosmic Microwave Background) and gravitational waves

And finally that:

-string theory makes predictions testable at RHIC
-the anthropic landscape predicts the value of the cosmological constant and will make other predictions

October 2006

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