Re: Precocious

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Speaking of college senior TS Eliot, the room Merton College named after him is now the TV room.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 6:42 AM
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A vast wasteland?


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 6:52 AM
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"This is where we are, with people essentially talking past one another," said Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania and scientific director of the Imagination Institute, which funds research into creativity. And because truly elite performance takes many years to achieve, he said, the exact contribution of practice may never be known precisely.

Other Scott Kaufman nails it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 7:05 AM
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Let's all list whether or not we are Picasso.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 7:07 AM
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I am Velasquez.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 7:11 AM
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Anyhow, far be it from me to dismiss the importance of psychological research, but the obvious intuition -- Gladwell notwithstanding -- is that the people who reach the absolute peak of performance in demanding, highly competitive realms are people who are naturally extremely talented and practice constantly. Everything here is just nibbling around the edges of that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 7:13 AM
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Seems reasonable. Hard work in a math class can probably get you a boost of about a letter grade, maybe a letter and a half.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 7:14 AM
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Yes, I think 6 is right. I just get annoyed with nurture! nurture! nurture! arguments.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 7:15 AM
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My first job was to paint masterpieces in a represenational style. Abstract/cubism was for later.


Posted by: Opinionated Pablo | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 7:15 AM
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If any kind of deep understanding in how humans excel at complex skills were ever attained, it could not be described in any NYT article, however long. I think Wittgenstein proved this, or something.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 7:20 AM
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6. Does this include corporate management?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 7:20 AM
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11: sure, if you define "the peak of performance" the right way. But I'm sure you're not going to like my example of somebody who reached said peak.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 7:27 AM
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Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole


Posted by: J. Richman | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 7:27 AM
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I doubt it. He had two wives and several mistresses.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 7:29 AM
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What a Picasshole.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 7:37 AM
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The thing is, students do much better - relative to their baseline firepower - if they believe the brain is a muscle to be trained, instead of a fixed immutable g. Or something. This is a fact I am told constantly at Heebie U, so it must be true.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 7:38 AM
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So we all have to cooperate and pretend to believe that Dusty Crophopper could win the Wings Around The Globe rally with a bit of luck and a fair wind.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 7:39 AM
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12. I can think of a number of people among the digerati who might qualify, but almost nobody else in the last 40 years. Go back a bit further and you find maybe a few aviation engineers. Far enough and you reach Boulton and Watt.

But in any case you need to stipulate a field in which the small set of geniuses are creating their own market from scratch and in which their technical or design expertise can therefore give them an unimpeded run at it. This is the exception rather than the rule. Musk can afford to play with innovative cars because PayPal, not because innovative cars made him rich. Eberhard doesn't even work there any more.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 7:48 AM
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16: I don't mean to discount talent/ability/innate mental whateverishness -- I've been managing to slide by without much work on that basis all my life. But I do think both that people are kind of bad at self-assessing their own talent/ability whatever, so telling them that working hard is the whole thing reveals the people who have what it takes to get skilled, but didn't realize it, and that there's a difference between greatness and competence, and that hard work can get most people to competent (as opposed to spectacular) in any field.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 7:50 AM
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Well, what makes it complicated is when you aren't talking about the first chair violinist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra, right? Taking somebody who is absolutely incompetent and making them the best in the world is not the usual situation that obtains. Is it possible to get better at things you're interested in and which you feel like you might be pretty good at with some practice? Odds are the answer is yes!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 7:51 AM
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20 to 17.

18: I was thinking specifically of your buddy Steve Jobs.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 7:52 AM
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Also, to the initial post -- I've never been much for Eliot, but I had no idea that Prufrock was from when he was 22. It's such a middle-aged poem, and I say that as someone who is middle-aged. That's some impressive empathy he had going there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 7:54 AM
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I just realized I have a painting I did when I was fourteen hanging right behind me. (Checking.) Hm, no, not as good as Picasso's.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 7:56 AM
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19: yes, there was a person in my group in grad school who wasn't even sure he would graduate high school, much less college, get a phd, become an important exec at a lab. Had he been told regularly that talent ruled the day, he'd probably be cleaning pools or plastering walls with his brother.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 7:58 AM
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OMG is that point about CEOs in general and Steve Jobs in particular moronic, but it's nice to see that reason never interferes with Tweety's bizarre, childlike Apple fandom. Seriously, whatever this discussion is there is absolutely no way that hitting all of the enormously lucky and contingent steps necessary to achieve success as a leader of a major corporation measures it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:04 AM
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Nurture! Nurture! Nurture! isn't always be correct or complete, but it's a pretty good rule of thumb and guide to action. (On preview, heebie's U is correct.)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:05 AM
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If the claim is (as I've always understood it) that sufficient dedicated practice with feedback can take anyone with more-or-less normal mental faculties to the realm of expert performance within some domain, then I really don't see how regressing success among experts on time spent practicing is really relevant. Competitive success would also have to depend on innate talents (whatever those are), social capital, and luck, and practice time can't be all that greatly varying among experts. (To say nothing of the general issue that fraction of variance predicted is a piss-poor way of measuring how strong a cause is.)


Posted by: Cosma Shalizi | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:06 AM
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22: Well, I first read Prufrock in high school, and I loved it right away because I identified with it so strongly. I don't think it was empathy on Eliot's part or mine -- just a certain personality type.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:08 AM
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25: what was the point, specifically, that you're responding to?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:10 AM
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16 et al.: The impetus for this comes from the work of Carol Dweck, which seems pretty reasonable to me but is social psychology, so... The main idea, as I understand it, is how these attitudes shape learning from mistakes or failures. If the attitude is "you got it or you don't", all you can learn from a failure is "I don't got it". Thinking of yourself as more plastic means that there's a point to asking which potentially-remediable things lead you to fail (not enough studying? wrong sort of practice? too much distraction? specific skills not honed?), and doing something about them in the future.


Posted by: Cosma Shalizi | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:10 AM
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Because I don't think I actually explained what I was thinking in enough detail to respond to it (since chris y didn't seem interested, fairly enough).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:11 AM
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27: Yes, exactly this. Amount of practice time among chess masters may not explain all that much, but I'll bet you it explains a very large part of who is a chess master and who isn't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:15 AM
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21. Jobs is a good example of why there aren't many such. I've no idea if he was a particularly good engineer; he was a goodish designer, building on existing ideas, and a marketing genius. But also, and necessarily, he was in the right place at the right time. I think you need two out of the three of engineering, design and marketing (Boulton and Watt only had two each, though they had them in spades), but above all you need to have a brass ring within reach to catch it. Such people aren't particularly relevant to the general phenomenon of high executive pay, though.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:15 AM
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27: in general, studying experts (or great successes) has always seemed pretty suspect to me. The guy who painted like Picasso at 14 and then didn't do shit with it seems like a necessary control.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:16 AM
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Such people aren't particularly relevant to the general phenomenon of high executive pay, though.

Sure, right, which is why I said "if you construe the peak of performance the right way"; it is obviously the case that a huge number of contingent factors went into allowing Steve Jobs to do what he did, but contrariwise the intuition that the part Steve Jobs played in becoming who he was involved both a natural instinct for design and marketing and business ruthlessness and also a totally single-minded obsession with same seems pretty obvious to me. Which is not to say that it's not the wrong intuition, but per 6 it seems to me that intuition is about as helpful as most of this research is.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:20 AM
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31. Not responding immediately doesn't mean I'm not interested, only that I'm doing other stuff as well.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:22 AM
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34: Absolutely. IIRC, Norbert Wiener was part of some group of prodigies has father assembled at Harvard, and he muses in one of his autobiographies about how few of them ever went on to do anything of note. (I want to say that one of them became a janitor; but maybe he was a really excellent janitor.)

Studying successes only will also lead to all sorts of weird correlations through selecting on endogenous variables. E.g., if emoting and good looks are both necessary to success as an actor, and are independent in the general population, studying successful actors will lead you to conclude that looks and emoting are negatively correlated (and so perhaps good-looking actors never bother to learn how to emote).


Posted by: Cosma Shalizi | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:22 AM
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difference in performance in music, sports and games like chess.

I think focusing on activities like these is a classic case of searching for your keys under the lamppost because that's where there's light.

Playing a musical instrument, athletics and chess are all activities where you perform a fairly specific task under very controlled circumstances, with random external factors excluded as much as possible.

I'm not sure how any conclusions drawn will carry over to anything else (including scientific research, in my experience), where being in the right place at the right time counts for so much.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:22 AM
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the brain is a muscle

I know what this is supposed to mean but I can't avoid having a "the hell?" reaction to it because I always think it's meant literally for a moment.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:23 AM
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My first job was to paint masterpieces in a represenational style. Abstract/cubism was for later.

He wasn't as young as Picasso, but Dali painted an impressive realist painting when he was 22.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:24 AM
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Speaking only for myself, I just wanted to push back against the 10,000 hour crap that made it sound (maybe! I never read it!) like there was no such thing as talent, or talent doesn't matter. I thought I was sufficiently breezy to make that clear in the post, but maybe not, and maybe no one cares anyway.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:26 AM
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...he was in the right place at the right time.

The third element, after nature and nuture. As a historical materialist, times makes the man. Would Eliot have been a great Elizabethan poet? Would Donne make a modernist?

'Reason your viceroy in mee, mee should defend, /
But is captiv'd, and proves weake or untrue'

Yet dearely I love you, and would be loved faine,
But am betrothd unto your enemie:
Divorce mee, untie, or breake that knot againe,
Täke mee to you, imprison mee, for I
Except you enthrall mee, never shall be free,
Nor ever chast, except you ravish mee.

Donne, 14th Holy Sonnet; you = God or Revolution enemie = reason; book on reification led me to Donne.
Timothy Bewes, connecting socialist and Christian Faith in our corrupt and despairing times.

Halasz shamed me for my blindness to poetry, a particular Stevens, so I have opened up the Collected. I hunger for poetry, while driven wild and mean by my science, I hunger for submission.

Mark Halliday ...was good.

And this poem is so strangely sure of itself! Where did it get such nerve? It has a quality I will call arrogance.

A poem, just by being a poem, says "I am more significant than all your chatter, all your information, all your reports and articles, more significant even than all your stories, more important than any page of Crime and Punishment or Women in Love or Middlemarch -- even, in a mysterious way, more important than each of these novels as a whole. You must gaze down into the well of me. You may never see to the bottom."

I always liked Eliot, although I disagree with him. Four Quartets

And whatever else Pound was, he was a very good friend.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:30 AM
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@41: I thought that the 10,000 hours business was about how to become a competent expert, not one of the few best in the world. E.g., 10,000 hours of practice could get you to the point being able to paint a reasonable portrait or still life, not turn you into Titian or Vermeer or Picasso.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:30 AM
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41: Yeah, I didn't read it either, but it's so stupid. Like the Beatles were the only band that played together for 10,000 hours!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:30 AM
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competent expert

Is that all it was? I'm sorry to be talking about something I haven't read, but I recall Mozart's name coming up in that discussion, and I was incredulous.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:34 AM
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42. In a modernist form, I can imagine Eliot writing something very much like that sonnet, yes.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:37 AM
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If I recall, Gladwell was reasonably clear that the research only showed that hours of practice was the single most informative predictor of success in whatever skill-based field. But (again, as I recall) he then did the sort of typical Gladwell "so does this mean that anybody could be Tiger Woods, or Mozart, if they put enough time into ti?!?" flight of speculation, and then the world in general ran with that.

Although looking at this (about this idiot) maybe I was being too charitable.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:39 AM
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45: Mozart is a particularly stupid example for 10,000 hours of practice as a key to anything, because he was remarkable as a small child, when he certainly hadn't put the time in.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:41 AM
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Do I care whence genius comes?

Are we trying to mass produce it or deflate it? Understand it?

I had my heart broken last night.

Tadao Nagahama died of hepatitis after directing 18 episodes of Rose of Versailles, and Dezaki Osamu took over.

It's the difference between a mind-meld of Terry Gilliam and Guy Madden + 1000 mics of acid...and a very good director of melodrama. Most people apparently prefer the 2nd half, but the visual madness/genius of Nagahama was something really special, and is a better match for the break-the-mold outside the box innovations of Riyoko Ikeda's manga.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:42 AM
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@47: It's been a while since I read Gladwell on this (and I read an article not one of his books). If he really was implying that 10,000 hours will make you Mozart/Picasso/Michael Jordan, he's even dumber than I thought.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:45 AM
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The success filter operates there as well. It would take a whole lot less than 10,000 hours to discover that I'm never going to be able to hit major league pitching -- 10 hours should be sufficient. So, obviously, the only people with 10,000 hours are the people who are really good.

Full time job for 5 years.

A very dedicated non-professional skier -- let's say 75 days per year at 5 hours each -- is going to take more than 25 years to get to 10,000.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:47 AM
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I should add to 27 that I haven't read the paper in question, so maybe they have good answers to all of that and it's just the Times making them sound careless.


Posted by: Cosma Shalizi | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:48 AM
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The untapped potential theme is interesting to me. (And the idea that there was no such thing as untapped innate potential--just unspent hours of practice, was disheartening). I've long wondered idly if I could have been a good classical composer. I've always felt like I could have (even though I recognize in some sense that's preposterous). But I wasn't exposed to music much as a kid, much less classical music, can't read music and can't play instruments. So, no.

Famous Stephen Jay Gould quote on the same theme: "I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein's brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops."


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:48 AM
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50, 51 -- That is, no one but Mozart/Jordan is really going to put in the 10,000 hours.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:49 AM
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51.1, 54: see the second link in 47. One idiot is intent on providing the empirical test of the 10,000 hours hypothesis that the world needs. (Dude, you're halfway through and you aren't even a consistent scratch golfer! It's not going to work!)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:52 AM
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One idiot is intent on providing the empirical test of the 10,000 hours hypothesis that the world needs. (Dude, you're halfway through and you aren't even a consistent scratch golfer! It's not going to work!)

I was gonna mention that guy. He comes up early on in The Sports Gene, which is all about how practice alone isn't worth shit. Not surprisingly the author's gotten into a sniping battle with Gladwell. (One point about the original 10K hours study: it was of violinists who were already playing at a high level. Never said anything about a completely random sample.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 9:03 AM
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(One point about the original 10K hours study: it was of violinists who were already playing at a high level. Never said anything about a completely random sample.)

Which is why 37.2 is so apposite.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 9:07 AM
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WRT sports specifically, you can't ignore the fact that some people's bodies can hold up under regular strain more than other's. I knew some pretty fanatical athletes in college, but all their dedication (and talent, assuming they had some) didn't mean much once their knees went...


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 9:09 AM
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Et j'ai dû travailler beaucoup pour cela, bien évidemment. Car je suis convaincu d'une chose : le talent, cela n'existe pas. Le talent, c'est avoir l'envie de faire quelque chose. Je prétends qu'un homme qui, tout à coup, rêve de manger un homard, a le talent de manger ce homard dans l'instant, de le savourer convenablement. Avoir envie de réaliser un rêve, c'est le talent. Et tout le reste, c'est de la sueur. C'est de la transpiration, c'est de la discipline. Je suis sûr de cela. L'art, moi, je ne sais pas ce que c'est. Les artistes, je ne connais pas. Je crois qu'il y a des gens qui travaillent à quelque chose et qui travaillent avec une grande énergie. L'accident de la nature, je n'y crois pas. Pratiquement pas.


Posted by: Opinionated Jacques Brel | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 9:11 AM
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58: This is also something that comes up in The Sports Gene. Epstein mentions a study of Danish pro soccer players: despite the fact that coaches want the fastest players (and thus the ones who have the highest proportion of fast-twitch to slow-twitch muscles), the pros have on average a lower ratio than the general population. The really fast guys break down in old-school one-size-fits-all training and end up quitting after their fifth hamstring tear.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 9:17 AM
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58: That was an interesting bit. I wonder if there are places with training adaptations in place--obviously there'd be some real difficulty working out how to do it... as there's clearly some level of time required to gain the game understanding necessary to contribute beyond just being a sprinter.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 9:21 AM
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61 to 60


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 9:22 AM
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The really fast guys break down in old-school one-size-fits-all training and end up quitting after their fifth hamstring tear.

Coaching can make a huge difference. I'm reminded of the story that hard-nosed football coach Vince Lombardi let wide receiver Max McGee duck some required "nutcracker" (contact) drills for years to save on wear and tear... McGee scored two touchdowns at the age of 34 in Super Bowl I, coming off the bench.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 9:29 AM
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I haven't read the whole thread, but what's frustrating to me about these kinds of articles and discussions is that the studies often focus on the gap between elite and good-but-not-elite achievement, and for the vast majority of us, that just doesn't matter, because the elites are genetic freaks who also work hard.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 10:06 AM
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16: I've found this to be true especially when teaching logic. Getting people past the idea that either you get it, or you don't, so they can learn that they can actually learn it, is surprisingly challenging.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 10:10 AM
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@64: Kind of like 90% of all discussions about the state of higher education seem to focus on what's going on at Harvard.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 10:15 AM
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66 reminds me that there was a link circulating on my Facebook feed that claims that only 1% of all scientists publish one or more papers per year. Given that, I don't think I know anyone in the 99% of science.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 10:17 AM
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They must be counting all the faculty at teaching colleges.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 10:19 AM
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59: It's all in that last sentence, "Pratiquement pas."

As pointed out by others, the entire conversation is hilariously skewed by the studies, e.g., evaluating only violinists already performing at a high level. My own training in classical music, rather intense between the ages of 8-18, made it clear that nature is critical to the level of performance you can achieve, but you won't reach your potential highest level of performance without liberal application of sueur. Watching the kid and his classmates at the dance studio from age 4 seems to show the same thing. You need nature, nurture, the hunger Brel describes PLUS resources and chance.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 10:23 AM
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67, I've realized that this depends entirely on your field and even subfield. Look at PNAS. Something like this might be 3 years of work by 3 people. There's 16 %@#$$@#*$@# supplementary figures. I don't think that's true of the PNAS papers in ecology or paleontology or theoretical chemistry, for example.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 10:27 AM
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67: Also, we only use about 5% of our brain. If we all would concentrate a little harder and use even just of our brain, than we would all look like Scarlett Johansson


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 10:28 AM
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71: I somehow deleted the completely random figure of "25%" from the second sentence.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 10:29 AM
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72: If I could only manage to use 1% of my brain then I would be able to post a comment that would not be missing any words and would also have my name.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 10:31 AM
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@71: I thought it was well established that if we could harness the unused 95% of our brains, we would be able to bend spoons with our thoughts. I'm sure Sifu could dig up some research on this.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 10:37 AM
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Paleontology has clearly decided to make up shit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 10:43 AM
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67: I should really ask my brother, but a paper a year doesn't sound that unreasonable for an experimental biologist who's still in the actually-experimenting, as opposed to the lab-and-grant-managing, stage of the life-cycle.


Posted by: Cosma Shalizi | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 11:18 AM
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To be fair to Gladwell, most of outliers is about the importance of being at the right place at the right time, and not about the 10,000 hours thing which I think is just one chapter.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 11:19 AM
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To be fair to Gladwell

I'm going to have to stop you right there.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 11:25 AM
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74: I believe this is the reseach you're referring to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVt32qoyhi0&feature=kp


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 11:27 AM
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Oh, man, I chose not to click through to some article making the rounds in adoption circles citing Gladwell's contention that orphans are good at overcoming adversity to claim that if you adopt, you're likely to get the next Steve Jobs because magic. Or something.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 1:43 PM
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Picasso's a pretty good argument for nurture --- son of a mediocre academic painter, he was a mediocre academic painter after being trained in that discipline for ten years as a kid...


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 3:20 PM
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So, nurture didn't help a mediocre academic painter become a better academic painter. That seems like a bad argument for nurture.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 3:25 PM
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Yeah I don't really mean nurture. I mean, he's not a good argument for inbuilt genius, given that in his teens he was painting conventional works that he'd been heavily trained to paint.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 3:30 PM
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And then, to make it all up, P wasn't selling, saw some Redon, Moreau, Chavannes who were selling, and started his pink (blue?) period.

This old long piece on plagiarism by Jonathan Lethem got linked at LGM yesterday.

Did a study of Raphael once in a context of everything else painted around him in a five-ten year period. R stole everything, changed it 10% and turned the mediocre into genius.

Production is social. Genius is social. You have it, share it, it has you. The individual is an illusion created by separating a body from its environment.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 4:39 PM
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20: cf. James Blish, "A Work of Art"

37: I went to MIT and heard all the Norbert Wiener stories, and I maintain that I would make a very good janitor, as would many MIT nerds: neat, orderly, mildly OCD. I clean up the kitchen at work to this day.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 4:49 PM
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Janitor at MIT is the alternate ending to Good Will Hunting.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-15-14 8:07 PM
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