25 OCT 2017 by ideonexus

 A Sick Burn

Yet your prison without coherent design continues to imprison you. How can this be, if it has no strong places? The rational prisoner exploits the weak places, creates order from chaos: instead, collectives like the FSF vindicate their jailers by building cells almost compatible with the existing ones, albeit with more features. The journalist with three undergraduate degrees from MIT, the researcher at Microsoft, and the senior scientist at Apple might volunteer a few words about the regulat...
Folksonomies: insults
Folksonomies: insults
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18 JAN 2017 by ideonexus

 Falacy of Seeking Too Much Purpose in Evolutionary Adapta...

Darwin’s concept of evolution is centered on natural selection, or survival of the fittest [1]. Although Darwin did realize that organisms possess structures and even entire organs that might not have an extant function, as is the case of rudiments [2], on the whole, selectionist thinking has heavily dominated the biological literature ever since. In its extreme but not uncommon form, the selectionist, or adaptationist, paradigm perceives every trait as an adaptation. Under this view of bio...
Folksonomies: evolution meaning
Folksonomies: evolution meaning
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30 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Capitalist Peace

Such findings have led some political scientists to entertain a heretical idea called the Capitalist Peace.243 The word liberal in Liberal Peace refers both to the political openness of democracy and to the economic openness of capitalism, and according to the Capitalist Peace heresy, it’s the economic openness that does most of the pacifying. In arguments that are sure to leave leftists speechless, advocates claim that many of Kant’s arguments about democracy apply just as well to capita...
Folksonomies: capitalism peace
Folksonomies: capitalism peace
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24 JAN 2015 by ideonexus

 Pure Understanding of Nature is the Primary Aim of Science

Pupin believed with passionate intensity that the primary aim of science is the pure understanding of nature, and that useful applications must be considered of secondary importance. The prestige and influence which he derived from his inventions he used in an unceasing campaign to improve the standing of fundamental science in America. In this way the paradoxical situation arose, that it was Pupin the practical inventor who did more than any other man of his time to convince the American pub...
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From the preface.

24 DEC 2013 by ideonexus

 The Nominal Fallacy

The nominal fallacy is the error of believing that the label carries explanatory information. An instance of the nominal fallacy is most easily seen when the meaning or importance of a term or concept shrinks with knowledge. One example of this would be the word “instinct.” “Instinct” refers to a set of behaviors whose actual cause we don’t know, or simply don’t understand or have access to, and therefore we call them instinctual, inborn, innate. Often this is the end of the expl...
Folksonomies: cognition fallacy
Folksonomies: cognition fallacy
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Stuart Firestein explains why naming is not explaining.

18 JAN 2013 by ideonexus

 The "Sagan Effect"

With Cosmos, Sagan sought to put an end to the fear and to inspire the kind of wonder Hubble's lectures had inspired in the 1930s and 1940s and the Moon landing had inspired in 1969. The series was enormously successful. For the first time since Hubble, a huge audience was engaged in exploring the grand questions of life, nature, the structure of the uni¬ verse, mythology, and what it might all mean, how it might all fit together, the mystery of it all. It examined how our search for meaning...
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The fact that Carl Sagan was denied tenure at Harvard because of the jealousy of his peers over his public persona.

03 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 All Technology is Social Engineering

Stanford University researcher Jeremy Bailenson has demonstrated that changing the height of one’s avatar in immersive virtual reality transforms self-esteem and social self-perception. Technologies are extensions of ourselves, and, like the avatars in Jeremy’s lab, our identities can be shifted by the quirks of gadgets. It is impossible to work with information technology without also engaging in social engineering. [...] When developers of digital technologies design a program that re...
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When a developer designs an interface for a user to interact with a computer, they imply you are a program. When they put up a wiki, they suggest humans ultimately have a single point of view.

01 OCT 2011 by ideonexus

 Psychology Thought Love Was Bad for Children

Ira Glass: Harry Harlow, was trying to prove-- and I know this is going to sound crazy. He was trying to prove that love is an important thing that happens between parents and children. And the reason why he felt the need to prove this point was at the time-- and again, I know this is going to sound kind of out there. The psychological establishment, pediatricians, even the federal government were all saying exactly the opposite of that to parents. Deborah Blum: It's actually one of those t...
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Deborah Blum, biographer of the researcher Harry Harlow who worked to prove the importance of love in raising children, on the history of psychology ignoring love as something to be given to children.

03 SEP 2011 by ideonexus

 The Effects of Aging and How Exercise Counteracts Them

• Motor neurons die, particularly from age 60 onward. This causes connections between muscle fibers to wither — and that, in turn, eventually leads to loss and shrinking of muscle fibers. As a result, muscles get smaller and a person gets weaker, says Sandra Hunter, an associate professor of exercise science at Marquette University in Milwaukee. "Physical activity can offset some of that," she says. "But there is this biological aging process going on — the neurons will die regardle...
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A bullet point list of some of the physiological effects of aging and how exercise reverses these trends.

31 JUL 2011 by ideonexus

 Don't Spank Your Children

Over the years, many studies have been devoted to assessing the usefulness of this method, often coming to confusing—even opposing—conclusions. One of the latest lightning rods is a five-year review of the research literature by a committee of child development specialists sponsored by the American Psychological Association. The committee came out against corporeal punishment, finding evidence that spanking caused more behavioral problems than other types of punishment, producing more agg...
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Enough studies confirm the detrimental effects of this practice that it shouldn't even controversial, but it is.