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Stellar Links


Updated: Jan 21, 2014

    We must expect posterity
    to view with some asperity
      the marvels and the wonders
        we're passing on to it;
    but it should change its attitude
    to one of heartfelt gratitude
      when thinking of the blunders
        we didn't quite commit.

	    --Piet Hein (Grooks)

Urban Legends

Millions of "Urban legends" are sent every day. How do you recognize one when it arrives? For example, you get a list of terrible injustices, each one where a criminal sues the victim (and wins!) for an injury acquired in the process of committing the crime. We obviously need tort reform . Or do we? Are we being had? The gold standard resource for getting at the truth is the snopes web site, http://www.snopes.com .

Particle physics

The Particle Data Group of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab provides a great set of links on particle physics. You can find excellent introductory articles, interactive websites with educational games, and the most recent experimental data. There is also a fine site maintained by Fermilab that gives plain english explanations of recent particle theories and experiments performed at Fermilab. Jatila van der Veen at UCSB has an unusual site with educational materials she developed for teaching physics and astronomy.

History of science

Those of you with an interest in the history of scientific and literary thought and accomplishment will be well rewarded by visiting the Nobel e-Museum, http://www.nobel.se/nobel/index.html . In addition to introductory educational resources such as an educational primer on the structure of matter, this site has biographies, presentation speeches, and nobel lectures of every honoree since the inception in 1901!

Pseudoscience

What is pseudoscience? How can you recognize it? What scams are out there? Here is a nice page on pseudoscience that gives a number of good links. Robert Park has written an interesting book, Voodoo science: the road from foolishness to fraud, Oxford Press, 2000, and he recently wrote an article giving a list of the Seven Warning Signs of Bogus Science (original version here).

Skeptic's Dictionary

Assembled by philosopher Robert Carroll, the Skeptic's Dictionary is an informative, well-hyperlinked and well-researched web document on many topics of contemporary interest. Anyone with a femtogram of curiosity will find it easy to get absorbed in the articles.

Cargo Cult Science

Feynman's pithy 1974 Caltech commencement address, also reprinted in "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" (original version here).

Internet Search

Google, of course.

Google ~Guide

Nancy Blachman has made an excellent web tutorial, licensed under Creative Commons, for search and other features offered by Google. It's worth spending a couple of hours going through, and if you want more background and tricks, she has co-authored How to Do Everything with Google with Fritz Schneider and Eric Fredricksen.

Great essays and other fun stuff

A (true) fable for our time

Ron Avitzur and Greg Robbins tell the story of how the graphing calculator came to be included with the Mac in 1994. Two engineers, in the face of gross managerial incompetence, and working in an Apple culture where defying authority was acceptable, refused to give up their dreams and did something amazing.

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Leptonica by Dan Bloomberg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.