Monthly Archives: January 2013

Choice of Population and Mutation Frequencies

I read this article from Richard Dawkins as it seemed to be making a point about politics, language, and the way we think that I find really interesting. (I’ve had a post on language in science in draft for months!) However, what was most interesting was the insight I finally got into mutations in the population.

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Why I Hate Writing

TL;DR: it’s frustrating.

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Language Comprehension in Speaking and Writing

What is easier to produce: easy to understand, grammatically correct, spoken language, or easy to understand, grammatically correct written language?

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Tectonic Speculation

Supercontinents are probably more common than dispersed continents over the last few billion years history. I wonder what human history would have looked like if we had evolved into our modern form on a single continent. Would that even be possible?

If it were, would nation states have formed as easily? What patterns of trade would have evolved? Would there still be naval powers, or would naval power be of little use? With no continents over the sea, how long would it take to develop the technology for ocean travel?

First Look at Coursera

I’ve just finished my first course on Coursera, Computing for Data Analysis. I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure it would work for everyone. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are all the rage right now (Open CourseWare does something similar, and the Khan Academy also offers free online education), and I always want to learn more, so I was curious as to how I would find it.

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Archive Import

I just exported my old WordPress blog and imported it here. I deleted 90% of the posts, as they weren’t relevant to what I’m writing here. But that’s why I suddenly have posts going back to 2006.

What Causes the Relative Inefficiency of the Public Sector?

Private organisations die when they run out of money. Public organisations don’t need to worry about running out of money directly. When considering their behaviour and efficiency, is there a more important difference between them? I suggest that any observed differences in efficiency may be due only to survivorship bias, rather than superior management.

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Pinyin and the Roman Alphabet

Maybe there’s an argument for ditching pinyin in teaching Chinese as a foreign language?

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Business Purpose versus Strategy

Large companies might have strategies. Small companies can’t afford them.

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