17 MAY 2017 by ideonexus

 Encyclopedia as a Directory of Associations

Every science overlaps with others: they are two continuous branches off a single trunk. He who composes an opus does not enter abruptly into his subject, does not close himself strictly within it, does not leave it abruptly: he is obliged to anticipate terrain adjoining his; its consequences often take him onto another contiguous terrain on the opposite side; and how many other excursions are necessary in the body of the work? What is the purpose of the forewords, introductions, prefaces, ex...
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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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19 MAR 2015 by ideonexus

 The Mind Needs Stimulation

A human totally deprived of bodily senses does not do well. After 12 hours in a sensory deprivation tank (where one floats in a body-temperature saline solution that produces almost no skin sensation, in total darkness and silence, with taste and smell and the sensations of breathing minimized) a subject will begin to hallucinate, as the mind, somewhat like a television tuned to a nonexistent channel, turns up the amplification, desperately looking for a signal, becoming ever less discriminat...
Folksonomies: cognition perception
Folksonomies: cognition perception
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From Hans Moravec's "Pigs in Cyberspace"

24 JAN 2015 by ideonexus

 Shotgun Seminar

At our Institute in Princeton we sometimes organize meetings which are announced as Shotgun Seminars. A Shotgun Seminar is a talk given by an Institute member to a volunteer audience. The subject of the talk is announced a week in advance, but the name of the speaker is not. Before the talk begins, the names of all people in the room are written on scraps of paper, the scraps are put into a box, the box is ceremoniously shaken and one name is picked out at random. The name picked out is the n...
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24 DEC 2013 by ideonexus

 The Mediocrity Principle

The reason this principle is so essential to science is that it’s the beginning of understanding how we came to be here and how everything works. We look for general principles that apply to the universe as a whole first, and those explain much of the story; and then we look for the quirks and exceptions that led to the details. It’s a strategy that succeeds and is useful in gaining a deeper knowledge. Starting with a presumption that a subject of interest represents a violation of the pr...
Folksonomies: meaning purpose universe
Folksonomies: meaning purpose universe
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P. Z. Myers' explanation for how this principle means we cannot look to supernatural explanations for our origins, because there is no reason to think we are an exception to the rules of the universe.

22 OCT 2013 by ideonexus

 The Point of Argument

The point of a good argument isn’t for one person to simply win over the other. It’s ideally for both to come away with cognitive gains. Even if the goal of an argument is to reach a decision, the goal isn’t to win, the goal is to define the parameters for a good decision and then make the best possible decision with that in mind. I’ve come to believe that when two reasonably smart people disagree on a subject, at the core, it is often because one of the following: One or both of the ...
Folksonomies: debate logic
Folksonomies: debate logic
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The goal should be to define the parameters of where everyone can agree.

05 JAN 2013 by ideonexus

 How Science Fiction Tackles Social Issues

Now science fiction movies are mostly just shoot-‘em-ups, but back in the day sci-fi was a medium to explore social issues. SF allowed us to examine the core elements of controversial issues without all the emotional baggage that went along with them. It’s easy to dismiss the genre when you have grown-up fans walking around in costumes and silver make-up, but SF employs disarming tools to tease core arguments from their tired rhetoric. Here pundits, smoke screens, and slogans are stripped...
Folksonomies: science fiction humanism
Folksonomies: science fiction humanism
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SF allows us to take a step back, drop the baggage of associations we connect to an issue, and see it in a completely new light, testing our preconceptions.

20 JUN 2012 by ideonexus

 Learning About Forestry

How to start on my adventure—how to become a forester—was not so simple. There were no schools of Forestry in America. ... Whoever turned his mind toward Forestry in those days thought little about the forest itself and more about its influences, and about its influence on rainfall first of all. So I took a course in meteorology, which has to do with weather and climate. and another in botany, which has to do with the vegetable kingdom—trees are unquestionably vegetable. And another in ...
Folksonomies: study forestry
Folksonomies: study forestry
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How Pinchot studied forestry, a subject that did not exist in his time, so he studied meteorology, geology, and botany.

08 JUN 2012 by ideonexus

 An Imaginary Diploma

The Johns Hopkins University certifies that John Wentworth Doe does not know anything but Biochemistry. Please pay no attention to any pronouncements he may make on any other subject, particularly when he joins with others of his kind to save the world from something or other. However, he worked hard for this degree and is potentially a most valuable citizen. Please treat him kindly.
Folksonomies: humor satire
Folksonomies: humor satire
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That gives a better understanding of the value of the scientist.

31 MAY 2012 by ideonexus

 Genius is Hardwork

Men give me some credit for genius. All the genius I have lies in this: When I have a subject in hand, I study it profoundly. Day and night it is before me. I explore it in all its bearings. My mind becomes pervaded with it. Then the effort which I have made is what people are pleased to call the fruit of genius. It is the fruit of labor and thought.
Folksonomies: intelligence study
Folksonomies: intelligence study
  1  notes

Quoting Alexander Hamilton.