Monday, November 21, 2011


Funny how memes crop up both within and across websites ... and you often don't pick up on them until you're laid up in bed, as I am now, and can do some intensive extensive Internet reading.

A cross-website meme has just come to my attention. boingboing took me to the marvellously whimsical blog the Futility Closet where I found this quote.

“My opinion of mankind is founded upon the mournful fact that, so far as I can see, they find within themselves the means of believing in a thousand times as much as there is to believe in, judging by experience.”

Augustus De Morgan

How true!

Back at boingboing I come across this post Why being wrong makes us angry on a presentation given by the science journalist Christie Anschwanden at the National Association of Science Writers conference on why people get angry when presented with evidence that their beliefs are wrong.

Maggie Koerth-Baker rightly concludes that "we all (me included) need to remember that being questioned — and being wrong—doesn't mean there's something wrong with us."

Which obviously leads on to the recent "discovery" of neutrinos that travel faster than light (by a staggering 60 nanoseconds i.e. billionths of a second!) at the CERN particle accelerator. The scientists who observed this were so surprised and mystified that they decided to publish their results on the open source arXiv website which publishes pre-peer review research papers. The scientists want feedback - as boingboing says, this a way of saying "Woah, we just found something crazy, please tell us if you see something we've done wrong".

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