Open Thread, 5/24/2015

51QrNyN0KzL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_In 2002 I read Stanislas Dehaene’s The Number Sense: How the Mind Creates Mathematics. Though it’s not at the same level as Steven Pinker’s The Language Instinct*, it’s not that far below it. There was a time when I read a fair amount of cognitive neuroscience. Not so much now. So I’m finally trying to get through Reading in the Brain: The New Science of How We Read, again, by Stanislas Dehaene. This is partly an exercise of narcissism, since I want to do what I can to understand myself.

CoverReadingInTheBrainSpeaking of which, Bryan Caplan, a big fan of Judith Rich Harris’ The Nurture Assumption, reports that reading is kind of a big deal in developing a child, and impacting their ultimate life outcomes. The effect is modest, but robust. Though also please read Will Ambrosini’s cautionary comments about interpretation of this result.

So what else is going on? I apologize to those whose comments I don’t respond to who are asking me a direct question. Time is finite and it often slips my mind, even though responding to questions is on a “TO-DO”. Also, the new book about Elon Musk, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, looks interesting. But I doubt the whole of the text is worth purchasing. I care a lot less about Musk’s family background and personal life than I do about his vision for the human race. But really the latter could be outlined on a napkin.

Finally, BAPG XII @Stanford in Palo Alto. May 30th, a Saturday. Looking forward in particular to Michael McLaren’s talk on fitness landscapes.

* The Blank Slate is probably more well known, and Pinker’s most successful book in terms of broad cultural impact. But I think The Language Instinct is his best science book aimed at a general audience.

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