Random wikipedia links of interest

1. Orogeny.

‘Before the development of geologic concepts during the 19th century, the presence of mountains was explained in Christian contexts as a result of the Biblical Deluge. This was an extension of Neoplatonic thought, which influenced early Christian writers and assumed that a perfect Creation would have to have taken the form of a perfect sphere. Such thinking persisted into the 18th century.’

Of course this could just be the confirmation bias talking, but I think the ‘religion makes you more stupid and less knowledgeable’-hypothesis gets yet another point here.

2) Coalworker’s pneumoconiosis – ‘a common affliction of coal miners and others who work with coal, similar to both silicosis from inhaling silica dust, and to the long-term effects of tobacco smoking. Inhaled coal dust progressively builds up in the lungs and is unable to be removed by the body; that leads to inflammation, fibrosis, and in the worst case, necrosis.’

3) Hand grenade. Did you know that a gunpowder version of this weapon (Zhen Tian Lei – that article is only a stub, unfortunately) was developed more than 1000 years ago – I most certainly did not.

4) Gene expression. This is a dangerous article, it has a lot of good links and can cost you many hours of your life if you’re not careful. As I’m sure regular readers would know, the name of the article is of course also the name of one of my favourite blogs.

5) Simpson’s paradox.

6) Noisy-channel coding theorem.

‘the noisy-channel coding theorem establishes that however contaminated with noise interference a communication channel may be, it is possible to communicate digital data (information) nearly error-free up to a given maximum rate through the channel.’


‘Stated by Claude Shannon in 1948, the theorem describes the maximum possible efficiency of error-correcting methods versus levels of noise interference and data corruption. The theory doesn’t describe how to construct the error-correcting method, it only tells us how good the best possible method can be. Shannon’s theorem has wide-ranging applications in both communications and data storage. This theorem is of foundational importance to the modern field of information theory. Shannon only gave an outline of the proof. The first rigorous proof is due to Amiel Feinstein in 1954.

The Shannon theorem states that given a noisy channel with channel capacity C and information transmitted at a rate R, then if R < C there exist codes that allow the probability of error at the receiver to be made arbitrarily small. This means that, theoretically, it is possible to transmit information nearly without error at any rate below a limiting rate, C.’

I’d file this one under ‘stuff I didn’t know I didn’t know’. There’s a lot of that stuff around.


July 3, 2010 - Posted by | Computer science, Genetics, Geology, Medicine, Statistics, Wikipedia

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