17 February 2005

The Summers Transcript

Harvard has released a transcript of Larry Summers' remarks about women.

Harvard should have done this weeks ago. I have looked through it quickly (I am actually trying to get real dissertation work done, and I can't do that and go through Larry Summers' comments at the same time) and I don't see evidence of the kind of egregiousness that earlier press reports claimed.


I will look at it more closely this evening. It does seem, from my cursory reading, that Larry is fascinated by the possibility intrinsic, innate differences in intelligence (or types of intelligence) between the sexes, and that the Q & A following his remarks also seems to show that audience, especially biologists in the audience, were very sceptical of that possibility.

16 February 2005

The Secret of the Pink Carnation

For those of you in the Boston area, Ms Lauren Willig will be reading from her book, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation on Friday evening at Harvard Book Store. I guarantee an amusing time!

14 February 2005

Security "Screening"

I was particularly interested in this CNN story this evening about a woman who got through airport security in Newark, NJ with a butcher knife in her purse.

I traveled last Friday with two carryon bags, a computer bag and a backpack. Because I recently moved, a number of odd objects wound up in bags I use daily. Security screeners found a blunt-nosed pair of pliers in my computer bag. I had used them to disassemble my bed frame and they never made it into a box. Instead, in the final push to get out of the mouse-infested apartment, I stuck them in my computer bag. I laughed it off (even though I couldn't imagine what damage I would do with a small pair of blunt pliers) and the screener took my pliers away.

I didn't think of it again until this morning, when I was unpacking and repacking the backpack to take it to the library. In the bottom of the bag, I found a LARGE, SHARP pair of scissors. I had used the scissors to cut tape to put on boxes, and like the pliers, they made it out of my apartment in an unconventional fashion.

So, the question is, how did I walk through Logan's screening area with such a potentially dangerous tool in my backpack? They found the relatively innocuous pliers, but not the potentially lethal scissors.

Clearly, there's a kink in the system.

I will of course pack my scissors in my checked luggage on the way home. But really, where are our tax dollars going? Tax dollars aside, it's becoming increasingly clear to me that airport security is a misnomer.