Search found 135 matches

by Aiwendil42
Mon Mar 28, 2011 2:32 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: What is your favorite/least favorite grammatical mood?
Replies: 6
Views: 1766

Re: What is your favorite/least favorite grammatical mood?

The imperative is both my favourite and least favourite: favourite when used by me, least favourite when used to address me.
by Aiwendil42
Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:30 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Understanding quaternions and Hamiltonians
Replies: 3
Views: 1142

Re: Understanding quaternions and Hamiltonians

I used the Classical Mechanics textbook by Goldstein, Poole, and Safko and thought it covered Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics quite well. Elements of both these systems (which are related) carry over into quantum physics; one frequently deals with Hamiltonians in Quantum Mechanics and with Lagr...
by Aiwendil42
Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:49 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Horses all the way down (Silly linguistic theories)
Replies: 4
Views: 3973

Re: Horses all the way down (Silly linguistic theories)

I was recently in a class discussion about ergative/absolutive languages. I asserted English is clearly ergative. My proof? "Who thinks English is ergative? Me." The professor laughed and gave me an Altoid for my courage. Now that is highly amusing. For some reason it reminds me of that s...
by Aiwendil42
Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:54 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Capital Letters... really?
Replies: 10
Views: 2314

Re: Capital Letters... really?

It seems pretty normal to me, I'm sure I've done it. You've never said something like, "The question is, how did he do that?" before? I wouldn't capitalize it though, as you can tell. I might use a colon instead of a comma though, in which case I would capitalize. I'm sure I've said thing...
by Aiwendil42
Thu Feb 24, 2011 9:43 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Capital Letters... really?
Replies: 10
Views: 2314

Re: Capital Letters... really?

Of course it's all a matter of convention, but for what it's worth I would not use a capital in either of those cases. Come to think of it, though, I don't think I would ever insert a sentence without quotation marks in the way indicated in the second example. I would probably either use quotes or r...
by Aiwendil42
Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:29 pm UTC
Forum: Books
Topic: Worst/Overrated books.
Replies: 753
Views: 234716

Re: Worst/Overrated books.

Also, I'm surprised nobody mentioned Xenocide! I picked it up for the first time last week after re-reading the first two, and man was it bad (OK, maybe it wasn't so bad on an absolute scale, but its relative value compared to Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead is very close to 0)... Indeed. Of ...
by Aiwendil42
Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:31 pm UTC
Forum: Books
Topic: Gender of Authors
Replies: 60
Views: 6358

Re: Gender of Authors

If I told you I read a book from 250 years ago, you wouldn't think twice about it, but if I told you I listened to music from 100 years ago, or watched movies from 75 years ago, I would be distinctly into the "old" era. I don't know - is it really that much more usual to read 18th and 19t...
by Aiwendil42
Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:22 pm UTC
Forum: Books
Topic: xkcd's favourite 100 books - vote now!
Replies: 226
Views: 152362

Re: xkcd's favourite 100 books - vote now!

Updated list: 1 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series ( Douglas Adams) -- 25 2 Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card) -- 14 3 The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien) -- 13 1984 (George Orwell) -- 13 4 Discworld ( Terry Prachet ) -- 12 5 Harry Potter seri...
by Aiwendil42
Tue Dec 07, 2010 2:41 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)
Replies: 837
Views: 184635

Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

Apparently, some US dialects say "warsh" and "idear", and this is attributed to hypercorrections that lived on. Can anybody confirm this explanation? Yes, I've heard both of these cases of intrusive 'r' - though never from the same speaker. 'Warsh' is how my relatives in western...
by Aiwendil42
Sat Dec 04, 2010 4:19 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)
Replies: 837
Views: 184635

Re: Regional Dialect and Idiolect Oddities (pronunciation)

I've noticed that it's basically impossible for me to stop from making some sort of [i] sound before a velar nasal. I've read countless times that <sink> is supposedly [sɪŋk], but spectrogram analysis tells me I say [siŋk]. That's interesting - I have æ-tensing as well, but it only affects æ before...
by Aiwendil42
Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:44 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Annoying words, and Words You Hate
Replies: 1931
Views: 364490

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

That test was quite difficult. (ambiguous: was it just a little difficult, or damned hard?) Really? I'm having a hard time imagining this being used to mean that the test was just a little difficult. In any case, there are tons of adverbs and adjectives that can have the opposite of their literal m...
by Aiwendil42
Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:42 pm UTC
Forum: Books
Topic: xkcd's favourite 100 books - vote now!
Replies: 226
Views: 152362

Re: xkcd's favourite 100 books - vote now!

I just noticed that there is a vote for the Dirk Gently series - if we are counting this series as one item, then my vote for The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul should count as a vote for Dirk Gently series. Also, there appears to be a vote for the "Miles Vorkosigan series" and a separate ...
by Aiwendil42
Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:16 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: today's blag problem
Replies: 23
Views: 2839

Re: today's blag problem

Does that always give you a greater-than-50% chance of being right? One way to see that this doesn't work is to notice that, as you said, "there's nothing special about zero". You could say "p or q or r could be X", where X is any real number, instead "p or q or r could be ...
by Aiwendil42
Fri Nov 12, 2010 9:45 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Annoying words, and Words You Hate
Replies: 1931
Views: 364490

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Hmm - is "grody" the same as "grotty", as in A Hard Day's Night ? "I wouldn't be seen dead in them. They're dead grotty." "'Grotty'?" "Yeah, grotesque." I don't think I've ever encountered the word in the wild, so to speak. Where are the people you'v...
by Aiwendil42
Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:00 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Stability of neutrons
Replies: 2
Views: 530

Re: Stability of neutrons

I could be wrong, but my understanding is that it's an issue with the Pauli exclusion principle/Fermi-Dirac statistics. When a neutron decays it produces a proton. For a free neutron, there are no restrictions on the state of the resulting proton (well, other than kinematic ones). But in a nucleus, ...
by Aiwendil42
Thu Nov 11, 2010 6:10 pm UTC
Forum: Music
Topic: Top 10 Artists
Replies: 232
Views: 116772

Re: Top 10 Artists

I would say: 1. Mozart 2. Beethoven 3. J.S. Bach 4. The Beatles 5. The Beach Boys 6. Focus 7. Handel 8. Haydn 9. Miles Davis 10. Simon and Garfunkel A highly nerdy note: There's an ambiguity in lists like this as to whether one is talking about the average quality or the integrated quality of an art...
by Aiwendil42
Thu Nov 11, 2010 4:13 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Color and pitch
Replies: 13
Views: 1739

Re: Color and pitch

To take a slightly more scientific approach, one can simply take the frequency of light of a given colour and calculate what pitch that would be if it were a sonic rather than electromagnetic wave. Visible light lies in the frequency range from about 4x10^15 to 7.9x10^15 Hz (400 to 790 THz), a range...
by Aiwendil42
Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:00 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Regarding the Quantum Mechanics of Electrons
Replies: 22
Views: 1652

Re: Regarding the Quantum Mechanics of Electrons

Then there is of course us who says it never collapses, but rather continues to evolve unitarily according to the Schrödinger equation. When you observe a collapse it is just because you have become entangled with the system. Yes, this is what I meant when I mentioned Everett's ideas - although act...
by Aiwendil42
Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:04 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Regarding the Quantum Mechanics of Electrons
Replies: 22
Views: 1652

Re: Regarding the Quantum Mechanics of Electrons

The electron passes simultaneously through both slits and interferes with itself just like a wave but then it hits the film and acts like a single particle. Why? Shouldn't it have a probability of passing through one slit or the other just like it has a probability of hitting one location or anothe...
by Aiwendil42
Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:13 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Regarding the Quantum Mechanics of Electrons
Replies: 22
Views: 1652

Re: Regarding the Quantum Mechanics of Electrons

the Heisenberg uncertainty principle (is this a product of human limitations or is it bona fide unknowable?) The latter. This has to do with the properties of the wave functions that are associated with particles in QM. Basically, the wave function of a particle in terms of momentum is the Fourier ...
by Aiwendil42
Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:44 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Why are B/W films so fast?
Replies: 7
Views: 922

Re: Why are B/W films so fast?

Actually, I think flicker is noticeable at 24 fps - which is why when a 24 fps film is projected, each frame is actually flashed on and off three times, so that the actual rate is 72 fps, which is enough that flicker can't be seen. I think the stereotype of silent films being too fast comes from a c...
by Aiwendil42
Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:08 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: "You want I should"
Replies: 35
Views: 20235

Re: "You want I should"

But when you already have want/desire/wish/etc., then there's already a normative aspect, and the "should" becomes redundant in a way that native English speakers find ungrammatical. There may be something to this, but I'm not sure it's the complete explanation. There's some ambiguity to ...
by Aiwendil42
Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:20 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: "You want I should"
Replies: 35
Views: 20235

Re: "You want I should"

This is a different phenomenon. In the examples you provided "that" is being dropped, which is a familiar aspect of English grammar. Yes, but it's interesting that 'think', 'believe', and even 'desire' and 'wish' can be used to introduce indirect statements (with or without 'that'), where...
by Aiwendil42
Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:19 pm UTC
Forum: Books
Topic: xkcd's favourite 100 books - vote now!
Replies: 226
Views: 152362

Re: xkcd's favourite 100 books - vote now!

Yeah, that's the problem I was getting at with counting series together. At the very least, I'd suggest that only series written by a single author be counted together, thus leaving And Another Thing out of the Hitchhiker series. Also, if the Ender series is counted together, I'd like to retract my ...
by Aiwendil42
Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:48 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: basic question about an atom..
Replies: 12
Views: 1333

Re: basic question about an atom..

I'm sure if you were to somehow combine quantum mechanics and gravity in a uniform manner we would see some sort of quantization of energy, momentum, etc in terms of Planck's constant as well. Well, yes, you do need to assume that gravity is ultimately quantized to make the analogy work. But pretty...
by Aiwendil42
Fri Oct 29, 2010 4:13 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: basic question about an atom..
Replies: 12
Views: 1333

Re: basic question about an atom..

The electron isnt the smear. Yes, while this is to some extent just a semantic point, I agree that this is a mis-leading thing to say. Better to say that the smear is the probability distribution of the electron. This delocalised smear of an electron is stationary, which avoids the issue of acceler...
by Aiwendil42
Fri Oct 29, 2010 12:30 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: "You want I should"
Replies: 35
Views: 20235

Re: "You want I should"

I've definitely heard this, but I'm having trouble recalling in what context and by whom. In my mind it seems to be associated with an older New York accent. It also sounds vaguely like a construction arising from the literal translation of a foreign idiom. As a wild guess, then, could it come from ...
by Aiwendil42
Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:11 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: A regional use of prepositions
Replies: 16
Views: 2863

Re: A regional use of prepositions

I'm from New Jersey (and have lived in New York, Connecticut, and now Boston) and only 'in' sounds correct to me. 'On' is right out. However, I have noticed that there are people who routinely use 'at' where, to me, only 'in' sounds acceptable. I'm not sure whether I've ever heard the phrase 'at the...
by Aiwendil42
Wed Oct 27, 2010 7:42 pm UTC
Forum: Music
Topic: Perfect Moments In Music
Replies: 396
Views: 164624

Re: Perfect Moments In Music

The transition from the 3rd to the 4th movement of Beethoven's fifth


That's my favorite moment in music as well. A close contender is the section in the development section of the 4th movement just before the brief reprise of the scherzo.
by Aiwendil42
Wed Oct 27, 2010 7:23 pm UTC
Forum: Books
Topic: Shakespeare Thread
Replies: 59
Views: 8060

Re: Shakespeare Thread

How else can you create sincere, informed picture of it? Remember, the point of good literature is not merely to say what happened, but to study how what happened affects the characters: how they feel, how they react externally, how they respond internally. How fortunate that the Gods of Art have r...
by Aiwendil42
Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:47 pm UTC
Forum: Books
Topic: xkcd's favourite 100 books - vote now!
Replies: 226
Views: 152362

Re: xkcd's favourite 100 books - vote now!

Again, if the other Ender/Bean books are grouped, that'd be better Here's the thing with grouping series, though: I loved Ender's Game, liked Speaker for the Dead, did not like Xenocide or Children of the Mind, and haven't even read the Bean books. So it seems odd that, for example, my vote for End...
by Aiwendil42
Wed Oct 27, 2010 1:08 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Regarding Quarks
Replies: 15
Views: 1175

Re: Regarding Quarks

Yeah, that's my understanding too - confinement is basically due to the non-perturbative nature of QCD (the theory that describes the strong interaction) at low energies. However, I believe (I may be wrong) that confinement has not been proven analytically (few things can be in QCD). In other words,...
by Aiwendil42
Mon Oct 25, 2010 1:56 pm UTC
Forum: Books
Topic: xkcd's favourite 100 books - vote now!
Replies: 226
Views: 152362

Re: xkcd's favourite 100 books - vote now!

My 20 choices: The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien) The Silmarillion (J.R.R. Tolkien) The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien) Foundation series (Isaac Asimov) Robot series (Isaac Asimov) Childhood's End (Arthur C. Clarke) The City and the Stars (Arthur C. Clarke) The Long, Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (Douglas A...
by Aiwendil42
Sun Oct 24, 2010 3:06 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: PetsMart and ClimbMax
Replies: 9
Views: 4301

Re: PetsMart and ClimbMax

"Mathlete", "SmarTeam" are definitely portmanteaus - each consists of two words, joined via shared letters/sounds. "PetsMart" is something a bit more interesting, in my opinion anyway, as it can be parsed as a simple compound in either of two ways (pets + mart or pet + ...
by Aiwendil42
Fri Oct 22, 2010 1:50 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0809: "Los Alamos"
Replies: 181
Views: 39283

Re: 0809: Los Alamos

I never liked Soh-Cah-Toa, but maybe that was just because of the way my teacher pronounced it. She said [sa kə təʊ ə] (is that the pronunciation others have heard?). Now, in my idiolect, that pronunciation could represent either 'Soh-Cah-Toa' or 'Sah-Coh-Toa', so it's of no use in remembering which...
by Aiwendil42
Tue Oct 19, 2010 4:02 am UTC
Forum: Movies and TV Shows
Topic: The Great Recommendation Thread (Movie, TV, Anime, Cartoon)
Replies: 286
Views: 130701

Re: I need a Movie Recommendation

And hell, the 2-3 minute steady shots of a ship in space was to drive home the isolationism of the three protagonists (David, Frank, HAL) and how there was no one else out there except for them, and if something as incredibly minor as a tiny servo blew, they'd be completely fucked. Plus, it's beaut...
by Aiwendil42
Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:59 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Combining Contractions
Replies: 20
Views: 2940

Re: Combining Contractions

The problem now (and presumably the reason you see it less often in fiction) is that prescriptive grammarians are so ridiculously uptight about these kinds of things. 90% of the pages I find online are people complaining that " 'Could of' does not exist" or other nonsense. Well, I'd guess...
by Aiwendil42
Sun Oct 03, 2010 2:10 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Cause of radioactive decay
Replies: 8
Views: 2335

Re: Cause of radioactive decay

Can do a bit better than assuming No Hidden Variables. See: Bell's Inequality.


As GeorgeH mentioned, Bell's Theorem only rules out local hidden variable theories. Something like Bohm's hidden variable theory is still perfectly fine.
by Aiwendil42
Sat Oct 02, 2010 2:45 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Cause of radioactive decay
Replies: 8
Views: 2335

Re: Cause of radioactive decay

The "causelessness" of radioactive decay is really just a special case of the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics. In a sense, any probablistic event in QM could be called causeless - we can say there's an x% chance that an electron will be found to be in a spin up state, for instanc...
by Aiwendil42
Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:48 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Combining Contractions
Replies: 20
Views: 2940

Re: Combining Contractions

Like others, I use only I'd've out of that list. When I'm being jocularly archaic, I often say 'tisn't.

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