January I wrote this talk for a high school. I never actually gave it, because the school authorities vetoed the plan to invite me. When I said I was speaking at a high school, my friends were curious. What will you say to high school students?
One informal analysis suggests short first names are strongly correlated with higher salaries.
They are bad in several ways, and modern glyphs are little better. For example, v and w, or m and n. People confuse them all the time, both in reading and in writing.
Even though they share relatively few pixels, they are still identical under rotation, and we can see that. We could confuse them if we were reading upside down, or at an angle, or just confuse them period. OK, so we now have a set of unique and dissimilar glyphs that are unambiguous about their orientation.
Well, we might want them to be easy to write as well as read. How do we define easy to write? We could have a complicated physiological model about what strokes can easily follow what movements and so on, but we will cop out and say: Rather than unwritable pixels in a grid, our primitives will be little geometric primitives.
The fewer the primitives and the closer to integers or common fractions the positioning of said primitives, the simpler and the better.
We throw all these rules in, add a random starting population or better yet a population modeled after the existing alphabet, and begin our genetic algorithm. What 26 glyphs will we get? Dehaene describes some fascinating and convincing evidence for the first kind of innateness. In one of the most interesting chapters, he argues that the shapes we use to make written letters mirror the shapes that primates use to recognize objects.
After all, I could use any arbitrary squiggle to encode the sound at the start of Tree instead of a T.
But actually the shapes of written symbols are strikingly similar across many languages. It turns out that T shapes are important to monkeys, too. When a monkey sees a T shape in the world, it is very likely to indicate the edge of an object - something the monkey can grab and maybe even eat.
A particular area of its brain pays special attention to those important shapes. Human brains use the same area to process letters. Dehaene makes a compelling case that these brain areas have been recycled We did not invent most of our letter shapes, he writes.
They lay dormant in our brains for millions of years, and were merely rediscovered when our species invented writing and the alphabet.
But who is to say that a butterfly could not dream of a man? You are not the butterfly to say so! Better to ask what manner of beast could dream of a man dreaming a butterfly, and a butterfly dreaming a man. This is a reasonable objection.The Culturalization of Politics Why are today so many problems perceived as problems of intolerance, not as problems of inequality, exploitation, injustice?
Also, “it starts to look like me and the feminists” should be “looks like I”. And “untitled” doesn’t really make sense. And if biology is a hard science, it’s on the extreme soft edge of hard sciences.
This essay delves deeply into the origins of the Vietnam War, critiques U.S. justifications for intervention, examines the brutal conduct of the war, and discusses the . How public education cripples our kids, and why. I taught for thirty years in some of the worst schools in Manhattan, and in some of the best, and during that time I became an expert in boredom.
Boredom was everywhere in my world, and if you asked the kids, as I often did, why they felt so bored, they always gave the same answers: They said the work was stupid, that it made no sense, that they. The point is, if you the science fiction writer postulate lots of technological advances in your novels, you must at least pay lip service to the sad fact that it will make a sizable segment of your society very angry.
Computers are tools, and you can never be too dependent on tools. Tools allow us to perform better and produce more. When I was in high school, research meant a trip to the library, finding the right book, and then taking notes with pencil and paper.