I talk about things I find interesting. I find a lot of things interesting…

The Importance of Occasional Rightness

by Ken Arnold on Sat 12 October 2013

This article shows Peter Higgs to be a true scientist. He makes sure everyone gets their due credit, he is modest. But his last quote encapsulates a lot of what science is: It’s very nice to be right sometimes It is, isn’t it? This is what science is: Being right sometimes. Not always. New science […]


by Ken Arnold on Wed 24 July 2013

I have always been confused by sexist geeks. Guy geeks have a hard enough time from people who harass them. Why would they then harass the girl gees in turn? Seriously, leaving aside the whole question of who is more likely to date a guy geek than a girl geek, just the whole “Sticking together” […]

Monday Quote

by Ken Arnold on Mon 22 April 2013

The government [is] extremely fond of amassing great quantities of statistics. These are raised to the n-th degree, the cube roots are extracted, and the results are arranged into elaborate and impressive displays. What must be kept ever in mind, however, is that in every case, the figures are first put down by a village watchman, and he puts down […]

Friday Quote

by Ken Arnold on Fri 29 March 2013

Our nomination for All-Time Champion and Protector of Youthful Morals goes to Representative Clare E. Hoffman of Michigan. During an impassioned House debate over a proposed bill to “expand oyster and clam research,” a sharp-eared informant transcribed the following exchange between our hero and Rep. John D. Dingell, also of Michigan. DINGELL: There are places in the world at […]

Monday Quote

by Ken Arnold on Mon 18 March 2013

… But if we laugh with derision, we will never understand.  Human intellectual capacity has not altered for thousands of years so far as we can tell. If intelligent people invested intense energy in issues that now seem foolish to us, then the failure lies in our understanding of their world, not in their distorted perceptions. Even the standard example of […]

Symbol for an asteroid‽

by Ken Arnold on Mon 25 February 2013

In 1973, my father had an asteroid named after him: 2143 jimarnold. I mean for real, not in one of those pay-to-get-entered shyster catalogs. We recently came across the wikipedia page on astronomical symbols, and noticed that about two dozen asteroids have their own symbols. And we thought, well, why not 2143 jimarnold? It turns out that […]

Book idea: History of knowledge transfer

by Ken Arnold on Wed 20 February 2013

This thing with Indian and Arabic math/astro makes me think it would be interest to read (write?) a book following that information flow. Generally speaking, we in the west have historically thought of science as starting in Classical Greece, with information from previous civilization’s math/astro (e.g., from Babylonian civilization), then after some Roman engineering stuff, […]

Indian mathematics: Aryabhata

by Ken Arnold on Wed 20 February 2013

Today’s google doodle is on Copernicus, who is credited with first proposing that the Earth moves around the Sun. Someone commenting on this claimed that Aryabhata had come up with the idea long before in India. I know that India had advanced math and astronomy for its time, and was the place where many advances were […]