09 FEB 2018 by ideonexus

 Bias in Praise VS Punishment and Reversion to the Mean

I had the most satisfying Eureka experience of my career while attempting to teach flight instructors that praise is more effective than punishment for promoting skill-learning. When I had finished my enthusiastic speech, one of the most seasoned instructors in the audience raised his hand and made his own short speech, which began by conceding that positive reinforcement might be good for the birds, but went on to deny that it was optimal for flight cadets. He said, “On many occasions I ha...
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User Cortesoft has a good analogy for this:

"Flip 100 coins. Take the ones that 'failed' (landed tails) and scold them. Flip them again. Half improved! Praise the ones that got heads the first time. Flip them again. Half got worse :(

"Clearly, scolding is more effective than praising."


See also Regression Fallacy

09 APR 2015 by ideonexus

 Humans are Like Deer in the Anthropocene

I asked Rooney about the remarkable ability of deer to thrive in their home range—most of the U.S.—while producing ecosystem simplification and a biodiversity crash. In his own studies of deer habitats in Wisconsin, Rooney found that only a few types of grass thrive under a deer-dominant regime. The rest, amounting to around 80 percent of native Wisconsin plant species, had been eradicated. “The 80 percent represent the disappearance of 300 million years of evolutionary history,” he s...
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28 MAR 2012 by ideonexus

 Using Santa Claus as a Teachable Moment

But as our son Connor began to exhibit the incipient inklings of Kringledoubt, it occurred to me that something powerful was going on. I began to see the Santa paradigm as an unmissable opportunity—the ultimate dry run for a developing inquiring mind. My boy was 8 years old when he started in with the classic interrogation: How does Santa get to all those houses in one night? How does he get in when we don’t have a chimney and all the windows are locked and the alarm system is on? Why do...
Folksonomies: parenting atheism myth
Folksonomies: parenting atheism myth
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Tell the child the fantastic story about Santa Claus, but answer their skeptical questions truthfully.

03 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 Vernor Vinges' Zones

You could study your whole life, and not know. How long must a fish study to understand human motivation? It’s not a good analogy, but it’s the only safe one; we are like dumb animals to the Powers of the Transcend. Think of all the different things people do to animals—ingenious, sadistic, charitable, genocidal—each has a million elaborations in the Transcend. The Zones are a natural protection; without them, human-equivalent intelligence would probably not exist.” She waved at the...
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We are like fish in an aquarium attempting to understand the godlike intelligences in the Transcend, whose motives are beyond us and whose perspective on us is impossible to fathom.

19 MAY 2011 by ideonexus

 DNA is not a Blueprint

Textbooks of biology repeat time and again that DNA is a 'blueprint' for building a body. It isn't. A true blueprint of, say, a car or a house embodies a one-toone mapping from paper to finished product. It follows from this that a blueprint is reversible. It is as easy to go from house to blueprint as the other way around, precisely because it is a one-to-one mapping. Actually, it's easier, because you have to build the house, but you only have to take some measurements and then draw the blu...
Folksonomies: biology dna
Folksonomies: biology dna
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You cannot reverse engineer DNA from the animal it appears within.