Friday, June 29, 2012

Buckyballs and olive oil

If you're nonplussed at a proposed connection, you're in good company:
Back in April, a group of French and Tunisian researchers published a paper in Biomaterials which came to the astonishing conclusion that buckyballs (carbon tetrachloride) coated in olive oil could dramatically extend the lives of lab rodents. That news was picked up by Derek Lowe’s In the Pipeline blog, on which he expressed some bemusement about the work but ultimately praised it . . .
Alas, there seem to be some issues with image processing in the paper, though it hasn't been retracted. Also, many points go to Retraction Watch for using beusement in a way that avoided extra parsing time for me.

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You will read this post . . .

If you want to understand when to use "thou" and when to use "you".
Thee and thou used to be the singular forms. Thou was the nominative form, and thee was the accusative form. Thy and thine were the genetive forms, and their use followed the same rules as a and an.
Thanks again to English.SE. And please don't "y'all", because next think you know "y'all" will become used for both singluar and plural and we'll be even more screwed. Also an interesting note - "ye" is the accusative of "you". Who knew? I feel like I should have learned this at some point in my eighteen years of education.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Depends on what day of the week it is

View from the Porch, on politics:
In much the same way, the Koch brothers are worrisome meddling plutocrats, trying to influence elections with their filthy lucre, while George Soros, who could buy the Koch brothers with his pocket change, is a noble philanthropist. The wonder of partisan politics is how people can finger-point with a straight face. I can't remember, are filibusters obstructionist twaddle or a vital parliamentary tool this year?
One could say the same thing about the Senate itself - is it an undemocratic holdover from a primitive era, or a check on majoritarianism and a bulwark for the rights of minorities?

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hell and virtue

A rare interesting article from Slashdot:
". . . .psychologists found significantly lower crime rates in societies where many people believe in hell compared to those where more people believed in heaven."
Doesn't sound like much of a surprise to me, but for some reason some of the combox crew is unhappy.


Monday, June 18, 2012

One day, one day . . .
The Vatican has taken initial steps to set up a new top-level domain name, “.catholic,” as a home for authentically Catholic internet sites.
Well that rules me out right from the start.

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Death and time

An interesting look at whether the dead are outside of time when they are (hopefully) in heaven. But we need to wait until tomorrow for the answers.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Thought I was done with the language posts for the week

But this was too good to pass up:
Nor does being single have to equal celibate.
Unfortunately, last I checked being single was linguistically equivalent to being celibate. Of course, for an article about the joys of "ethical" polyamory, I'm not sure that the lack of a dictionary is the worst of its problems.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bring on the fried chicken?

In the fun surrounding the large soft drink ban, our friends at the Center for Science in the Public Interest have decided that
Sugary soft drinks are the single biggest source of calories in the American diet and are the only food or beverage shown to increase one’s risk of weight gain.
Unfortunately this happens not to be true. Perhaps they should change their name to Center for Propaganda in the Public Interest?

Thanks to ACSH and Overlawyered for finding this one.


Here is a better article explaining how silly the claim is.

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Bemused satisfaction

I am really not sure what this sentence means:
Not surprisingly, Laqueur takes bemused satisfaction in reporting a more recent editorial in The Economist entitled “Staring into the Abyss.”
Anyone has any ideas, let me know. My dictionary is useless here. Bemused usually means preoccupied or bewildered. Neither one makes sense. I've heard people use it to mean amused. I'm not sure what amusement has to do with satisfaction. Let's look at that sentence.
Not surprisingly, Laqueur takes amused satisfaction in reporting a more recent editorial in The Economist entitled “Staring into the Abyss.”
I guess it has some meaning like that, the author means that he was amused and satisfied at the same time. Let's see if we could swap that out for
Not surprisingly, Laqueur takes satisfied amusement in reporting a more recent editorial in The Economist entitled “Staring into the Abyss.”
I think this may be the key to understanding the sentence. Let's try once more without the odd conjunction of words.
Not surprisingly, Laqueur is satisfied and amused while reporting a more recent editorial in The Economist entitled “Staring into the Abyss.”
Probably about right.

This reminds me of a review I was reading of some food where a reviewer described a particular piece of meat as being "too toothsome". Well, as far as I know, toothsome is an adjective for delicious. So the reviewer was saying that the food was too delicious? Presumably not, but then what did he mean? Bizarre.


Wednesday, June 06, 2012

And lying is still not ok

This illustrates a huge point: It is one thing when the evildoer’s will to evil is allowed to happen in respect for his freedom after all attempts to warn him and call him to repentance are exhausted (“One of you is a devil/One of you will betray me/What you do, do quickly”). It is another thing to present yourself to the sinner (and, by the way, for all we know, the PP clerk’s culpability may be minimal due to ignorance, trauma, or who knows what else) and deliberately *tempt* them to commit a mortal sin. It is like offering a bottle of whiskey to an alcoholic and saying, “What the hell. He’s a drunk anyway. So what it if destroys him? It’ll really expose how the alcohol industry ruins lives!”
Sorry Lila Rose. No dice. Thank you Mr. Shea for your clear writing here.

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They seem to be not quite down but rather empty at the moment. I hope they're not gone for good - I've learned a lot from reading them on slow days at school.

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Politician gets voted into office twice

By approximately the same margin. Guy who loses to him twice calls for him to resign because
"What Gov. Walker doesn't say is he was the one who, these are his words, dropped the bomb and attempted to divide and conquer. So he set out on a strategy to divide this state. He succeeded in dividing the state," Barrett said, adding that the proper course now is to "get rid of the instigator rather than to allow him to continue because I think this state will remain this bitterly divided if he continues in office."
Ok, and presumably in yet a third election, he would be replaced by someone like him, since the people seem to like someone like him. And that will unite the state? I am amused, bemused, and nonplussed.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Why even be a nun?

I imagine that a Republican politician who expressed their support for the cause of international socialism would be given a swift boot out the door and perhaps directions to the nearest Communist party office. And yet some people write things like this
Among a number of problems with Sister Farley’s work, the CDF highlighted her views “that same-sex relationships and activities can be justified,” and that “a marriage commitment is subject to release.” In these and other points, the Vatican observed, her argument directly clashes with the established teaching of the Catholic Church.
and get to keep their jobs and their nunships (if I may invent a new word when there is a perfectly good one already). She also tries to defend her positions with some hand-waving which I thought was a particularly bold step. And lest you think this is an isolated incident, scrolling down reveals that this has been going on since at least 1984. And someone is paying for this lack of reasoning. I would at least look at this as evidence that Rome doesn't exercise much control over what goes on in the world. But I do suspect that I will be reading a story soon about how CDF is oppressing people and shutting down debate. Well I wish this debate would stay a little more shut down.

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