Error vs. Truth

Perhaps the history of the errors of mankind, all things considered, is more valuable and interesting than that of their discoveries. Truth is uniform and narrow; it constantly exists, and does not seem to require so much an active energy, as a passive aptitude of the soul in order to encounter it. But error is endlessly diversified; it has no reality, but is the pure and simple creation of the mind that invents it. In this field the soul has room enough to expand herself, to display all her boundless faculties, and all her beautiful and interesting extravagancies and absurdities. -Benjamin Franklin

Paraphrase, Summary, & Quotation Practice

“Scientists Say We Can See Sound” by Robin Nixon, August 18, 2008

Turning conventional neuroscience on its head, new research suggests the human visual system processes sound and helps us see. Researchers trained monkeys to locate a light flashed on a screen. When the light was very bright, they easily found it; when it was dim, it took a long time. But if a dim light made a brief sound, the monkeys found it in no time — too quickly, in fact, than can be explained by the old theories.

The Exercise

  1. Write a sentence in which you directly quote from the passage above.
  2. Write a paraphrase of the second sentence from above.
  3. Write a summary of the entire paragraph above.

The Thrill of the Non-Electronic Source

“I do not employ researchers, nor did I conduct any primary research using the Internet.  I need physical contact with my sources, and there’s only one way to get it.  To me every trip to a library or archive is like a small detective story.  There are always little moments on such trips when the past flares to life, like a match in the darkness.  On one visit to the Chicago Historical Society, I found the actual notes that Prendergast sent to Alfred Trude.  I saw how deeply the pencil dug into the paper.”

-Erik Larson, Devil in the White City, Notes and Sources, pp 395-96.