08 JAN 2018 by ideonexus

 Negative Attention is Better Than No Attention at All

To give and receive attention is a fundamental human need. In the 13th century, King Frederick II of Sicily wanted to find out what language children would naturally grow up to speak if they were never spoken to. He took babies from their mothers at birth and placed them in the care of nurses who were strictly forbidden to either speak to or touch them. The babies, as it turned out, didn’t grow up to speak any language, as they all died of attention deprivation within a fortnight of the sta...
Folksonomies: parenting attention focus
Folksonomies: parenting attention focus
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06 JAN 2018 by ideonexus

 The Case Against Reading Too Broadly

The real problem with telling young writers to fan out across genres and forms is that it doesn’t help them find a voice. If anything, it’s antivoice. Learning the craft of writing isn’t about hopping texts like hyperlinks. It’s about devotion and obsession. It’s about lingering too long in some beloved book’s language, about steeping yourself in someone else’s style until your consciousness changes colour. It’s Tolkien phases and Plath crushes. It’s going embarrassingly, un...
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22 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 Removing Prepositions in Defining Thought

Having turned my back on propositions, I thought, what am I going to do about this? The area where it really comes up is when you start looking at the contents of consciousness, which is my number one topic. I like to quote Maynard Keynes on this. He was once asked, “Do you think in words or pictures?” to which he responded, “I think in thoughts.” It was a wonderful answer, but also wonderfully uninformative. What the hell’s a thought then? How does it carry information? Is it like ...
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03 JAN 2017 by ideonexus

 A User Interface Can Change the Way We Think

In extreme cases, to use such an interface is to enter a new world, containing objects and actions unlike any you've previously seen. At first these elements seem strange. But as they become familiar, you internalize the elements of this world. Eventually, you become fluent, discovering powerful and surprising idioms, emergent patterns hidden within the interface. You begin to think with the interface, learning patterns of thought that would formerly have seemed strange, but which become seco...
Folksonomies: technology cognition
Folksonomies: technology cognition
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29 DEC 2016 by ideonexus

 You were never actually accomplishing anything by watchin...

If you ask someone what they accomplish by watching the news, you’ll hear vague notions like, “It’s our civic duty to stay informed!” or “I need to know what’s going on in the world,” or “We can’t just ignore these issues,” none of which answer the question. “Being informed” sounds like an accomplishment, but it implies that any information will do. You can become informed by reading a bus schedule. A month after you’ve quit the news, it’s hard to name anything u...
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27 DEC 2016 by ideonexus

 Teaching with Pokemon Go

Learning objectives that ask students to assemble and integrate data (like a language or math class) are well-suited to the capture and find aspects of Pokémon Go!. Imagine setting up a variety of PokéStops around your campus. Each one can be visited by students as they go about gathering the data they need to accomplish the learning objective you set. Perhaps after traveling about campus, they have to return to your classroom and use the data they’ve gathered like PokéBalls to solve mor...
Folksonomies: gamification
Folksonomies: gamification
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14 MAR 2016 by ideonexus

 Science Lacks a Sense of Belonging

It seems to me that the biggest challenge we face is to evolve a language that couples the cold-eyed skepticism and rigor of science with a sense of community, a sense of belonging that religion provides. We have to make it matter what is true. If instead we say that what really matters is to have faith, what really matters is to believe, we'll never get there. It’s not enough to have forty minutes of science in the daily school program, because science shouldn't be compartmentalized that w...
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02 JUN 2015 by ideonexus

 Onomatopoeia, Sound Symbolism, and Phonesthesia

Onomatopoeia and sound symbolism are the seeds of a more pervasive phenomenon in language called phonesthesia, in which families of words share a teeny snatch of sound and a teeny shred of meaning. Many words with the sound sn-, for example, have something to do with the nose, presumably because you can almost feel your nose wrinkle when you pronounce it. They include words for the nose itself (like snout), words for noselike instruments (like snorkel and snoot, a cone for directing a spotlig...
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31 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Perception of Time

“Do not squander time,” said Benjamin Franklin, “for that is the stuff life is made of.” Our consciousness, even more than it is posted in space, unrolls in time. I can imagine abolishing space from my awareness—if, say, I were floating in a sensory deprivation tank or became blind and paralyzed—while still continuing to think as usual. But it’s almost impossible to imagine abolishing time from one’s awareness, leaving the last thought immobilized like a stuck car horn, while ...
Folksonomies: perception time
Folksonomies: perception time
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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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