Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Secret To Success In A Nutshell

Throw away all those self-help books that supply you the secret of success in 10 steps (or something similar).
The following small paragraph should suffice.
Here goes ...

And yes, just as your grandmother always told you, practice does make perfect. But not just willy-nilly practice. Mastery arrives through what [K. Anders] Ericsson [professor of psychology at Florida State University] calls "deliberate practice." This entails more than simply playing a C-minor sclae a hundred times or hitting tennis serves until your shoulder pops our of its socket. Deliberate practice has three key component: setting specific goals; obtaining immediate feedback; and concentrating as much on technique as on outcome.

Short and sweet.

I took this from Superfreakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Amusing Science

The most amusing read in the Scientific American is their regular feature called 50, 100 & 150 Years Ago. It is a compilation of what appeared in this very magazine so many years ago. Some of them make a very interesting read, such as this one ... It is called Electric Theory and appeared in the magazine in April 1860.

The results of the experiments instituted by Sir William Grove are exceedingly curious, and must be regarded as all but proving the truth of the modern theory, which assumes that electricity is not, in any sense, a material substance but only an affection (state) or motion of the particles of ordinary matter. If electricity is unable to pass over or through a vacuum, it is probable that all other so-called imponderable forces - light, heat, magnetism, and possibly attraction - obey the same law, and as these agencies freely travel the interplanetary spaces, the supposition of Newton that such spaces may be filled with an ethereal form of matter receives an indirect but powerful support.

Note the flow of 'logic' here: an experiment on the nature of electricity is extrapolated by using "probable" and finally an assertion - "powerful support". Now, it is not clear if this logic was proposed by Sir William Grove or the reported who put together the article, though I have a very good idea about it.

We may laugh about it now. But the fact remains that science progresses by propounding and then challenging hypothesis. One wonders 150 years from today, what will seem so comical. Dark matter, Dark Energy, Environmental debate? Any guesses?

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Friday, April 2, 2010

Greenhouse Gases - Not The Only Force At Work

More Greenhouse gases in atmosphere, more the global warming.
Reduce the production of Greenhouse gases, reduce global warming.
Gives us a sense of control - however little - over climate, doesn't it?
Well if things were that easy.
The April 2010 issue of The Scientific American has news for you.
But first the conclusion in words of geoscientist Jeffery Dorale, "Greenhouse gases are clearly important to climate, but just as clearly they are not the only major forces at work."
Here's the piece of news ...

... [A] team of geologists conclude that, compared to today, sea levels were roughly one meter higher 81,000 years ago, when the world was thought to be experiencing an ice age that should have locked up water in glacial ice, which should have lowered sea level as much as 30 meters. ... What might have caused the sea-level climb remains unclear ... One thing is certain, however: the finding points to how complex the earth's climate is.

Hmmm.... Looks like the Climate Debate is not all shut and sealed up.
Just wondering .. Let's assume we drastically reduce production of the Greenhouse gases, suck out the Greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, stabilize or reverse the apparent global warming. And then discover that we have actually started something else. What if all our actions actually goes to destabilize the climate in ways we have no clue about?

After all the whole rigamarole is about making the climate suitable for human existence. Do you think the Earth give a s**t about whether humans survive or not?

Stumble Upon Toolbar

My Library