Update: Jason seems to claim that all this MIT-wide scandal was caused by one sentence that Walter Lewin tweeted, "queefing [=vaginal farting] is yours", in a childish conversation about a plan to create a water company that two girls started with him. If true, it's quite unbelievable.Prof Walter Lewin has been a hero of the open courses. His online MIT courses on physics – usually "rather elementary" physics – have attracted millions of viewers. You may perhaps find some cool videos on YouTube or you may directly go to an otherwise obscure backup at VideoLectures.NET.
I recommend you e.g. this lecture on mechanical energy where Lewin offered his life for the claim that the energy is conserved. He said "if I don't succeed in giving the heavy ball the zero speed, this will be my last lecture". The world is a šitty place, however, so the zero speed wasn't a sufficient condition.
Dilaton has noticed an MIT press release (see also NYT) that proudly informs that a student has complained about some online communication with Lewin. A committee has determined that he has violated a "sexual harassment" regulation at MIT.
The result? They removed all of his videos from MIT websites and declared that his title "professor emeritus" is no longer valid.
The former act resembles the Nazis' and Stalinists' approach to inconvenient scientists, the latter act is just nonsense. Of course that professor emeritus Walter Lewin is still a professor emeritus. Just check the definition:
A full professor who retires in good standing may be referred to as a professor emeritus for men, or professor emerita for women. This title is also given to retired professors who continue to teach and to be listed; they may also draw a very large percentage of their last salary as pension. ...Professor emeritus Walter Lewin has clearly retired in good standing so he may demonstrably be referred to as a professor emeritus and I will consistently do so. You may be a provost of MIT and scream that professor emeritus Lewin is no longer a professor emeritus but you may only prove that you are a nasty jerk, not that professor emeritus Walter Lewin is no longer what he is.
The removal of the videos that have taught lots of physics to millions of people – and had the capacity to teach many key things about physics to many others - is unforgivable. Whatever professor emeritus Lewin has done isn't a sin made by these physics videos. The videos – and the scientific knowledge in them – can't be held accountable for any sins, real or perceived ones.
Concerning his sins, I don't know what has really happened. However, because the "offenses" were described as a part of online communication, I know what could have happened according to the laws of physics. Not much. It is not really possible to rape someone online. So what could have professor emeritus Walter Lewin done? He has probably written something.
What could he have written? Perhaps:
If you really like physics, babe, you should also come here and have some games with me, a 79-year-old physicist.You know, the problem is that the other side of this conversation may simply reply
Thank you, professor emeritus, I am honored by your offer but I am not sufficiently into physics for this plan to come true.Another detail you could consider important is that the hypothetical proposition by professor emeritus Lewin above is true. If she (or he?) really liked physics, she (or he?) would prefer similar physics gurus. ;-)
Just a month after the shockingly low-brow, shirt-inspired feminist assault on the Rosetta scientist Matt Taylor whose collaboration has amazingly landed on a comet, the removal of the celebrated videos is another example of the ever more stunning arrogance of feminism and its self-perceived right to stand above everything else. Above every individual. Above the human civilization and its great achievements.
We sometimes talk about the Nazis' pressure on scientists and science and consider it an unacceptable horror story. But what the feminists – female and male ones – are doing these days isn't too much different.
James Watson: silver lining
Sometimes, there are people who fix some of the problems created by the despicable politically correct Nazis. James Watson, the co-discoverer of DNA, was downgraded to an "unperson" and needed to sell the Nobel prize medal to return to the material conditions he has gotten used to.
It's a pleasure to tell you that a Russian billionaire – the richest man in the country – Alisher Usmanov bought the medal for $4.1 million. And what will he do with the medal? He will donate the medal back to James Watson because that's where it belongs!
This is a typical example of the reasons why I consider the influence of Russia on the world to be a self-evident net positive for the world. Russian folks are helping to fix some of the most outrageous deformations that became common in the Western world. Thank you very much, Mr Usmanov. I know that these six words aren't a truly adequate compensation for $4.1 million but if my wealth were $15.8 billion, I would arguably do the same thing as Mr Usmanov! ;-)
BTW don't you want to buy my silver candlestick from the Harvard Society of Fellows? ;-)