What I’m Reading – 8/6/09

  • New York Times
    • For Today’s Graduate, Just One Word: Statistics – Graduates with a statistics background are “finding themselves increasingly in demand – and even cool.” “‘The key is to let the computers do what they are good at, which is trawling massive data sets for something that is mathematically odd,’ said Daniel Gruhl, an I.B.M. researcher whose recent work includes mining medical data to improve treatment. ‘And that makes it easier for humans to do what they are good at — explain those anomalies.'”
    • China Sees Progress on Climate Accord, but Resists an Emissions Ceiling – China says it will likely sign on to an agreement to reduce greenhouse gasses, but pushes back on capping emission of greenhouse gasses.  “China now emits more carbon dioxide than the United States, although it remains well behind when populations are measured on a per-person basis.”  Bilateral negotiations with the Obama administration are characterized as “quite fruitful.”  Let’s hope.
    • New Entry in E-Books A Paper TigerBarnes and Noble’s new e-book offering boasts almost twice as many books as Amazon, and gives you access on your PC or Mac.  Their e-book reader won’t be available until 2010 (coming from Paper Logic).  The catch is that most of the books at B&N are already available through places like Project Gutenberg.  In short, they’re not the books you’re looking for.  And the functionality of the various applications isn’t up to the good experience Amazon’s Kindle offers.  Still, I’ll have to get a couple of books through B&N this weekend to see how it works for myself.
  • Guyland
    • Chapter 4: High School: Boot Camp for Guyland – High school boys learn to conform or be ostracized.  Kimmel suggests a radical change of the culture around high school boys.  I am sadly skeptical that so many different types of people need to change what they do: teachers, coaches, parents, peers.  Culture rarely changes so drammatically, yet Kimmel makes it clear that broad changes are necessary.
    • Chapter 5: The Rites of Almost-Men: Binge Drinking, Fraternity Hazing, and the Elephant Walk – In college, peers initiate peers into manhood, despite their lack of qualifications to do so.  The anecdotes are extreme, and I find myself wishing for a more tempered argument in the book.
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