Max D Porter


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Open Thread July 2019

Only barely related, but Grassmann numbers are hilariously weird. Among other properties, their square is always zero (though they’re generally non-zero).

The Best Textbooks on Every Subject

I would anti-recommend Purcell, but I acknowledge that for some people it’s the best. It’s more wordy and “tell rather than show” than e.g. Griffiths.

On Reichl’s book, I want to note from what I’ve heard (not personally read) that the 2nd edition has much more explanation and intuition that the 3rd edition cut out. I haven’t read other statistical mechanics books and so can’t compare to others.

The Best Textbooks on Every Subject

I’m surprised to see Sakurai here rather than Griffiths. The latter is the classic undergraduate introduction, which would seem better targeted to this audience. The topics Sakurai has that Griffith’s doesn’t are more technical than any non-physicist is likely to care about (e.g. the Heisenberg representation). Griffiths’ strength is that he “speaks to you”, making it feel like 1-on-1 tutoring rather than a theory paper. I learned from Griffith’s 2nd edition (blue cover), and although the 3rd edition is out now (red cover) its reviews so far seem mixed:

Major Update on Cost Disease

Good point about benefits = healthcare = rising, but I'm not sure about your circular reasoning claim. Seems more like you could argue that K-12 cost increases are the result of healthcare price increases, but now you still have to explain why healthcare prices have increased so much.

Major Update on Cost Disease

On page 17 of his book, Alex shows that administrators in K-12 education are a vanishingly small fraction of the employees. He thoroughly addresses and dismisses bloat theory in the book (which would notably be a different effect than Baumol).

Major Update on Cost Disease

Thanks! I originally tried using those links but didn't know to add ".png" to the end.