31 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Airplane VS Airship

The histo ry o f flying is a goo d example to loo k at in detail fo r insight into the interactio n o f techno lo gy with human affairs, because two radically different techno logies were co mpeting fo r survival- in the beginning they were called heavier-than-air and lighter-than-air. The airplane and the airship were no t o nly physically different in shape and s ize but also so cio lo gically different. The airplane grew o ut o f dreams o f perso nal adventure. The airship grew o ut o f dr...
Folksonomies: technology culture
Folksonomies: technology culture
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30 JAN 2015 by ideonexus

 The Danger of Dumbing Down Science

'Dumbing down' is a very different kind of threat to scientific sensibility. The 'Public Understanding of Science' movement, provoked in America by the Soviet Union's triumphant entry into the space race and driven today, at least in Britain, by public alarm over a decline in applications for science places at universities, is going demotic. 'Science Weeks' and 'Science Fortnights' betray an anxiety among scientists to be loved. Funny hats and larky voices proclaim that science is fun, fun, f...
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02 MAR 2014 by ideonexus

 How Poverty Affects IQ

In a series of experiments, the researchers found that pressing financial concerns had an immediate impact on the ability of low-income individuals to perform on common cognitive and logic tests. On average, a person preoccupied with money problems exhibited a drop in cognitive function similar to a 13-point dip in IQ, or the loss of an entire night's sleep. But when their concerns were benign, low-income individuals performed competently, at a similar level to people who were well off, said...
Folksonomies: cognition poverty
Folksonomies: cognition poverty
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Fascinating for the fact that IQ appears so plastic in just day-to-day environment. Removing the stressors increases the IQ.

20 DEC 2013 by ideonexus

 The Death of Technocracy

What we are witnessing is the beginning of the final breakup of industrialism and, with it, the collapse of technocratic planning. By technocratic planning, I do not mean only the centralized national planning that has, until recently, characterized the USSR, but also the less formal, more dispersed attempts at systematic change management that occur in all the high technology nations, regardless of their political persuasion. Michael Harrington, the socialist critic, arguing that we have rej...
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This is not a dichotomy--there can be degrees of planning and emergence--but the problems with technocracy are true challenges.

19 DEC 2013 by ideonexus

 Measurements Change Dramatically Depending on the Methodo...

Benoit Mandelbrot asked his famous question “How long is the coast of Britain?” long before this symposium was written, but it perfectly captures the sort of puzzle people in this crowd love. The question seems simple. Just look it up in the encyclopedia. But as Mandelbrot observed, the length of the coast of Britain depends on what you use to measure it. If you draw lines on a map to approximate the coastline, you get one length, but if you try to measure the real bumps in every inlet an...
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David Brook's relating Benoit Mandelbrot's experience measuring the British coast.

19 JAN 2013 by ideonexus

 Anti-Science in Communism

Suppression of knowledge weakened Russia in the Lysenko affair. which a political ideologue and former peasant named Trofim Lysenko ingratiated himself to communist leaders and was placed in charge of national agriculture because of his ideological conformity. He denounced and suppressed scientists who questioned his odd schemes as "fly lovers and people haters"^^ (because geneticists were doing fruit fly research-h—I kid you not!) and his uneducated methods decimated Soviet agriculture. So...
Folksonomies: politics science communism
Folksonomies: politics science communism
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The USSR and China as examples of how anti-science attitudes and political loyalty over empiricism damaged both countries.

07 JUN 2012 by ideonexus

 The USA Should Adopt the Metric System

You, in this country [the USA], are subjected to the British insularity in weights and measures; you use the foot, inch and yard. I am obliged to use that system, but must apologize to you for doing so, because it is so inconvenient, and I hope Americans will do everything in their power to introduce the French metrical system. ... I look upon our English system as a wickedly, brain-destroying system of bondage under which we suffer. The reason why we continue to use it, is the imaginary diff...
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Kelvin predicts Britain is stuck with it, but America will adopt.

13 APR 2012 by ideonexus

 The Lunar Society

In 1764, the Lunar Society (so named because they met for dinner on the Monday night nearest the full moon; they called themselves the "Lunatics") was formed it in Birmingham and promoted new scientific and technological ideas. The original founders included Erasmus Darwin (Charles Darwin's grandfather), William Small (Jefferson's mentor), and the industrialist Matthew Boulton. Soon the "Lunatics" included many of the great minds in Britain (including Benjamin Franklin when he visited). In Sc...
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Referred to themselves as "Lunatics" and included many famous Americans and scientists.

02 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 Herschel's Sister was Cheaper than a Male Assistant

Herschel made no bones about the fact that a female assistant, even his sister, would cost half as much as a male. It is possible to be indignant about this, but contemporary standards must be taken into account. Female domestic servants were paid £10 per annum, while a highly trained governess like Mary Wollstonecraft was paid £40 per annum by Lord Kingsborough in 1787. In fact a £60 stipend would have been handsome, exactly one-fifth of that paid to the Astronomer Royal. In Europe women ...
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A short survey of other female scientists working at the time.

23 JUL 2011 by ideonexus

 The Law is King in America

But where, says some, is the King of America? I'll tell you. Friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal Brute of Britain. Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in earthly honors, let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve of monarchy, that in America THE LAW IS KING. For as in absolu...
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And the crown is demolished and scattered among the people.