Saturday, July 14, 2007

Disturbing search of the day that brought someone to this blog

Lesbian with hijab pics. Not here; sorry.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Science Memories

When I saw Dan a couple weeks ago, we discovered a memory that we shared: Science magazine (always published as Science 'XX where XX was the then-current year-- Science '80, Science '81.

This was the first adultish magazine I subscribed to (renewing the subscription was an annual present from my mom), and I think I subscribed throughout the magazine's six or so years of existence. Dan and I both remembered the article that covered the Robert Axelrod iterated-prisoners'-dilemma tournament, the one that found tit-for-tat to be the most successful overall strategy and formed the basis of Axelrod's The Evolution of Cooperation. We also remembered first hearing about AIDS through that magazine-- there was an early ominous cover story, with a headline that said something like "a mysterious illness has been killing gays, Haitians, and drug users-- and it may be spreading into the nation's blood supply."

And the third thing I remember-- and really that's about it, from six years of reading-- is the Alan Lightman columns in the front of the magazine. Many of these were later collected in volumes that ran under the titles of two of the most memorable columns: Time Travel and Papa Joe's Pipe (1984) and A Modern Day Yankee in a Connecticut Court (1986). (The only column I remember as vividly as those two is "A Visit By Mr. Newton.") The memory of those columns means I was one of the first people I know to pick up Einstein's Dreams when it was published-- one of the only times when I was really ahead of the curve on something that subsequently became very popular among people I knew.

A similar story to "I read about the tit-for-tat experiment in my geeky magazine as a kid more than a decade before starting grad school in poli sci"-- in my high school course on Discrete Math (mainly number theory), we briefly studied voting systems and had to prove Arrow's Impossibility Theorem (something I couldn't begin to do now, and I suspect in retrospect that we only proved a selected subset of the overall conclusion-- but I remember cycling and having to demonstrate that cycling would occur). In each case the result vaguely entered my long-term memory, so that when I encountered it in grad school I knew that I already knew that but also knew that I didn't know it at any very sophisticated level and hadn't studied it in college.

Via Brayden at orgtheory : the new ISI journal figures are out. Impact factors for selected poli sci, political theory, and political philsoophy journals. As is well-known, coverage is spotty-- particularly so for us, because ISI provides the service for Social Sciences (including "Ethics"), but not for the humanities (so excluding any journals it considers to be "Philosophy" rather than "Ethics."). I searched for and could not find History of Political Thought, Review of Politics, Constellations, Polity, European Journl of Political Theory, most of which are in ISI's Web of Science database. (By contrast, both The New Republic and Dissent are listed.)

3.023 APSR
1.923 Philosophy & Public Affairs
1.390 Ethics
1.083 Critical Review
1.055 JOP
0.762 Journal of Political Philosophy
0.500 Political Studies
0.404 Political Theory
0.231 Social Philosophy & Policy
0.230 Social Research

(I omit the AJPS deliberately, as it published zero articles in political theory last year.)

There's obviously something odd about the Critical Review figure. But it's interesting that Journal of Political Philosophy comes in so much above Political Theory.

I played around with the "cited by which journals" function for a few minutes. PPA and Political Theory, not totally surprisingly, are in different minifields; articles in one don't cite articles in the other. Articles in PPA are cited in PPA, Ethics, SPP. Articles in Political Theory are cited in Political Theory, HPT, APSR, JPP. JPP seems to be the bridge journal: cited in both Ethics and Political Theory, citing PPA as often as Constellations or the APSR. This confirms my hunch; lately it has seemed like JPP is the most catholic of the journals I regularly read.