21 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 African Americans are the Descendants of Alien Abductees

Dery identified the parallels in "Black to the Future" as 'African Americans are, in a very real sense, the descendanmt of alien abductees," Dery writes. He compares the atrocities of racism experienced by blacks in the United States to "a sci-fi nightmare in which unseen but no less impassable force fields intolerance frustrate their movement; official histories undo what has been done; and technology is too often brought to bear on black bodies (branding, forced sterilization, the Tuskegee ...
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08 NOV 2013 by ideonexus

 The Mechanic's Wisdom

The Mechanic's Wisdom. Probably the most characteristic attitude of the mechanic toward the forces and materials with which he deals is unquestioning acceptance of the fact that he cannot change or anywise modify the laws of nature or the qualities of materials. The mechanic, like the rest of us, wants to accomplish a multitude of purposes. Having determined upon the object of his desires, be it a machine to do something, or a change in the location of physical things, he proceeds upon th...
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An insightful and empirical perspective of our place in the Universe and our potential.

06 JUN 2012 by ideonexus

 The Teacher Who Inspired Thomas Jefferson

In the spring of 1760, [I] went to William and Mary college, where I continued two years. It was my great good fortune, and what probably fixed the destinies of my life, that Dr. William Small of Scotland, was then Professor of Mathematics, a man profound in most of the useful branches of science, with a happy talent of communication, correct and gentlemanly manners, and an enlarged and liberal mind. He, most happily for me, became soon attached to me, and made me his daily companion when not...
Folksonomies: education teaching
Folksonomies: education teaching
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From his personal account.

18 MAY 2012 by ideonexus

 Teaching is a Waste of Time

I have a true aversion to teaching. The perennial business of a professor of mathematics is only to teach the ABC of his science; most of the few pupils who go a step further, and usually to keep the metaphor, remain in the process of gathering information, become only Halbwisser [one who has superficial knowledge of the subject], for the rarer talents do not want to have themselves educated by lecture courses, but train themselves. And with this thankless work the professor loses his preciou...
Folksonomies: education
Folksonomies: education
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Quoting Carl Friedrich Gauss: Students who learn by lecturing go on to merely collect more facts, one who expands the boundaries of a field teaches themselves.

15 DEC 2011 by ideonexus

 Focus When Being Inundated with BS

Langmuir is the most convincing lecturer that I have ever heard. I have heard him talk to an audience of chemists when I knew they did not understand more than one-third of what he was saying; but they thought they did. It's very easy to be swept off one's feet by Langmuir. You remember in [Kipling's novel] Kim that the water jar was broken and Lurgan Sahib was trying to hypnotise Kim into seeing it whole again. Kim saved himself by saying the multiplication table [so] I have heard Langmuir l...
Folksonomies: rhetoric debate demagogery
Folksonomies: rhetoric debate demagogery
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Bancroft describes a Professor who he knew was wrong, but he had to stay focused through the lecture to not be hypnotized by the lecturer's nonsense.

18 SEP 2011 by TGAW

 Vonnegut on Fiction vs. Journalism - Noise and Melody

I am reminded now, as I think about news and fiction, of a demonstration of the difference between noise and melody which I saw and heard in a freshman physics lecture at Cornell University so long ago. (Freshman physics is invariably the most satisfying course offered by any American university.) The professor threw a narrow board, which was about the length of a bayonet, at the wall of the room, which was cinder block. "That's noise," he said. Then he picked up seven more boards, and he...
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08 JUN 2011 by ideonexus

 More Females are Born in Times of Stress

A stress-related decline in the sex ratio is no anomaly, but a biological mechanism that evolved to keep the species going, according to Ralph Catalano, professor of public health at the University of California, Berkeley. “From an evolutionary perspective, in stressful eras it’s a smarter bet to have a female child than a male child. A daughter is more apt to provide you with grandchildren,” Catalano tells me. In hard times, he explains, weak males are less likely to survive and to rep...
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It makes sense evolutionarily to have females during times of stress as males are less likely to survive.

20 MAY 2011 by ideonexus

 The laryngeal nerve's haphazard course through the body

A favourite example, ever since it was pointed out to me by Professor J. D. Currey when he tutored me as an undergraduate, is the recurrent laryngeal nerve.* It is a branch of one of the cranial nerves, those nerves that lead directly from the brain rather than from the spinal cord. One of the cranial nerves, the vagus (the name means 'wandering' and it is apt), has various branches, two of which go to the heart, and two on each side to the larynx (voice box in mammals). On each side of the n...
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Another example of poor biological design.

01 MAR 2011 by ideonexus

 Self Control in Children is Predictive of Success as an A...

"Children who had the greatest self-control in primary school and preschool ages were most likely to have fewer health problems when they reached their 30s," says Terrie Moffitt, a professor of psychology at Duke University and King's College London. Moffitt and a team of researchers studied a group of 1,000 people born in New Zealand in 1972 and 1973, tracking them from birth to age 32. The new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the best evidence yet...
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A study measuring children's self-control found a correlation between low self-control and problems later in life.

01 JAN 2010 by ideonexus

 How the Global Brain Dehumanizes Us

Clay Shirky, a professor at New York University
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The idea that retweets, wiki-contributions, blog posts, all form a collective brain turns us into mere synapses in the machine.