Yesterday, Martin Gardner seemed like he’d be sailing in on a gentle wave of nostalgia, but then Dzhaughn brought us back to reality:
I cannot believe we are having this conversation. Self-made multi-billionaire philanthropist African American warrior saint v. nerd game writer. Let. me. think. Copies of O per copies of Sci Am? I am looking at your bracket, looks a bit pale. Rhymes with male. Twenty nineteen.
If Gardner is THAT important to you, evidently there are backdoors. That’s your business. But it does not work the other way. Once you see your photo in the newspaper, “Columbia Blog dumps Oprah,” there is no going back.
You cannot geng Oprah Winfrey.
And Phil followed up:
Don’t get me wrong, like all right-thinking people of my generation I loved Gardner’s columns and books. But I picked up a copy of ‘The Night is Large’ about ten years ago, read a few dozen pages, then put it aside and haven’t picked it up since. I’ve read a lot of Gardner, Back In The Day, and I’ve got Gardner right there waiting for me…but I have no idea what Oprah is like.
I’m a little concerned that if Oprah comes to speak at Columbia, maybe Dr. Oz will show up in the audience . . . but I guess that’s a risk we’ll have to take.
And today we have the fourth-seeded mathematician, legendary codebreaker and Bayesian, martyr, the inventor of round-the-house chess, for chrissake!, competing against an unseeded mathematician, who’s famous for . . . getting really cold one time? Doesn’t seem close to me, but who knows, maybe you can get creative in the comment thread.
Again, the full bracket is here, and here are the rules:
We’re trying to pick the ultimate seminar speaker. I’m not asking for the most popular speaker, or the most relevant, or the best speaker, or the deepest, or even the coolest, but rather some combination of the above.
I’ll decide each day’s winner not based on a popular vote but based on the strength and amusingness of the arguments given by advocates on both sides. So give it your best!