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
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06 APR 2015 by ideonexus

 Scent on an Airless Planet

Scent seems to have all the disadvantages and none of the advantages, as a long-range sense. However, under special circumstances even a modified nose may fill the need. In a story of my own some years ago ("Uncommon Sense," Astounding Science Fiction, September 1945), I assumed an airless planet, so that molecules could diffuse in nearly straight lines. The local sense organs were basically pinhole cameras, with the retinal mosaic formed of olfactory cells. Since the beings in question were ...
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An species of space whale could smell over long distances, but scent would get swirled and pooled by gravity wells along the way.

23 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 Technical Terminology Raises the Bar to Entry into a Subject

The increasing technicality of the terminology employed is also a serious difficulty. It has become necessary to learn an extensive vocabulary before a book in even a limited department of science can be consulted with much profit. This change, of course, has its advantages for the initiated, in securing precision and concisement of statement; but it tends to narrow the field in which an investigator can labour, and it cannot fail to become, in the future, a serious impediment to wide inducti...
Folksonomies: terminology lexicon
Folksonomies: terminology lexicon
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But the advantage is that it makes it easier for those working in the subject to be more precises.

04 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 Schools Kill a Child's Curiosity

All children are curious and I wonder by what process this trait becomes developed in some and suppressed in others. I suspect again that schools and colleges help in the suppression insofar as they meet curiosity by giving the answers, rather than by some method that leads from narrower questions to broader questions. It is hard to satisfy the curiosity of a child, and even harder to satisfy the curiosity of a scientist, and methods that meet curiosity with satisfaction are thus not apt to f...
Folksonomies: education curiosity
Folksonomies: education curiosity
  1  notes

By giving them answers instead of letting them find the answers themselves. If adults maintained a questioning attitude, they would question authority.

21 JUL 2011 by ideonexus

 Tummy-Time Improves Infant Motor Skills

The recent trend of putting young babies to sleep on their backs also appears to be having an effect on their motor skill acquisition. This posture, which has proven advantageous in reducing the number of SIDS fatalities, does not permit babies to exercise their arm and neck muscles as much as and see the world. In one recent study, pediatricians found that babies who slept on their backs were significantly slower to roll over, sit, crawl, and pull to stand than babies who slept on their stom...
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By forcing the infant to work their neck and back to look around while on their tummy, they strengthen these important muscles; however, the infant should still remain on their back while sleeping to prevent SIDS.

18 APR 2011 by ideonexus

 Botany is Good for the Soul

Botany is a branch of Natural History that possesses many advantages; it contributes to health of body and cheerfulness of disposition, by presenting an inducement to take air and exercise; it is adapted to the simplest capacity, and the objects of its investigation offer themselves without expense or difficulty, which renders them attainable to every rank in life; but with all these allurements, till of late years, it has been confined to the circle of the leamed, which may be attributed to ...
Folksonomies: science botany well being
Folksonomies: science botany well being
  1  notes

It gets you out in the air and improves your mood.

06 MAR 2011 by ideonexus

 The Prime Directive

As the right of each sentient species to live in accordance with its normal cultural evolution is considered sacred, no Starfleet personnel may interfere with the normal and healthy development of alien life and culture. Such interference includes introducing superior knowledge, strength, or technology to a world whose society is incapable of handling such advantages wisely. Starfleet personnel may not violate this Prime Directive, even to save their lives and/or their ship, unless they are a...
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Most eloquent definition of the Prime Directive I've found yet.

01 JAN 2010 by ideonexus

 Alan Turing on Learning Machines

We cannot expect to find a good child-machine at the first attempt. One must experiment with teaching one such machine and see how well it learns. One can then try another and see if it is better or worse. There is an obvious connection between this process and evolution, by the identifications Structure of the child-machine = Hereditary material Changes of the child-machine = Mutations Natural selection = Judgement of the experimentor One may hope, however, that this process will be more e...
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