Search found 308 matches

by Aiwendil
Mon Jan 25, 2016 2:12 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1634: "In Case of Emergency"
Replies: 13
Views: 3954

Re: 1634: "In Case of Emergency"

I'm feeling a bit dumb about the title text today. Is the joke that you have to break the glass with your hands, thus needing the first-aid kit? Edit: I think maybe I get it. I usually think of those break glass things as holding fire hoses or extinguishers, but I guess sometimes it's first aid kit...
by Aiwendil
Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:33 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1630: "Quadcopter"
Replies: 34
Views: 7533

Re: 1630: "Quadcopter"

I wonder if they'll learn in quadcopter school that the root for 'wing' is 'opter', not 'copter', or that 'quad' is Latin while 'opter' is Greek. surely you meant to say "pter", right? Though 'tetrapter' sounds a lot less fancy than 'quadcopter'. Then again, staying closer to the original...
by Aiwendil
Sat Jan 16, 2016 11:59 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1630: "Quadcopter"
Replies: 34
Views: 7533

Re: 1630: "Quadcopter"

I wonder if they'll learn in quadcopter school that the root for 'wing' is 'opter', not 'copter', or that 'quad' is Latin while 'opter' is Greek.
by Aiwendil
Mon Dec 28, 2015 5:31 pm UTC
Forum: Gaming
Topic: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)
Replies: 2128
Views: 437710

Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

I still run 2nd edition. The funny thing is that back in the '90s, I don't remember any of my players getting confused about high-is-better vs. low-is-better conventions, but the new players in my game now (new to RPGs in general, not just 2e AD&D) complained a lot about the inconsistency when t...
by Aiwendil
Wed Dec 09, 2015 5:04 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1614: "Kites"
Replies: 28
Views: 9159

Re: 1614: "Kites"

I'll bet Beret Guy listens to the Free Design: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPaAb3F_d6M
by Aiwendil
Tue Dec 08, 2015 4:26 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1613: "The Three Laws of Robotics"
Replies: 120
Views: 29222

Re: 1613: "The Three Laws of Robotics"

Oh, and while Asimov may not have explored variation #5 directly, he did get pretty close with the story of the robot on Mercury which had the heightened self-preservation rule, since the first rule didn't come into play in that one at all. Well, it didn't come into play in the problem but it d...
by Aiwendil
Sat Aug 22, 2015 4:56 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1567: "Kitchen Tips"
Replies: 175
Views: 29394

Re: 1567: "Kitchen Tips"

If you're anything like me, your desktop is full of crap. Instead of throwing every file on the desktop, try using folders! A surprisingly large number of people actually seem to be in desperate need of this advice. Have other languages adopted 'cookies' as a technical term, as opposed to using wha...
by Aiwendil
Sun Jul 12, 2015 6:49 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Puzzling artifacts and reasonable reasoning
Replies: 79
Views: 14679

Re: Puzzling artifacts and reasonable reasoning

I would say that a hoax would be the most likely explanation by orders of magnitude; if that is ruled out, then dumb luck is still orders of magnitude more likely than ancient peoples knowing the mass ratios of electrons, quarks, and nucleons.
by Aiwendil
Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:39 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Annoying words, and Words You Hate
Replies: 1994
Views: 494969

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Hater/hating on, I, too, find this usage rather annoying. I guess that makes me a 'hater'. That's not a suffix, it's just often used in portmanteaus (mansplaining, whitesplaining, cissplaining etc). Speaking of which, I dislike most portmanteaus. They're sometimes OK when the words being combined h...
by Aiwendil
Wed Jul 08, 2015 11:43 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Regional Spelling Oddities
Replies: 8
Views: 3939

Re: Regional Spelling Oddities

I'm from the U.S., but I usually use British spellings for most things. This is partly due to reading a lot of English books as a child, partly due to a disinclination toward innovations in spelling (even somewhat old ones), and partly due to a childish desire to be contrary. I always use 'British d...
by Aiwendil
Wed Jul 08, 2015 12:21 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: How can gluons interact via color force?
Replies: 8
Views: 2715

Re: How can gluons interact via color force?

Yeah, gluons are weird in that they have the self-interactions you've mentioned. I believe this is related to the non-perturbative nature of QCD at certain energies, and it may be responsible for quark confinement (though quark confinement is really not very well understood).
by Aiwendil
Mon Jul 06, 2015 2:45 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: How do you think we mean?
Replies: 11
Views: 3692

Re: How do you think we mean?

Not enough time to say anything substantive here at the moment, but I do want to make one point. I think that there are several related but different questions that sometimes get conflated under the heading of 'theory of meaning'. In particular, I think a distinction must be drawn between questions ...
by Aiwendil
Sat Jun 27, 2015 7:57 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Praat Frysk! (Frisian Language Thread)
Replies: 20
Views: 10241

Re: Praat Frysk! (Frisian Language Thread)

No, Plattdeutsch and Frisian are different, though related languages. Genetically, they are both members of the Ingvaeonic branch of West Germanic, which split into Old Saxon and Anglo-Frisian. Plattdeutsch is the descendant of Old Saxon. Anglo-Frisian split into Old English and Old Frisian. Thus, F...
by Aiwendil
Thu Jun 25, 2015 12:36 am UTC
Forum: Books
Topic: Worst/Overrated books.
Replies: 753
Views: 285279

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

In terms of overrated, I have had more than one person tell me how powerful and moving the symbolism is in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Admittedly, the last time I read it I was under 10, but I remember it as a fairly muddled, and not that remarkable. Certainly not something that I would ...
by Aiwendil
Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:02 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Minor oddities in usage
Replies: 7
Views: 3280

Re: Minor oddities in usage

Are you sure that he wasn't trying to convey uncertainty about the time? That's how I would interpret that sentence, "I don't remember when exactly it was that I saw it first, but when I did I didn't understand...". I'm sure. The example I gave is not the greatest; he has also said things...
by Aiwendil
Tue Jun 23, 2015 5:39 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Minor oddities in usage
Replies: 7
Views: 3280

Minor oddities in usage

I've recently come across two minor instances of non-standard English usage and I'm wondering about their geographic distribution and their origin. The first is someone who often uses 'whenever' in cases where I would use 'when'. For instance, in talking about some code he was working on a few month...
by Aiwendil
Sat Jun 20, 2015 12:35 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: -ear, - ore, - orn
Replies: 12
Views: 4327

Re: -ear, - ore, - orn

I'm not saying it survived in literary English. I'm saying it survived as a dialectal variation which spread to the US. Nothing you've said is evidence against that. I don't deny that that's possible; it just seems more likely to me that the American usage is an innovation (and not a surprising one...
by Aiwendil
Fri Jun 19, 2015 12:43 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: -ear, - ore, - orn
Replies: 12
Views: 4327

Re: -ear, - ore, - orn

I stand by the idea that the others aren't (the fact dove is also present in various regional dialects in the UK also suggests that it isn't an innovation). I suspect that 'drug' as a preterite of 'drag' is an innovation. Yes, it is ultimately from O.E. dragan , probably via a dialectical form alon...
by Aiwendil
Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:56 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1518: "Typical Morning Routine"
Replies: 126
Views: 19387

Re: 1518: "Typical Morning Routine"

This comic is all about things with which I have no experience:

- Floor vents
- Sleeping next to another human
- Cell phones

At least I've heard of the latter two.
by Aiwendil
Tue Apr 14, 2015 4:55 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Thoughts on Shorthand / Phonetic English
Replies: 16
Views: 8053

Re: Thoughts on Shorthand / Phonetic English

I doubt it. My father was completely unable to hear the difference. Throughout my entire childhood, he'd say something like "Witch way should we go?", my mother would correct him and say "You mean 'which' way", and he'd reply "that's what I asked!" Presumably, he repli...
by Aiwendil
Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:14 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1497: "New Products"
Replies: 53
Views: 9721

Re: 1497: "New Products"

Ah, "you'll get one anyway!", the laziest argument. Things which people have told me I'll inevitably wind up having that I still don't have: ⋅ A smartphone ⋅ A tablet ⋅ A Facebook account ⋅ Digital television Guess I can add "a smart watch"...
by Aiwendil
Thu Mar 05, 2015 2:34 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Misdeciphering unfamiliar words
Replies: 9
Views: 5476

Re: Misdeciphering unfamiliar words

But the misanalysis of misled imposes a different pronunciation – /ˈmɪzl̩d/ – whereas vernier is pronounced the same in either analysis. Is it? I pronounce 'vernier' as two syllables, but if I were to mis-analyze it as a comparative of *verny, I would pronounce it as three. But perhaps I'm incorrec...
by Aiwendil
Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:48 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1489: "Fundamental Forces"
Replies: 93
Views: 28034

Re: 1489: "Fundamental Forces"

Electromagnetism does appear to have a fixed strength - a fundamental constant that determines it - the fine structure constant. Sadly, none of the other four appear to have a natural scale - the best you can do is compare them in specific instances. When it comes to gravity and EM, depending on wh...
by Aiwendil
Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:49 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1489: "Fundamental Forces"
Replies: 93
Views: 28034

Re: 1489: "Fundamental Forces"

My question for the physicists here is whether the unification of the electromagnetic and nuclear forces means that W and Z bosons and gluons are all just different kinds of excitations of the same field as photons, i.e. The electromagnetic field. Or are the fields themselves somehow split at lower...
by Aiwendil
Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:32 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1489: "Fundamental Forces"
Replies: 93
Views: 28034

Re: 1489: "Fundamental Forces"

I think part of the trouble that a layperson runs into in understanding the strong and weak interactions is that they are thinking in terms of classical 'forces'. But fundamentally, what's going on are 'interactions' rather than (what we'd normally call) 'forces'. EM isn't fundamentally an inverse s...
by Aiwendil
Fri Jan 02, 2015 5:10 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)
Replies: 944
Views: 293269

Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

I'm curious what your /ɔ/ phoneme is usually realized as? I remember when I worked for Allstate, where I often called New Jerseyites, that I would instantly be marked as calling from the other side of the country by my pronunciation, [ɑɫsteɪt] to their [ʊəɫsteɪt] (tangentially, how amazing is it th...
by Aiwendil
Mon Dec 29, 2014 4:27 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)
Replies: 944
Views: 293269

Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

It's definitely [kjʊəɹ] for me, though I also hear people say [kjɜɹ] frequently enough. 'Sure' and 'shore' are homophones for me; both are [ʃʊəɹ]; but I believe I've also heard people in my area pronounce 'sure' [ʃɜɹ] (and I don't think I've ever heard 'shore' pronounced that way). I'm from northern...
by Aiwendil
Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:19 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Tiny medieval units
Replies: 32
Views: 8557

Re: Tiny medieval units

gmalivuk wrote:Sunup to sundown was 12 hours, hence "in the 11th hour" to mean something done last-minute.


And clearly they were programmers, if they considered the last hour of a 12-hour day the '11th'.

(Apologies for an off-topic reply to an old post).
by Aiwendil
Thu Nov 27, 2014 5:36 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: English words without rhymes
Replies: 15
Views: 6236

Re: English words without rhymes

Hmm, good point. I guess maybe it is the vocalization that prevents me from perceiving them as near-rhymes.
by Aiwendil
Thu Nov 27, 2014 12:04 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: English words without rhymes
Replies: 15
Views: 6236

Re: English words without rhymes

I think that for me those voiced/voiceless minimal pairs don't really count as 'good enough for a song' almost-rhymes - but I think the reason is not just the voiced/voicelessness, but also (and perhaps mainly) the lengthening of the preceding vowel that the vocalization triggers.
by Aiwendil
Wed Nov 26, 2014 11:52 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Suppletion of "good"
Replies: 32
Views: 11216

Re: Suppletion of "good"

Suppletion requires the existence of two or more synonyms or at least semantically related words. So perhaps the words that seem to be suppleted in many languages are those that tend to have many synonyms or semantically related words? For instance, a lot of languages have multiple words meaning 'be...
by Aiwendil
Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:35 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: [TBBT S08E05] or: back to the future TENSES
Replies: 10
Views: 6164

Re: [TBBT S08E05] or: back to the future TENSES

What would "he had have gone to the store" mean, anyways? For one possible usage, if someone says "if he had've gone to the store", another person may respond (in order to clarify that this is not speaking hypothetically, but something that actually happened) "He had 've go...
by Aiwendil
Mon Oct 13, 2014 4:31 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1433: "Lightsaber"
Replies: 49
Views: 16507

Re: 1433: "Lightsaber"

Hull breach? But that scene takes place on Endor, not on a ship. Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder.
by Aiwendil
Sun Sep 28, 2014 9:49 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Spelling out numbers in different languages
Replies: 19
Views: 9696

Re: Spelling out numbers in different languages

In Latin, I suppose they would be centum (100) and no bound at the other end because one can keep adding 'milia' to viginti unus milia milia... (21,000,000,...). In English, the names for '0' are the beginning and end I'll be cold in my grave before I accept 'aught' as a synonym for 'naught' (i.e., ...
by Aiwendil
Fri May 16, 2014 4:19 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Pet Peeve: Journalists' use of "almost"
Replies: 8
Views: 6255

Re: Pet Peeve: Journalists' use of "almost"

In the case of a person who speaks 32 languages, the order of my preferences would be: 1. 'thirty-two languages' 2. 'over thirty languages' 3. 'almost three dozen languages' But that's because 32 is closer to 30 than it is to 36. If he or she spoke 34 languages, I'd prefer 'almost three dozen' to 'o...
by Aiwendil
Fri Mar 28, 2014 2:49 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1348: "Before the Internet"
Replies: 166
Views: 44958

Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

The internet is definitely a very good thing. But before the internet I did still have books and an imagination. And a computer, for that matter. Life wasn't more fulfilling in some mystical way, but it wasn't all that boring either.
by Aiwendil
Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:18 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Annoying words, and Words You Hate
Replies: 1994
Views: 494969

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

I'm pretty sure <w> never produces a vowel sound.


It can be used as a vowel in diphthongs, though. 'Now' or 'few', for example.
by Aiwendil
Thu Mar 13, 2014 3:10 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: negative 0
Replies: 6
Views: 3116

Re: negative 0

Have a look at signed zero. In this extension of real arithmetic, 1/-0 and 1/+0 are defined (since +/- infinity are considered numbers). I think you can do the same thing without extending the real number line, by talking about limits as you approach zero from the left and from the right.
by Aiwendil
Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:00 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Spræc Englisclæden
Replies: 21
Views: 10234

Re: Spræc Englisclæden

Yeah, there are not a lot of conversational resources. I did once start compiling a list of useful phrases (where 'useful' is to be understood very, very loosely; they range from 'where is the bathroom?' to 'I see a large terrestrial carnivore!'). Also I've spent some time working out translations f...
by Aiwendil
Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:40 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Spræc Englisclæden
Replies: 21
Views: 10234

Re: Spræc Englisclæden

Wes hal, eSOANEM! Glæd ic eom þæt þu eft-weahte þisne þræd. I like your verse. As you say, the meter isn't strictly followed, but it's not that far off-model either. Personally, I might re-order the third half-line, 'blod gelice wicingum' to make the 'blod' clearly the heavier stress. Also, I'm not ...

Go to advanced search