27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 Measuring Progress by the Cost of Light

Time is not the only life-enriching resource granted to us by technology. Another is light. Light is so empowering that it serves as the metaphor of choice for a superior intellectual and spiritual state: enlightenment. In the natural world we are plunged into darkness for half of our existence, but human-made light allows us to take back the night for reading, moving about, seeing people’s faces, and otherwise engaging with our surroundings. The economist William Nordhaus has cited the plu...
  1  notes
 
29 SEP 2017 by ideonexus

 Roman Arithmetic

...basic Roman arithmetic is largely rather simple, even for those of us spoiled by Arabic notation. Addition is no sweat, because complex Roman numbers already use what math pros call additive notation, with numerals set beside one another to create a larger number. VI is just V plus I, after all. To add large numbers, simply pile all the letters together, arrange them in descending order, and there’s your sum. CLXVI plus CLXVI? CCLLXXVVII, or CCCXXXII. And one of the advantages of the Rom...
Folksonomies: math mathematics education
Folksonomies: math mathematics education
  1  notes
18 JAN 2013 by ideonexus

 Science is Inherently Political

When speaking about science to scientists, there is one thing that can be said that will almost always raise their indignation, and that is that science is inherently political and that the practice of science is a political act. Science, they will respond, has nothing to do with politics. But is that true? Let's consider the relationship between knowledge and power. "Knowledge and power go hand in hand," said Francis Bacon, "so that the way to increase in power is to increase in knowledge....
Folksonomies: politics science knowledge
Folksonomies: politics science knowledge
  1  notes

Knowledge is power, science creates new knowledge, new knowledge challenges established orders.

21 JUN 2012 by ideonexus

 Universities have Replaced Cathedrals

We thought of universities as the cathedrals of the modern world. In the middle ages, the cathedral was the center and symbol of the city. In the modern world, its place could be taken by the university.
Folksonomies: science religion university
Folksonomies: science religion university
  1  notes

In the modern world.

28 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 The Birth of the Modern

The so-called 'scientific revolution', popularly associated with the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but reaching back in an unmistakably continuous line to a period much earlier still. Since that revolution overturned the authority in science not only of the middle ages but of the ancient world—since it ended not only in the eclipse of scholastic philosophy but in the destruction of Aristotelian physics—it outshines everything since the rise of Christianity and reduces the Renaissan...
Folksonomies: enlightenment modernism
Folksonomies: enlightenment modernism
  1  notes

Aside from the Enlightenment, all other periods of European history are worthless in understanding how we got to the modern era.

10 AUG 2011 by ideonexus

 The General Oblation Board

“Oh, yes,” said Lyra. “I’m safe from everyone here. Where I used to live, in Oxford, there was all kinds of dangerous things. There was gyptiansthey take kids and sell ‘em to the Turks for slaves. And on Port Meadow at the full moon there’s a werewolf that comes out from the old nunnery at Godstow. I heard him howling once. And there’s the Gobblers….” “That’s what I mean,” the man said. “That’s what they call the Oblation Board, don’t they?” Lyra felt Pantala...
Folksonomies: religion fantasy church
Folksonomies: religion fantasy church
  1  notes

And how it relates to the people giving their children to the church to become "oblates."

19 APR 2011 by ideonexus

 Science Tames Nature by Understanding

Man masters nature not by force but by understanding. rhis is why science has succeeded where magic failed: because it has looked for no spell to cast over nature. The alchemist and the magician in the Middle Ages thought, and the addict of comic strips is still encouraged to think, that nature must be mastered by a device which outrages her laws. But in four hundred years since the Scientific Revolu tion we have learned that we gain our ends only with the laws of nature; we control her only ...
  1  notes

Contrasted with comics, fiction, and religion, where nature is subdued by force and magic.

19 APR 2011 by ideonexus

 Evolution from Inner-Philsophy to Natural Philosophy

There have always been two ways of looking for truth. One is to find concepts which are beyond challenge, because they are held by faith or by authority or the conviction that they are self-evident. This is the mystic submission to truth which the East has chosen, and which dominated the axiomatic thought of the scholars of the Middle Ages. So St. Thomas Aquinas holds that faith is a higher guide to truth than knowledge is: the master of medieval science puts science firmly into second place....
  1  notes

Summary of human culture moving from introspectively-revealed knowledge of the Dark Ages to the outward-viewing philosophy of naturalism.

21 MAR 2011 by ideonexus

 The Narcissism of Minor Differences

It is clearly not easy for man to give up the satisfaction of this inclination to aggression. They do not feel comfortable without it. The advantage which a comparatively small cultural group offers of allowing this instinct an outlet in the form of hostility against intruders is not to be despised. It is always possible to bind together a considerable number of people in love, so long as there are other people left over to receive the manifestations of their aggressiveness. I once discuss...
 1  1  notes

This is a term coined by Sigmund Freud to describe the phenomena where by societies that have much in common will come at such strong odds against one another over the points where they diverge.