If you want to read about what’s happening in Gaza (and elsewhere), go to Mondoweiss. I don’t have the juice to write about it right now. I’m pretty fried from all the last minute details involved with publishing a book.

Meanwhile, I thought I’d change the pace a bit with a little tribute to nerd-dom. I used to be a huge nerd — still am, but I hide it better when the occasion warrants. Still, I can’t deny the kick I get out of this video:

Or these quotes, which I recorded during the Advanced Freshman Physics classes I took at Stanford, starring Professors CM and KAM and Teaching Assistants Kumaran, Noam, and Yaroslaw:

Fun with numbers

“Any constant is as good as zero.” –CM
“…and infinity is right here…” –CM
“I’m not a cgs kinda guy.” –Kumaran
“…and we know God has e fingers, so…” –Kumaran


“In quantum mechanics, very strange things can happen—and they do happen.” –Noam
“All of this weirdness that makes no sense happens to be true.” –CM
“And now you’ve got a disagreement with reality, and that’s a bad thing.” –Kumaran
“Otherwise, reality would be wrong.” –Kumaran
“See, you have to get it in your head that basically there’s one reality.” –Kumaran
“…up is no different than down…” –CM
“This line is a circle.” –Yaroslaw

On Relativity

“At speeds much less than c, life works pretty well.” –CM
“When things are moving, you should be nervous, because all hell breaks loose.” –CM
“The space-time, it’s pretty simple, there’s not much to it… the important thing is velocity, and the king of them all, energy and momentum.” –Kumaran
“Use the four-vector.” –Kumaran Kenobi
“It’s like when you’re smoking pot.” –CM

Whatever works for you…

“Nothing makes me happier than 1 + tan2.” –CM
“Now it’s a nice yellow motif… a kind of bumble bee theme.” –CM
“Yeah, I know you’re trying to drive me and excite me, but I’m not really excited.” –CM
“It starts to screw a little faster as it goes in this direction.” –CM
“This thing only gets excited when you sing to it at the right frequency.” –CM
“It doesn’t matter if you whack it softly for a long time, or really hard for just a little bit.” –KAM

Why physics is great

“I can’t believe this university doesn’t require quantum mechanics—They make you take Western Civilization.” –CM
“I thought microwaves were, like, gamma waves.” –Noah [student]
“…and you can quickly be replaced by computers—or 40’s series students.” –CM
“The nice thing about physics is that one of them [Matt or Noah] is wrong.” –CM
“OK, KCL sucks, OK? Voltage law’s much more elegant.” –Kumaran
“The London equation came from a smart guy named London who wrote it down. That’s where most physics equations come from.” –CM
“Maybe that’s why more guys are in physics. The trick is, pretend you’re not confused.” –CM

The mark of a great lecturer (just kidding on this one)

“I must confess that the lectures of these men netted me no perceptible gain.” –Planck
“That’s your disclaimer, huh.” –Cezar [student]
“Boi-oi-oi-oi-oing is the solution.” –CM
“Then we’ll be done with EM propagation and I can show you some pretty pictures.” –CM
“I guarantee you’ll be satisfied.” –CM
“It’s notation. Don’t get bugged.” –CM
“I want to do another example where again we will fail to understand what we’ve been discussing all quarter.” –CM
“Of course you can’t see what I’m doing, I just wrote on the table.” –CM
“There’s not an H. Actually, unfortunately, there is an H. It’s very complicated.” –CM
“You’re not supposed to understand any of this, by the way.” –CM
“This is bullshit, and if you want to forget it, I don’t blame you.” –CM

Good times. Life was so much simpler then.