02 MAR 2019 by ideonexus

 Chess is the Drosophila of Reasoning

Much as the Drosophila melanogaster fruit fly became a model organism for geneticists, chess became a Drosophila of reasoning. In the late 19th century, Alfred Binet hoped that understanding why certain people excelled at chess would unlock secrets of human thought. Sixty years later, Alan Turing wondered if a chess-playing machine might illuminate, in the words of Norbert Wiener, “whether this sort of ability represents an essential difference between the potentialities of the machine and ...
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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

 The Case Against Reading Too Broadly

The real problem with telling young writers to fan out across genres and forms is that it doesn’t help them find a voice. If anything, it’s antivoice. Learning the craft of writing isn’t about hopping texts like hyperlinks. It’s about devotion and obsession. It’s about lingering too long in some beloved book’s language, about steeping yourself in someone else’s style until your consciousness changes colour. It’s Tolkien phases and Plath crushes. It’s going embarrassingly, un...
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02 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 Humphry Davy's Wife Doesn't Like Michael Faraday

She in turn may also have found Faraday physically awkward, and even irritating. He was small and stocky — not more than five foot four — with a large head that always seemed slightly too big for his body. His broad, open face was surrounded by an unruly mass of curling hair parted rather punctiliously in the middle (a style he never abandoned). His large, dark, wide-apart eyes gave him a curious air of animal innocence. He spoke all his life with a flat London accent (no match for Jane...
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An amusing description of the physicist, who was widely respected as a lecturer, but disliked by the social woman.

10 AUG 2011 by ideonexus

 Watson's Perception of Pauling's Rhetorical Flare in His ...

By the time I was back to Copenhagen, the journal containing Linus' article had arrived from the States. I quickly read it and immediately reread it. Most of the language was above me, and so I could only get a general impression of his argument. I had no way of judging whether it made sense. The only thing I was sure of was that it was written with style. A few days later the next issue of the journal arrived, this time containing seven more Pauling articles. Again the language was dazzling ...
Folksonomies: history science rhetoric
Folksonomies: history science rhetoric
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Watson makes a clever and critical note about Pauling's use of style over substance in his published papers.

28 JUL 2011 by ideonexus

 Children are Scientists

Thousands of experiments confirm that babies learn about their environment through a series of increasingly self-corrected ideas. They experience sensory observations, make predictions about what they observe, design and deploy experiments capable of testing their predictions, evaluate their tests, and add that knowledge to a self-generated, growing database. The style is naturally aggressive, wonderfully flexible, and annoyingly persistent. They use fluid intelligence to extract information,...
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They explore, test hypotheses, and record everything in memory to understand the world.

07 MAR 2011 by ideonexus

 Advice for Communicating with Trolls Properly

Some Advice for Communicating with Trolls Properly Relax: don't worry if you don't get everything exactly right. Communicate clearly: write in the best spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalisation, idiomatic speech, etc. that you can, no matter how bad the troll's messages were in this respect. It may be a good idea to avoid too high or complicated words, because many foreign speakers of English often have poor English vocabulary. Don't criticise what he says directly or the way he...
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Things to keep in mind and practice when arguing with Trolls.

17 JAN 2011 by ideonexus

 About Science Online 2011

ScienceOnline2011 is the fifth annual international meeting on Science and the Web. On January 13-15th, 2011 the Research Triangle area of North Carolina will once again host scientists, students, educators, physicians, journalists, librarians, bloggers, programmers and others interested in the way the World Wide Web is changing the way science is communicated, taught and done. As in all the previous years, the meeting will be held in an ‘Unconference’ style – the Program is built befor...
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Two quote from the Science Online 2011 website summarizing the conference.

01 JAN 2010 by ideonexus

 How do We Fix Spelling?

...it can be argued, perhaps, if they wish, that it's a question of style and beauty in the language, and that to make new words and new parts of speech might destroy that. But they cannot argue that respelling the words would have anything to do with the style. There's no form of art form or literary form, with the sole exception of crossword puzzles, in which the spelling makes a bit of difference to the style. And even crossword puzzles can be made with a different spelling. And if it's no...
Folksonomies: phonetics
Folksonomies: phonetics
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If we can write words with letters from the English alphabet to phonetically reproduce words in other languages, like Mandarin or ARabic, then why can we not rearrange the letters in our own words to phonetically match the way they sound when we speak them?