“Life is tough, but it’s tougher if you’re stupid.”

February 20, 2011

Attributed to John Wayne.

A grittier version of my preferred definition of critical thinking: “The art of being right.”


Speak English!

March 9, 2010

Eaglet shrieking: ”Speak English! I don’t know the meaning of half those long words, and I don’t believe you do either!”

From Alice in Wonderland, apparently

http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/upsidedown-insideout-parliament-wonderland-20100309-pvwx.html


Even birds can do it

September 14, 2009

Here’s what happened. Shigeru Watanabe (a psychologist at Keio University in Tokyo and possibly a man in league with the birds) set up a nefarious experiment. Watanabe showed children’s paintings to pigeons; a panel of adults had deemed each work either good or bad. He trained the pigeons to distinguish between them with a system of tasty rewards. When the pigeons pecked correctly, he gave them some seed. Later, he presented 10 paintings to the birds they had never seen. Five of these paintings had been deemed good by humans, five bad. The pigeons recognized the good paintings as “good” twice as often as they recognized the “bad” paintings. In short, they came off as pretty good critics. There are those (names withheld) writing for major publications who might do markedly less well. Given these results, Watanabe claims, “pigeons are capable of learning the concept of a stimulus class that humans name ‘good’ pictures.”
http://www.thesmartset.com/article/article08260902.aspx


Nope – never said it

September 14, 2009

“For a salutary reminder of how easy it is for well-known “facts” to be no such thing, even when they are often repeated in print, consider some of the entries in “They Never Said It”, a compendium of misquotations published in 1989. Sherlock Holmes never said “Elementary, my dear Watson” (or anything like it). “Whenever I hear the word ‘culture’, I reach for my revolver” is a line from a play, not a quote from Hermann Goering. “Let them eat cake” began life in Rousseau’s “Confessions”, not the mouth of Marie-Antoinette. Voltaire never said “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” And there is no reason to think Abraham Lincoln ever said “You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time”—though it is evidently true that you can fool a lot of people for a long time with the aid of books. The quip “Too much checking on the facts has ruined many a good news story” has long been attributed to an American newspaper magnate, Roy Howard; needless to say, it appears to be an invention.”
http://moreintelligentlife.com/content/anthony-gottlieb/facts-errors-and-kindle


Quote – weigh the arguments

February 24, 2009

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/23/opinion/23mon1.html?em

“The case for saving Chrysler is certainly the weakest. It is the smallest of the Big Three, employing just more than 40,000 hourly workers. As President Obama and his aides consider whether to supply new funds, they should carefully weigh all of the arguments.”


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.