Sunday, July 27, 2008

Just four dimensions, not one, not ten, not eleven

This article in last week's New Yorker (the issue with the infamous cover) profiles Garrett Lisi, an outsider in the physics community who is bucking the String Theory trend of the past 30 years. He's also a serious surfer and snowboarder. ISers who recall the Brian Greene book we read several years ago may find Lisi's ideas refreshing.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Catherine P. Browman

We are very sad to report the death of our colleague and friend, Catherine P. Browman (1945-2008). Cathe died peacefully at home on July 18, 2008, after a long illness. Her partner, Louis Goldstein, posted an obituary on the Linguist List.

Cathe, one of the pioneers in the field of Laboratory Phonology, is best known for her work with Goldstein and other colleagues at Haskins Laboratories on Articulatory Phonology. She was an early participant in IS group meetings. One memorable evening in the 1980s she led us in Sufi dances that spoke to her commitment to spirituality and group interaction.


An international conference, A Natural-Physical Perspective on Perception-Action-Cognition, was held at the University of Connecticut, June 19-21, 2008, to honor psychologist Michael T. Turvey's "transition" into the next phase of his academic career.

The speakers, primarily drawn from Turvey's Ph.D. and postdoctoral students, presented papers in several of the areas that Michael worked in and contributed to for more than 40 years, including language (Philip Rubin, Robert Remez, Carol Fowler, Betty Tuller, Laurie Feldman, Bruno Galantucci); vision and audition (Claire Michaels, Jim Todd, Geoff Bingham, Larry Rosenblum, Nam-Gyoon Kim, Brett Fajen); dynamic touch and haptics (Chris Pagano, Jeff Kinsella-Shaw, Eric Amazeen, Mike Riley, Kevin Shockley, Sergio Fonseca); and coordination dynamics (Peter Kugler, Bruce Kay, Richard Schmidt, Dagmar Sternad, Rmesh Balasubramaniam, Nia Amazeen). Other speakers and discussants included (Mike Wade, Fergus Craik, Bob Shaw, J. A. Scott Kelso, Guy Van Orden, Reinoud Bootsma, Anatol Feldman, Peter Beek, Karl Newell, Mark Latash, Steve Harrison, Theo Rhodes, Claudia Carello and Michael T. Turvey.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Multiculturalism and the Meaning of Life

It has always seemed to me that the excitement of the humanities comes in the small details and odd combinations and permutations of particulars, not in the "Big Picture" that we've supposedly abandoned at modern universities. So I was delighted to see this offbeat combination of Western and Eastern traditions, with the Meaning of Life defined as "to keep alive what we are doing".

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

John Henry / Forasong

I came across this superb close-reading of the unexpurgated version of John Henry while trying to gain some insight into the lyrics of the song John Hardy, which overlap to some extent (though they describe different men). This sort of careful, historically-researched close reading of texts (from Homer to the Rolling Stones) is what made traditional literary analysis so great, and what I think is so sorely missing in today's theory- and agenda-driven academic criticism.