Monthly Archives: March 2011

Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones was the author of a large number of wonderfully creative children’s fantasy novels; she died last weekend. It seems impossible to read anything about her that doesn’t implicitly describe her as J. K. Rowling without the fame; … Continue reading


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Pasta with canned tuna

This post ensures that I will never be mistaken for an epicure. This dish is a favorite from my childhood.  D doesn’t like canned tuna, but she’s out of town this week, so I had it for the first time … Continue reading

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Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

Tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, in which nearly 150 garment workers, mostly recent immigrants, were killed. It remains the most deadly industrial accident in New York State history. Most of the deaths can be … Continue reading

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Kale and white bean soup

Ingredients: Several leaves kale 2 large carrots, chopped 1 large onion, chopped 4 cloves garlic, chopped 3 small potatoes A small amount of ham, cubed 1 can cannellini beans 1 can diced tomatoes 1 small lemon Stock and/or water Salt, … Continue reading

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“Ship Fever” by Andrea Barrett

The second in a series of short, shallow book reviews. All eight of these stories focus on science or scientists, especially 18th and 19th century biology: Linnean nomenclature, Mendel, Wallace (but not Darwin!).  As an avid consumer of science writing … Continue reading

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Happy $\pi$ day!

Oddly, given that I spend all my time in a math department, I didn’t see much of anything in the way of celebration today. Go figure. Anyhow, all the digits I remember are 11.001001000011111101….

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What is combinatorics, and why do I love it?

When I tell people that my research area is combinatorics, I am frequently met with a blank look or a friendly shrug. I’ve found it very difficult to develop something appropriate to say in such situations. Often, I resort to … Continue reading

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NY Times fails to call Christie a liar

Consider the following paragraph from this article: A few months later, in November, when the Assembly speaker, Sheila Y. Oliver, a Democrat, and the governor were sparring over pension issues, she said she had requested a meeting with the governor. … Continue reading

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“The Intuitionist” by Colson Whitehead

The first in a series of very short, shallow book reviews. The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead This is the first novel I sat down and read in a long time. (Thanks to my mother for moving me to read some … Continue reading

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Unfortunate opening paragraphs

People in this economically pressed town near Lake Michigan are divided into two camps: Those who think Evan Emory should pay hard for what he did, and those who think he should be let off easy. Michigan Town Is Divided … Continue reading

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