Praise for: ” ‘Gina Says,’ Adventures in the Blogsphere String War
(Below the dividing line: Greg Kuperberg, Scott Aaronson, Clifford Johnson, Peter Woit, Motty Perry, Caterina Calsamiglia, Yuval Peres, Eva Illouz, and (right from the comment section) Luca Trevisan, Thomas Love, John Sidles, Jacques Distler, Marni D Sheppeard, (and from other journals/blogs) Hamish Johnston, Lance Fortnow. New: Lubos Motl, Eytan Sheshinski and Tselil Schramm and more!
Shmuel Weinberger (August 07): Very much enjoyed the story of Gina’s involvement in the blog world– i read it through on my flight back to America. It was a very interesting if occasionally difficult read. Probably the part that resonated most was the advice (i think it came from your father) that every subject is fascinating after you study it deeply.
Itai Benjamini It was such a joy to listen to your unique voice (music) yet again. A typo: Section 20 “children’s teaching disabilities” should be “children learning disabilities”. (Feb 08 ):
Elchanan Mossel (Feb 08): I read it when I was sick and couldn’t do other things, and it cheered me up
Olle Haggstrom (March 08): I found it a real page-turner, and read the entire thing for four straight hours last night! Very interesting stuff, on several levels. And very original, of course. May I ask what is your relation to Gina? You seem to have remarkable insight into her mind…
Ken Binmore (June 08) Dear Gil, I like your book a lot. If you get it published, it could do with some pictures. Best wishes, Ken
Greg Kuperberg: (Oct 08) …So the assertion that spacetime is 10-dimensional comes with the important asterisk that it might only look 10-dimensional when it is near a classical limit in the sense of standard semiclassical perturbation theory. In the realistic limit it looks effectively 4-dimensional, and in more exotic limits it may look 11-dimensional (say). If you do not take a limit at all, then maybe spacetime is some non-geometric algebraic object that doesn’t have a dimension.
At the beginning, the greatest charm of your manuscript is its promise to bring an “outsider perspective” to the string wars: unlike the partisans on both sides (Motl, Distler, Smolin, Woit…), Gina presents herself as a curious outsider who’s just trying to pose questions and understand what’s going on. By the end, though, she’s become (at least in my eyes) basically another partisan, for the pro-string side…
there’s lots of food of thought in this unusual manuscript — [despite the above concerns,] I certainly found myself reading till the end.
Clifford Johnson (Nov 2008): I find the Gina character rather well done…. I actually really like your idea… it is fresh and amusing. Well done.
Peter Woit (January 09) : I read through it quickly, amused to relive again some battles of the string wars…. In your fantasy of the future, you mention my book being translated into Czech. Funny, a publishing company there did buy the rights a year or so ago, and I think they will be bringing it out. Sometimes reality and fantasy are indistinguishable in this story… (A post from “Not Even Wrong” with more)
Motty Perry (Jan 09): I started reading your book on my way to the UK (will be back in 3 days) and was forced to stop when the laptop’s battery died. So far (50 pages), it is fascinating!!!; I find it educating and I wait to my next flight to continue reading.
Yuval Peres (Jan 09) I spent several hours reading through it, trying to separate fact from fiction. The statement “Why should I be surprised if I can simply disbelieve.” on page 17 is not due to Gina’s great uncle “Lena” but rather to my grandmother Malka Heller. (GK: Correct!)
Mark Sredniski: I have to say that it’s a bit disappointing to find out that Gina is actually an accomplished mathematician. I remember being impressed by the prescience of some of her comments, back when I believed her to be an interested non-expert, the sort of person the bloggers are all trying to reach.
Bee (aka Sabine Hossenfelder): (in Backreaction) Some of you might remember a commenter called “Gina” being omnipresent in the discussions around Peter’s book “Not Even Wrong” and Lee’s book “The Trouble With Physics”. Gil’s book summarizes these conversations. I didn’t follow them then, and am not tremendously interested to read them now. I have a pdf of the book, but didn’t look at it, so don’t ask for details. I recall wondering back then though whether Gina is indeed female as the name suggests.
New from the remarks sections:
Luca Trevisan (June 09) It was a wonderful idea, and very well executed; I look forward to the second part, but the Comic Sans hurts my eyes.
Thomas Love: Great fun!
Jacques Distler: I recall rather enjoying the Gina character at the time. She seemed a curious mix of occasionally penetrating insights, and a sometimes rather befuddling layman’s (lack of) understanding of the scientific issues under discussion. … the book (at least, the excerpt) has a quaintly antiquarian feel. Comic Sans notwithstanding.
Hamish Johnston: I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Gina as she tried to ingratiate herself back into the conversation.
On Just Notes:
“Gina says” on String Wars reminds me of the Bourbaki phenomenon in math. Though, so far, the endings are quite different, the initial pourpouses are (were) quite similar: to clarify the topic on one hand and to set foundational grounds on the other hand. I wonder if having internet and blogs those days, Bourbaki would have ended up being “Bourbaki says” as well. (!!!)
Lubos Motl, on Arkadian Functor: I wanted to mention that Gina was almost certainly a fictitious nickname of the same Israeli mathematical transvestite. 😉
Eytan Sheshinski (July 09) Gil, I am in the middle of the book. It is a fascinating discussion,some tongue and cheek, by smart people on foundational issues of science which we ,economists, hardly touch. I will use “why should I be surprised if I can simply disbelieve”!
Tselil Schramm (July 09) I have just this moment finished reading the first section of Gina Says, after starting it this morning. I enjoyed it a lot! It was pretty great. I think my favorite part is when Gina gets kicked off, and Gil Kalai posts instead. I laughed out loud! Silly String Wars was also priceless….(August 09) I finished Gina. I liked it a lot, although I have to say the first section is still my favorite. I liked the story about the imagined conversation with the grad student, does it have basis in reality? I also enjoyed the part about trolls a lot. When I read the story of Miles and Jeffery, I felt like I had heard it before… is this possible?
(No additional praises for five years and then…)