Category Archives: Littademia

All the reasons I didn’t do a PhD in medieval lit, and all the reasons I still occasionally wish I had.

Of Money and Science: Two Book Reviews

Paula Stephan’s observation that “not all science is created equal when it comes to funding” will not surprise any researcher who ever labored over a grant. Drugmonkey’s blog is a particularly good source of insight into how the NIH grant … Continue reading

Posted in Biology, Book reviews, Books, Conspicuous consumption, Education, Littademia, Science, Science in culture & policy | Comments Off

Of satellites, maps, and worldbuilding

It’s kind of mind-boggling how much technology has changed our relationship with maps over the past decade. I remember when my mental approximation of geography was based either on (depending on the appropriate scale) globes with pastel continents on them, … Continue reading

Posted in Artists & Art, Data Visualization, Littademia, Maps, Retrotechnology | Comments Off

Its brain is the Enlightenment! Its gut is the Gothic Novel!

Ward Shelley’s “History of Science Fiction” seems almost exactly like what you’d get if xkcd’s Randall Munroe illustrated the anatomy of a snail-cephalopod hybrid. Sweet! Via Hungry Hyaena.

Posted in Artists & Art, Littademia, Science in culture & policy | Comments Off

What “science as science” can offer us – or not

This fascinating essay by Marilynne Robinson, “Reclaiming a Sense of the Sacred,” is a thoughtful and insightful piece of writing. But unfortunately, as noted by my friend Jacob, it completely fails to distinguish science from scientism (or, I would hasten … Continue reading

Posted in Biology, Littademia, Neuroscience, Science in culture & policy, Words | Comments Off

“Where I live, everything is so small!”

APOD’s photo of the day is, in the words of my boyfriend, “very The Little Prince.” How wonderfully whimsical.

Posted in Littademia, Photography | Comments Off


“People are practically printing books with their smartphones,” Mr. Fletcher said, in a tone suggesting that he did not think this was such a good idea. Delightful. From the New York Times review of the Grolier Club exhibition “Printing for … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Ephemera, Littademia, Museum Lust, Retrotechnology | Comments Off


“I fear that the character of my knowledge is from year to year becoming more distinct and scientific; that, in exchange for vistas wide as heaven’s scope, I am being narrowed down to the field of the microscope. I see … Continue reading

Posted in Biology, Department of the Drama, Ephemera, History of Science, Littademia | Comments Off

A story of art, generosity and books

My friend Libby sent me this inspiring story from one of my favorite cities, Edinburgh, where an anonymous artist has been leaving intricate book sculptures in local libraries. First, in March, the Scottish Poetry Library (which uses the wonderful institutional … Continue reading

Posted in Artists & Art, Books, Littademia, Poetry, Random Acts of Altruism | Comments Off

“Womanspace,” sex stereotypes, and things that are “bad for” science

Ed Rybicki’s “tongue-in-cheek” sci-fi vignette, “Womanspace”, has provoked quite the controversy in the weeks since it was published.  Various critics are calling the story sexist, anti-science, and unworthy of publication in a science journal (it appeared in Nature). Some have even … Continue reading

Posted in Blogs and Blogging, Ephemera, Gender Issues, Littademia | Comments Off

SF/F as a lens for looking at the law

As Arthur C. Clarke once put it, technology is — at some sufficiently advanced tipping point — “indistinguishable from magic”.  An interesting question that follows from that realization is this: how big a difference is there, really, between the law … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Film, Video & Music, Gender Issues, Littademia, Neuroscience, Science in culture & policy | Comments Off