Taught The Kindergartners Today!

So I taught the kindergarten class today. I ended up teaching them some functional anatomy of a particular type of animal, using a coolio plastic model that you can disassemble into all of the main internal and external organs. They really loved it, and had lots of questions.

The funny thing was that there were two types of questions that were exactly the same as the two types of questions you get at academic seminars: actual questions versus “let me tell you this thing I thought/did that is only tangentially (if at all) relevant to your presentation”.

Anyway, it was really fun, although I was much more nervous than when giving an academic presentation, even ones in front of hundreds of people. Thanks to everyone who made suggestions!


What I try to instill in my grad students and post-docs is the idea that theory-talk is just another tool for trying to make sense of the complicated shitte you are trying to understand. On the one hand, it is impossible to examine any object–a text, organism, physical system, etc–without having some conceptual framework, and so talking about theory is just making explicit that which would otherwise be implicit. On the other hand, if you excessively reify your theory, you blind yourself to empirical reality that is inconsistent with your theory.

So theory is a tool, and one needs to be careful about how that tool is used, and be aware of the limitations of the tool.

If you want to talk about theory with some humanities peeps, go here.

Fucken Pine Tar

Michael Pineda just got ejected from the Yanks-Sockes game because he had a fucken blobbe of motherfucken pine tar on his GODDAMN MOTHERFUCKEN NECK!!!11!! The rule against this is to prevent pitchers from depositing mass (or removing mass, in the case of nail files) from the outside of the ball to make it more asymmetrical and get more movemement. Al Leiter and David Cone just admitted in the YES booth that they kept illegal substances on their belts to get a decent grip on the ball.

Pop Quiz Answers

(1) There have been approximately twice as many triple plays as no-hitters in the history of modern baseball, and we’re talking about hundreds of each.

(2) There have been approximately twice as many perfect games as unassisted triple plays in the history of modern baseball, and we’re talking about dozen(s) of each.