An amusing gimmick

March 6, 2009
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An amusing gimmick indeed. I’ve been rolling over from side to side tonight, consternation growing on its own accord. I assume the consternation is upset about the prospect of dealing with the other parts of my conscious when I have to wake up tomorrow, shower, groom, locate something suitably clean to wear, something suitably shocking to wear, something suitably unstable to wear, locate the keys (which unironically, and uncannily too frequently, is the longest part of the morning ritual) and head to class. Class time will be wonderous, a gauntlet of veritable ideas and rituals designed to abolish any iota of extant daily happiness quotient that is left inside.


Lecturer’s License

November 15, 2007
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The best answer in the world is I don’t know.

So many questions in the world are safely answered by I don’t know. Safely does not equal satisfactorily, especially to intelligent human beings.

Philosophically, we don’t have the greatest idea about things that may currently seem so commonplace. For example, the chemical bond. With current methods, we can’t actually visualize them. Thanks to Linus Pauling’s calculations we can predict them. And math usually does an excellent job of telling us what’s going to happen, to a first approximation.


In a lecture the other day about protein structure, the lecturer railed against Pauling’s later stages of quackery, but failed to mention the incalculable number of contributions to nearly every conceivable scientific field that he was able to make over his short (90+ years) life.

Now these medical students who take everything these professors say to heart will now associate quackery with Pauling. They’ll “know” that Pauling wasn’t helpful.

How much do we know because of him? A lot. Just because he went overboard with Vitamin C’s efficacy and potential use doesn’t disqualify everything that he did beforehand. In general, this is the reason why people should try to present the complete picture, especially with facts. Things that are known, whether about human beings or science can be misconstrued far too easily with just the correct wording. We should be left to form our own conclusions. Please allow your listeners this pleasure if you have the gift of informing people (Except with politics, do whatever you want, ad hominem, accusations of adultery — that’s a different game).

Focal Point

November 7, 2007
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One of the things about making it in a post-graduate education is realizing the amount of information that they will attempt to pour inside of your head. I think one of the ways that I remember things best is to write about it, and then write about my thoughts on the subject. Some lucky (or unlucky) people do not have to worry about trying to fit things inside of their head because they do not have to even try. Their brain does it for them, no questions asked.

This article from last year from a group at Washington University in St. Louis confirms this — that people’s brains and memories are indeed different, and some may more successfully pursue certain careers than others.

That last part I inferred but hey.

Their key finding was that people who utilize visual inspection strategies (for example think about every inch of Charlize Theron’s body, I know you can), or people who utilize verbal elaboration (i.e., this blog [for me], sentences that you construct on your own) have better memory performance.


I want to reiterate that this is just memory. This doesn’t necessarily mean you are worse at understanding a blueprint of a skyscraper than any engineer, you can understand it just fine, but you’ll have to carry it around with you a lot. Unfortunately, using references in live situations is sometimes frowned upon. This is why you are not allowed to use your TI-83 on your damn Calc 2 final.

Those who utilize verbal elaboration more often tend to be more left anterior brained (they determined this using fMRI), and the visual inspection people are more left posterior brained. The group eventually wants to slow Alzheimer’s progression, which everyone alive probably thinks sounds like a superb idea.