18. March 2016 · Comments Off on Gradeinflation.com update online by March 28th · Categories: Uncategorized

Sorry for the delay. I’m starting to make the graphs. Then there will be a few days where I make sure I like it and make minor tweaks. Then it will go online.

This will be my last major update. Ever. That doesn’t mean that grade inflation has ended. Far from it. I’ll write one more research paper on the topic and I’ll be done. It’s been kind of fun being America’s Grade Inflation Czar and I’m proud of the work Chris and I have done.

But I have a finite amount of time on this planet and I have a long list of stuff I want to do. OK, I won’t say never about a future update. If I’m 99 years old, have a working brain, and have done everything else on my long list, I promise to do another update. For those desperate for new data (there are, I know, a few of you out there), here’s a graph of 100+ years of grades at one school. It won’t be posted on the website. Consider it a teaser. Enjoy!

25. February 2016 · Comments Off on Too much about Stu’s eyeball, part 2 · Categories: Uncategorized

I went to my eye doc for the first time in three weeks, yesterday. It’s been seven plus weeks out from my eye surgery and I feel like me again. There’s a little drop of gas left in my eye, but it doesn’t screw up my vision unless I look down. My central vision isn’t what it was before my eye started to fall apart, but it’s a lot better than it was before surgery. My macular hole is gone. My retinal tear has fully healed. My doc says my vision might continue to improve over the next six months. I’m ecstatic.

But it took a while to get there, a lot longer than anyone told me it would. A friend who had this surgery and who heard about my kvetching while I was recovering agreed. She said that the recovery from her vitrectomy for her macular hole was worse than the recovery from her hysterectomy. Ouch. I have no idea how common long drawn out recoveries are from this surgery. But they likely aren’t uncommon.

When I last went on and on about my eye on this blog, I was two weeks out from surgery. What would follow was the gradual (about 2 percent a day) loss of gas in my eye. I started to get a glimmer of vision in the top part of my eye at about week three. Every day the gas level would drop a little more and I could see more. That was the good side of things.

But there was continued fatigue, which lasted through the sixth week. There were incredibly painful sinus headaches that would wake me up in the middle of the night and drive me to tears. From weeks two through five, the headaches were so frequent that I continued to spend a lot of time in my massage chair during the day. Keeping my head down seemed to dull the pain. Every day I would wake up, pop two Tylenol tabs, and ride my morning headache out in that massage chair. My eye felt incredibly tight and strained, like it was in a vice that was squeezing it constantly. It was draining both emotionally and physically.

During the middle of week three, the gas level in my eye was down enough that I could see a significant amount through my right eye, but that meant my brain had to process this fuzzy visual info. I’d get dizzy if I walked around the neighborhood using both eyes. Also, my repaired eye was very sensitive to wind and cold and would tighten up even more than usual while I did my daily walk. These walks would induce severe headaches. I called up my doc and asked if I could temporarily use an eye patch, something he told me not to do originally. He relented and said it would be OK. The patch turned out to be very useful, especially for walking outside. I wouldn’t get dizzy. My eye wouldn’t cramp from the wind and cold as I walked and my headaches were back to being mostly manageable.

By week five, the all day headaches were gone. Instead, I’d have a headache when I woke up that was fairly mild and that would tend to disappear by about 11 AM. I didn’t need to use the massage chair anymore. The middle of the night headaches would happen every third day or so and were still nasty. But the eye strain and the feeling that a vice was squeezing my eye were gradually abating. I could sense I was getting a little better day by day. My wife said the pattern was that I’d have two days forward and one day back.

Then in the middle of week six, my energy started to return in a rush. I stopped having headaches in the middle of the night. The gas level in my eye obscured only about twenty percent of my vision. The eye strain was gone.

I started to work again during week six. I still couldn’t see all that well when I read, but I bought some cheap high power reading glasses to help me. By week seven I didn’t need the reading glasses anymore. I could read pretty well with my old progressive lenses.

All in all, it took six plus weeks to recover from this surgery. I’m overjoyed both to have energy and have pretty good eyesight in my repaired eye. Sitting around and dealing with pain every day was no fun. I haven’t had a headache in three days. I’m happy and grateful to be able to focus my brain on work again.

02. December 2015 · Comments Off on November news fit to print · Categories: Uncategorized

I received comments from early readers about my new novel, Among the Righteous, and will spend most of December writing one last draft before I send the book to my agent. I’m feeling optimistic about this new book. November was National Jewish Book Month and that meant I visited a lot of synagogues to talk about The Mathematician’s Shiva. TMS has been out for 15 months. I never imagined it would be noticed for anywhere close to this long, but I’m, of course, happy that it continues to be noticed and read (and continues to sell). I went up to Seattle and Vancouver to give three talks. Below you’ll find a picture of the houseboat I stayed at in Seattle, whose airport has the nicest TSA agents I’ve ever met. I have a couple of April speaking dates for TMS and then will put that book to bed so I can start talking about the new one.image

30. May 2015 · Comments Off on Audio version of TMS available for pre-order · Categories: Uncategorized

Those craving for an audio version of The Mathematician’s Shiva (or craving for some shameless self-promotion from me)  can now preorder a copy. Perfect for a winter drive along I-80 or the Trans-Canada. Or for a summer drive on I-10 when you’re roasting and dreaming of cool climes.

26. March 2015 · Comments Off on March news fit to print · Categories: Uncategorized

I had a fun time in NYC. I picked up the National Jewish Book Award for The Mathematician’s Shiva and spent some time being a tourist (two shows and two museums). jbcawardceremonyThe Mathematician’s Shiva won another prize this month, the Friends of American Writers Literature Award, which I will pick up in Chicago in May. I’ll pick up the American Library Association’s Sophie Brody Medal finalist prize for The Mathematician’s Shiva in June at the ALA annual convention in SF. If you’re a librarian who is attending and want to speak with me, send me an email. The response to this book has exceeded my expectations by far and I am grateful.  TMS has gone through four printings and its fifth will have updated blurbs and award mentions. I’ve been working with the Library of Congress, which is putting out an audio version of TMS for the sight impaired.  It’s been fun riding the (unexpected) wave. I’m hibernating in April so I can make some solid progress on my next novel. I’ll do a little traveling and speaking in May.

18. February 2015 · Comments Off on February news fit to print · Categories: Uncategorized

The Mathematician’s Shiva continues to find an audience and is still showing up on bookstores’ bestselling lists (which both surprises me and makes me happy). It was named an American Library Association Sophie Brody Medal finalist and was also named one of the Favorite Physics Books of 2014 by Scientific American. Reviews are still coming in – which also surprises and makes me happy – including reviews from the European Mathematical Society, the Jewish Daily Forward, Cleaver Magazine and Washington Jewish Week. I had a fun time at a Jewish Science Authors program at the Foster City JCC. I’ll be giving a little music show at The Marsh in Berkeley on February 24th and will be appearing at an AAUW girls science camp fundraiser in Mountain View on February 28th.

14. January 2015 · Comments Off on The Mathematician’s Shiva wins a National Jewish Book Award · Categories: Uncategorized

The Mathematician’s Shiva is the 2014 National Jewish Book Award winner for Outstanding Debut Fiction. I am ecstatic. I was also very lucky to have had so much support while writing this book. It took four years to go from beginning to write TMS to publication and I owe a lot of people a lot of thanks for their help along the way.

List of all winners and finalists is here:

08. January 2015 · Comments Off on A little late, but my annual Christmas tune is here · Categories: Uncategorized

Every year I take a Christmas tune written by a native Yiddish speaker, translate it back into its “original” Yiddish, and send it to my friends. This year I’m going semi-public. The tune is The Christmas Song by Melvin Torma (aka Mel Torme). It isn’t publicly listed on Youtube, but you can find it below. Enjoy!


09. December 2014 · Comments Off on A little of the TMS news fit to print · Categories: Uncategorized

At the end of November, The Mathematician’s Shiva crept back into the SF Chron’s bestsellers list (it was number 12). 12 weeks out and it still has legs! It’s a recommended holiday gift buy at Scientific American and at the Jewish Book Council (but you don’t have to be a math geek or Jewish to buy TMS as a gift for a friend or loved one, honest). I’ll be on the nationally syndicated radio show West Coast Live on December 13th (10:00 AM PST) and will be giving a reading during AGU Week in San Francisco at Alexander Book Co. on December 15th (early, 5:00 PM).

12. November 2014 · Comments Off on Readings in Florida · Categories: Uncategorized

For any Floridians or friends of Floridians, I’ll be reading, doing a Q&A and giving figure skating instruction (it’s never too late to learn) at a few places in the days ahead.

Books & Books, Coral Gables, November 14th, 8:00 PM

Bookstore1, Sarasota, November 17th, 1:00 PM (just a quick signing of stock copies, but if someone shows I’ll have a cup of coffee with them)

Inkwood Books, Tampa, November 17th 7:00 PM

I’ll also be at the Greater Miami Cholent Cookoff in Aventura on 11/15 (as an unofficial taste tester).