Word of the day: Pareidolia


A psychological phenomenon in which the mind responds to a stimulus (an image or a sound) by perceiving a familiar pattern where none exists.

Successful politicians are good at exploiting pareidolia to let voters hear what they want in their  words. If that makes sense to you, you may find what you are looking for in my book.


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Word of the Day: cursitate


To run hither and thither.

Via Futility Closet.

If you like words, you might like my book. It has some good ones.

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The Proof They Missed

Fascinating article in Wired about an important mathematical proof that took a surprisingly long time to be noticed.


One of those moments that tells us a lot about how hard ideas have to fight to be heard even if they are right.

If you’re interested in how to get ideas across, you might like my book.

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Today’s Quote: Proverbs on critics

“Open rebuke is better than hidden love.”

Proverbs, 27.5

If you like plain words, you might like my book. It’s full of them.

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Today’s Quote: DeLillo on Solitude

“A writer takes earnest measures to secure his solitude and then finds endless ways to squander it.”Don DeLillo

If you prefer reading to writing, you might like my book.

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Today’s Quote: Whitman’s Song of Myself

“I am of old and young, of the foolish as much as the wise,

Regardless of others, ever regardful of others,

Maternal as well as paternal, a child as well as a man,

Stuff’d with the stuff that is coarse and stuff’d with the stuff that is fine,

One of the Nation of many nations, the smallest the same and the largest the same”

Walt Whitman*, from Song of Myself XVI

*You might also like the Whitman reference in my book.

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Today’s Quote: Matthew Arnold on the human few

But in each class there are born a certain number of natures with a curiosity about their best self, with a bent for seeing things as they are, for disentangling themselves from machinery, for simply concerning themselves with reason and the will of God, and doing their best to make these prevail;—for the pursuit, in a word, of perfection. To certain manifestations of this love for perfection mankind have accustomed themselves to give the name of genius; implying by this name, something original and heaven-bestowed in the passion. But the passion is to be found far beyond those manifestations of it to which the world usually gives the name of genius, and in which there is, for the most part, a talent of some kind or other, a special and striking faculty of execution, informed by the heaven-bestowed ardour or genius. It is to be found in many manifestations besides these, and may best be called, as we have called it, the love and pursuit of perfection; culture being the true nurse of the pursuing love, and sweetness and light the true character of the pursued perfection. Natures with this bent, emerge in all classes,—among the Barbarians, among the Philistines, among the Populace. And this bent always tends to take them out of their class, and to make their distinguishing characteristic, not their Barbarianism or their Philistinism, but their humanity. They have, in general, a rough time of it in their lives; but they are sown more abundantly than one might think, they appear where and when one least expects it, they set up a fire which enfilades, so to speak, the class with which they are ranked; and, in general, by the extrication of their best self as the self to develop, and by the simplicity of the ends fixed by them as paramount, they hinder the unchecked predominance of that class life which is the affirmation of our ordinary self, and seasonably disconcert mankind in their worship of machinery.

Matthew Arnold

If you like thinking for yourself, you might like my book.

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