Blog Dump

Here it goes…my cop-out technique to avoid writing a real post when I’m too busy or tired.

1. Over at TNC, they’re discussing why academic debates don’t enter public discourse. In my view, we can’t discount the fact that most academic debates just aren’t that interesting! It’s telling that the phrase “It’s academic” generally refers to questions that ultimately don’t have much relevance to things we actually care about.

2. Scott Adams suggests that practical knowledge should trump learning for learning’s sake:

Some of you will argue that learning history is important on a number of levels, including creating a shared culture, understanding other countries, and avoiding the mistakes of the past. I agree. And if the question was teaching history versus teaching nothing, history would be the best choice every time. But if you compare teaching history with, for example, teaching a kid how to compare complicated financial alternatives, I’d always choose the skill that has the most practical value. You get all the benefit of generic mental training plus some real world benefits if any of it is retained.

3. Via David Bruggeman, we learn that robots are getting really f***ing smart:

After an update to its software, a robot scientist has recycled its previous research to make a new biological discovery.

Named Adam, the van-sized robot came to scientific fame after autonomously investigating gene function in yeast. Those findings anticipated an era when computers wouldn’t just be research tools, but researchers.


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