Mind Games 2.0

Bloggin' 'bout science and life

More Chairs!

The Boss wants a new set of kitchen chairs to go with the kitchen table I made last winter. I started the prototype today.

Prototype chair

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Kitchen chair prototype in cherry and maple.

The legs and seat rails are made of cherry, and the back rails are maple. The seat will also be maple. I’ll update this as this prototype is finished and more come into existence.

23 April 2017: legs tapered. Everything on the chair sanded and assembled. All mortise-&-tenon joints pinned with walnut dowels. Finally, two braces installed on the insides of each leg joint – one high and one low on the joint. Only one of these inner braces is installed right now; the second set will be installed after the seat is attached. Hopefully, this is enough stabilization of these joints to allow me to get away with no lower struts on the legs.

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More Words of Wisdom From A Past Leader

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Wisdom From Martin Luther King, Jr. For These Times

On 3 December 1956, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered an address to the First Annual Institute on Non-Violence and Social Change in Montgomery, Alabama.  I read this again last week and found much that resonated in today’s world.  One section in particular speaks to politics today:

Another thing that we must do in speeding up the coming of the new age is to develop intelligent, courageous and dedicated leadership. This is one of the pressing needs of the hour. In this period of transition and growing social change, there is a dire need for leaders who are calm and yet positive; leaders who avoid the extremes of “hot-headness” and “Uncle Tomism.” The urgency of the hour calls for leaders of wise judgement and sound integrity–leaders not in love with money but in love with justice; leaders not in love with publicity, but in love with humanity; leaders who can subject their particular egos to the greatness of the cause. To paraphrase [Joshua Gilbert] Holland‘s words:

God give us leaders!
A time like this demands strong minds, great hearts,
true faith and ready hands;
Leaders whom the lust of office does not kill;
Leaders whom the spoils of life cannot buy;
Leaders who possess opinions and a will;
Leaders who have honor; leaders who will not lie;
Leaders who can stand before a demagogue and damn his treacherous
flatteries without winking!
Tall leaders, sun crowned, who live above the fog
in public duty and private thinking.

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It’s Almost Baseball Season Again!

It’s almost baseball season again!  It always makes me think of a couple of my favorite comedians – Abbott & Costello.  Their word play is dizzying.  This is an audio recording of their radio show from 12 May 1948. The entire show was about Costello preparing to take Joe DiMaggio‘s place on the New York Yankees.  This has the classic “Who’s on First” bit, but I’ve excerpted the show to begin with another classic routine “Feller Pitching?”

Enjoy!

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The Maximum Impact Factor Measure

I used to be the Editor-in-Chief of the American Naturalist, one of the oldest scientific journals in North America.  The American Naturalist published its first issue two years before Charles Darwin published the Origin of Species, and I think that AmNat, as it’s affectionately called, is the world’s best journal for papers in evolution (and ecology and behavior). 

Today, our Managing Editor, Trish Morse, brought to my attention some of the best evidence of AmNat‘s significance.  AmNat is number 113 on the list of sources most cited by the Oxford English Dictionary.  Only 6 other scientific publications are ahead of us on the list.  That seems like a much better measure of the importance of a scientific journal’s contribution to knowledge than Impact Factors or other so-called measures of importance. 

AmNat, at 113, is two ahead of Robert Burns (pretty impressive) at 115 and behind Ayenbite of Inwyt at 112. Who or what is Ayenbite of Inwyt you ask?  Look it up!

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A Great Man Honored

I think these two men have done a great job.  I don’t always agree, but you couldn’t find two finer men.

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A New Kitchen Table

Last April, we moved into a new house.  Before we moved, I ripped out all the carpet on the main floor of the new house and then installed hard maple flooring throughout.  It only took me 5 days to do 6 rooms.  

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Where Does It Say That Evolution Does Not Happen?

I was sitting in church a couple of weeks back on Christmas Eve waiting for the service to start.  As I usually do to pass the time, I picked up the Bible (what else are you going to do in church?), and I had a revelation about what I work on – namely evolution.    

This revelation came to me in the form of a simple question.  Where in the Bible does it say that evolution does not happen?

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Do Scientists Really Need Certificates Of Participation Just To Do Their Jobs Now?

Today I was submitting a review of a manuscript to a British scientific journal.  This is a routine part of any scientist’s job.  Participating in the peer review system is probably the most important community activity that keeps science working.  Peer review is the best part of the scientific process.  

I went to the journal’s website to submit my review as always.  What startled and exacerbated me, and what sparked this post, was the first question I was asked at the submission website.  The journal wanted to know if I wanted my reviewing activity to be noted for all the world to see on Publons.  

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Words For These Times

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

George Washington, Farewell Address 1796

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