A scientific look at how experts come to be

(via boingboing)
No, this isn’t like the satirical look Stephen Colbert gave us earlier in the week.  Over at Scientific American there is an article dealing with the study of the mind of experts.

Studies of the mental processes of chess grandmasters have revealed clues to how people become experts in other fields as well

A man walks along the inside of a circle of chess tables, glancing at each for two or three seconds before making his move. On the outer rim, dozens of amateurs sit pondering their replies until he completes the circuit. The year is 1909, the man is José Raúl Capablanca of Cuba, and the result is a whitewash: 28 wins in as many games. The exhibition was part of a tour in which Capablanca won 168 games in a row.

How did he play so well, so quickly? And how far ahead could he calculate under such constraints? “I see only one move ahead,” Capablanca is said to have answered, “but it is always the correct one.”

Part of the problem of studying experts is studying in a field where expertise can be measured.  As the Scientific American article points out, there are experts in fields like teaching or business management, but how can you get quantitative results which can be used to compare the expert and average person in those fields?  With chess, there is the rating structure which is well defined and easily understood.

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Chuck Norris taken down?

Folks, I’m sorry to have to post this.  I never thought it possible.  But we have here video proof that sometimes someone can beat Chuck Norris.  Perhaps it’s a clever ploy by the most powerful human in the universe.  I hope it is.  Because I just can’t believe someone could take him down so easily otherwise.


[tags]Chuck Norris, Someone beats up Chuck Norris, Row row row your Chuck Norris[/tags]

Wikipedia picture of the day

Yes, I’ve been on a bit of a photo-of-the-day kick lately.  It’s just a phase, I’m sure.  As I have more time to catch up on news, I’ll be posting fewer images.  This latest image posting is the Wikipedia picture of the day for August 3, 2006.


Seen here from the rear at twilight, the London Eye, also known as the Millennium Wheel, is the largest observation wheel in the world at 135 m (443 ft) high. The wheel carries 32 sealed passenger capsules and rotates at a rate of 0.26 m/s (about 0.9 km/h or 0.6 mph) so that one revolution takes about 30 minutes to complete.

Click the image for a full size view.

[tags]Wikipedia, Picture of the day, Millennium Wheel, London Eye[/tags]

Constellations in a canister

(via MAKEzine blog)
A set of simple (and honestly – obvious enough that I should have thought of and done this on my own) instructions for making canisters which project constellations on walls/ceilings/etc, courtesy of NASA. A great teaching project for kids, too. My older son is getting to the age where he’ll probably be really interested in things like this, anyway. And of course, whatever the older does, the younger wants to do.


[tags]NASA, Constellations, DIY projects[/tags]