I haven’t written here since late January, which not coincidentally was early in the Spring semester. Let’s just say it was… eventful. Mostly in an administrative way, which is neither a good way, nor an interesting way.

Not that plenty interesting hasn’t happened. I had a great visit to Aachen for the conference Dark Matter & Modified Gravity. Lots of emphasis on the philosophy of science, as well as history and sociology. Almost enough to make me think there is hope for the future. Almost. From there I visited CP3 in Odense where I gave both a science talk and a public talk at the Anarkist beer & food lab. It was awesome – spoke to a packed house in a place that was clearly used as a venue for rock concerts most of the time. People actually came out on a crappy night in February and paid a cover to hear about science!

I’d love to simply write my Aachen talk here, or the public Odense talk, and I should, but – writing takes a lot longer than talking. I’m continually amazed at how inefficient human communication is. Writing is painfully slow, and while I go to great lengths to write clearly and compellingly, I don’t always succeed. Even when I do, reading comprehension does not seem to be on an upward trajectory in the internet age. I routinely get accused of ignoring this or that topic by scientists too lazy to do a literature search wherein they would find I had written a paper on that. This has gotten so bad that it is currently a fad to describe as natural a phenomenon I explicitly showed over 20 years ago was the opposite of natural in LCDM. Faith in dark matter overpowers reason.

So many stories to tell, so little time to tell them. Some are positive. But far too many are the sordid sort of human behavior overriding the ideals of science. Self awareness is in short supply, and objectivity seems utterly forgotten as a concept, let alone a virtue. Many scientists no longer seem to appreciate the distinction between an a priori prediction and a post-hoc explanation pulled out of one’s arse when confronted with confounding evidence.

Consequently, I have quite intentionally refrained from ranting about bad scientific behavior too much, mostly in a mistaken but habitual “if you can’t say anything nice” sort of way. Which is another reason I have been quiet of late: I really don’t like to speak ill of my colleagues, even when they deserve it. There is so much sewage masquerading as science that I’m holding my nose while hoping it flows away under the bridge.

So, to divert myself, I have been dabbling in art. I am not a great artist by any means, but I’ve had enough people tell me “I’d buy that!” that I finally decided to take them at their word (silly, I know) and open a Zazzle store. Which immediately wants me to add links to it, which I find myself unprepared to do. I have had an academic website for a long time (since 1996, which is forever in internet years) but it seems really inappropriate to put them there. So I’m putting them here because this is the only place I’ve got readily available.

So the title “shameless commercialism” is quite literal. I hadn’t meant to advertise it here at all. Just find I need a web page, stat! It ain’t like I’ve even had time to stock the store – it is a lot more fun to do science than write it up; similarly, it is a lot more fun to create art than it is to market it. So there is only the one inaugural item so far, an Allosaurus on a T-shirt. Seems to fit the mood of the past semester.


7 thoughts on “Shameless commercialism

  1. Glad to hear you’re well, just otherwise occupied. I sympathize with your desire to avoid confronting colleagues. I guess my only suggestion would be to consider your obligation to preserve, protect, and further the scientific endeavor. I don’t mean to imply the choice would be an easy or pleasant one in either case. If you feel you’re banging your head against a wall, walking away is often the best tactic. Best of luck with the new enterprise.


  2. Shameless,
    impressive artwork! So many options…..color, style. Great idea. πŸ˜‰
    Will definitely order at least 3…..for me & my 2 sons, both high school teachers….one art, one biology.

    re: “Faith in dark matter overpowers reason”…..I’ve studied both sides of the issue, and agree there is
    a disappointing lack of willingness by those who have accepted DM to listen with an open mind to
    your analysis of the data.
    Sadly similar to this…

    Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts. Very interesting & illuminating.

    Maybe Dragon Speak app would make putting thoughts
    to paper or blog less time consuming & stressful.
    Holy DM, Batman! Fits exactly with your Allosaurus motif!
    Channel your inner dragon. πŸ˜‰

    More, more! =)


  3. I think what makes communication difficult is that languages are ambiguous–the same words can mean different things to different people. I prefer written to spoken communication because one can go back over it and try to eliminate some of the ambiguity, but of course that makes it take much longer. A typical internet comment takes me a half-hour.

    For a busy person that is a burden, but on the other hand if what one writes is worth reading, as is the case for this blog, written work seems the most efficient way to transfer information clearly to the most people.

    Plus I found out where to get the new tee-shirts I need. (I don’t like ones that are too busy or contain messages which make me a walking signboard; a single, realistic drawing is good.)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have said this before, thanks. Love reading your blogs, the effort is more than worth it. I read them over and over as they give me inspiration and hope. Plus lots of copy and paste to Notes.


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