Saturday, December 26, 2009


In the spirit of end-of-the-year lists, here is an amusing collection I just came across: who you are, as revealed by your favorite philosopher.

Socrates: People who didn’t study philosophy.
Plato: People who did study philosophy, but only as an elective.
Aristotle: People who know they should tidy their room, but never do.
Parmenides: People who cross their legs in a slightly stiff and awkward way.
Pythagoras: People who are suspicious of beans.
Thomas Aquinas: People who express overly convoluted arguments to justify things that we all already agree with.
Francis Bacon: People who like art, but know little about science.
Thomas Hobbes: Highly intelligent, highly irritable men.
Rene Descartes: Americans who call him “dez-car-dees” and love saying “I think therefore I am” but don’t know what “cogito ergo sum” means.
John Locke: People who read Newsweek, but only because they haven’t yet discovered The Economist.
David Hume: Jolly people with a lingering sense of urgency.
Immanuel Kant: People who are never, ever late.
Machiavelli: People who wear their collars turned up, and probably earn more than you.
Gottfried Leibniz: People who wear berets, but shouldn’t.
George Berkeley: People who got the heebie-jeebies from watching The Matrix.
Hegel: People who pause in conversation, grasping for the longest word they can think of to express a simple idea.
Friedrich Nietzsche: People who came to philosophy during the most awkward 15 minutes of their teenage years.
Adam Smith: People who secretly enjoy romantic comedies.
Karl Marx: Men with beards and women who don’t wear makeup.
John Stuart Mill: People who like scotch and soda.
Gottlob Frege: People who wear different coloured socks.
Bertrand Russell: People who secretly want to smoke a pipe.
Ludwig Wittgenstein: People you’re always surprised to see in the queue to the latest Hollywood blockbuster.
Jean-Paul Sartre: People who once smoked – and may still do – even though they hate it.
Simone de Beauvoir: Men who think quoting philosophy impresses women; women who aren’t impressed by men quoting philosophy.
Martin Heidegger: People with a disconcerting lazy eye, so you never know if they’re talking to you.
Jaques Derrida: People with expansive bookshelves, prominently displayed, few of which have been read.
Michel Foucault: Good looking people who wish they were better looking.
John Rawls: People who fantasise about working for Obama.
Ayn Rand: People who are polite but insistent, and who wear comfortable shoes.
Richard Rorty: People who still like merlot, no matter what anyone thinks.
Noam Chomsky: People who confuse a conversation for an argument at dinner parties.
Daniel Dennett: People who have never watched commercial television.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Crowdsourcing Science

What does science mean to you? Don't say it; draw it! Tim Jones, a science communicator in London, has initiated a worldwide science art project collecting drawings from scientists, students, journalists, artists – in short, just about everyone. In an attempt to find out the true narratives behind people's view of science, he "persuaded friends and even complete strangers—all of whom belonged to one of three categories: scientists, professional communicators, and the general public—to sit down with a pen and paper and draw what they think is important in science." I think this is a pretty cool idea, and will be checking to see how the project develops. Add your own drawing to the mosaic here.