Search found 253 matches

by distractedSofty
Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:18 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Words you choose to mispronounce
Replies: 242
Views: 90526

Re: Words you choose to mispronounce

eSOANEM wrote:I'm not sure if I've said this before either, but I also say Canadia. Clearly it would be Canadan instead of Canadian if it was meant to be pronounced any other way. :roll:

Ah yes, just like Fijia, Egyptia and Irania.
by distractedSofty
Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:05 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1030: "Keyed"
Replies: 108
Views: 29308

Re: 1030: "Keyed"

Many fans take for granted that any computer literate person will find xkcd hilarious because the jokes are hilarious by default, and thus go on a spree of sticking comics on office walls, wearing T-shirts to show off around their workplaces, and throwing one-liners to college colleagues expecting ...
by distractedSofty
Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:58 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously
Replies: 125
Views: 32418

Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

"Actually" is not a perfect substitute: I agree that "I'm actually in the same boat as you" could be the metaphor, but "I actually made a million dollars this year" doesn't seem to (to me). I would guess because it's not in the same category: it's not used as an intensi...
by distractedSofty
Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:54 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously
Replies: 125
Views: 32418

Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Doesn't "actually" work with figurative uses, though? When I look up "actually shocked" or "actually fell into", I find a lot of sentences that don't involve electricity or vertical displacement. I think it's actually in the same boat as the others. "Shocked"...
by distractedSofty
Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:16 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously
Replies: 125
Views: 32418

Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

As has been argued, it's not confusing to use "literally" for emphasis aside from its normal meaning. The reason people care more than they did for "really", "very", "truly", "seriously", and "indeed" is only that it's the last one that wa...
by distractedSofty
Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:26 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Who should have the right to vote?
Replies: 175
Views: 52476

Re: Who should have the right to vote?

1) US = Republic. Different than democracy; put all 310+million of us in a forum and have us solve something before you say we can even be a democracy. This again? From the OED: democracy, n. A state or community in which the government is vested in the people as a whole. republic, n. A state in wh...
by distractedSofty
Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:58 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1003: "Hitler and Eve"
Replies: 447
Views: 88088

Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Schodinger's cat is not alive and dead both. It's indeterminate. At least, it makes sense that way, while it doesn't make sense to say it's both. No, it's both. Schrödinger's cat is not an exercise in logic: It's a thought experiment to illustrate a difficulty with the Copenhagen interpretation of ...
by distractedSofty
Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:48 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Ethics of creating intelligences
Replies: 62
Views: 9752

Re: Ethics of creating intelligences

It will be no different than backing up your computer files. Unless you think that we will build computers that can store vastly more information than they can transmit to each other. We already have such systems: My computer stores 3TB of data, but would take over 2 hours to transfer that to anoth...
by distractedSofty
Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:24 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Ethics of creating intelligences
Replies: 62
Views: 9752

Re: Ethics of creating intelligences

If you can just order them to do whatever you want, I can think of some morally questionable things. Eg. asking them to perform actions deemed too dangerous for a human to perform (bomb disposal? guiding a Mars probe, that doesn't come back) If you want an electronic AI to do something that would e...
by distractedSofty
Sat Dec 24, 2011 3:43 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: A state funeral for Thatcher - why or why not?
Replies: 77
Views: 30882

Re: A state funeral for Thatcher - why or why not?

Mittagessen wrote:Disraeli got India. The only thing Thatcher invaded/reclaimed was the Falklands.

It seems rather unfortunate that the only way to earn appreciation is to kill a bunch of people.
by distractedSofty
Fri Dec 23, 2011 4:06 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: A state funeral for Thatcher - why or why not?
Replies: 77
Views: 30882

Re: A state funeral for Thatcher - why or why not?

Let me compare this to US politics. We had a president recently; some may have considered him a warmonger and many would suggest he destroyed the economy. But some of his radical changes to our government are sure to be with us for another 20-30 years at least (see Patriot Act, TSA, DHS, Bush Tax C...
by distractedSofty
Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:39 am UTC
Forum: Books
Topic: Books you never finished
Replies: 280
Views: 168248

Re: Books you never finished

I never finished Maskerade , and thus have only read 17.5 of the mainline Discworld books. I actually have a copy of Feet of Clay that I purchased at the same time, and haven't even opened it (Which, come to think of it, is disappointing, because I liked the two earlier city watch books). I stopped ...
by distractedSofty
Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:50 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: A state funeral for Thatcher - why or why not?
Replies: 77
Views: 30882

Re: A state funeral for Thatcher - why or why not?

If you consider the list of non-sovereigns offered state funerals, take out the war heroes and mathematicians, you're left with four politicians (I took out Churchill as a war hero. If you accept that someone could get a state funeral ever again, it must be accepted that they're not going to measure...
by distractedSofty
Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:31 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Grammatical errors you think should be acceptable
Replies: 166
Views: 43032

Re: Grammatical errors you think should be acceptable

Singular "they" should be allowed instead of using a generic "he" or some awkward construction like "he or she" or "s/he". The use of the male pronoun for the generic is incredibly sexist. Also, other than singular "they", there is no way to refer t...
by distractedSofty
Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:27 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Infant Circumcision
Replies: 1022
Views: 105971

Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Well, I'd certainly hope your genitals were regularly examined by a doctor during your childhood. That's clearly not what I meant, but also, no, they weren't, because there was nothing wrong with them. Between sleepovers, locker rooms, swimming, and, y'know, sex, most kids are seen naked by their p...
by distractedSofty
Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:20 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: A state funeral for Thatcher - why or why not?
Replies: 77
Views: 30882

Re: A state funeral for Thatcher - why or why not?

You mean a former head-of-state shouldn't be allowed a state funeral? Regardless of her policies, she was still a Prime Minister. Thatcher was Prime Minister, not Queen. ... which is why we're discussing a State Funeral instead of a Royal State Funeral or Royal Ceremonial Funeral. The distinction i...
by distractedSofty
Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:22 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: A state funeral for Thatcher - why or why not?
Replies: 77
Views: 30882

Re: A state funeral for Thatcher - why or why not?

You mean a former head-of-state shouldn't be allowed a state funeral? Regardless of her policies, she was still a Prime Minister. Thatcher was Prime Minister, not Queen. As a non-UKian, it seems like she was a significant enough PM that she should be given one. She doesn't have the luxury of the Na...
by distractedSofty
Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:28 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Infant Circumcision
Replies: 1022
Views: 105971

Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Malice wrote:I agree: you might have led a very sheltered life.

Still, I maintain that if "not having been subjected to institutionalised genital inspections as a child" is "a sheltered life", then that society has more important penis fish to fry than circumcision.
by distractedSofty
Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:53 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Words you choose to mispronounce
Replies: 242
Views: 90526

Re: Words you choose to mispronounce

I assume you're talking about [ˈmæn.də.rɪn] for the language, and [mænˈdə.rɪːn] for the fruit. Did you just put stress on a syllable with a schwa? Also, by [ɪː] do you mean /i:/, /ɪ/, or a third phonemically distinct sound? Sure, if you like: It's mostly unstressed in english, but there are a few e...
by distractedSofty
Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:29 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Infant Circumcision
Replies: 1022
Views: 105971

Re: Male Infant Circumcision

I think Malice was referring to the semiprivate changing of clothes before and after gym class. An uncircumcised Jewish kid could face serious social consequences. My incredulity remains, though somewhat lessened. I might have led a very sheltered life, but at my schools, we had this fascinating ne...
by distractedSofty
Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:20 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Infant Circumcision
Replies: 1022
Views: 105971

Re: Male Infant Circumcision

A parent might, for instance, be thinking of potential embarrassment in gym class when the child is 12, an age at which the child generally does not have the power to make medical decisions for himself. I seriously have to stand by my statement now: WTF are people doing looking at 12 year old boys ...
by distractedSofty
Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:45 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Infant Circumcision
Replies: 1022
Views: 105971

Re: Male Infant Circumcision

My issue with your argument is not, I think, your framework, but that you're blithely dismissing the possibility of benefits. I mean, my god--if you believe a certain way, a baptism isn't just beneficial, it's vital to the well-being of the child's immortal soul. How can you just throw something li...
by distractedSofty
Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:22 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Infant Circumcision
Replies: 1022
Views: 105971

Re: Male Infant Circumcision

I love the irony in that quote, "Only a Sith deals in absolutes." Well the Jedi are, in general, not the best role models. But all moral pronouncements should be aware of their own flaws. It keeps them honest. As I said, my objection has nothing to do with the risk, and everything to do w...
by distractedSofty
Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:53 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Infant Circumcision
Replies: 1022
Views: 105971

Re: Male Infant Circumcision

See specifically my arguments about the consequences of overriding parental discretion at the slightest possibility of harm and my recent examples of the problems with giving minors (and particularly infants) full rights to bodily autonomy. Ok, so I went back, and despite not finding any issues wit...
by distractedSofty
Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:11 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Infant Circumcision
Replies: 1022
Views: 105971

Re: Male Infant Circumcision

I've read the whole thread, care to point out where the view falls down? It's supported by some fairly significant declarations (rights are inherent, unless we have damn good reasons to take them away). In the abstract, a parent has no rights that supercede those of their children. But, I am ok with...
by distractedSofty
Thu Dec 22, 2011 1:58 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Infant Circumcision
Replies: 1022
Views: 105971

Re: Male Infant Circumcision

We have two issues here; the right of infants to bodily autonomy, and the right for parents to pass on their culture, beliefs, and mindsets on their children--indeed, the right for parents to inflict these things on their children. I think both rights have significant weight, and I'm willing to let...
by distractedSofty
Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:31 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0992: "Mnemonics"
Replies: 278
Views: 63598

Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

I can't say that I've ever needed pi to 21 significant figures. Anyone who does is most likely using a computer. The standard 3 is often overkill in day-to-day use. But I read the poem once, and it stuck. I didn't intentionally work to memorize it. And if I ever want to count the letters silently, ...
by distractedSofty
Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:13 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Words you choose to mispronounce
Replies: 242
Views: 90526

Re: Words you choose to mispronounce

while we're here, does anyone differentiate the two main meanings of mandarin in speech? I assume you're talking about [ˈmæn.də.rɪn] for the language, and [mænˈdə.rɪːn] for the fruit. In my experience: almost universal in Australia, not at all in the US. Also, unadorned "mandarin" is not ...
by distractedSofty
Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:25 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0992: "Mnemonics"
Replies: 278
Views: 63598

Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

There are also mnemonics for pi. I'm French, so I know this one: <snip> What mnemonics do you have in English for pi? The one I learned (for 20 decimal places) is Pie I wish I could determine pi "Eureka!" cried the great inventor. Christmas pudding, Christmas pie Is the problem's very cen...
by distractedSofty
Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:49 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Daylight Savings
Replies: 23
Views: 6459

Re: Daylight Savings

Aaarrrrgggghhhh! NAILS ON BLACKBOARDS!!! (What is the 21st Century analogy for a screeching sound you can't stand?) Why don't they keep daylight savings time? OK, First, It's Daylight Saving Time. Daylight Saving is a adjective (phrase) modifying time; Saving is not a plural noun. That is, there's ...
by distractedSofty
Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:36 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Taxes and Spending, decoupled
Replies: 40
Views: 6549

Re: Taxes and Spending, decoupled

It is wholly wrong to limit a government’s ability to provide necessary services, because of something so ephemeral as how much revenue was raised through taxes in the last year. If a goverment spends money it doesn't have, it will create inflation. Too much inflation, and your money is worthless(O...
by distractedSofty
Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:51 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Words you choose to mispronounce
Replies: 242
Views: 90526

Re: Words you choose to mispronounce

Let's see if I can get all of these right: I like the title of this thread, because one of the words I choose to mispronounce since coming to the US is "pronounce". (Also, "advertise") Because US speakers generally pronounce "advertisement" as [ædvətaɪzmənt], I frequent...
by distractedSofty
Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:34 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Infant Circumcision
Replies: 1022
Views: 105971

Re: Male Infant Circumcision

Oh bugger off, you absolutely did not. Why should parents have the right to do absolutely anything they want with a child short of harming it? What moral framework did you use to guide you to this position? See pages two and three. I'm not rehashing my arguments. You never hashed them in the first ...
by distractedSofty
Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:26 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wall
Replies: 784
Views: 107471

Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Proginoskes wrote:
Spoiler:
Image

Like most such emphatic Trussesque rules, this is wrong: "It's been done", "It's got one".
by distractedSofty
Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:01 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: What changes do we need to make in our democracy?
Replies: 49
Views: 8196

Re: What changes do we need to make in our democracy?

Wouldn't a system where you essentially vote for a party (like the d'Hondt method ) be better? Groups tend to be more reliable and knowledgeable than individuals and people don't remain as objective when they are voting for a real person rather than a more abstract movement. This is asking for pers...
by distractedSofty
Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:55 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0988: "Tradition"
Replies: 175
Views: 63862

Re: 988: "Tradition"

If this comic is based on the ASCAP list of most recorded/played Christmas songs, one important thing to realize is that this is a list of the most popular Christmas songs under copyright . Conspicuously absent from the list are any of the popular Christmas songs that are in the public domain, whic...
by distractedSofty
Sat Dec 10, 2011 11:12 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: What changes do we need to make in our democracy?
Replies: 49
Views: 8196

Re: What changes do we need to make in our democracy?

As a tangent, where does this weird "The US is not a democracy, it's a republic" notion come from? I've heard it several times before on this forum, and I've also seen it in other places. But it's so silly. Why would you even think that not having a hereditary head of state and having ele...
by distractedSofty
Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:58 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0988: "Tradition"
Replies: 175
Views: 63862

Re: 988: "Tradition"

Traditional? Possibly not, but here's Jingle Bells for a country that has Christmas in midsummer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnJ8jsw4BSo The line "esky in the boot" has always bugged me about that version, because what kind of "rusty holden ute" has a boot? But I found out t...
by distractedSofty
Sat Dec 10, 2011 2:53 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: What changes do we need to make in our democracy?
Replies: 49
Views: 8196

Re: What changes do we need to make in our democracy?

2) Voting, or lack thereof, isn't the problem. It could just as easily be argued that we would be more successful if the ignorant masses just stayed home. Australia is a pretty convincing case study that disproves that. On the one hand, compulsory voting, and on the other hand, low taxes, high wage...
by distractedSofty
Fri Dec 09, 2011 9:31 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Death Note
Replies: 45
Views: 8415

Re: Death Note

We can take the magic out of this fairly easily and still have a plausible scenario to work with. Suppose we create a society where every crime (or every crime that is sufficiently severe--eg. all felonies) carries an automatic death sentence. What do you believe the effect on crime rates would be?...

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