Archive for August, 2007

Good Blast at Powerpoint

Posted in Technology and Software on August 25, 2007 by Mike Procario

I see a lot of Powerpoint and I do not think it has benefited my field, physics. When I was giving the important talks almost 20 years ago, they were on transparencies and each one held a single graph or diagram. They were large graphs which showed a lot of detail. I could spend a significant amount  of time explaining each one.  Now you get three microscopic graphs next to a list of bullets and you are supposed to understand it.

I read this blast today from Fred Clark:

This is the ideal technology for this task because, as Edward Miller notes, “PowerPoint … can give the illusion of coherence and content when there really isn’t very much coherence or content.” This is, for many PowerPoint enthusiasts, a feature, not a bug. The illusion of coherence and content is precisely why PP is the preferred technology in corporate America and among Bible prophecy “experts” (and why it was used almost exclusively in Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon).

I will never be a PowerPoint enthusiast.

Quote of the Day

Posted in Art, Books, physics on August 12, 2007 by Mike Procario

“Across the campus trees broke out in absurd petaled profusion. Life returned to life, sporting a spin, strangeness, and charm that Spiegel had never suspected.”

Richard Powers, Plowing the Dark

Richard Powers writes literary fiction. He tackles hard subjects and his writing is dense with allusions. He frequently writes about the intersection of art and science, which is definitely true of this book. A physicist would recognize the spin, strangeness, and charm int he quote are quantum numbers of elementary particles. I wonder how readers will pick that up. What does that sentence convey to non-physicists.