p4. Editorial by Stanley Schmidt, on “Noisy Signals”. About US political campaigns being typically less about issues or what candidates intend to do about them, and more about mudslinging and allegations about candidates’ character and misdeeds. “The one thing we can count is that one of the candidates will be elected, and will then do things that affect the rest of us. So it’s to our advantage to make our best efforts to pick the one who will do the best job–or at least the least damage.” He suggests a few ways to separate the noise from the signal, e.g. looking at recent past voting record of candidates. Concludes that even if one can not get a “clean signal”, we have to make our best efforts and extract as much information as we can. “There’s too much at stake to give up because it isn’t easy”.

p23. “Geology, geohistory, and “Psychohistory”: The (continuing) debate between Uniformitarians and Catastrophists” by Richard A. Lovett. Fact article, pointing out a geological debate between Uniformitarians who argue that geological processes occur slowly over “deep time” Vs. the Catastrophists who propose that there are geological processes that come as a result of single catastrophes. Cited the story of J Harlen Bretz.

Suggests why the “catastrophic” view was not accepted; at p24:

“Uniformitarianism was to make the science respectable compared to physics,” Baker says. Physicists can perform lab experiments. Geologists don’t have that luxury. “So people thought you needed a principle, to ground the science in something strong.”
Soennichsen thinks it stemmed from a deep-set inferiority complex. “[Geologists] weren’t guys in lab coats with test tubes–you were chipping away at rocks, which a five-year-old can do. The inferiority complex led them to latch onto this fundamental principle.”

p48. “Rendezvous at Angles Thirty” by Tom Ligon. A WWII American Mustang air mission is recreated. Realistic and credible description of the air battle, I thought.