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Messages - nurbldoff

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Discordian Recipes / Re: ITT, You recommend Coffeemakers
« on: September 19, 2008, 12:15:35 pm »
Me, I've got a bodum santos. Vacuum brewing is just that much more entertaining.

Or Kill Me / Re: Paradigm shift
« on: September 19, 2008, 12:09:55 am »
I realize I'm probably feeding the trolls here, but I just want to point out that quantum theory is currently behind our model of the electron structure of the atom, which basically gives rise to all properties of matter except mass (which in turn is what the LHC is built to investigate).

Just saying.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Discordia as a Religion?
« on: September 18, 2008, 07:27:26 pm »
Or a religion disguised as an onion.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Discordia as a Religion?
« on: September 18, 2008, 07:06:47 pm »
Then prove to me that Discordia is not an onion.

Literate Chaotic / Re: Online Mindmapping Tool:
« on: September 18, 2008, 06:55:04 pm »

It's a similar tool for offline use, for those mindmaps...

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Discordia as a Religion?
« on: September 18, 2008, 06:25:22 pm »
What initially drew me to Discordia was the way it sort of unfolds like an onion. It's presented like a religion but then it turns out to be a conspiracy, which then turns out to be a philosophy, which turns out to be a joke, which turns out to be all-of-the-above or none of it. Discordians can be your friends or they can be your enemies. It's all true, false or self contradictory. You can take whichever of these happen to fit you at the moment and run with it.

Maybe each time has a set of Discordian aspects that are somehow more relevant though. Today I think the conspiracy angle may be too clichéd to work, for example. Religion may be too.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Logocentrism?
« on: September 18, 2008, 11:51:34 am »
Being aware of these things obviously makes it easier to communicate and the world suddenly makes a lot more sense. Still, there is the problem of being misunderstood by people who aren't aware of it. E-prime may be useful tool but it's no final solution. The mechanism that makes you believe in the stuff that fits your world view can't be fooled that easily. In fact, many people seem programmed to not listen to what you say unless you really appear to believe it yourself, in which case e-prime is kind of short-circuited.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Logocentrism?
« on: September 17, 2008, 12:51:18 pm »
The language of science: heavily accented english.

Many scientists do have a habit of explicitly defining their terms when there is the risk of misunderstanding, but of course in each field there is a basic vocabulary you're just expected to know. This certainly doesn't make it easier to read scientific papers if you're a layman, or even slightly out of your field... Also, each distinct language probably has its own "language of science", where terms are pretty much analogous to the english ones (being the primary language of international exchange). E.g. swedish speaking scientists don't habitually speak english to each other. I wonder how people whose languages are much more different from english handle this.

On the positive side, I suppose the (unconscious or not) practise of forming idiolects and subdialects might actually be a driving force for linguistic innovation.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Logocentrism?
« on: September 16, 2008, 11:58:36 pm »
Yes, I guess he's right in some sense, but I think he's missing the point. Scientists are making theories; that's the whole idea of science. His complaint was that they don't know the "truth", which apparently he does. But the whole point of building the LHC is to be able to get closer to the "truth", as it were. Just not his brand of truth :)

Physicists love making up new meanings for words. Thing is, most words are much too imprecise to be used in a mathematical context so they need to be straightened up a bit. Most of these meanings are close to their everyday meanings, but carry some extra qualifications. Words like "small" or "distant" can be adequate descriptions in a physical context.

Of course, all this doesn't help when trying to communicate with non-physicists. But many groups are guilty of this practise to some degree. The reason people don't just make up new words all the time is, I guess, practical. It makes the vocabulary much easier to learn. And as long as you're aware of the differences it usually doesn't present a problem, you just switch depending on who you're talking to and what the subject is.

In fact, every person has its own slightly different connotations to lots of words and expressions that sometimes make for confusion. A bit of sensitivity to context and awareness of this fact might go along way though.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Logocentrism?
« on: September 16, 2008, 07:58:08 pm »
The problem isn't helped by the fact that different groups of people use words in different ways. The other day I was listening to the radio, on a general talk show. A guy called in to complain about scientists in general ans CERN in particular. His main point was that "they don't really know anything, all they have is theories!".

To a scientist, this at first sounds like gibberish, since the goal of science IS theory! But of course, he meant theories in the everyday sense which is something more or less like a guess. The scientific meaning of the word is something that has been tried a large number of time and has (so far) proven to be a reliable tool for predicting stuff.

So, while the criticism may sound reasonable to him, and probably to many listeners too, it is based on a  misunderstanding.

Of course, part of the problem may be that scientists refuse to use words in the same way as other people. But it may also be that other people refuse to read up on things before they shoot their mouth off...

(The guy on the radio show turned out to be some kind of religious nut, BTW.)

Crap it... I'm sure I checked them when I put them up :( I'll find somewhere else to put them.

Techmology and Scientism / Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« on: August 17, 2008, 04:26:32 pm »
I like this thread. It probably already contains more information than the whole rest of the board.

Techmology and Scientism / Re: Research tool - Zotero
« on: August 17, 2008, 01:33:22 am »
I've been using this for quite a while and it's definitely neat for storing references to papers.

Techmology and Scientism / Re: Hacking is SRS Business
« on: August 16, 2008, 01:01:52 pm »
ATM hackers can.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: What's Your Problem?
« on: August 16, 2008, 01:55:51 am »
Not so much anti religion as trying to fix the problems of religion, then. Of course, dogma is not a problem exclusive to organized religion.

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