Einstein is human

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Thanks to 3 Quarks Daily (again), a pointer to a story covering the press reaction to the release of thousands of pages of Einstein’s personal correspondence. Tongue in cheek, the article is titled, Einstein in Lust. In it the author, Joshua Roebke, writes:

“Phys-sex Genius” wrote the headline wizards at the New York Post. Fox News, another Murdochian outlet, posted a story by on-air personality Neil Cavuto to its website, titled, “Albert Einstein: Genius, Stud Muffin.” “E = Einstein, the galactic womanizer,” quipped The Sunday Times, UK. “Albert Einstein, sex-fiend” wrote the popular blog Boing Boing. Even a member of the extended Seed family, the ScienceBlog Pure Pedantry, included a post with the title, “Scientific Pimp.”

Einstein’s relationships with various women has never been a secret. Why this information would cause such a fooflah at a time when Paris Hilton faux pax are the stuff of legends is beyond me. Is this is supposed to make Einstein more ‘human’? More interesting? Einstein’s always been human. He’s the most human, brilliant person I know of. As for interesting, lordie, something about his work comes to mind.

Another intriguing note in the article is that while the Western publications focused on Einstein’s Love Life, the East focused on his work. The author points to his earlier work, Big in Japan, which discusses how in countries such as South Korea, China, and Japan, research scientists are hotter than rock stars.

In 2001, the Japanese government drafted a state policy that focused on winning 30 Nobel Prizes in 50 years. If the results of a 2002 poll are any indication, it might work: Japanese boys aspire to be research professors more than to be baseball stars, a level of academic aspiration not seen in the West since the space race. Science celebrity has moved East, building a culture that treats Nobels like Oscars and new discoveries like home-run records

(Hopefully, the Japanese government is also encouraging Japanese girls in science, though I’m not optimistic in this regard.)

The West might want to get its priorities straight: lust is cheap, science lasts forever.

Technology Web

Semantic CSS

Recovered from the Wayback Machine. has released a new paid upgrade: custom CSS. Now those who host their weblogs with the service can pay for an upgrade and customize their weblogs. To start, the company provided a Sandbox theme layout that can be altered through the custom stylesheet.

It’s interesting to read about this theme in the associated forum thread. There seems to be confusion associated with web page semantics and abstracting out the presentation from the layout. The theme creator wrote, The Sandbox is powerful because it generates semantic classes for a myriad of pages, which allows practically absolute control over the theme with CSS alone. He also wrote, The Sandbox will undoubtidly(sic) be the easiest theme for novices to write CSS for, with selectors that are semantic and logical/.

I’m assuming he means that the theme uses ordered and unordered list elements for lists, but what this has to do with CSS, I don’t know.

Quick Review:

XHTML and HTML are page elements.

Some (X)HTML elements have associated semantics, such as tables for tabular data, and OL or UL for lists. However, both have and will continue to be abused.

No matter how you push it, DIV is not a semantic element–no more meaning than the cardboard box that contained my last Amazon order.

CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, have to do with the presentation of the elements. Through these, you can make unordered lists not look like unordered lists; but this just changes the presentation, not the semantics.

What’s really meaningful? Atom feeds that don’t break and that validate. Yes, that would mean a lot to me.

Just Shelley

Minnesota’s Fringe Festival

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Birdchick writes on her husband’s participation in this year’s Fringe Festival in Minnesota.

The concept of the Fringe Festival is fascinating, and I wish we had something similar here in St. Louis. I gather that every year, people submit ideas, and a lottery determines which are included in the Festival. That’s it: no juries to judge which performance is, or is not, included. The performances are scattered about the city, feature any type of art, and anyone is welcome to participate. It’s a wonderful idea.

Way to go, Minnesota. Next year, I’m spending August with the fringe, in the land o’ lakes