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
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23 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Write With Style

Newspaper reporters and technical writers are trained to reveal almost nothing about themselves in their writings. This makes them freaks in the world of writers, since almost all of the other ink-stained wretches in that world reveal a lot about themselves to readers. We call these revelations, accidental and intentional, elements of style. These revelations tell us as readers what sort of person it is with whom we are spending time. Does the writer sound ignorant or informed, stupid or bri...
Folksonomies: writing style
Folksonomies: writing style
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18 MAR 2015 by ideonexus

 The Importance of Comparative Alphabets

But when I had grasped the facts that spellings are often false, that words can be invented, and that explanations are often wrong, I found that worse remained behind. The science of phi- lology is comparatively modern, so that our earlier writers had no means of ascertaining principles that are now well established, and, instead of proceeding by rule, had to go blindly by guesswork, thus sowing crops of errors which have sprung up and multiplied till it requires very careful investigatio...
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24 JAN 2015 by ideonexus

 Superstring Theory

It is time now to try to describe what a superstring really is. Here I run into the same difficulty which the geometer Euclid encountered 2,200 years ago. Euclid was trying to convey to his readers his idea of a geometrical point. For this purpose he gave his famous definition of a point: "A point is that which has no parts, or which has no magnitude." This definition would not be very helpful to somebody who was ignorant of geometry and wanted to understand what a point was. Euclid's notion ...
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06 FEB 2013 by ideonexus

 Desiderata

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your...
Folksonomies: poetry living thoughts
Folksonomies: poetry living thoughts
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Also known as "Spock Thoughts."

31 AUG 2011 by ideonexus

 The Sciences the Miner Must Know

There are many arts and sciences of which a miner should not be ignorant. First there is Philosophy, that he may discern the origin, cause, and nature of subterranean things; for then he will be able to dig out the veins easily and advantageously, and to obtain more abundant results from his mining. Secondly there is Medicine, that he may be able to look after his diggers and other workman ... Thirdly follows astronomy, that he may know the divisions of the heavens and from them judge the dir...
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Philosophy, Medicine, Astronomy, Surveying, Arithemetic, Architecture, and Law

30 AUG 2011 by ideonexus

 Advertising Works Because People are Ignorant

According to the estimate of a prominent advertising firm, above 90 per cent, of the earning capacity of the prominent nostrums is represented by their advertising. And all this advertising is based on the well-proven theory of the public's pitiable ignorance and gullibility in the vitally important matter of health.
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...and, worst of all, their ignorance has to do mostly with their own health.

18 MAY 2011 by ideonexus

 Silencing Opinion is a 'peculiar evil'

In his celebrated little book, On Liberty, the English philosopher John Stuart Mill argued that silencing an opinion is 'a peculiar evil'. If the opinion is right, we are robbed of the 'opportunity of exchanging error for truth'; and if it's wrong, we are deprived of a deeper understanding of the truth in 'its collision with error'. If we know only our own side of the argument, we hardly know even that; it becomes stale, soon learned only by rote, untested, a pallid and lifeless truth. Mill ...
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A summary by Carl Sagan, not a direct quote.

03 JAN 2011 by ideonexus

 Doubt as a Scientific Virtue

I would now like to turn to a third value that science has. It is a little more indirect, but not much. The scientist has a lot of experience with ignorance and doubt and uncertainty, and this experience is of very great importance, I think. When a scientist doesn't now the answer to a problem, he is ignorant. When he as a hunch as to what the result is, he is uncertain. And when he is pretty darn sure of what the result is going to be, he is in some doubt. We have found it of paramount impor...
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The importance of doubt, and a lack of absolute certainty, in science, which is non-authoritarian.