Re: Telomeres

From: Adrian Tymes (
Date: Sun Apr 30 2000 - 13:02:34 MDT

phil osborn wrote:
> Rather that simply railing against the closed-mindedness of people who are
> mostly very old or dead now, I bring this up to make a point. The key
> element missing in the catalog of mental operations of most of the older
> generation - those now older than 60 - was the ability to think in terms of
> systems - complex feedback and control mechanisms.
> Taking a page from Papert's Mindstorms, those of us who were lucky enough to
> work with real models of such - mainly computers - have no trouble at all
> thinking in terms of systemic variables, but face a frustrating blank wall
> of uncomprehension in trying to convey our insights to those who have no
> such concrete, experiential models in their minds.

The way around that, at least in my experience, is to communicate the
model as a preface to the data. Sure, it takes longer than just
communicating the data, but I've been able to get the concept of "x at
time t+1 is controlled in part by the output of x at time t" across to
people who barely understood the concept of "1+1=2", without spending
hours and hours at the task. Make sure you understand the concept well
yourself - a good excercise is to state the basic concepts to yourself
in words an average child could understand - then focus the conversation
on the details needed to communicate the point, and show new ideas as
combinations of what the target already understands (including concepts
only recently grokked during your conversation). (Proceeding from the
basics to the advanced, never ever delving into jargon or concepts you
have not already defined, to yourself also makes good practice for this.
It can also help you comprehend stuff you're not quite comfortable with;
just break down info about it into such an explanation and repeat it to

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