Stories I'm hearing

Stories I'm hearing on the street, in the news, etc.

consciousness-raising begins at home . . .

My poor kids. My son Murphy, a computer scientist, was talking last week about a system for archiving mathematics research on the web. "The problem is that a lot of the important papers are by people who are really old now," he said.  Uh oh.  The problem, I promptly pointed out, isn't age but technological illiteracy. While older scientists were indeed less likely to race to post their work online, it was wrong to assume so on the basis of age alone. He got it, with his characteristic sweet smile, though he probably felt more like kicking me.


Bel Kaufman tells a joke

I loved Up the Down Staircase, the story of an idealistic teacher learning the ropes in a tough urban high school, which came out in 1965 when I was just learning how to be a vile teenager. It turns out that Kaufman's still in the classroom, having been hired last year by Hunter College, her alma mater, to teach a course on Jewish humor.

Bruce and Esther get the hang of it. Or not.

On the one hand, this three-minute video of Esther and Bruce Huffman trying to figure out their new webcam is all about ineptitude.  On the other hand, it’s all about pleasure and perseverance, and the couple is perfectly happy that their granddaughter Emily posted it to YouTube, making them viral celebrities. No matter that it shows Bruce getting plenty frisky with Esther. "We're still trying to figure out how to work it," he says, "but we're having fun trying." I bet Esther nails it.