Meditations on the Politics of Limited Knowledge

Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

What’s Deviated? Who Nose?

In Current Events, Science on August 9, 2010 at 4:40 am

On Thursday I had surgery on my nasal passages and sinuses. My otorhinolaryngologist went in to undeviate my septum, to shrink the nasal lining on either side that when inflamed causes my chronic congestion and to venture into one of my sinuses to remove a polyp and/or other unwelcome growth. It seemed to go well and my recovery is going smoothly. In any case, it is an excuse for a blog post…

This is my brain on x-rays

In preparation for the surgery I had a CT Scan done. Out of the deal I got a CD with some 400 digital images revealing cross sections of the interior of my head. Pretty wild. See more below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »

How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic?

In Current Events, Epistemology & Theory of Knowledge, Science on June 25, 2010 at 3:20 pm

So I’m sitting at dinner and my host decides to spark conversation with a blanket denial of global warming. Needless to say, this is not a conversation that I am used to having. Then again, it is not every evening that I am sitting across the table from an extremely wealthy, elderly, intelligent, conservative libertarian bachelor with a flair for provocation and not-entirely-pleasant self-confidence. Maybe he was worked up from our squash games at the Union Club – the second-oldest private club in the United States – where he had to buy me a set of “whites” to wear before I could go on the squash court (my plebeian pink polo was not up to code). This fellow is an interesting character: heir to wealthy Southern Jewish investment bankers whose fortune stretches back to share cropping and Reconstruction, practicing lawyer whose clients have included post-Soviet oligopolies, and confidant of conservative power players and GOP leadership. His worldview rationalizes his social status: he unapologetically parks his beliefs at his own station. Read the rest of this entry »

Murmurs about religious wingnuttery

In Current Events, Politics, Religion, Science on August 31, 2009 at 2:56 pm

This blog will routinely draw attention to – and of course comment upon and connect to a larger project – contemporary conflicts in American politics in which religion/religious belief complicates, distorts or otherwise influences the public sphere. This week: anti-Obama Christian terrorists; Missouri loves company… as long as you’re not Charles Darwin…

Wingnut threats against – excuse me, prayers for divine decapitation of – Obama. You’ve seen the gun-toting freedom fighters showing up at Obama events in recent days. There are plenty of issues to unpack here, gun control, libertarian extremism, etc. But we need to consider the role that religion plays and should play (what deference, constitutional projection, etc) when these whack-jobs say things like “I don’t care how God does it” when the “it” is the immanent death of our constitutionally legitimate, democratically elected, stand-up citizen-leader we call President Barack Obama. Read the rest of this entry »

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