Random wikipedia articles of interest

1. Dunning-Kruger effect.

“The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which “people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it.”[1] The unskilled therefore suffer from illusory superiority, rating their own ability as above average, much higher than it actually is, while the highly skilled underrate their abilities, suffering from illusory inferiority. This leads to the perverse situation in which less competent people rate their own ability higher than more competent people.”

2. Naval history of Japan. Lots of links, lots of good stuff. If you’ve never heard about the term ‘gunboat diplomacy’ before, here’s a good example from the article:

“Many isolated attempts to end Japan’s seclusion were made by expanding Western powers during the 19th century. American, Russian and French ships all attempted to engage in relationship with Japan, but were rejected.

These largely unsuccessful attempts continued until, on July 8, 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry of the U.S. Navy with four warships: Mississippi, Plymouth, Saratoga, and Susquehanna steamed into the Bay of Edo (Tokyo) and displayed the threatening power of his ships’ Paixhans guns. He demanded that Japan open to trade with the West. These ships became known as the kurofune, or Black Ships.

Barely one month after Perry, the Russian Admiral Yevfimy Putyatin arrived in Nagasaki on August 12, 1853. He made a demonstration of a steam engine on his ship the Pallada, which led to Japan’s first manufacture of a steam engine, created by Tanaka Hisashige.

The following year, Perry returned with seven ships and forced the shogun to sign the “Treaty of Peace and Amity”, establishing formal diplomatic relations between Japan and the United States, known as the Convention of Kanagawa (March 31, 1854).”

3. Mosquito. Some interesting facts about these creatures:
a) There are about 3,500 species of mosquitoes found throughout the world.
b) The composition of mosquito saliva is relatively simple as it usually contains fewer than 20 dominant proteins. Despite the great strides in knowledge of these molecules and their role in bloodfeeding achieved recently, scientists still cannot ascribe functions to more than half of the molecules found in arthropod saliva.
c) Mosquitoes are estimated to transmit disease to more than 700 million people annually in Africa, South America, Central America, Mexico and much of Asia with millions of resulting deaths. At least 2 million people annually die of these diseases.
d) The oldest known mosquito with an anatomy similar to modern species was found in 79-million-year-old Canadian amber from the Cretaceous.

4. Fourier–Motzkin elimination.

5. Gunpowder.


June 5, 2010 - Posted by | Biology, History, Mathematics, Psychology, Wikipedia, Zoology


  1. Hele den japanske isolation, både dens opståen, dens historie og dens fald er yderst spændende (synes jeg). Jeg plejer at anbefale disse bøger til dem, der interesserer sig:
    Giles Milton
    Samurai William (kan fås både på dansk og engelsk under den titel)

    Matsubara, Hisako
    Vejen til Japans succes

    Der findes muligvis bedre værker for stærkt historieinteresserede, men begge disse var underholdende samtidig med de var informative. Samtidig repræsenterer de en henholdsvis fortrinsvis provestlig og en mere japanskforstående vinkel på konflikterne med de kristne, der var afgørende for lukningen af landet.

    Comment by info | June 5, 2010 | Reply

  2. @Info: Ja, det er et spændende emne – men dem er der så pokkers mange af!

    Hvorom alting er: Jeg har tilføjet de nævnte værker til min liste over anbefalede værker fra læserne, flere af hvilke jævnligt optræder på mine ønskelister til jul og fødselsdag.

    Comment by US | June 6, 2010 | Reply

  3. Den sidste af de to skal man nok på det antikvariske marked for at finde.

    Comment by info | June 6, 2010 | Reply

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