Back in May, my wife and I found out that our lives were about to get a whole lot more interesting. Everybody, meet Harrison Lewis Talbert, our “surprise” baby and third child overall.
He may not look so big, but he’s having a huge impact on our lives. We’re very happy! But we are also definitely entering some uncharted, and unplanned-for, adventures starting in January, when little Harry is due. To chronicle all this, and since my wife and I are unapologetic nerds who will use any excuse to do something technological, we’ve started up a new family blog: The Talbert Five. We had a family blog twice before, and we tried to make them pseudonymous or password-only, and it was just either too much work (in the former case) or no fun and kind of stagnant (in the latter). So we’re making this blog wide-open and hoping not too many creepy internet people show up. (That doesn’t apply to the always-sophisticated readers of Casting Out Nines, of course.)
So if you’re interested in following what’s happening on the family side of things, hop on board.
I’m happy to announce the start of a new blogging project that has been percolating for about a month now. I will be joining a team of bloggers who will be contributing posts on a more-or-less weekly basis to the website of the Young Mathematicians’ Network. The YMN is an organization devoted to giving support to graduate students and new faculty in the mathematical sciences and raising awareness of issues to that group of people and others who share their interests.
My co-bloggers and I will be putting up articles about all kinds of topics. Some of the other bloggers are blogging anonymously because they’ll be writing about their own job searches or their activities on search committees. Me, I’ve always found anonymous blogging to be too much work, so I will be sticking to posts of particular interest to young math faculty and to grad students — posts that might be a little out of place or perhaps too much of niche pieces here at Casting Out Nines. I plan on either cross-posting or linking to the posts over at YMN, though, so people can go read the stuff if they want.
In fact, here’s my first post — The hiring process as risk management. (You have to register and log in to comment.)
UPDATE 10.18, 11:00 AM: And as soon as I made this announcement, there was a pretty serious technical problem with YMN’s server, and the site’s offline. I’ll update again once it’s fixed.
UPDATE 5:00 PM: It’s fixed.
Apologies for the long time between posts. The semester is in full swing and it’s a busy one — 14 hour teaching load, chairing Promotion and Tenure, 17 new advisees, and two proposals to finish before the first week of October (one curricular, one grant-related) — and I think I’m only now beginning to get back in rhythm.
Anyway, I just wanted to draw your attention to two noteworthy edublogs that have recently arrived on the scene:
- Learning Curve is a new edublog by Karen Francisco under the aegis of the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette. Karen was the reporter who interviewed me for this piece on textbook prices and open-source textbooks.
- Dropout Nation is not a new blog but is recently back from a long hiatus. RiShawn Biddle is the blogger there — a former Indianapolis Star columnist whose articles on education were, and are, particularly hard-hitting and insightful.
Enjoy them both.
Blogging is light right now because I’m on sick kid duty at home. But I wanted to check in to mention that this post is the 1000th post I have made here at Casting Out Nines. I’ve been thinking I need to say something stupendously wise for such a milestone, but I think that’s putting too much pressure on me, as I am accustomed to neither stupendousness nor wisdom. So instead, I just wanted to note some cool stats about the blog:
- As I said, this is the 1000th post since the blog’s inception on December 3, 2005. That was 949 days ago, so I’ve averaged right at one post per day for 2.5 years. That’s been pretty much my goal for posting and will remain so.
- This blog has had a total of 9,568 approved comments. That’s an average of about 10 comments per post, which is stat I am particularly pleased with, as it indicates that CO9s is not an echo chamber, as so many blogs are. The median amount of comments per post is probably more like 0 or 1, but at least occasionally there are substantive conversations that arise from the posts here, and I’m very humbled and thankful for that.
- The Akismet filter has blocked 42,159 spam comments, not counting the 38 that are in the queue right now. I think a spam-to-legitimate comment ratio of 4.5:1 isn’t too bad for a blog these days.
So instead of something stupendous, I’ll just say “thanks” to all readers and commenters, past and present, who have made blogging here such a satisfying and educational experience.
This modest weblog has been named one of the Top 100 Liberal Arts Professor Blogs by Online University Review. I’m pleased to be put in such company as Greg Mankiw, Erin O’Connor, and Daniel Drezner. In fact, I’d encourage everyone to go to that article and browse the other 99 blogs listed, just so you can fatten up your RSS feeds a little and get plugged into some good academic blogging you might be missing.
Sadly, no cash prize accompanied this recognition.
If you’re a college student with a blog, and you want some exposure with rather a lot more financial incentive than putting your URL here, then you might consider the College Blogger Contest 2008 sponsored by the America’s Future Foundation. The contest is open to all undergraduate and graduate students 25 years old or younger and carries a prize of $10,000 for the winner. The deadline for submissions is December 31. It appears that submitted blogs need to have a conservative or libertarian slant.
If you’re a blogger and fit this description, go to the link above and check out the full list of rules and sign up. Sounds like a good opportunity.
The comment on yesterday’s post from Matt, an undergrad in math and computer science at Carnegie-Mellon and blogger at Relatively Speaking, reminded me of just how much I appreciate blogs written by students. As a professor, my job on the “micro” scale is to design and teach mathematics courses and do stuff to help the college operate. But my vocation on the “macro” scale is to help students to think well and to chart their course through life. I like to think that blogging is an extension of that vocation beyond my everyday campus role, and it always excites me to be able to interact with students like Matt who are working hard at the business of learning.
So I’d like to ask any student blogger — especially undergraduates but also high school/homeschool students and graduate students — who is actively maintaining a blog that seriously reflects on their studies and their lives to leave your URL in the comments to this post. I don’t have a blogroll around here — maybe I should? — but I would certainly like to add you to my RSS feeds and keep up with what you’re doing.
And perhaps other readers who are similarly interested might like to glean those URL’s from the comments as well. Who knows, perhaps we can one day have some kind of “Carnival of Undergraduates” or something.
I’ve just made a major discovery: WordPress.com blogs, like this one, allow you to typeset LaTeX directly in your blog posts. For example:
You can put in LaTeX in the comment fields, too. Here’s the FAQ entry that explains it all. I’m appreciating my switch to WordPress.com more and more each day.
I found this fact out in a comment left by Terence Tao on the blog of Timothy Gowers, both of whom are not only Fields Medal-winning mathematicians but also WordPress.com bloggers.
Filed under Blogging, LaTeX