jm + britain   3

Beard vs Taleb: Scientism and the Nature of Historical Inquiry
The most interesting aspect of this Twitter war is that it is representative of a malaise that has stricken a good chunk of academics (mostly scientists, with a peppering of philosophers) and an increasing portion of the general public: scientism.

I have co-edited an entire book, due out soon, on the topic, which features authors who are pro, con, and somewhere in the middle. Scientism is defined as the belief that the assumptions, methods of research, etc., of the natural sciences are the only ways to gather valuable knowledge or to answer meaningful questions. Everything else, to paraphrase Taleb, is bullshit.

Does Taleb engage in scientism? Indubitably. I have already mentioned above his generalization from what one particular historian (Beard) said to “historians” tout court. But there is more, from his Twitter feed: “there is this absence of intellectual rigor in humanities.” “Are historians idiots? Let’s be polite and say that they are in the majority no rocket scientists and operate under a structural bias. It looks like an empirically rigorous view of historiography is missing.”
history  science  scientism  nassim-taleb  argument  debate  proof  romans  britain  mary-beard 
12 days ago by jm
How .uk came to be (and why it's not .gb)
WB: By the late 80s the IANA [the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, set up in 1988 to manage global IP address allocations] was trying to get all those countries that were trying to join the internet to use the ISO 3166 standard for country codes. It was used for all sorts of things — you see it on cars, “GB” for the UK. [...]

At that point, we’re faced with a problem that Jon Postel would like to have changed it to .gb to be consistent with the rest of the world. Whereas .uk had already been established, with a few tens of thousands of domain names with .uk on them. I remember chairing one of the JANET net workshops that were held every year, and the Northern Irish were adamant that they were part of the UK — so the consensus was, we’d try and keep .uk, we’d park .gb and not use it.

PK: I didn’t particularly want to change to .gb because I was responsible for Northern Ireland as well. And what’s more, there was a certain question as to whether a research group in the US should be allowed to tell the British what to do. So this argy-bargy continued for a little while and, in the meantime, one of my clients was the Ministry of Defence, and they decided they couldn’t wait this long, and they decided I was going to lose the battle, and so bits of MOD went over to .gb — I didn’t care, as I was running .gb and .uk in any case.
dot-uk  history  internet  dot-gb  britain  uk  northern-ireland  ireland  janet 
july 2015 by jm
Operation War Diary
Crowdsourcing transcription of some WWI artifacts: 'The story of the British Army on the Western Front during the First World War is waiting to be discovered in 1.5 million pages of unit war diaries. We need your help to reveal the stories of those who fought in the global conflict that shaped the world we live in today.'

(via Luke)
via:luke  war  history  war-diaries  wwi  uk  britain 
january 2014 by jm

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