Sunday, September 07, 2008

Bring me the sweat of Rafael Nadal

Anthony Lane writes in a recent New Yorker,
Hero worship, for all but a handful of Olympians, is the fleeting exception, whereas for tennis stars it’s the rule. Nadal, to his credit, looked delighted when he won the gold medal, but, as he tossed his wristbands to his fans, you could see, in their outstretched hands, a craving that no Olympics could ever sate: bring me the sweat of Rafael Nadal.
I wonder how many of his readers got the reference to Clive James's poem Bring Me The Sweat Of Gabriela Sabatini - 0.1%?

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Every once in a while I'm tempted

Every once in a while I'm tempted to use a great phrase like "The Things that Make Me Weak and Strange Get Engineered Away" as the title of a poem, but doing so sets the reader's expectations very high and it's hard not be upstaged. Here's a Wallace Stevens poem, "Frogs Eat Butterflies. Snakes Eat Frogs. Hogs Eat Snakes. Men Eat Hogs", with the same problem.

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Vulturing data

The PAMELA collaboration is rumored to have evidence of dark matter. They have entirely understandably imposed radio silence while they check their analysis and prepare a paper. But

[t]hat hasn’t stopped physicists speculating for themselves. Today Marco Cirelli from the CEA near Paris in France and Alessandro Strumia from the Università di Pisa in Italy present their own analysis of the PAMELA data.


But given the PAMELA team’s reluctance to publish just yet, where did Cirelli and Strumia get the data? The answer is buried in a footnote in their paper.

“The preliminary data points for positron and antiproton fluxes plotted in our figures have been extracted from a photo of the slides taken during the talk, and can thereby slightly differ from the data that the PAMELA collaboration will officially publish.”

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Zombie lie spotted in the New Yorker

Peter Boyer once again repeats the unkillable falsehood that Gov. Casey was denied a speaking role at the 1992 Democratic nominating convention because he was pro-life, when in fact it was because he refused to endorse Bill Clinton. It'll be interesting to see if the magazine prints one of the letters to the editor pointing this out.

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