The paradox of the expert

The Venturi effect, which we talked about-once again-last week, can improve the draught of a chimney on a windy day, because the air stream on the mouth of it produces a slight decrease in pressure that favors the exit of smoke. Unless the wind is brewing through the chimney and causing the unpleasant effect of the smoke revoked; That is why some chimneys carry a revolving cap that prevents the plaster always putting on, like a weather vane, facing the wind.

The Venturi effect can also help us to take a very hot drink without burning: if we sip it from the edge of the cup, we create an ascending current that cools the steam and partially pulverizes the liquid while making it ascend. This is how the Japanese usually take tea (for whose culture, by the way, sipping in public is not impolite).

The fan effect, so-called because the accumulation of data extends the range of possibilities when it comes to selecting, involves the so-called "expert paradox", as it seems to suggest that experts on a particular subject, having a maximum of Information about it, they will be the slowest to manage that information. In fact, it is not so, because a true expert is not limited to accumulating data, but is ordering and prioritizing it in a way that makes it easier to manage.

We remember what we know

Someone told Unamuno, in connection with his extraordinary erudition: "You have a very good memory," and he replied: "I remember what I know." Truism, irony or subtle allusion to cognitive mechanisms? Because, indeed, we remember much better of those data that we can situate in a meaningful context or endowed with a recognizable structure, and that is precisely "to know" something: to provide it with meaning and to relate it adequately with other knowledge . Hence the cliché of the clueless sage who forgets where he has left his glasses, but can reproduce without hesitation the contents of a slate full of complicated equations.

Therefore, poetry, before writing, fulfilled, among others, a mnemonic function, since it was easier to remember the words when relating them to other phonetically similar, which is the key of the rhyme. With the generalization of scripture, poetry went on to fulfill a purely literary function, that is to say, aesthetic and communicative; But there are still traces of its mnemonic function in popular culture, as that of "Thirty days brings November, with April, June and September...".

And speaking of rhymes, there are in Castilian some words, called "Phoenix Words", which as the "Phoenix" do not rhyme in consonant with any other. I invite my sagacious readers to discover some more and to contribute their comments on the cognitive mechanisms. Are there also "Phoenix ideas", difficult to relate to others?