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The Hidden meanings of Noise. WSJ May 28, 2020.

In his essay “On Noise,” the 19th-century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer wrote that “the most eminent intellects have always been strongly averse to any kind of disturbance, interruption and distraction, and above everything to that violent interruption which is caused by noise.” He was referring to audible sounds, in particular the “infernal cracking of whips…which paralyzes the brain.”

Scientists have a wider concept of noise, using the word to describe any kind of fluctuation that has an element of randomness. Noise contrasts with signal, which is valuable because it conveys sought-after information. Separating interesting signals from obscuring noise is a big part of the art of experimental science and statistics.

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