Nonscience Stuff (kinda)

This is a collection of some links to quotes or pages that I find useful, funny, or insightful, or I just like them a lot.  Some of them are science-y but none are directly related to my research.

Talks and Papers 

Websites I visit occasionally

Math stack exchange is a really fun website that I used to haunt looking for exciting integrals and sums to evaluate mostly when I was an undergraduate.  I haven't posted in awhile, which my profile shows, but I occasionally like to poke around there and see how people evaluate really nasty looking expressions.  Here are some of my favorite posts from the stack exchange/stack overflow universe:

Tour-de-force of integration methods

Strange time zone results in Shanghai

Can you hear the mass of a coin?

John Baez is a a mathematician at UC riverside whose talks and writing I've always enjoyed.  I've often gotten lost looking around his website.  My favorite pages are his career advice and the crackpot index, both of which can be found here.

Matt Levine is a finance writer for Bloomberg who I really like.  He has simple explanations for financial topics and is a really funny writer.  You can get his newsletter sent directly to your email without a Bloomberg subscription or read his most recent articles here.

Here are some Youtube channels that I watch occasionally, categorized by channel content.  

Science and Math:  3Blue1Brown, Computerphile, Numberphile, Veritasium, SciShow

Finance: Patrick Boyle, Plain Bagel

Cooking:  Adam Ragusea, J. Kenji López-Alt, Brian Lagerstrom, Food Wishes, Townsends

Gardening:  Epic Gardening,  Self Sufficient Me

Other:  LockPickingLawyer, CGPGrey, Folding Ideas, Bosnianbill, Pop Culture Detective, Angela Collier

Quotes that I think are interesting, funny, sad, beautiful, or I just like 'em

“Oh, she says, well, you're not a poor man. You know, why don't you go online and buy a hundred envelopes and put them in the closet? And so I pretend not to hear her. And go out to get an envelope because I'm going to have a hell of a good time in the process of buying one envelope. I meet a lot of people. And see some great looking babies. And a fire engine goes by. And I give them the thumbs up. And I'll ask a woman what kind of dog that is. And, and I don't know. The moral of the story is - we're here on Earth to fart around. And, of course, the computers will do us out of that. And what the computer people don't realize, or they don't care, is we're dancing animals. You know, we love to move around. And it's like we're not supposed to dance at all anymore." Kurt Vonnegut tells his wife he's going to go buy an envelope

“When my husband died, because he was so famous and known for not being a believer, many people would come up to me-it still sometimes happens-and ask me if Carl changed at the end and converted to a belief in an afterlife. They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again. Carl faced his death with unflagging courage and never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don't ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief and precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting. Every single moment that we were alive and we were together was miraculous-not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance. . . . That pure chance could be so generous and so kind. . . . That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space and the immensity of time. . . . That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me and it’s much more meaningful. . . . The way he treated me and the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other and our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don't think I'll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.” Ann Druyan talking about the death of Carl Sagan 

[I want to note that including this quote isn't a statement of my beliefs about a higher power.  I just think Ann's writing is really beautiful.]

"Dan Shechtman is talking nonsense. There are no quasicrystals - only quasi-scientists" Linus Pauling 

"Since my student years Minkowski was my best, most dependable friend who supported me with all the depth and loyalty that was so characteristic of him. Our science, which we loved above all else, brought us together; it seemed to us a garden full of flowers. In it, we enjoyed looking for hidden pathways and discovered many a new perspective that appealed to our sense of beauty, and when one of us showed it to the other and we marveled over it together, our joy was complete. He was for me a rare gift from heaven and I must be grateful to have possessed that gift for so long. Now death has suddenly torn him from our midst. However, what death cannot take away is his noble image in our hearts and the knowledge that his spirit continues to be active in us." David Hilbert's obituary of Hermann Minkowski

"Until recently, finance theory appeared to be reaching a triumphant climax. Many years ago, Nany Markowitz and William Sharpe had shown how diversification could reduce risk. In 1973, Fischer Black, Myron Scholes and Robert C. Merton went further by conjuring away risk completely, using the magic trick of dynamic replication. Twenty-five years later, a multi-trillion dollar derivatives industry had grown up around these insights. And of these five founding fathers, only Black missed out on a Nobel prize due to his tragic early death. Black, Scholes and Merton's option pricing breakthrough depended on the idea that hungry arbitrage traders were constantly prowling the markets, forcing prices to match theoretical predictions. The hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management-which included Scholes and Merton as partners-was founded with this principle at its core. So strong was LTCM's faith in these theories that it used leverage to make enormous bets on small discrepancies from the predictions of finance theory. We all know what happened next. In August and September 1998, the fund lost $4.5 billion, roughly 90% of its value, and had to be bailed out by its 14 biggest counterparties. Global markets were severely disrupted for several months. All the shibboleths of finance theory, in particular diversification and replication, proved to be false gods, and the reputation of quants suffered badly as a result. Traditionally, finance texts take these shibboleths as a starting point, and build on them. Empirical verification is given scant attention, and the consequences of violating the key assumptions are often ignored completely. The result is a culture where markets get blamed if the theory breaks down, rather than vice versa, as it should be."  Nick Dunbar, from the foreword of "Theory of Financial Risks from Statistical Physics to Risk Management" by Jean-Philippe Bouchaud and Marc Potters

"Another lesson to be learned, to continue using my oceanographic metaphor, is that while you are swimming and not sinking you should aim for rough water. When I was teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the late 1960s, a student told me that he wanted to go into general relativity rather than the area I was working on, elementary particle physics, because the principles of the former were well known, while the latter seemed like a mess to him. It struck me that he had just given a perfectly good reason for doing the opposite. Particle physics was an area where creative work could still be done. It really was a mess in the 1960s, but since that time the work of many theoretical and experimental physicists has been able to sort it out, and put everything (well, almost everything) together in a beautiful theory known as the standard model. My advice is to go for the messes — that's where the action is."  Steven Weinberg, Scientist: Four golden lessons

"someone once said that defending your position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you're saying the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it's not literally illegal to express."  xkcd scroll over text

“Discovery is a child’s privilege. I mean the small child, the child who is not afraid to be wrong, to look silly, to not be serious, and to act differently from everyone else. He is also not afraid that the things he is interested in are in bad taste or turn out to be different from his expectations, from what they should be, or rather he is not afraid of what they actually are. He ignores the silent and flawless consensus that is part of the air we breathe – the consensus of all the people who are, or are reputed to be, reasonable.” ― Alexander Grothendieck

"Dr. Nagel recalled that even though Dr. Kadanoff was a theorist, he was curious about the latest experimental results. Once, he recalled, Dr. Nagel was studying the behavior of avalanches, using piles of mustard seeds.

'He grabbed a bunch and started eating them' Dr. Nagel said. 'We were pretty amazed. This great man was coming down and eating our experiment.' " -New York Times obituary of Leo Kadanoff

"Who ordered that?" - Isidor Isaac Rabi