17 MAY 2017 by ideonexus

 The Collector’s Fallacy and Tsundoku

One of my favorite Japanese words is tsundoku (積ん読). Aside from being a fantastic pun, I think it’s captures our shared problem pretty well: “Tsundoku” is the condition of acquiring reading materials but letting them pile up in one’s home without reading them. Buying books does not equal reading books. We all know that. Yet, so many end up victims of tsundoku anyway. Why? One problem, I think, is that collecting feels like learning. Each time we discover a new productivi...
Folksonomies: knowledge collecting
Folksonomies: knowledge collecting
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03 MAR 2014 by ideonexus

 The Danger of Scientific Ignorance in a Science-Based Civ...

I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time — when we're a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those In authority; when, clutching our crystals and r...
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We are more reliant on science than ever before, but we are also most disdainful of it.

15 NOV 2013 by ideonexus

 Observations are Grounded in Language

What are observations? Some philosophers have taken them to be sensory events: the occurrence of smells, feels, noises, color patches. This way lies frustration. What we ordinarily notice and testify to are rather the objects and events out in the world. It is to these that our very language is geared, because language is a social institution, learned from other people who share the scene to which the words refer. Observation sentences, like theoretical sentences, are for the most part senten...
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Not senses.

27 JUL 2011 by ideonexus

 The Biological Big Bang

As a scientist, I was very aware that watching a baby’s brain develop feels as if you have a front-row seat to a biological Big Bang. The brain starts out as a single cell in the womb, quiet as a secret. Within a few weeks, it is pumping out nerve cells at the astonishing rate of 8,000 per second. Within a few months, it is on its way to becoming the world’s finest thinking machine.
Folksonomies: science wonder brain
Folksonomies: science wonder brain
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What it's like for a scientist to watch the developing brain of a baby.

18 MAY 2011 by ideonexus

 Scientific Scrutiny is Difficult to Bear

Even when it's applied sensitively, scientific scepticism may come across as arrogant, dogmatic, heartless and dismissive of the feelings and deeply held beliefs of others. And, it must be said, some scientists and dedicated sceptics apply this tool as a blunt instrument, with little finesse. Sometimes it looks as if the sceptical conclusion came first, that contentions were dismissed before, not after, the evidence was examined. All of us cherish our beliefs. They are, to a degree, self-defi...
Folksonomies: science culture criticism
Folksonomies: science culture criticism
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It comes across as arrogant and insensitive.