Zeno's Paradox
While critical thinking may not make up for a lack of knowledge, it is essential for gaining knowledge.
Friday, September 03, 2004:  
Science, Human Factors:
The Science of Word Recognition
Evidence from the last 20 years of work in cognitive psychology indicates that we use the letters within a word to recognize a word. Many typographers and other text enthusiasts I’ve met insist that words are recognized by the outline made around the word shape...

The goal of this paper is to review the history of why psychologists moved from a word shape model of word recognition to a letter recognition model, and to help others to come to the same conclusion.
Nice review of the word recognition research but, more interesting, a nice example of how science progresses over time with the creation and validation of better models.

    -  Ron  4:01 PM

Thursday, September 02, 2004:  
A monster in your backyard
What is this?
It has 10 legs,
4 very large teeth arranged into two pairs of jaw-like pincers,
2 tiny eyes just above the jaws that so close together that they almost touch,
it moves surprisingly fast,
will chew through netting or light wire gauze,
is about 2 inches (5 cm) long,
and is likely to be in your backyard if you live in an arid or semi-arid area?

Here's a nice picture (large, 3MB file).

It's a solpugid

Of all the creatures I caught when I was a kid, solpugids were probably the strangest and ugliest. The first time I fed one I was shocked at its speed and ferocity. A live woodlouse lasted only a split second when I put it into the container with the solpugid. I was so disgusted with how the solpugid ate, cutting it's prey in half if it could, otherwise just grabbing on and immediately eating the still struggling prey, that I only kept one and that for only an hour or so.

(I later learned that 2 of the appendages that look like legs, are actually pedipalps.)

It's amazing what creatures you can find if you look for them!

    -  Ron  9:57 AM

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