Sylvia Nasar on Fame, Depression, and John Nash

Last Thursday night Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind was on campus as part of a mental health awareness campaign put on by the graduate school. Given the sparse attendance in the large Rackham auditorium I’m not sure whether the awareness campaign is making much headway. The story of John Nash is an interesting one, to be sure, but I’m not sure it’s an encouraging one for graduate students. Nash, for those of you who don’t know, is the Nobel prize winning mathematician who infamously went crazy, schizophrenia to be precise, for thirty odd years after a meteoric rise to a pinnacle of the math world.

Joanne Yates and some History of Technology

Last Friday I attended a seminar by Joanne Yates about the history of computing and information management in the insurance industry. The insurance industry has been one of the most technologically advanced over the last 100 years, investing in new information technologies at a rapid clip; they were one of the first industries to use computers after World War Two. But Yates argues that the technophilia goes back even further into the early twentieth century when the latest technology were punch-card tabulators.

Delusions of Ash: Reflections on Hiroshima

There is nothing of greatness about the United States that is not also the greatness of all human beings. Everyone who lives or dies in this world is entitled to the same respect, the same rights, as those whom chance has allowed to be born in the United States. To imagine that we are above humanity, that we are the greatest nation that has ever existed, is ultimate hubris. It is the hubris that allows us to torture others without complaint.

60 Years Pasts, The Nuclear Age Begins

60 years ago today the world entered a new era of history. The [Trinity test of the first atomic bomb]1 took place in Alamogordo, New Mexico. It seems like it should be much longer in time since those momentous events. Sixty years is such a short amount of time. I marvel at my own birth a scant twenty-six years after the blast. My own twenty-sixth birthday has come and gone and I wonder if I would have had the same courage to