27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 Redundancy in the English Language

Whenever we communicate, rules everywhere restrict our freedom to choose the next letter and the next pineapple.I Because these rules render certain patterns more likely and certain patterns almost impossible, languages like English come well short of complete uncertainty and maximal information: the sequence “th” has already occurred 6,431 times in this book, the sequence “tk” just this once. From the perspective of the information theorist, our languages are hugely predictable— al...
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Monte Carlo method for building words and sentences.

27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 Children are Smarter Than Adults

This precocity of childhood may be said to characterise all the known races of man, and to be even more marked the more primitive the race. On this point, ‘It is an interesting fact,’ says Havelock Ellis (183, p. 177), ‘and perhaps of some significance, that among primitive races in all parts of the world, the children, at an early age, are very precocious in intelligence.’ And again, ‘ It seems that, the lower the race, the more marked is this precocity, and its arrest at puberty. ...
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10 FEB 2018 by ideonexus

 The Thermian Argument

So there's a bad habit people have gotten into. It's nothing new, but it's become more and more common. It goes like this: Critic: Hello. This is Folding Ideas. I recently watched the anime Women Getting Ripped Apart by Orcs and was, you know, disturbed by the seeming perverse glee the way the show takes the frequent and excessive dismemberment of its female cast members. In fact, the entire purpose of the show seems to be little more than showing women being brutally violated by orcs. Mino...
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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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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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21 MAY 2016 by ideonexus

 Essays Should Not Need to Argue a Point

The Age of the Essay September 2004 Remember the essays you had to write in high school? Topic sentence, introductory paragraph, supporting paragraphs, conclusion. The conclusion being, say, that Ahab in Moby Dick was a Christ-like figure. Oy. So I'm going to try to give the other side of the story: what an essay really is, and how you write one. Or at least, how I write one. Mods The most obvious difference between real essays and the things one has to write in school is that real ess...
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31 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Tyrrany Sets Up Its Own Echo Chamber

I think it was Utz who first convinced me that history is always our guide for the future, and always full of capricious surprises. The future itself is a dead land because it does not yet exist. When a Czech writer wishes to comment on the plight of his country, one way open to him is to use the fifteenth-century Hussite Rebellion as a metaphor. I found in Prague Museum this text describing the Hussites' defeat of the German Knights: ''At midnight, all of a sudden, frightened shouting was he...
Folksonomies: tyrrany
Folksonomies: tyrrany
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30 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Risk of Childhood Kidnapping are Very Low

A generation ago 70 percent of children played outside; today the rate is down to 30 percent.209 In 2008 the nine-year-old son of the journalist Lenore Skenazy begged her to let him go home by himself on the New York subway. She agreed, and he made it home without incident. When she wrote about the vignette in a New York Sun column, she found herself at the center of a media frenzy in which she was dubbed “America’s Worst Mom.” (Sample headline: “Mom Lets 9-Year-Old Take Subway Home A...
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30 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Pessimism in Predictions and the False Sense of Insecurity

You would think that the disappearance of the gravest threat in the history of humanity would bring a sigh of relief among commentators on world affairs. Contrary to expert predictions, there was no invasion of Western Europe by Soviet tanks, no escalation of a crisis in Cuba or Berlin or the Middle East to a nuclear holocaust.1 The cities of the world were not vaporized; the atmosphere was not poisoned by radioactive fallout or choked with debris that blacked out the sun and sent Homo sapien...
Folksonomies: perspective pessimism
Folksonomies: perspective pessimism
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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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