By Sean Carroll | April 28, 2008 1:13 pm

I’m going to take a vacation from blogging for a little while. Partly a mental-health break, partly a need to get other stuff done. But there are many things I would love to blog about! So here is a list of recent stuff I’ve saved — you can fill in for yourself all the illuminating and entertaining words that would undoubtedly accompany a full-blown discussion.

  • Algae! The Editors chide me for carelessly conflating ethanol and biofuels. Fair enough. If algae are a clean and efficient way to capture and store energy from the Sun, I’d be all for it.
  • Meanwhile, we continue to heavily subsidize corn for ethanol, and as a result people are dying.
  • Don’t like your government? Take to sea and create your own!
  • At some point I will say more about Ben Rosen’s great blog, and especially Harold Rosen’s great entry for the Google Lunar X-Prize, about which Deborah Castleman blogs here. Private ingenuity will be crucial to the future of human spaceflight, especially when NASA can’t remember how to replicate its heat shields from the 1960’s.
  • I was going to score some non-partisanship points by criticizing Barack Obama for peddling nonsense about autism and vaccinations, just as John McCain does. (Hint: there is no connection!) Then I noticed that Hillary Clinton does the same thing, sadly. And, worse, Clinton has bought into John McCain’s panderiffic notion of declaring a summer holiday on gas taxes — at least Obama has come out squarely against that. (Encouragement to burn more fossil fuels is probably not sound policy.)
  • You might also be interested in Michael Berube’s rundown of the candidates stances on disability issues. McCain’s, you’ll be unsurprised to hear, consists of exhortations along the lines of “Hey, disabled folks! Suck it up!”
  • John McCain doesn’t want you to forget that Barack Obama is the preferred candidate of Hamas. He’s also the preferred candidate of nearly everyone outside the U.S., but whatever.
  • At The Corner, Michael Novak continues Jonah Goldberg’s project of portraying Fascism as left-wing. His evidence is that a friend of Albert Camus’s joined the Nazi Party because everything in the world had lost its meaning. Novak seems to miss the fact that this anecdote proves the opposite of his point — Camus’s friend became a Nazi because the Nazis provided “a meaning in the destiny of our nation,” not because they denied the existence of objective meaning. But keep trying!
  • Gerard ‘t Hooft proposes a locally finite model for gravity. A related discussion of whether the universe is continuous or discrete appears in an article from FQXi, which is annoyingly only available in pdf. I actually think the universe really is continuous, not discrete, for reasons that might become clear if I can just get this paper finished.
  • Tomorrow, April 29, is Duke Ellington‘s birthday. He was the master.

    And here is the orchestra, with Paul Gonsalves on tenor.

  • Oops, almost forgot this one: Cosmo Girl! suggests you should design your own religion, just like you design your favorite Starbucks coffee beverage. (Simile theirs.)

Be excellent to each other.


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Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

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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