How to Do What You Love - Paul Graham
. In all organisms the genetic instructions for forming species’ characteristics are carried in the chromosomes. Each chromosome consists of a single very long DNA molecule, and each gene on the chromosome is a particular segment of that DNA. The instructions for forming species’ characteristics are carried in DNA. All cells in an organism have the same genetic content, but the genes used (expressed) by the cell may be regulated in different ways. Not all DNA codes for a protein; some segments of DNA are involved in regulatory or structural functions, and some have no as-yet known function.
January 2006 To do something well you have to like it
The fact that a child, or any subject, points to two candies when youcircle the "2" in "26" and ask him to show you what that means, may besimply because he is not thinking about what you are asking in the waythat you are asking it or thinking about it yourself. There is no deceptioninvolved; you both are simply thinking about different things -- but usingthe same words (or symbols) to describe what you are thinking about. Thisis similar to someone's quoting a price of "nineteen ninety five" whenyou mistakenly think you are looking at costume jewelry, and you thinkhe means $19.95, while he is meaning $1995. Or, ask someone to look atthe face of a person about ten feet away from them and describe what theysee. They will describe that person's face, but they will actually be seeingmuch more than that person's face. So, their answer is wrong, though understandablyso. Now, in a sense, this is a trivial and trick misunderstanding, butin photography, amateurs all the time "see" only a face in their viewer,when actually they are too far away to have that face show up very wellin the photograph. They really do not know all they are seeing throughthe viewer, and all that the camera is "seeing" to take. The differenceis that if one makes this mistake with a camera, it really is a mistake;if one makes the mistake verbally in answer to the question I stated, itmay not be a real mistake but only taking an ambiguous question the wayit deceptively was not intended. Asking a child what a circled "2" means,no matter where it comes from, may give the child no reason to think youare asking about the "twenty" part of "26" --especially when there aretwo objects you have intentionally had him put before him, and no readilyobvious set of twenty objects. He may understand place-value perfectlywell, but not see that is what you are asking about -- especially underthe circumstances you have constructed and in which you ask the question. ()
Most people's definition of history is fairly simple. It's "what-really-happened-in-the-past." But professional historians know that the reality of history is hardly so unproblematical. As many a policeman will assert who has tried to determine from several eyewitnesses' reports exactly what happened in an accident, it's often difficult to piece together different people's versions of the "truth" and construct one coherent narrative on which everyone agrees. In fact, it's impossible. The same is true for history which is a very messy business and, like all human enterprises, particularly susceptible to bias, self-righteousness, pride, vanity and, if not outright and intentional perversion of the truth, at least the subconscious obfuscation of some grimmer and grimier reality.