Some Reading

By Mark Trodden | January 14, 2009 2:37 pm

I’ve spent the last week or so making my big move; dealing with movers and our new apartment, getting the inevitable administrative details of a new department dealt with, and trying to make sure my graduate students are settled. Consequently, I haven’t been posting. I have, however, been reading here and there, and thought that, in lieu of a full post, I’d drop in some links to some of the things that caught my eye:

In celebration of Darwin’s bicentennial, The Guardian is publishing abridged extracts from the first edition of “On the Origin of Species”

Writing in Salon, Nancy Goldstein let’s Obama have it for thinking that inviting Gene Robinson to play a role in the inauguration makes up for the insult of having Rick Warren there. One prominent gay bishop doesn’t cancel out choosing a bigot.

In February, Comet Lulin will pass close enough to Earth to be visible with the naked eye.

The Canadian Light Source synchrotron is getting a Sci-Fi writer in residence.

The English take on Galileo

There’s also apparently something big going on in Washington next week, and while it isn’t clear what it’ll mean for the role of science, at least the initial quotes are good.

Well, I’m off to work on a talk I’m giving in Aspen, at a conference I’ll tell you about soon.

  • Matt

    May I just take issue with the idea that being opposed to gay marriage equates with bigotry? It certainly can, mind you, and I do think it generally equates with intellectual laziness. But living in the bible belt, I know a lot of good people, people with close gay friends, who are very much not bigots but who still oppose gay marriage. They’re people who believe in the literal truth of the bible, a belief which they feel boxes them in to being opposed to gay marriage. But as often as not, I get the sense many would rather not be against it, if the bible avoided any discussion of homosexuality.

    To be clear, I disagree with them profoundly. But I think it’s a little too easy dismiss our opponents as bigots.

  • ollie

    Actually, I am wondering “why have an invocation at all”?

    It would be nice to see us move away from this superstition but I am not holding my breath.

  • Jim

    I just like to stop receiving political stuff in my “science” feeds.

  • bob

    Why go to the Guardian’s abridged extracts from the Origin when you can get the full text of all editions, plus everything else Darwin published, for free at

  • Mark

    Go read our “about” page Jim.

  • Mark

    I take your point Matt, but, although I think one could make a strong argument for it, in the post I didn’t actually claim that being against gay marriage makes one a bigot. I claimed that Rick Warren is a bigot.

  • Matt

    Fair enough, Mark. And the link trail from your post seems to support that assertion more than I’d realized.

  • Tod Lauer


    Unfortunately, it looks like Comet Lulin is really going to be way too faint to be seen without binoculars or a small telescope, unless it flairs up unexpectedly…

  • Peter Coles


    I’m such a dozy pillock I hadn’t even picked up on the fact you had moved! I’ve only been to Philadelphia once, but loved it.

    Did you know that, in this time of financial crisis, Hollywood is saving money by requiring that all remakes involve several films rolled into one? An example of this is that they are now making a new combination of Evita , Von Ryan’s Express and Philadelphia . The new film is going to be called Von Ryvita and Cheese.


  • Mark

    Thanks for the update Tod.

  • Mark

    It’s a fun city Peter – come and visit! It’s close enough to Christmas that I’ll assume you got that joke out of a cracker.

  • Jeff

    Sorry Matt, opposing gay marriage does equate with bigotry. If one says “I don’t want MY church to ordain gay marriage,” well, that’s parochial prerogative. But if one says, “I don’t want ANY church to ordain gay marriage,” that’s bigotry. Do your Bible-literalist friends really think it’s God’s will to obstruct health benefits and hospital visitations?


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

About Mark Trodden

Mark Trodden holds the Fay R. and Eugene L. Langberg Endowed Chair in Physics and is co-director of the Center for Particle Cosmology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a theoretical physicist working on particle physics and gravity— in particular on the roles they play in the evolution and structure of the universe. When asked for a short phrase to describe his research area, he says he is a particle cosmologist.


See More

Collapse bottom bar