Footnote about the Pinker-Gladwell kerfuffle: To discredit Gladwell, Pinker takes advantage of a truly embarrassing mistake (the science-writer's nightmare) in which Gladwell misspelled "eigenvalue'' as "igon value.'' (It seems a less successful gambit, though, after you learn that Pinker misspelled "sagittal'' in his list of Gladwell's errors -- a mistake which, though now corrected on the NY Times website, lives on in places where the freshly posted review was quoted, like here and here.)
Still . . . transferring doubleness from the t to the g in a word is a mechanical kind of error (explained beautifully here). It doesn't suggest ignorance of the word's meaning, so Gladwell's not even here. The igon-egg remains on his face, and a big question lingers: How could The New Yorker fact-checkers have missed this one?
In fact, they didn't. As noted in this post at Language Log, the article version of the chapter correctly spells the word ``eigenvalue.'' (The comments are as rich as the post, by the way -- they're where you'll find the point about ``sagittal'' and many interesting byways.)
Seems the manuscript went to both magazine and book editors, and only the magazine editors fixed it. Gladwell's blog now confirms this with a scan of the original passage as published in The New Yorker.
I don't understand why Gladwell didn't take advantage of the magazine's top-flight checking department. Was this a mechanical accident, the administrative equivalent of misplacing g's and t's when spelling a word (maybe he sent the wrong Word file over)? Was it time pressure? Or did he make the chapter so different from the article that he didn't use the latter as the manuscript for the former?
Anyway, thanks to Carl Zimmer, the science writer's science writer, for the pointer to Language Log.
The way that you think about stress can actually transform the effect that it has on you – and others.
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Rediscovering the principles of self-actualisation might be just the tonic that the modern world is crying out for.
Abraham Maslow was the 20th-century American psychologist best-known for explaining motivation through his hierarchy of needs, which he represented in a pyramid. At the base, our physiological needs include food, water, warmth and rest.
"I was so moved when I saw the cells stir," said 90-year-old study co-author Akira Iritani. "I'd been hoping for this for 20 years."
- The team managed to stimulate nucleus-like structures to perform some biological processes, but not cell division.
- Unless better technology and DNA samples emerge in the future, it's unlikely that scientists will be able to clone a woolly mammoth.
- Still, studying the DNA of woolly mammoths provides valuable insights into the genetic adaptations that allowed them to survive in unique environments.
Does believing in true love make people act like jerks?
- Ghosting, or cutting off all contact suddenly with a romantic partner, is not nice.
- Growth-oriented people (who think relationships are made, not born) do not appreciate it.
- Destiny-oriented people (who believe in soulmates) are more likely to be okay with ghosting.
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