Thursday, December 11, 2008

14 Kislew 5769: “Doctor Who: The Curse of Poor Video Transitions”


Worthy causes of the day: “Tell Our Next President: Fight Extreme Poverty, “Stop the Death Sentence for Prairie Dogs, Ferrets”, and “Stop Bush's Giveaway of America's Redrock Wilderness”.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions: “Doping at work and in class—Why not?”: This article reports on a paper which argues for allowing use of cognitive enhancement drugs. There is still a lot of work to be done on safety and long-term effects for many of the drugs people are already using, licitly or illicitly, but this is something which we are going to have to face sooner or later. I would like to note that people already partake of one cognitive enhancement drug completely legally and without anyone (except maybe Mormons) finding it immoral and no one considering use of it cheating: caffeine. I am looking forward to the day when better safe cognitive enhancements are easily available in order to be able to accomplish more. I have large amounts of data to deal with, and it would be extremely helpful to be able to take a pill and, say, memorize a dictionary and grammar rather than learn a language in a slower, more painful way. I would also like to note this is not cheating. Taking a pill alone does nothing useful; one still has to do the reading. And memorization of text is completely useless unless one thinks about what one has learned and figures out how to make use of it. This is roughly the same logic as many exams I have taken in which I was allowed to bring whatever reference books I wanted. Cognitive enhancement drugs may make certain parts of information processing easier, but they will never eliminate the need to actually do the work.

And yes, learning Greek is slow and painful.  The verb system seems like a horrible mess to me, there are plenty of basic words I do not know, and I still do not really understand what the particle ἄν does.

Today’s news and commentary:Today’s weird thing is arguably the most pointless fan video in the history of the Internet, “Doctor Who: The Curse of Poor Video Transitions”.

Enjoy (or be puzzled) and share the weirdness.

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