Interesting Links

Some interesting links I came across today:

... Scientists get a LOT of emails -- perhaps even more than journalists. I've seen it firsthand with Future Spouse, who feels a genuine sense of accomplishment when he winnows his unanswered emails down to a mere 60 or so, even though it takes valuable time away from his research to do so. I'm sure some of the people still waiting for a reply occasionally feel like they're trying to interact with dark matter or something. (Trust me, the dark matter NEVER returns phone calls or emails. We only have indirect evidence that it even exists.)...

  • In Happiness is..., Garden Rant critiques people whose sense of happiness dictates that they spend tens of thousands of dollars on "outdoor rooms" - without realizing that they don't like the outdoors!

According to the article, these people are appalled at the fire ants that are attracted to the hum and vibration of their outdoor home theater equipment, the pigeon droppings that land on their zinc countertops, and the berries and leaves that clog their water pumps. Not to mention the sticky yellow pollen on their nice furniture and the general dirt and grime of outdoor living.

Sigh.  What a waste.  I also liked this quote from a New York Times article, The Futile Pursuit of Happiness, which Garden Rant mentioned:

But Gilbert has always liked questions that lead him somewhere new. Now 45, Gilbert dropped out of high school at 15, hooking into what he calls ''the tail end of the hippie movement'' and hitchhiking aimlessly from town to town with his guitar. He met his wife on the road; she was hitching in the other direction. They married at 17, had a son at 18 and settled down in Denver. ''I pulled weeds, I sold rebar, I sold carpet, I installed carpet, I spent a lot of time as a phone solicitor,'' he recalls. During this period he spent several years turning out science-fiction stories for magazines like Amazing Stories. Thus, in addition to being ''one of the most gifted social psychologists of our age,'' as the psychology writer and professor David G. Myers describes him to me, Gilbert is the author of ''The Essence of Grunk,'' a story about an encounter with a creature made of egg salad that jets around the galaxy in a rocket-powered refrigerator.

...Mostly, the children were well-treated and grew up to develop close ties to their British hosts. A few were mistreated or abused. A number of the older children joined the British or Australian armed forces as soon as they reached 18, and joined the fight against the Nazis. Most of the children never saw their parents again. Of the 10,000, it is believed that 20-25% eventually made their way to the U.S. or Canada

The Kindertransport Association, made up of surviving refugees, has more information.