Welcome to the Mike Huben wiki! The URL to this site is as simple as I can make it: huben.us
My email address is also simple: email@example.com
I thought a wiki would be the simplest way to organize much of my online activity: eventually, wikis will supplant my other sites. This page is organized roughly by my interests, with the things that might be relevant to my students first.
TeachingBoston Latin School. This year I'm teaching:
I'm the faculty sponsor for the following student organizations:
- BLS Math Team
- Computer Science Club Email
- BLS Cinema Society (film club) Email Lists of Films
I gladly write recommendations for my students, present and past. Just ask.
I've written an Intelligent Design Overview For US Science Teachers.
Here's my resume.
An idea for a Truth course.
My theme song is "Weird Al" Yankovic's White & Nerdy.
I grew up in Plainview, NY (on Long Island.) I was thrilled to escape to Cornell University where I studied plant breeding, botany, entomology, and computer science. I had many part-time jobs there, working in a genetics lab (photo), the botanical greenhouses, the insect collection and the computer labs. I was a brother in Triangle Fraternity (see: Revenge Of the Nerds.) I worked 3 years for Control Data in NY City, then Minneapolis, and then took a year-long road trip around the US collecting insects and mites in 1981. I moved to Boston, worked six more years, then took a 7 month trip to Ecuador to collect more insects and mites in 1987. I returned to Boston and immediately married, bought a house in Arlington, and worked in software until I changed to teaching high school in 2005.
Aikido and Iaido
I've practiced Aikido and Iaido at New England Aikikai with the late Mitsunari Kanai for more than twenty years. I'm yondan (4rth degree black belt) in Honbu style (USAF) Aikido and sandan (3rd degree black belt) in Muso Shinden Ryu Iaido. I haven't been active in Iaido lately. I teach children's classes and practice at New England Aikikai, and I also sometimes attend Aikido Tekkojuku Boston, a newer school founded by numerous instructors from New England Aikikai. I also have taught at the Harvard Aikido Club and the Tufts Aikido Club. I met my wife at the Aikido dojo, and the whole family practices.
I read omnivorously in science, politics, and philosophy, but I've always read a LOT of SF and Fantasy. My favorite has long been comic fantasy, especially the Discworld and Dresden Files series. My favorite SF is Babylon 5, the most enormous and brilliant space opera in print or film: 120 episodes of one complex story. It makes Star Wars look like the overproduced pablum that it is. I avoid almost all sports programs and events. I don't have a working TV: I tend to watch the rare interesting TV show on the internet. John Stewart and Stephen Colbert are like unto gods.
I've always had a strong interest in botany and gardening. I used to work for Cornell's Bailey Hortorium, caring for their live botanical collection of several thousand species in the greenhouse and their outdoor garden. My home garden has a bit over 300 varieties of perennials and shrubs.
Daylilies are my major garden interest. While I refuse to be so smitten that I myopically class other perennials as "companion plants", I've built a medium size assortment (400) for garden pleasure and hybridizing. I've always wanted to hybridize again, and daylilies are such a no-care and simple group to work with that I could not resist. I currently have about 3000 seedlings, 1000 from each of the past 3 years. I am a modestly successful hybridizer with about 20 introduced varieties that sell widely in North America and Europe.
I'm a member of both local daylily societies:
I regularly speak around the region about my hybridizing program and my gardening interests.
- My newest daylily website, on this wiki: Diploids Resurgent.
- My second daylily web site, a blog.
- My first daylily web site, Mike Huben's Garden Page.
Cooking and Eating
I do a lot of cooking in many styles, mostly really yummy but none terribly expert.
- I've long kept my recipes on the computer.
I cook some Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Italian, Viennese, and Latin American dishes, as well as Canadian/American mainstays.
I most love Asian foods with the exception of Korean and Indonesian (I just haven't grown accustomed to them.) Europe holds less gastronomic allure for me, since I don't appreciate wine or cheese, can do without beer, and can't eat most sausages or cured meats because the salt levels are too high. My favorite Chinese places to eat out are:
- Mary Chung (Central Square, Cambridge) and
- Yen Ching (Harvard Square, Cambridge.)
If anybody can get me Mary's recipe for Dun Dun Noodles or the Yen Ching recipes for Kung Pao Chicken, I'd be grateful. I also enjoy Dim Sum in Chinatown. When I crave Japanese food, I usually go to the restaurants of my Aikido friends:
- Yasu Itoh's Tampopo in Porter Square, Cambridge, or
- Shinji Murakai's Toraya north of Arlington Center.
Philosophy and Countering Libertarianism
My philosophical ideas spring from skepticism, relativism, positivism, pragmatism, progressivism and humanism. When evaluating ideas, I work with the assumption that theories ought to match reality -- it is surprising how much theory matches reality badly. This tends to produce a preference for ideas that are valid (ie. work well) rather than theoretically correct (without working well.)
Critiques Of Libertarianism
I specialize in criticizing libertarianism, and run the only site I know of dedicated to that. This features:
- Mike's Skepticism
I was briefly a contributing editor writing a monthly column for Suite101. That ended when I did not meet deadlines. The originals were at: Skepticism.
- Disgust With Philosophy
I believe philosophical thinking is a necessary tool. But not for any knowledge or wisdom. The only valid use I find for philosophy is to REJECT ideas: most prominently those of philosophers. When students tell me they are interested in philosophy, I want to steer them away from it: what a futile waste of time!
I am a zealous, evangelistic, crusading agnostic and skeptic, in religion, politics, pseudoscience, and quack medical practice. I've been posting for about 35 years (first on the old PLATO system and later on USENET) to political and religious newsgroups. Here's an autobiographical posting from an old secular humanist mailing list. I'm a huge fan of Richard Dawkins and PZ Meyers.
I have a small index of writings against various Creationism arguments.
Here's my Why I Am An Atheist posting at Pharyngula.
Entomology and Evaniidae
One of my true loves has always been Entomology. I used to specialize in Acarology (the study of mites), and built a collection of a thousand slide-mounted specimens (and who knows how many more in alcohol that I've never mounted.) I've got a substantial number of colorful mite photographs that I've always wanted to publish, photographed by my friends in the New York Microscopical Society and me. After my last sabbatical collecting insects in Ecuador (1988), I finally settled on my current specialization, the Evaniidae (a family of wasps that parasitize cockroach egg cases.) I study these at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology on an unofficial basis. I'm also a member of the Cambridge Entomological Club.
One of the fun aspects of being a wide-ranging collector is that my collections are used for describing species.
I always name my car: my current Scion xB is named Neoclamisus because it looks like the beetle.