17 MAY 2017 by ideonexus

 Diderot on Information Overload

As long as the centuries continue to unfold, the number of books will grow continually, and one can predict that a time will come when it will be almost as difficult to learn anything from books as from the direct study of the whole universe. It will be almost as convenient to search for some bit of truth concealed in nature as it will be to find it hidden away in an immense multitude of bound volumes. When that time comes, a project, until then neglected because the need for it was not felt,...
Folksonomies: information overload
Folksonomies: information overload
  1  notes
 
31 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 The Future of "Brave New World" is "The Time Machine"

Brave New World gives us a dramatic view of a future in which the technology made possible by science brings science to a halt. This future is consistent with the more remote future seen by the Time Traveler in Wells's Time Machine. After the disruptive influence of science has been permanently tamed by the triumph of bureaucracy and eugenics, it is easy to imagine human society remaining stuck in the rigidly conservative caste system of Brave New World for thousands of centuries, until the s...
  1  notes
 
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
  1  notes
 
18 MAR 2015 by ideonexus

 Altruism is a Basic Human Instinct

The cost for my survival must have been hundreds of millions of dollars. All to save one dorky botanist. Why bother? Well, okay. I know the answer to that. Part of it might be what I represent: progress, science, and the interplanetary future we’ve dreamed of for centuries. But really, they did it because every human being has a basic instinct to help each other out. It might not seem that way sometimes, but it’s true. If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a sear...
Folksonomies: altruism
Folksonomies: altruism
  1  notes
 
13 MAR 2015 by ideonexus

 Changing Spelling has Happened in the Past

Objection to simplified spelling has been made on the supposition that it "wil cut us off from the literature of the past," meaning that those taught in the new way wil be unable to read the books red today. This can not be so, because the present spelling wil be no more difficult to read by one who has learnd to spel the new way, than is the new spelling by one who has learnd the old way. Children who hav learnd to spel in the simplified way wil, in fact, read the books printed toda...
Folksonomies: spelling standards
Folksonomies: spelling standards
  1  notes

Technology, translation services, will make migration even easier.

04 FEB 2015 by ideonexus

 Foundation and Empire

"Well," Bayta's eyes misted with thought as she curled her bare toes into the white softness of the rug and nestled her little chin in one plump hand, "it seems to me that the whole essence of Seldon's plan was to create a world better than the ancient one of the Galactic Empire. It was failing apart, that world, three centuries ago, when Seldon first established the Foundation – and if history speaks truly, it was falling apart of the triple disease of inertia, despotism, and maldistributi...
  1  notes
 
29 JAN 2015 by ideonexus

 Loss of Hope Accelerates the Death of Trantor

"The fall of Trantor," said Seldon, "cannot be stopped by any conceivable effort. It can be hastened easily, however. The tale of my interrupted trial will spread through the Galaxy. Frustration of my plans to lighten the disaster will convince people that the future holds no promise to them. Already they recall the lives of their grandfathers with envy. They will see that political revolutions and trade stagnations will increase. The feeling will pervade the Galaxy that onl...
Folksonomies: society hope justice
Folksonomies: society hope justice
  1  notes
 
11 OCT 2013 by ideonexus

 The Meaning of "We" in Science and Mathematical Texts

I request a last indulgence from the reader. The introductory material, thus far, has been written in the friendly and confiding first person singular voice. Starting in the next paragraph, I will inhabit the first person plural for the duration of the mathematical expositions. This should not be construed as a “royal we.” It has been a construct of the community of mathematicians for centuries and it traditionally signifies two ideas: that “we” are all in consultation with each other...
  1  notes

"We" refers to the collaborative effort of problem solving.

07 OCT 2013 by ideonexus

 Imagining the Primitive Mind

AND now let us indulge in a very interesting speculation; how did it feel to be a man in those early days of the human adventure? How did men think and what did they think in those remote days of hunting and wandering four hundred centuries ago before seed time and harvest began. Those were days long before the written record of any human impressions, and we are left almost entirely to inference and guesswork in our answers to these questions. [...] Primitive man probably thought very much ...
  1  notes

As evolution tends to build in lairs, the primitive mind must have been much like that of a child.

28 MAY 2013 by ideonexus

 Beginnings of Speciation in Romantic Paintings

She wandered on her own, looking at the portraits. The big crowd scenes were too much for her, like epic movies all jammed into a single frame. The subjects of the portraits, on the other hand, looked at her with expressions she recognized immediately. “I am always me, I am always new, I am always me”—for eight centuries they had been saying it. Nothing but women and men. One woman had her left nipple exposed, just under the curve of a necklace; in most periods that would have been tran...
  1  notes

Character walking around an art museum.