Quotes & Links – Intermezzo

1) edge.org: What scientific idea is ready for retirement? Scientific Inference Via Statistical Rituals (via @poltheo)

Because the object of the dream has not been found, “ersatz objects” serve in its place. In some fields, it’s multiple regression; in others, Bayesian statistics. But the champ is the null ritual.

It’s certainly true that ritualisation in science is a problem, sometimes it’s still better than not having on at all though. Obviously hacks will always find a way.

2) gq.com: The Strange & Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit

“For how long?” wondered Perkins-Vance.
Knight thought for a bit, then asked when the Chernobyl nuclear-plant disaster occurred. He had long ago lost the habit of marking time in months or years; this was just a news event he happened to remember.

There’s also something fascinating about these people. I often think how awesome it would be to live a life like that… for a second or two.

3) deutschlandfunk.de: Macht des Fußballs – Wie eine Sportart unsere Gesellschaft dominiert

Manchmal ist es sicherlich auch beunruhigend, was dem Fußball abverlangt wird: Als Rettungsanker für hier und da die Politik, als Rettungsanker für Fernsehmacher oder auch für die Lösung anderer Probleme in unserem Lande. Ich glaube, da muten wir dem Fußball auch zu viel zu.

Ob das früher auch so war? Was gab es damals sonst für Alternativen? Kritischer mit Fußball (und Sport insg.?) umzugehen, wäre vielleicht gut.

4) nytimes.com: A Driving School in France Hits a Wall of Regulations

“It seems like the idea is to wait us out until we run out of money,” Mr. Gaignault said recently. “There is an effort to just destroy us.”

I think most European countries have similar issues, when it comes to new technology and attacks on invested interests. Olson all the way.

5) guardian.com: 12 untranslatable words (and their translations) via @poltheo

There are a fair few linguistic and non-linguistic assumptions bound up in this romance, most of which are decidedly dodgy. For example, the idea that any aspect of human experience could be inaccessible to you just because you speak the wrong language. Or that if a language doesn’t have a single word for a concept (that’s before we’ve even defined exactly what a “word” is), there can be no way to express it.

Interesting list and I agree with the notion that while language might have an effect it certainly isn’t big enough. Nonetheless, language is a fascinating object to study.

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