Navel-Gazing Links

By Sean Carroll | November 13, 2006 12:14 pm

Following in JoAnne’s footsteps, I’ve been in the midst of arguably my most exhausting bout of insane traveling ever — nine different stops over the course of less than a month, two of which involved two talks in one day! And one of which was at my old Philadelphia stomping grounds, where the people of the great-but-occasionally-confused state of Pennsylvania had recently rid themselves of the creepy menace that is Rick Santorum. (Actually, Michael, it’s a great-but-occasionally-confused commonwealth, but you’re a Francophone carpetbagger so that’s okay.) And where I was greeted, upon driving out of the airport, by a lovely billboard proclaiming Santorum is Good for Senate (sic). With snappy slogans like that one, perched precariously at the grammatical cutting edge, I can’t imagine how he lost.

I’m looking forward to settling back down to bucolic LA and churning out the high-quality blogging that CV readers expect. In the meantime, a couple of links distinguished by the fact that they link to us!

We should just start a separate blog, and have every post on each consist of links to the other site. Just for balance, one link that doesn’t link to us:

  • A great explanation of the Beyond Einstein program by Charles Daney at Science and Reason (via Steinn). We complain all the time about government agencies cutting funding for basic science, but here we’re really seeing a wholesale gutting of NASA astrophysics in action.
  • Bojo

    All this blog seems to talk about anymore is the travel habits of its authors (and pardon me if I don’t think I’m getting my tax dollars worth). I’m taking you out of my RSS reader.

  • Sean

    You are hereby pardoned, Bojo. We will attempt to struggle along without your imperfectly-loyal readership.

    Seriously, we love having readers, but some seem to think that our paychecks and/or feelings of self-worth are tied to the number of blog hits we get, and that their huffy exits are mortally wounding. Blogging is fun, but sometimes the day job has to take priority.

  • Amara

    Queen’s Brian May apparently has a thesis about zodiacal dust. I would love to have a look at it, if anyone knows where it can be found.

  • Allyson

    You would totally cry if I flounced off.

    Not really here. I swear I’m writing. Help?

  • Moshe

    There is a small risk that all the travel talk will enhance the “80 hours a week” myth. I think this amount of travel is not typical, nor is it necessary to becoming or functioning as a professional physicist. In fact some of the most successful physicists hardly travel at all.

  • Sam Gralla


    Thanks for the link about the beyond einstein program assessment committee.


  • Amara

    Upon searching (Queen’s) Brian May’s web site, I’m not sure if he has completed his zody cloud thesis, but from his words it seems to be close. What a wonderful and unexpected boost he is providing for public education about cosmic dust and astronomy!

  • Dr. Free-Ride

    I’m totally jealous! The only rock stars who ever link me are you lot. (Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate it.)

  • Phil Plait, aka The Bad Astronomer

    I have been posting more politically lately, and some readers are gravely offended by this. Some have left dramatically, which I find amusing. I like to ask people, how much did you pay to read my blog again? :-)

  • Shantanu

    Sean, did you see my question DI Her. in the thread “out-einsteining einstein”?
    Could you tell us what is the latest consensus on this and a few similar main-sequence binary
    stars, whose apisidal motion did not agree with GR.
    Thanks a lot.

  • Sean

    Okay, I admit, if Allyson flounced off we would legitimately be crushed.

    Shantanu, sorry I didn’t answer. I don’t think that anything dramatic has happened with the DI Her story — it still doesn’t fit GR, although it’s in a weak-field regime where Solar-System tests rule out any respectable alternative. Most likely, there is a third body in the system.

  • Julianne

    I second Moshe’s point. I used to travel extensively (to the point where one year I received christmas cookies from American Airlines). However, since having kids, I’ve cut back to the bare minimum and replaced some travel with videoconferencing, and yet I still seem to be having a flourishing career. I’m not serving on as many big panels as I could, but I don’t think I’m losing much by pushing that off for a decade.

    So, while travelling for work is frequently fun, and probably is necessary at the early stages of one’s career, it’s not essential to fly 100K/yr indefinitely.

  • Malte

    These days there are, as I understand, some very good reasons for flying as little as possible. Like ensuring the future of ground-based optical astronomy [Gerry Gilmore cited by BBC last year]…

  • Piotr Florek


    I found at NASA website information about media conference you will participate in on Thursday. Text of this press release says that you guys will “announce the discovery that dark energy has been an ever-present constituent of space for most of the universe’s history”. And because ApJ will publish “New Hubble Space Telescope Discoveries of Type Ia Supernovae at z > 1: Narrowing Constraints on the Early Behavior of Dark Energy” soon, I guess Riess et al discovered that acceleration didn’t start around z=1, but earlier?

  • spyder

    Sad i am to read that Bojo uses the faux taxpayer lament to criticize the ever-important need for academics to meet up regularly face-to-face. The overall public contribution to universities and colleges (and i am just referring to public institutions) is decreasing at alarming rates. Hovering as it is now around 20% and dropping, the funds that provide travel for conferences, meetings, symposia are nearly all derived from private sources. If the complaint is that such travel can be written off as deductions and/or exemptions for taxation, then the complaint is even more inappropriate. US corporations write off billions upon billions of dollars for these sorts of activities, but it seems that only the academics are guilty of depriving the citizens of some measure of obedience.

  • Pingback: Galactic Interactions » Blog Archive » Beyond Einstein ; Dark Energy & Others ; The Great NASA Cliff()


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About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] .


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