The January issue of the Notices of the AMS is out, and it contains an article by Anatoly Vershik on the Clay Millenium prize. You may remember a discussion we had on the wisdom of awards in general, in the context of the AMS idea of creating a fellows program and of the pros and cons of having a best paper award at STOC and FOCS.

Vershik returns to some of the standard points in this debate, and makes a few new ones. Although the tone of the article is completely serious, there are hints of deadpan humor (especially in the way he characterizes the opinions of others).

There is really no connection, but I was reminded of Closing the collapse gap, the hilarious presentation by Dmitry Orlov (found via the Peking Duck), in which he argues that when the U.S. economy will collapse, we will be much less prepared than the Russians were, and we will be in much deeper troubles. As stated in the comments at the Peking Duck, when Russians are deadly serious about something, they deal with it through dark humour.

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