Search found 592 matches

by ThirdParty
Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:49 pm UTC
Forum: General
Topic: ITT: We make xkcd slightly worse.
Replies: 8652
Views: 1669615

Re: ITT: We make xkcd slightly worse.

Loosely based on https://blog.xkcd.com/2010/05/03/color-survey-results/ : http://forums.xkcd.com/download/file.php?id=55731&mode=view Most of the color names on the left are real, but the three two-word ones are references to the blog post, and a couple others are just ones I threw in as filler ...
by ThirdParty
Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:54 pm UTC
Forum: General
Topic: Thoughts for ships
Replies: 90080
Views: 8313379

Re: Thoughts for ships

There's a building in my city, which I pass by on my way to and from work, that feels a little ... anomalous. Google Maps says it's a radio station, but I wonder. The building is about fifty feet tall, fifty feet deep, and three hundred feet long: from the edge it looks like a cube, but then you try...
by ThirdParty
Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:36 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Language fleeting thoughts
Replies: 135
Views: 36573

Re: Language fleeting thoughts

How about the various types of clam called "duck"? e.g. Anatina and Anodonta . I assume they were named after the bird, given their Latin names. Was it because they looked like ducks, or tasted like ducks, or were eaten by ducks, or what? (By the way, I'm not including Panopea in the categ...
by ThirdParty
Sun Sep 24, 2017 2:10 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Longest Name
Replies: 24
Views: 8489

Re: Longest Name

My two cents: I think longer names are primarily used in order to distinguish names that are the same when shorter. For what it's worth, I refer to " Sextus Empiricus " thus in regular conversations, even though his name is six syllables and there isn't anyone I refer to as simply "S...
by ThirdParty
Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:35 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Language fleeting thoughts
Replies: 135
Views: 36573

Re: Language fleeting thoughts

Of course, that's not the only term where the mathematical use is different from the everyday use - "or", for instance ("or" in general English would be like mathematical "xor"). English "or" just does not necessarily expect simultaneity. It does depend on co...
by ThirdParty
Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:41 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Miscellaneous language questions
Replies: 570
Views: 95601

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

There's also a continuum between words that are English and words that are not English, but that doesn't mean it's completely arbitrary to include "hello" in an English dictionary but exclude "안녕하세요". Sure. But I think that if somebody says "English has exactly 171,476 word...
by ThirdParty
Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:18 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1888: "Still in Use"
Replies: 34
Views: 7058

Re: 1888: "Still in Use"

I almost never have this problem while trying to empty trash. Maybe because I'm on a Mac. I do, unfortunately, get it all the time while trying to eject disks. "The disk cannot be ejected because it might be in use. Would you like to force-eject? Warning: this may permanently damage your disk.&...
by ThirdParty
Sat Sep 09, 2017 1:23 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Miscellaneous language questions
Replies: 570
Views: 95601

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

If I recall, I had a high school biology teacher who would say "an human" even though she pronounced "human" as starting with a /j/ rather than a vowel.
by ThirdParty
Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:47 am UTC
Forum: Forum Games
Topic: xkcd Skyscraper
Replies: 1266
Views: 90144

Re: xkcd Skyscraper

I wonder what the back end is named! Anyhow, floor 1130 contains a poorly-taxidermized creature that appears to have the head of a bird, the tail of a rodent, the feet of a weasel, and the torso of an anteater. It's unclear whether it's fake or whether such creatures actually exist somewhere in the ...
by ThirdParty
Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:19 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Miscellaneous language questions
Replies: 570
Views: 95601

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

The letter "Q" has been in the English language as long as the language has existed and was in Middle English and even Old English before that. Its glyph cannot be produced by the combination of any other letters, and its pronunciation is no less distinctive than "k". It is feat...
by ThirdParty
Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:42 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Miscellaneous language questions
Replies: 570
Views: 95601

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

'If it doesn't make a sound on its own, it's not a letter' is a solid definition to start from, which kicks out the apostrophe, hyphen, and diacritics (in English). I think that a case could be made that the hyphen at least sometimes represents a /ʔ/ sound, most obviously in the word "uh-oh&qu...
by ThirdParty
Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:00 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Miscellaneous language questions
Replies: 570
Views: 95601

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Does any language other than English use exactly the 26 letter Latin alphabet? A browsing of Wikipedia suggests that Portuguese and Catalan do. French and Dutch are more arguable but also seem to be leaning that direction. Of course this somewhat depends on how a language defines a letter. Indeed. ...
by ThirdParty
Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:34 am UTC
Forum: Forum Games
Topic: xkcd Skyscraper
Replies: 1266
Views: 90144

Re: xkcd Skyscraper

Floor 1123 contains a very large integer (several million digits). Mathematicians have conjectured that this integer is also the lowest counterexample to something (that is, something more interesting than just "all integers are lower than the one found on Floor 1123"), but so far this con...
by ThirdParty
Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:11 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Miscellaneous language questions
Replies: 570
Views: 95601

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Except that these are very old words whose meanings have evolved since they split. Back in Proto-Germanic, when "gielpan" was invented as a modified form of the established word "gielan", "gielan" meant "to sing" (see "nightingale" = "night sin...
by ThirdParty
Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:42 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Miscellaneous language questions
Replies: 570
Views: 95601

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Except that these are very old words whose meanings have evolved since they split. Back in Proto-Germanic, when "gielpan" was invented as a modified form of the established word "gielan" How do you know this? Cognates of "yell" appear all over the place in languages de...
by ThirdParty
Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:49 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Miscellaneous language questions
Replies: 570
Views: 95601

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

"Yelp" probably counts Really? You think a lot of people say the word "yell" and then quickly close their mouths? I mean, it makes sense for "nope", "yep", and "welp" since "no", "yeah", and "well" are common words and ...
by ThirdParty
Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:23 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Miscellaneous language questions
Replies: 570
Views: 95601

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Hmm ... "yelp"? "Giddyap"? No, probably not... I wonder if an onomatopoeia like "humph" would count. It seems to describe the sound people make when rapidly closing the mouth in disdain after starting to make some sort of sound (e.g. "huh"). Maybe that's a str...
by ThirdParty
Sun Jul 23, 2017 4:34 pm UTC
Forum: Forum Games
Topic: Take a penny leave a penny.
Replies: 2227
Views: 322502

Re: Take a penny leave a penny.

I edit the note.

There are now 1 penny with a note saying "We don't accept a useless coin", a piece of chewing gum, and an omnidimensional vending machine in the pile.
by ThirdParty
Tue Jul 04, 2017 11:57 pm UTC
Forum: Forum Games
Topic: xkcd Skyscraper
Replies: 1266
Views: 90144

Re: xkcd Skyscraper

Floor 1116 contains a helicopter landing pad. To be clear, it's a perfectly normal interior building floor. It has walls. (And windows, but they don't open.) It also has a ceiling, 8 feet above the floor. (A typical helicopter stands 10 to 20 feet tall.) There just happens to be a helicopter landing...
by ThirdParty
Sun Jun 25, 2017 8:36 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Language fleeting thoughts
Replies: 135
Views: 36573

Re: Language fleeting thoughts

Showerthought: I have trouble hearing allophones clearly, but I think the word "radar" may be pronounced roughly as [ˈɹeˌɾaɹ] in English and [ˌɾaˈɹaɾ] in Spanish (you can listen to them here). If so, there's a funny symmetry there.
by ThirdParty
Sun Jun 25, 2017 7:47 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Miscellaneous language questions
Replies: 570
Views: 95601

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Do you pronounce "draw" and "drawer" the same? I've only seen the latter used for the clothing article. Pretty much. No matter how well I understand intellectually that British English works this way, it still boggles my mind. To me, as an American English speaker, "draw&qu...
by ThirdParty
Fri Jun 23, 2017 1:00 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Words you think English should have or bring back.
Replies: 643
Views: 150348

Re: Words you think English should have or bring back.

Speaking of "-ling", am the only one who thinks we should reclaim it as a suffix meaning "offspring of"? For example, instead of "I swerved to avoid running over a leveret, and as a result accidentally hit one of Dan's children instead" you should be able to say "I...
by ThirdParty
Mon Jun 12, 2017 10:11 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Miscellaneous language questions
Replies: 570
Views: 95601

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Nah, I think it's stress. There's basically five possibilities: "I cannot win" = The speaker is not able to win. "I can not win" = The speaker is able to lose, but isn't eager to do so. "I cannot win" = The speaker is not able to win, and is frustrated about that. "...
by ThirdParty
Thu Jun 01, 2017 5:26 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Miscellaneous language questions
Replies: 570
Views: 95601

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Why is onomatopoeia different in different languages? While English speakers say that ducks go "quack", German speakers say that frogs go "quak". Strange. Why the disagreement of what animals sound like? Part of what's going on in this particular example is that English has a lo...
by ThirdParty
Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:17 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Miscellaneous language questions
Replies: 570
Views: 95601

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

I tried a bunch of other variants on Google Ngrams. "Sweetart" is nearly as popular as "Sweetard", and preceded it slightly: link.

("sweet'art" is also present and slightly before "sweetart", but I can't seem to make the URL work for showing it)
by ThirdParty
Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:37 am UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Genetic Inheritance - Carrier Probability Question
Replies: 12
Views: 4174

Re: Genetic Inheritance - Carrier Probability Question

I find it most intuitive to just use the basic definition of conditional probability: P(H|E) = P(E&H)/P(E) = P(E&H)/[P(E&H)+P(E&~H)] Identify the set of possible worlds consistent with the evidence. Figure out what proportion of those worlds (weighted by their prior probabilities, if...
by ThirdParty
Sat Apr 08, 2017 3:55 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Genetic Inheritance - Carrier Probability Question
Replies: 12
Views: 4174

Re: Genetic Inheritance - Carrier Probability Question

The original probability that Helena would inherit the gene but none of her 3 sons would inherit it from her was 50%^4 = 6.25%. The original probability that Helena would not inherit the gene was 50%. So, given the information that Helena's 3 sons did not inherit the disease, the probability that He...
by ThirdParty
Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:42 pm UTC
Forum: Forum Games
Topic: xkcd Skyscraper
Replies: 1266
Views: 90144

Re: xkcd Skyscraper

Floor 1072 has been dropped and is falling, but hasn't hit the ground yet. It has no windows, so the people inside aren't sure what's going on. They're making jokes like "did someone forget to pay the gravity bill?" They sure will be surprised when they go splat in another second or two.
by ThirdParty
Mon Mar 27, 2017 6:10 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Thinking in words, and noticing errors
Replies: 15
Views: 9238

Re: Thinking in words, and noticing errors

I sometimes dislike when details about a character or location are revealed gradually (for example: "Her long hair waved in the wind" two chapters after introducing the character) because of it conflicting with the image I had in my mind. Yeah, I don't have that problem. Heck, the author ...
by ThirdParty
Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:40 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Toothbrush, glasses, and clock
Replies: 15
Views: 4476

Re: Toothbrush, glasses, and clock

I think this explains the phenomenon. Aha! Yes, that's helpful. I had no idea that clock displays cycle each segment rather than just having them all on at once, but it makes sense that you wouldn't want to risk an "8" being dimmer than a "1". It can actually happen even when my...
by ThirdParty
Sat Mar 25, 2017 4:43 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Toothbrush, glasses, and clock
Replies: 15
Views: 4476

Re: Toothbrush, glasses, and clock

Try looking at other things through your glasses while brushing your teeth. Divide the world into things that do and things that don't look different that way. A second copy of the alarm clock (they were on sale X years ago, so I bought two) also displays the phenomenon. Nothing else in my house di...
by ThirdParty
Sat Mar 25, 2017 2:40 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Toothbrush, glasses, and clock
Replies: 15
Views: 4476

Re: Toothbrush, glasses, and clock

I doubt it. The clock's display looks like a standard numeric LCD that composes each number out of seven line segments; it's not a dot matrix. I don't have a fancy camera available, but I tried taking a picture of the clock with my cell phone. It looks normal in the picture. I also tried applying th...
by ThirdParty
Sat Mar 25, 2017 5:15 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Toothbrush, glasses, and clock
Replies: 15
Views: 4476

Toothbrush, glasses, and clock

I've been inspired by the recent moiré comic to ask a question that I've been wondering about for a couple of years: I have an electric toothbrush, a pair of eyeglasses which correct for nearsightedness, and a digital alarm clock-radio. It is possible to use any two of these three items simultaneous...
by ThirdParty
Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:55 pm UTC
Forum: Forum Games
Topic: xkcd Skyscraper
Replies: 1266
Views: 90144

Re: xkcd Skyscraper

Floor 1066 has been invaded by Normans.
by ThirdParty
Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:41 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Elementary probability
Replies: 5
Views: 2159

Re: Elementary probability

That depends what you mean by "reasonably certain". If the answer is intended to be "292", then the question is presumably intended to be "If each letter has an independent 40% probability of receiving a reply, how many letters do you need to send out so that you have at le...
by ThirdParty
Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:51 am UTC
Forum: Forum Games
Topic: xkcd Skyscraper
Replies: 1266
Views: 90144

Re: xkcd Skyscraper

In the event of a sudden loss of skyscraper pressure, oxygen masks will drop down from Floor 1062 to the floors below.
by ThirdParty
Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:30 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Miscellaneous language questions
Replies: 570
Views: 95601

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

For me junk is kind of a middle ground, between thing that's definitely wanted, and thing for which removal is definitely wanted. Same, though I also use "junk" for things whose removal I definitely want but am not presently able to effect. To me, both trash and garbage are dirty, junk is...
by ThirdParty
Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:41 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Miscellaneous language questions
Replies: 570
Views: 95601

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Is there a difference between "trash" and "garbage" to you? For me, they're synonyms. I've read that historically there was a difference. Garbage referring to food waste. They're not quite synonyms for me. I think I use "garbage" for "stuff that should be gotten r...
by ThirdParty
Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:59 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0155: "Toaster vs. Freezer"
Replies: 43
Views: 18589

Re: What-If 0155: "Toaster vs. Freezer"

The effect of freezers on bread turns out to be something everyone on the internet has an opinion on, so I try to avoid the subject by just eating all my bread as soon as I get it. I just popped in to share my opinion on the effect of freezers on bread: they ruin it. No matter what you do to defros...
by ThirdParty
Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:31 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Miscellaneous language questions
Replies: 570
Views: 95601

Re: Miscellaneous language questions

Um, according to my favorite dictionary, "SCUBA", "tuba", and "lieu" are all /ju/ in Britain and /u/ in the U.S. I thought the puzzle was what "SCUBA" is doing in this category when U.S. English doesn't usually yod-drop after /k/ the way it does after /t/ or /...

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