07 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 Scientists in New Atlantis

"These are (my son) the riches of Salomon's House. "For the several employments and offices of our fellows; we have twelve that sail into foreign countries, under the names of other nations, (for our own we conceal); who bring us the books, and abstracts, and patterns of experiments of all other parts. These we call Merchants of Light. "We have three that collect the experiments which are in all books. These we call Depredators. "We have three that collect the experiments of all mechanical...
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22 SEP 2017 by ideonexus

 Outsourcing our Thinking to Algorithms and Those Who Engi...

...even as an algorithm mindlessly implements its procedures – and even as it learns to see new patterns in the data – it reflects the minds of its creators, the motives of its trainers. Amazon and Netflix use algorithms to make recommendations about books and films. (One-third of purchases on Amazon come from these recommendations.) These algorithms seek to understand our tastes, and the tastes of like-minded consumers of culture. Yet the algorithms make fundamentally different recommend...
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10 MAR 2017 by ideonexus

 Argonauts: Memes and Policies

These are the Argonauts’ core memes. Individual argonauts might be motivated by some or all of them. • Social Responsibility: Scientists must be held to professional standards, especially as technology becomes more enabling and potent. Profit or political/military gain should not be the deciding factor in which technologies are pursued; whatever benefits transhumanity most should prevail. • Opposing Government/Corporate Intervention in Science: Science should not be limited or restrai...
Folksonomies: science humanism
Folksonomies: science humanism
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09 NOV 2015 by ideonexus

 Non-English Languages Lack the Words for Talking About Te...

By the early 19th century, just three—French, English, and German—accounted for the bulk of scientists’ communication and published research; by the second half of the 20th century, only English remained dominant as the U.S. strengthened its place in the world, and its influence in the global scientific community has continued to increase ever since. As a consequence, the scientific vocabularies of many languages have failed to keep pace with new developments and discoveries. In many l...
Folksonomies: culture technology
Folksonomies: culture technology
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02 JUN 2015 by ideonexus

 Metaphor in Science

Metaphor in science, Boyd suggests, is a version of the everyday process in which a metaphor is pressed into service to fill gaps in a language’s vocabulary, like rabbit ears to refer to the antennas that used to sprout from the tops of television sets. Scientists constantly discover new entities that lack an English name, so they often tap a metaphor to supply the needed label: selection in evolution, kettle pond in geology, linkage in genetics, and so on. But they aren’t shackled by the...
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23 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Invoking God to Explain Ignorance is Unproductive

Writing in centuries past, many scientists felt compelled to wax poetic about cosmic mysteries and God's handiwork. Perhaps one should not be surprised at this: most scientists back then, as well as many scientists today, identify themselves as spiritually devout. ut a careful reading of older texts, particularly those concerned with the universe itself, shows that the authors invoke divinity only when they reach the boundaries of their understanding. They appeal to a higher power only when ...
Folksonomies: science religion
Folksonomies: science religion
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08 MAR 2015 by ideonexus

 PhDs Lack Skills for Surviving Outside Academia

Inefficiency arises from the fact that substantial resources have been invested in training these scientists and engineers. The trained have foregone other careers – and the salary that they would have earned – along the way. The public has invested resources in tuition and stipends. If these ‘investments’ are then forced to enter careers that require less training, resources have not been efficiently deployed. Surely there are less expensive ways to train high school science teachers...
Folksonomies: science academia
Folksonomies: science academia
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30 JAN 2015 by ideonexus

 Science Does Not Rob Life of Purpose

Presumably there is indeed no purpose in the ultimate fate of the cosmos, but do any of us really tie our life's hopes to the ultimate fate of the cosmos anyway? Of course we don't; not if we are sane. Our lives are ruled by all sorts of closer, warmer, human ambitions and perceptions. To accuse science of robbing life of the warmth that makes it worth living is so preposterously mistaken, so diametrically opposite to my own feelings and those of most working scientists, I am almost driven to...
Folksonomies: meaning life purpose
Folksonomies: meaning life purpose
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24 JAN 2015 by ideonexus

 The Need for Diversity and Empathy in Science and Religion

The diversity of science also finds a parallel in the diversity of religion. Once, when I was a child, walking with my mother through the English cathedral town of Winchester, I asked her: "Why are there so many different churches?" My mother gave me a wise answer: "Because God likes it that way. If he had wanted us all to worship him in one church, he would not have made so many different kinds of people." That was an answer invented on the spur of the moment to satisfy the curiosity of a fi...
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21 JUN 2014 by ideonexus

 Scientists are After the Adventure of Discovery

The creative scientist is in fact usually more concemed with the relations of things to one another than with the precise verbal analysis of what these things are. He seeks a representation of the world which continually grows by an extension or transformation of what is there akeady. Thus what many scientists are really after is the adventure of discovery itself.
Folksonomies: discovery purpose
Folksonomies: discovery purpose
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