Should Scientists Use the Phrase “Quantum Supremacy”?
For someone outside quantum computing, who has encountered “supremacy” mainly in the context of political or current affairs, its meaning can’t help but be loaded.Image by BeeBright / Shutterstock Forget for a moment that you know the meaning of “quantum supremacy,” the idea of a quantum computer outdoing its conventional counterpart. What does the phrase […]
Should We Let English Eat the World?
English adapts to the needs of people speaking it more than it shapes those people’s ideas or ideals.Photograph by kimberrywood / Shutterstock Hideo Kojima is the Japanese creator of the 2015 video game, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. He evidently chose “phantom pain” as a subtitle because he thought it captured the experience […]
The Rise and Fall of the English Sentence
Linguistics:The surprising forces influencing the complexity of the language we speak and write.
A Linguist Responds to Cormac McCarthy
Linguistics:If language began as a virus, here’s how it spread.
What Trump’s Simplified Language Means
“There is a predictive relationship that speeches that are expressed using very simple basic language tend to precede very authoritarian acts like the use of executive orders.”Photograph by Gage Skidmore / Flickr On the last weekend in April, I was surprised that a panel called “The Press and President Trump,” held at the Columbia Journalism […]
God Created Consciousness in Fiction
Given his grandeur, pettiness, and complexity, and his capacity for introspection, he’s the major exception to the flatness of ancient characters—God.Illustration by Humphrey King / Flickr Many modern novels do something that the earliest literature sometimes seems incapable of doing—representing the inner life of the individual, in all its complexity. The history of literature has […]
Why Doesn’t Ancient Fiction Talk About Feelings?
Literature:Literature’s evolution has reflected and spurred the growing complexity of society.
Is There Awareness Behind Vegetative States?
Neuroscience:The answer to a simple question may show if someone’s really “home.”