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The late Steve Jobs was known for engaging in a “reality distortion shield” when launching new projects that perhaps didn’t tell the whole story.
On Tuesday, Apple did a masterful job at its big reveal event of hyping its lineup of four new iPhones that, on the face of it, will have faster processors, improved camera features and connect to the new 5G wireless standard. In addition to starting out with a new HomePod mini, Apple unveiled an iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone Pro Max, ranging in price from starting at $699 on up to starting at $1,099. We got the super detailed information on the processors, lenses and intuitive technology that makes it all work.
But what didn’t Apple tell us? Well, a lot.
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The Scientific Revolution of the 17th century yielded the figure of the modern scientist, single-mindedly dedicated to collecting empirical evidence and testing hypotheses against it. Strevens, who studied mathematics and computer science before turning to philosophy, says that transforming ordinary thinking humans into modern scientists entails “a morally and intellectually violent process.” So much scientific research takes place under conditions of “intellectual confinement” — painstaking, often tedious work that requires attention to minute details, accounting for fractions of an inch and slivers of a degree. Strevens gives the example of a biologist couple who spent every summer since 1973 on the Galápagos, measuring finches; it took them four decades before they had enough data to conclude that they had observed a new species of finch.
This kind of obsessiveness has made modern science enormously productive,