Gertjan Filarski

@GertjanF | 4 Magazines | 2,412 Articles | 294 Followers | 2 Likes | Digital Humanities consultant @HuygensING, The Hague. Twitter: @GertjanF; LinkedIn:

What It’s Really Like to Learn a Language With an App

Spoiler: Instant fluency is only a fool’s hope.

Paris is the City of Love and the City of Light, but is it a city where newbies should attempt to speak the language? When I booked my first-ever trip to France, I wanted to have the most authentic Parisian experience possible. Though I’ve traveled …

French Language

How The Army Got Soldiers To Share Their Great Ideas

Successful leaders know that there are people at every level of their organization with great ideas. The challenge is how to find them.

I think Lt. Gen. Robert Brown of the U.S. Army may have figured it out.

Back in 2004, when Brown was a colonel leading a Stryker brigade in northern Iraq, his unit …


Smooth and Rough on the Highways of France

In a previous post I suggested that historians should use quantitative methods less to answer existing questions than to pose new ones. Such a …


Map: The remarkable distances you can travel on a European train in less than a day - The Washington Post

Tourists visiting Europe are often advised to travel by train rather than plane or car. Trains are considered reliable, fast and relatively cheap. But as a new research project shows, there are major differences within Europe: Whereas you can travel from London to Paris in less than four hours, …


Is Nuance Overrated?

A scholar took an irreverent stand against a common academic criticism and watched his paper go viral. But there’s a serious point in the paper’s …

Seven Python Tools All Data Scientists Should Know How to Use

If you’re an aspiring data scientist, you’re inquisitive – always exploring, learning, and asking questions. Online tutorials and videos can help you …

Python Programming

Can the Name Age Calculator guess how old you are?

Can you guess someone’s age when all you know is their first name? That was the crazy idea behind one of FiveThirtyEight’s articles last year, and …


The destruction of Palmyra's Temple of Bel: before and after – in pictures


The Differences between Digital History and Digital Humanities

For the last nine months I’ve spent much of my time exploring digital history. Part of becoming director of RRCHNM involved familiarizing myself with …

Algorithm turns any picture into the work of a famous artist

A group of German researchers have created an algorithm that basically amounts to the most amazing Instagram filter ever conceived: a convolutional neural network that can convert any photograph into a work of fine art. The process takes an hour (sorry, it's not actually coming to a smartphone near …


Why the tech world highly values a liberal arts degree - The Washington Post

Cecilia Gaposchkin is an associate professor of medieval history at Dartmouth College and assistant dean of faculty for pre-major advising, as well as a Public Voices Fellow. Gaposchkin wrote in an e-mail that people who work at at liberal arts institutions often do “a terrible job” educating their …

Liberal Arts

Stock market's bumpy ride isn't over, experts say

Wall Street's wild week ended with relative calm, but no trader or money manager is betting the lull will last.

In one of the stock market's most chaotic periods in years, the benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 first plunged 11.2% in just six sessions stretching into last week, then roared back 6.4% …


Are we addicted to technology?

Just five minutes after meeting sleep and energy expert Dr Nerina Ramlakhan in her central London clinic, she delivers some bad news.

"You've got the classic pattern of someone who's in a fatigue cycle," she says.

"You're running on survival energy. Your sympathetic nervous system is in overdrive. I …

Public Broadcasters

Technology anthropologist and sound artist team up for major digital festival commission

A technology anthropologist and a sound artist from the University of Sussex have collaborated on a ‘major commission’ for the UK’s biggest digital …


Why Gartner Dropped Big Data Off the Hype Curve

When Gartner published its latest “Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies” last week, there was a notable absence of one broad class of technology in …

Big Data

A Nerd’s Guide To The 2,229 Paintings At MoMA

NEW YORK — Through the lobby thronged with tourists, the line for tickets, the line for the cloakroom, and the line for the ticket taker, up the …


Hacking the Humanities

Last spring, I taught a literature seminar called “Before Wikipedia.” The subject was the history of encyclopedic writing, from ancient times to the present day. We read excerpts of Isidore of Seville’s “Etymologies” and Diderot’s “Encyclopédie” alongside works by Calvino, Sebald, and Flaubert.

The …


Islamic State attacks another ancient temple in Palmyra

Islamic State has destroyed part of another ancient temple in the Syrian city of Palmyra, according to activists on social media and a group monitoring the conflict, this time targeting the Temple of Bel.

The extent of the damage at the Roman-era structure in the central desert city was not known, …

Islamic State (ISIS)

Poland's 'Nazi gold train' could be first of many hidden in Hitler's vast tunnel complex

Walbrzych in western Poland has been gripped by the decades-old mystery of missing Nazi gold trains

Experts in Poland have claimed that the apparent discovery of a Nazi train thought to be packed with looted treasures could be the first of many, suggesting just a fraction of Hitler's vast tunnel …


Open source typeface “Hack” brings design to source code

The days of coders being shackled to Monaco or Courier New ends now. At this week, programmer Chris Simpkins debuted the 2.0 …

Open Source

Scientists and Writers Pay Tribute to Oliver Sacks on Twitter

The neurologist and author has died at age 82

High-profile scientists and writers honored the life of Oliver Sacks on Sunday, tweeting quotes, memories and farewells to the neurologist and acclaimed author who has died at 82, months after announcing his diagnosis with terminal cancer.

Sacks was …

Oliver Sacks

I marvelled at the influence, art and wealth of Palmyra. Now I mourn it

Back in 2004 as I stood in the hot summer sun of the Syrian desert, a German archaeologist told me something that I thought, at first, I had misunderstood. He was explaining that the Palmyrenes had imported dates from Egypt. Turning and surveying the vast expanse of date-palm groves that wrapped …


Of 100 Published Psychology Studies, Less Than Half Could Be Reproduced Successfully

Prepare your grains of salt

One of the pillars of scientific research--perhaps the one that makes science as definitive as it is--is that any study should be capable of being repeated under the same methods and conditions and if the research holds true, the same result will be found every time the …


Empowering Player-Driven Storytelling

by Mike Shea on 2 September 2013

In a recent D&D Next playtest video, Mike Mearls ran the D&D R&D team through the classic adventure Slave Pits of …


Ask Yourself These 3 Questions Before Firing An Underperforming Employee

For a manager or business owner, the decision to terminate an underperforming employee can be a difficult one to make. It may keep you up at night. You may be looking for ways to keep them on or support them so you don’t have to “ruin their lives” by firing them.

But you have a responsibility to …


Bayesian Strategy

Hannibal Smith, the fearless leader of the A-team, always loved it when a plan came together and on that campy ’80’s TV show, they always seemed to, …

Why Business Defies Logic

In the early 20th century science and technology emerged as a rising force in western society. The new wonders of electricity, automobiles and telecommunication were quickly shaping how people lived, worked and thought. Empirical verification, rather than theoretical musings, rose to the fore.

It …

The CEO of a $30 billion company explains why tech companies overwork their employees

Pat Gelsinger is widely known as the CEO of VMware, the $6-billion-in-revenues/$30 billion in market-cap star child of EMC's "federation" of subsidiaries.

But long before he came to EMC and then to VMware, he was a rising star at Intel, with Andy Grove as his mentor.

He came to media attention in …


The 8 Scariest Monsters from British Folklore

Feature | 28 August 2015

by David Girvan

Watch out for these 8 blood-curdling beasts on your next trip around the British Isles!

1. Black Shuck

The …


The Best Map Ever Made of America’s Racial Segregation

Last year, a pair of researchers from Duke University published a report with a bold title: “The End of the Segregated Century.” U.S. cities, the …