Weirdness on Amazon

[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]

There’s a book of mine titled The Temptation of Ludwig Boltzmann that’s listed on Amazon, Google Books, and Worldcat.

Ludwig Boltzmann I know it’s a book because Worldcat says so. But it’s really an 11-page paper I wrote for a course in college back in 1983. (Google Books calls it “22 pages,” but that’s because they’re counting the blank back sides.) So how did it get listed in these various venues?

Initially I saw only the Amazon listing, and was mightily puzzled; but I eventually figured it out. (I would have figured it out sooner if I’d seen the Worldcat listing.) This paper (a fictional dramatisation of the implications of Boltzmann’s views on probability) was submitted by my professor (astrophysicist David Layzer) to an undergraduate essay contest called the James Bryant Conant Competition in Natural Science that year; it won, which I’m guessing caused a bound copy of it to be shelved in the Harvard library archives, which in turn caused it to be listed as a book in various databases. But it’s just an undergraduate paper, and it’s never been available for sale anywhere. Weird.

If I come across my copy (no doubt buried in a box somewhere) I’ll post the thing.

In vaguely related news, I also stumbled across the existence of an I Love Roderick Long t-shirt. I am not responsible for this and have no idea who is! Double weird.


0 Responses to Weirdness on Amazon

  1. Kevin February 13, 2008 at 5:57 pm #


    Anarchy vs. Minarchy on Cato Unbound! Do comment! PLEASE!

  2. Kevin February 13, 2008 at 6:11 pm #

    Note: I realize that I am among the primary suspects for t-shirt creator. But I swear on my honor that I did not make it! (I don’t even own one! …. yet.)

  3. Bob Kaercher February 13, 2008 at 7:18 pm #

    Maybe Kinsella did the T-shirt?

    BTW, that’s a great picture of you. Does that appear on the back flap of your “book”?

  4. Joe February 13, 2008 at 11:40 pm #

    It appears there are 1,236,000 t-shirts like that, probably for every celebrity, author, etc.

  5. Kalynne Pudner February 14, 2008 at 2:52 am #

    Actually, the entire philosophy faculty has had these individualized t-shirts made, and we are going to bribe our students and various fans to wear them around campus for exactly one week, then have an on-line election for Philosophy President. Ain’t democracy grand?

  6. pendragon February 14, 2008 at 11:49 am #

    LOL on Bob Kaercher’s compliment of “the great picture of you”

    you really are loveable . . .

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