Language takes an astonishing variety of forms across the world—to such a huge extent that a long-standing debate rages around the question of whether all languages have even a single property in common. Well, there’s a new candidate for the elusive title of “language universal” according to a paper in this week’s issue of PNAS. All languages, the authors say, self-organise in such a way that related concepts stay as close together as possible within a sentence, making it easier to piece together the overall meaning.
Language universals are a big deal because they shed light on heavy questions about human cognition. The most famous proponent of the idea of language universals is Noam Chomsky, who suggested a “universal grammar” that underlies all languages. Finding a property that occurs in every single language would suggest that some element of language is genetically predetermined and perhaps that there is specific brain architecture dedicated to language. READ MORE: MIT claims to have found a “language universal” that ties all languages together | Ars Technica.
The new narrative in education, echoed from Silicon Valley to Washington, D.C., is: “Everyone should learn to code.” But something’s getting lost in translation between technologists and parents of students around the country. Let’s get this out of the way: Not everyone needs to learn how to code. Coding is just one part of the constantly evolving technological landscape. There’s a big difference between learning how to code and having a fundamental understanding of how technology and software operate. Of the two, the latter is way more important for most people. What students—and, really, anyone who wants to function in careers in the future—should learn is how to be digitally literate.
There comes a moment in most of our lives when we realize that some secrets of the universe will remain hidden from us–not because mankind hasn’t discovered them, but because those secrets are encoded in complex math and physics problems that few of us have the talent or patience to understand.
But Beauty of Mathematics, a new video by Yann Pineill & Nicolas Lefaucheux, gives the mathematically challenged a peek into living equations. The animated triptych shows an equation on the left, its quantified schematics in the center, and its real world manifestation on the right. The video is like academic X-ray vision, but in reality, its inspiration was never math or science. It was beauty.