A general what’s update:
My 70+ pages worth of end-of-semester papers worked out fairly well. I like them much better than what I wrote in the fall, and they earned me three Honors grades. For Dan Kevles and Ole Molvig, I wrote a paper arguing that historians of science should salvage and utilize as much of Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions as possible, showing along how Kuhn’s ideas could be modified to fit some of the diverse recent work in the history of science. For Naomi Rogers’ Science and Feminism class, I did a research paper based on the letters of recommendation of G. Evelyn Hutchinson, the famous Yale ecologist. It analyzed a wide selection of recommendations in terms in terms of gender and the student-mentor relationship. Hopefully it said something novel about the latter and demonstrated the historical usefulness of scientists’ letters of recommendation. For Beverly Gage’s 20th-century American Conservatism, I wrote a group review of four Intelligent Design-related books: Doubts About Darwin, The Evolution-Creation Struggle, Creationism’s Trojan Horse, and the 3rd edition of Ed Larson’s Trial and Error.
(Incidently, Gage is married to the liberal cartoonist/blogger Tom Tomorrow. Of course, most political cartoonists have a pretty easy job these days, but back before W. was in office, I found This Modern World consistently funny and insightful. Ironically, I’m probably more of a conservative now than I have been in the past.)
Now I’m in a 5-week German for Reading Knowledge class… the class is actually quite enjoyable. Lots of laughing and smiling, everyone in the class is highly competent, and most of the people are interesting. I’m finding German much easier than French.
I played ultimate frisbee twice last week, and will probably play twice weekly for the rest of the summer. On Sunday, I played with Alison Greene and a pair of her friends. We expected more than just the four of us, so we had to make due by recruiting some of the little kids that were playing in the park. This little 7-year-old boy was really enthusiastic (and fortunately, he was on my team). The weather has been great since we got back to New Haven, although it’s too hot for Faith.
Reading: Kepler’s Witch
Watching: 24 – Season 2
Listening: Discover America, twothirtyeight, Bob Dylan
A few years ago, I had a blog. It was one of those emo blogs: honest, confessional, and far too personal. Of course, I learned the same lessons many other young bloggers learn: people read blogs. When personal relationships are the top priority in your life, or at least the only thing worth writing about, intensely personal blogs inevitably lead to trouble. My old blog was not without its rewarding moments: it was worth all the time I spent when I saw a quote from it scrolling across the screensaver of a friend I didn’t know even read it. But it was no coincidence that I stopped blogging shortly after I started dating Faith; it was an outlet for bottled emotions that was no longer necessary. Incidently, it still exists, but I think it’s tough to find unless you know where to look.
This new blog, Ragesoss 2.0, will be an adult blog. Nothing too personal, nothing too offensive, nothing I wouldn’t want to broadcast over the internet.
I’m going to see how long it takes people to stumble upon it.
Speaking of “Stumble Upon,” I’ve been exploring Firefox browser extensions lately and I installed StumbleUpon! a few days ago. StumbleUpon! is a service that sends you to random, highly reviewed websites (based on your interests), so you can find some of the really neat stuff on the web that you never knew existed. After hours of very enjoyable surfing, I came across an SEO (search engine optimization) website, which led to a site that tracks the Zeitgeist of Google searches, which led to the Google blog, which led to Blogger. I had been thinking for a while about starting a blog, and that surf trail reminded me how much I like Google and its philosophy. In particular, I read some articles about how Google reorganized its ranking algorithms in 2003 (the so-called Florida Update–named hurricane style–created mass confusion among professional website optimizers by circumventing some of the standard tricks for achieving the coveted top spots in search results). One writer suggested that Google has encouraged and significantly shaped the massive turn toward blogging in the last several years, and now blogs are extremely important determinates of search rank calculations: an actual victory for the little guy, sticking it to The Man and his army of internet mercenaries who populate the virtual world with useless websites whose sole purpose is banner clicks.
So here I am, with a Blogger blog, doing my part to make the information of the world more useful and user-friendly.