02 MAR 2019 by ideonexus

 Knowledge Work

The growing importance of knowledge as an economic resource reflects the fact that, as economies and production technologies develop, they become ever more complex and specialized, leading to increasing coordination costs. In the language of information economics, the organizational or informational task of coordinating the diverse steps in the productive chain grows, as the number of transactions within and among productive units increases (Joncher, 1983). Logically, the increasingly complex...
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Knowledge is becoming increasingly specific. Professionals of all types are managing larger quantities of sybolic reasoning. Informational laborers or symbolic analysts are a growing portion of the workforce.

31 OCT 2018 by ideonexus

 Insights on Being Well-Read

What is the true point of a bookish life? Note I write “point,” not “goal.” The bookish life can have no goal: It is all means and no end. The point, I should say, is not to become immensely knowledgeable or clever, and certainly not to become learned. Montaigne, who more than five centuries ago established the modern essay, grasped the point when he wrote, “I may be a man of fairly wide reading, but I retain nothing.” Retention of everything one reads, along with being mentally i...
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06 JAN 2018 by ideonexus

 Pattern-Seeking Through Play

Meredith's worldplay was shot through with yet another well-recognized ingigredienlent of creative thinking, the comparison and synthesis of two or more unlike things. As the mathematician and poet Jacob Bronowski famously expressed it, the discoveries of science and of art "are explorations—^more, are explosions, of a hidden likeness The same holds true for the insights generated in worldplay. Documents of play in Lewis, like many a child, combined the animal and the human in Lord Big. Una...
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11 OCT 2013 by ideonexus

 The Meaning of "We" in Science and Mathematical Texts

I request a last indulgence from the reader. The introductory material, thus far, has been written in the friendly and confiding first person singular voice. Starting in the next paragraph, I will inhabit the first person plural for the duration of the mathematical expositions. This should not be construed as a “royal we.” It has been a construct of the community of mathematicians for centuries and it traditionally signifies two ideas: that “we” are all in consultation with each other...
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"We" refers to the collaborative effort of problem solving.

26 APR 2012 by ideonexus

 Early Speculation on the Fuel of Stars

A star is drawing on some vast reservoir of energy by means unknown to us. This reservoir can scarcely be other than the subatomic energy which, it is known exists abundantly in all matter; we sometimes dream that man will one day learn how to release it and use it for his service. The store is well nigh inexhaustible, if only it could be tapped. There is sufficient in the Sun to maintain its output of heat for 15 billion years.
Folksonomies: physics astronomy
Folksonomies: physics astronomy
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From 1920, demonstrating an understanding that the fuel is subatomic energy, but betrays no insights as to how it is release.

13 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 Hypothesis is a Tool for Finding New Facts

Hypothesis is the most important mental technique of the investigator, and its main function is to suggest new experiments or new observations. Indeed, most experiments and many observations are carried out with the deliberate object of testing an hypothesis. Another function is to help one see the significance of an object or event that otherwise would mean nothing. For instance, a mind prepared by the hypothesis of evolution would make many more significant observations on a field excursion...
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It is used to think up new experiments, things to try. Armed with the hypothesis of Evolution, the naturalist has insights into what to look for in fossils and nature.

18 MAY 2011 by ideonexus

 Books Changed Everything

For 99 per cent of the tenure of humans on earth, nobody could read or write. The great invention had not yet been made. Except for first-hand experience, almost everything we knew was passed on by word of mouth. As in the game of 'Chinese Whispers', over tens and hundreds of generations, information would slowly be distorted and lost. Books changed all that. Books, purchasable at low cost, permit us to interrogate the past with high accuracy; to tap the wisdom of our species; to understand ...
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They made it possible to interrogate the past, see other view points, and communication across time.

23 JAN 2011 by ideonexus

 Insights from Comparative Linguistics

Nowadays, comparative linguists analyse the minute details of similarities and differences. They can often trace words back through many types of change such as the dropping of syllables and shifts in pronunciation. Thus, the evolutionary history of various languages can be accurately traced. Family trees based on differences in DNA. Also, the migratory histories of whole peoples can be deduced from the languages that remain today. In Africa, for example, the 1500 or more surviving languages ...
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Comparative linguistics is an excellent method for tracing memetic influences between cultures and cultural genealogy.