22 JUN 2016 by ideonexus

 The Importance of Old, Well-Written Articles

...we overvalue new writing, almost absurdly so, and we undervalue older writing. I feel this market failure keenly each day when I recommend a fine piece of writing that deserves to be read for years to come and yet will have at most two days in the sun. You never hear anybody say, “I’m not going to listen to that record because it was released last year,” or, “I’m not going to watch that film because it came out last month.” Why are we so much less interested in journalism that...
Folksonomies: writing reading pertinence new
Folksonomies: writing reading pertinence new
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If 99% of new content on the Web is worthless, how do we surface the old content for new eyes?

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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07 MAR 2015 by ideonexus

 London Pollution Disaster

The whole world needs to burn coal and oil, right? So what’s wrong with our coal? Do you know how much coal China has burned? In 2013, we had already burned 3.6 billion tons. But do you know how much all the other countries in the world have burned? We have burned more coal than the rest of the world combined. The last time a country had this kind of consumption was England in 1860. But as a result they paid a heavy price. Deep in an abandoned mine in South Wales lies the heart of England...
Folksonomies: pollution air pollution
Folksonomies: pollution air pollution
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24 JAN 2015 by ideonexus

 Dyson VS Sagan on Nuclear Winter

I do not wish here to get into a technical argument about the details of nuclear winter. I will merely summarize my own struggles with the technical issues. I spent a few weeks in 1985 trying to make nuclear winter go away. The phrase "go away" here is used in the sense customary among scientists. To destroy a new theory, you try to find a simple situation where the theory predicts that something happens and you can prove that the same something does not happen. Then you say that the thing pr...
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24 JAN 2015 by ideonexus

 Manchester and the Birth of the Industrial Revolution

What was so exciting about Manchester? Disraeli with his acute political and historical instinct understood that Manchester had done something unique and revolutionary. Only he was wrong to call it science. What Manchester had done was to invent the Industrial Revolution, a new style of life and work which began in that little country town about two hundred years ago and inexorably grew and spread out from there until it had turned the whole world upside down. Disraeli was the first politicia...
Folksonomies: academia revolution
Folksonomies: academia revolution
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12 OCT 2014 by ideonexus

 Teleporters Homogenize the World

In Munich he walked. The air was warm and clean; it cleared some of the fumes from his head. He walked the brightly lighted slidewalks, adding his own pace to their ten-miles-per-hour speed. It occurred to him then that every city in the world had slidewalks, and that they all moved at ten miles per hour. The thought was intolerable. Not new; just intolerable. Louis Wu saw how thoroughly Munich resembled Cairo and Resht ... and San Francisco and Topeka and London and Amsterdam. The st...
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13 OCT 2013 by ideonexus

 The Importance of Mathematics in Seafaring

Before there was an accurate seafaring clock, the sailor seeking his bearings had to be a trained mathematician. The accepted way to find longitude at sea was by precise observations of the moon, which required refined instruments and subtle calculations. An error as small as 5' in observing the moon meant an error of 2V2. degrees of longitude, which on the ocean could be as much as 150 miles—enough to wreck a ship on treacherous shoals. Fatal miscalculation might come from a crude instrume...
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Sailors had to be mathematicians in order to keep their bearings on the ocean.

13 MAY 2013 by ideonexus

 Look for the Improbable in Extraterrestrial Life

To land a spacecraft on Europa, with the heavy equipment needed to penetrate the ice and explore the ocean directly, would be a formidable undertaking. A direct search for life in Europa's ocean would today be prohibitively expensive. But just as asteroid and comet impacts on Mars have given us an easier way to look for evidence of life on that planet, impacts on Europa give us an easier way to look for evidence of life there. Every time a major impact occurs on Europa, a vast quantity of wat...
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We should look for freeze-dried live ejected from impacts with Europa rather than trying to send probes into the ice.

23 MAR 2013 by ideonexus

 Emotions Happen, But Don't Let Them Cloud Judgement

let’s revisit that initial encounter in The Sign of Four, when Mary Morstan, the mysterious lady caller, first makes her appearance. Do the two men see Mary in the same light? Not at all. The first thing Watson notices is the lady’s appearance. She is, he remarks, a rather attractive woman. Irrelevant, counters Holmes. “It is of the first importance not to allow your judgment to be biased by personal qualities,” he explains. “A client is to me a mere unit, a factor in a problem. The...
Folksonomies: emotion mindfulness
Folksonomies: emotion mindfulness
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Another example using Watson and Holmes.

31 JAN 2013 by ideonexus

 The Importance of Reducing Mundane Risks

Life expectancy for a healthy American man of my age is about 90. (That’s not to be confused with American male life expectancy at birth, only about 78.) If I’m to achieve my statistical quota of 15 more years of life, that means about 15 times 365, or 5,475, more showers. But if I were so careless that my risk of slipping in the shower each time were as high as 1 in 1,000, I’d die or become crippled about five times before reaching my life expectancy. I have to reduce my risk of shower...
Folksonomies: statistics risk
Folksonomies: statistics risk
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If the risk of dying by falling in the shower is only 1 in a 1,000, then a shower would kill someone in just a few years. We concern ourselves with risks that are out of our control, but we should be vigilantly mindful of the mundane daily risks we take on a regular basis, like driving our cars, standing on a stepladder, or taking a shower.