Clear and simple writing

The purpose of language is to convey information. Information is ideally transferred as clearly and briefly as possible — adding noise only confuses the receiver.

The purpose of language is to convey information.

Information is ideally transferred as clearly and briefly as possible — adding noise only confuses the receiver.

On Writing Well

This point is emphasized by William Zinsser in On Writing Well.

“Writing improves in direct ratio to the things we can keep out of it that shouldn’t be there.”

Zinsser suggests we say now instead of at this point in time. That we face our problems rather than facing up to them. That we refer to our feelings when discussing our personal feelings.

I’ll try to keep these principles in mind when writing these blog posts.

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Complex vs. Chaotic

“Complex” is a widely used term that can mean several different things depending on the context. For example, according to the Cambridge dictionary, it could mean “involving a lot of different but related parts” but also “difficult to understand”.

In science, however, we have a more precise definition of what complex means — and how it differs from terms like complicated and chaotic. This distinction matters.

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Likelihood vs. Probability

Author’s note: Recently, I discussed the difference between probabilities and odds. Here, I will go into a slightly less common distinction: between probability and likelihood. Probabilities and likelihoods… perhaps you think these are the same thing. You wouldn’t be far off, in the dictionary they are usually synonyms. Either way, they are all around us…

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