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+ - Isaac Asimov: How Do People Get New Ideas? 1

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Arthur Obermayer, a friend of the Isaac Asimov, writes that he recently rediscovered an unpublished essay by Asimov written in 1959 while cleaning out some old files that is "as broadly relevant today as when he wrote it. It describes not only the creative process and the nature of creative people but also the kind of environment that promotes creativity." Some excerpts from Asimov's essay which is well worth reading in its entirety:

Presumably, the process of creativity, whatever it is, is essentially the same in all its branches and varieties, so that the evolution of a new art form, a new gadget, a new scientific principle, all involve common factors. It is only afterward that a new idea seems reasonable. What is needed is not only people with a good background in a particular field, but also people capable of making a connection between item 1 and item 2 which might not ordinarily seem connected. To begin with, it usually seems unreasonable. It seems the height of unreason to suppose the earth was round instead of flat, or that it moved instead of the sun, or that objects required a force to stop them when in motion, instead of a force to keep them moving, and so on.

A person willing to fly in the face of reason, authority, and common sense must be a person of considerable self-assurance. Since he occurs only rarely, he must seem eccentric (in at least that respect) to the rest of us. A person eccentric in one respect is often eccentric in others. Probably more inhibiting than anything else is a feeling of responsibility. The great ideas of the ages have come from people who weren’t paid to have great ideas, but were paid to be teachers or patent clerks or petty officials, or were not paid at all. The great ideas came as side issues.

My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned, isolation is required. The creative person is, in any case, continually working at it. His mind is shuffling his information at all times, even when he is not conscious of it. The presence of others can only inhibit this process, since creation is embarrassing. For every new good idea you have, there are a hundred, ten thousand foolish ones, which you naturally do not care to display."

+ - Emma Watson Nude Photo Threat a Plot to Censor 4chan

Submitted by ideonexus
ideonexus (1257332) writes "After Emma Watson gave a speech on the need for feminism to the United Nations, 4chan users threatened to release nude photos of the "Harry Potter" star in retaliation, setting up the emmayouarenext.com website with a countdown clock. Now it has been revealed that the site was an elaborate hoax intended publicize a movement to shut down 4chan."

+ - Satanists dramatize distribution of religious materials at schools

Submitted by tylikcat
tylikcat (1578365) writes "In response to a ruling allowing Christian groups to distribute bibles and other Christian oriented materials in schools, the Satanic Temple has decided to distributed their own The Satanic Children's Big Book of Activities. Let the games begin!

To be fair, the Satanic Temple is is forthright in stating that they would not have sought the right to distibute such materials on their own, but point out that most children will already be aware of Christianity, but this might be the first time they encounter to the practice of Satanism."

Comment: Re:Great news (Score 1) 269

by ideonexus (#47888189) Attached to: Massive Study Searching For Genes Behind Intelligence Finds Little

I've read the The Bell Curve, and I think it was a fair analysis for it's time, but--unfortunately for Murray--it was written right before the genetics revolution made all his speculation about race seem naive. The assumption at the time was that people of the same race were genetically similar; therefore, you could lump people of the same race together and make assumptions about their genes influencing their intelligence.

Then the Human Genome Project came along, followed by cheap genetic testing, and scientists like Craig Venter found that the genetic similarities between people of the same race are nothing compared to the genetic variations between any two humans.

In other words, The Bell Curve's conclusions were based entirely on phenotypic analysis, which was fair at the time, but the advent of genotypic analysis has rendered the book pretty much irrelevant.

Comment: Re:Answer: They mostly can, but is it economical? (Score 5, Interesting) 444

by ideonexus (#47888101) Attached to: If Tesla Can Run Its Gigafactory On 100% Renewables, Why Can't Others?
I would add (6) Many states have regulations making it impossible to do what Musk is doing. I live in Republican-Controlled Virginia, where I can't buy solar panels from Musk's SolaryCity, which has a location 20 minutes away from me in Washington DC and more locations in Maryland, because my state has pretty much given Dominion Power a monopoly on supplying electricity here, giving them exclusive rights to net-metering--which they have made cost-prohibitive to implement, and the company has actually successfully sued organizations that install solar panels.

+ - Combating Recent, Ugly Incidents of Misogyny in Gamer Culture-> 1

Submitted by ideonexus
ideonexus (1257332) writes "2490 gamers, developers and journalists have signed an open letter supporting inclusion in the gaming community after indie game developer Zoe Quinn received backlash and harassment when her ex-boyfriend posted false accusations that she traded sex for favorable reviews of her game and feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian was driven from her home after receiving death and rape threats for her videos illustrating the way some mainstream games encourage the commodification of and violence against women. The harassment has prompted geek-dating advice columnist Harris O’Malley to declare the backlash the "Extinction Burst of Gaming Culture", the last reactionary gasp before the culture shifts to become more inclusionary."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Confusing Weather and Climate (Score 1) 143

by ideonexus (#47665327) Attached to: NASA's Greenhouse Gas Observatory Captures 'First Light'

You might be misunderstanding the difference between short-term forecasts and longterm projections. I know I failed to understand the scientific nuance until recently.

You see, "global average temperatures are going to rise X by 2100" is a projection. It's based on pretty basic thermodynamics (ie. this much carbon increases the greenhouse effect by such-and-such). This science, because it's so basic, is pretty solid.

At the same time "global average temperatures are going to rise by Y by 2025" is a forecast. It's based on computer models that are perpetually being refined to more accurately predict the short-term trend. Most recently, these models were found to be missing el-nino/la-nina cycles which is why they have lagged over the last decade.

This is why people get confused when I tell them the science of global warming is actually extremely basic. It's just thermodynamics, but then they confuse projections with forecasts and wonder why the models haven't accurately predicted the last 10 years. It's the "weather versus climate" debate all over again.

Why do scientists even publish forecasts when they know they are still very much a work in progress? Politics. You see, your local representative couldn't give a damn if your children's children suffer from today's lack of leadership a century from now. So scientists are tasked to find out what the short-term effect will be on the constituency to inform politicians whether or not they might suffer some voter backlash on the issue.

In other words, our children's children are doomed to shell out billions to fix this mess.

Comment: Re:Hmm? (Score 1) 84

by ideonexus (#47662671) Attached to: Twitter Reports 23 Million Users Are Actually Bots

I was wondering the same thing. I've never been that interested in engaging twitter, but everyone else was, so I wrote a bot to post random daily science quotes to my account for the next several years. I put a lot of effort into this bot (content-wise, the programming is elementary), and I think I should count as a real user because of that. I'm up-front about the fact that I am a bot, and it's mostly bots that follow me. All the meat-space people should just leave us alone. Don't let some bad bots ruin it for the rest of us.

Comment: Re:Are You Kidding? (Score 2) 541

by ideonexus (#47647937) Attached to: Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

You might want to take some time to actually read the criticisms. Jerry Coyne has a good write-up on his blog that delves deeper. You see, the researchers aren't saying the conclusions in the book are wrong they are saying, as the originators of said research, you cannot draw these conclusions from their work.

But please, don't let the nuanced comments of 140 published researchers dissuade you from shrieking "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS" like a poop-flinging howler monkey.

Comment: Re:And what they did not publish (Score 4, Insightful) 227

by ideonexus (#47647897) Attached to: About Half of Kids' Learning Ability Is In Their DNA

That omission has wasted millions of dollars for higher education for those that can't learn. Not to mention the money wasted on "equal opportunity" and "head start" programs.

What a mind-boggling conclusion to draw from the article. If a human-being's intelligence is only 50% influenced by their environment, you think we should deny them the environment to develop that 50%? If that's you're reasoning, I suspect you would be one of the people being denied these social benefits.

Comment: Re:Modern Day Anti-Evolutionists (Score 1, Interesting) 497

by ideonexus (#47414489) Attached to: Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann
That's a fair argument, and that's also why I used the word "faith" to describe my opinion. I would love to continue having a constructive dialog on this... but unfortunately, we can't move the conversation on Climate Change to a discussion of what, if anything, we should do about it until we get the public to accept the scientific consensus on it. This is how the Skeptics are winning, by preventing the dialog from moving forward.

Comment: Modern Day Anti-Evolutionists (Score 5, Interesting) 497

by ideonexus (#47414391) Attached to: Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann

It seems to me that the Climate Skeptics are making the same mistake the anti-eugenics movement made in 1925 with the Scopes Monkey Trial, which fought the teaching of evolution in schools. Most people don't know this, but the anti-evolution activists were horrified by the textbook's use of Evolution to justify Eugenics, but instead of attacking the public policy proposals of the Eugenics Movement, they attacked the science of Evolution, and history remembers them as buffoons for combating the scientific consensus.

Today, Climate Skeptics are fighting the scientific consensus instead of debating the policies being proposed from that consensus. I myself am an adaptationist, I don't care if we do anything about Global Warming for another 20-30 years and at that point I have faith that civilization will start to engineer its way out of the problem... however, I find myself on the side of the environmentalists with their oftentimes draconian public-policy initiatives because I believe in scientific literacy, and the anti-science positions of today's Climate Skeptics threaten to undo the scientific progress on which our civilization depends for its survival.

+ - Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages to UVA, Michael Mann->

Submitted by ideonexus
ideonexus (1257332) writes "In January of 2014, the American Traditions Institute (ATI) sought Climate Scientist Micheal Mann's emails from his time at the University of Virginia (UVA), a request that was denied in the courts. Now the Virginia Supreme court has upheld a lower court ruling that ATI must pay damages for filing a frivolous lawsuit."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:IF.. (Score 1) 561

by ideonexus (#47325309) Attached to: Match.com, Mensa Create Dating Site For Geniuses

If they were that smart they would know that the IQ test is neither a valid no reliable test for comparisons between groups, only within groups.

In all fairness, Mensa accepts scores on a variety of tests to become a member, including SAT, ACT, and Military tests. Mensa has even created their own test to eliminate the verbal-bias inherent in so many other IQ tests.

That being said, I joined Mensa because I liked being part of the same club as Isaac Asimov and Buckminster Fuller, but, like my heroes, I also found that just because somebody has a high-IQ, doesn't mean they aren't an idiot. I am shocked in many Mensa publications to find many members believe in alien abductions, are anti-vaccers, and are suckers for many other pseudoscience scams and conspiracy theories. Like Asimov and other Mensa-members, I find I get much more intellectual stimulation from my membership in the American Humanist Association of free-thinkers and rationalists.

"Never give in. Never give in. Never. Never. Never." -- Winston Churchill

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