1398: "Snake facts"

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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby Flumble » Wed Jul 23, 2014 8:32 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:Another horse, a horse which is greater than the mean, has more legs. Two legs in the rear, and forelegs in the front. That makes six legs, which is an odd number.

I sure hope those hindlegs stick out of its rear, otherwise you have a handicapped horse. Do note that handedness is very important for a normal horse or it might end up-side-down.

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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby Belial » Wed Jul 23, 2014 8:34 pm UTC

tim314 wrote:The joke is that it *sounds* like he's talking about the range of some species of snake, but then the sentence "It is believed to be over 60 years old" and the accompanying picture reveal that he's making an absurd claim about a single gigantic snake.


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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby badmartialarts » Wed Jul 23, 2014 10:06 pm UTC

I figured it was just a comic version of "True Facts about..." from Youtube. (Example below, True Facts About the Owl.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeFxdkaFzRA

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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby maztec » Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:53 am UTC

What if it's not a literal snake, but instead a metaphor referring to something that looks like a snake? For example the Pan-American highway or a portion thereof. Or a pipeline or power relay of some sort.

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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby addams » Thu Jul 24, 2014 7:09 am UTC

mathmannix wrote:
The mean horse has only three legs, however. (I am thinking of a specific mean horse. That is why he is mean; he hasn't got a leg to stand on, and he knows it.)

Another horse, a horse which is greater than the mean, has more legs. Two legs in the rear, and forelegs in the front. That makes six legs, which is an odd number.

That is funny stuff.
The Greater Horse might have a smooth gate.

As for the Comic, after reading the comments section,
It's still funny.

In only sixty years?
In 60 more years the Canadians might get to look at it without leaving Canada.
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby The Moomin » Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:36 am UTC

mathmannix wrote:
Another horse, a horse which is greater than the mean, has more legs. Two legs in the rear, and forelegs in the front. That makes six legs, which is an odd number.


No. Six is an even number.

Also, does this mean horses are insects?

That could help explain horseflies, but not seahorses.
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby HES » Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:44 am UTC

The Moomin wrote:Six is an even number.

Six is an odd number of legs for a horse to have, though.
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby Xenomortis » Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:52 am UTC

No, it's definitely an even number of legs for a horse to have. :wink:
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby xtifr » Thu Jul 24, 2014 10:23 am UTC

HES wrote:
The Moomin wrote:Six is an even number.

Six is an odd number of legs for a horse to have, though.


And thus we can conclude that six is a number which is both odd and even. Which is not a surprising place to arrive at, given that we started with philosophy. Philosophy, as far as I can see, makes it all too easy to end up with ridiculous conclusions, which is why I'm glad I never pursued it very far. I'll stick with science, thanks. :)

Pfhorrest wrote:For context, it was a course on Berkeley, who argued against the concept of "abstract ideas", and claimed that whenever someone thinks of "the horse" in abstract, they are in fact thinking of some particular concrete horse or another; their "idea", which in his terminology meant something like a mental picture, was always some particular concrete horse typifying all horses, and never truly an idea of "the horse" in abstract.

Which is silly. When I think of "the horse" as an abstract concept, I typically think of several examples; often in a herd.

Personally, I think a linguistic analysis of the sentence is far more interesting. Philosophy is great at asking questions, but not so great at answering them. Science (in which category I include Linguistics) is about finding answers. Back to "the horse is a four-legged animal found throughout Eurasia". Linguistically speaking, that looks like a collective noun to me. Which is interesting, because "the horse whinnied" is clearly not using a collective noun. So how do we so easily distinguish those cases, and can any noun be treated as a collective noun? What about "the book is published throughout western Europe"? Somehow, to me, that suggests multiple copies of a particular book.
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:18 am UTC

xtifr wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:For context, it was a course on Berkeley, who argued against the concept of "abstract ideas", and claimed that whenever someone thinks of "the horse" in abstract, they are in fact thinking of some particular concrete horse or another; their "idea", which in his terminology meant something like a mental picture, was always some particular concrete horse typifying all horses, and never truly an idea of "the horse" in abstract.

Which is silly. When I think of "the horse" as an abstract concept, I typically think of several examples; often in a herd.

In this context, yes. In some other contexts it is quite clearly about a single horse: "The horse my neighbor bought cost him about as much as my house cost me"
Still "The horse" but clearly not the entire species.
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby HES » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:45 am UTC

But "My neighbour bought the horse" could go either way...

"My neighbour bought the horse. He spent as much as my house on it!"

"My neighbour bought the horse. He spent as much as my house on it! He's negotiating his share of resources in the League of Evil's new world order."
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:54 am UTC

xtifr wrote:Personally, I think a linguistic analysis of the sentence is far more interesting. Philosophy is great at asking questions, but not so great at answering them. Science (in which category I include Linguistics) is about finding answers. Back to "the horse is a four-legged animal found throughout Eurasia". Linguistically speaking, that looks like a collective noun to me. Which is interesting, because "the horse whinnied" is clearly not using a collective noun. So how do we so easily distinguish those cases, and can any noun be treated as a collective noun? What about "the book is published throughout western Europe"? Somehow, to me, that suggests multiple copies of a particular book.

Did no one else ever learn about the usefulness of context clues way back in elementary school? Or just never figure out that context is useful for more than just figuring out what a new vocabulary word means?

The definite article plus a singular (countable) noun *can* have a generic referent when it's about species, inventions, and body parts, but usually not other things. You can say "the horse" to talk about all of them, but if you do the same with "the Arab", for example, it's racist. My feeling is that this is because it's okay to say things about horses as if they were all the same (at least with respect to whatever fact we're about to state), but not so with races or nationalities of people.

When talking about one of the "permitted" nounds, all you have to help you decide is the context of the rest of the sentence (or more). "The heart weighs between 200 and 350 grams" is about all hearts, while "The heart weighs 343 grams" is about one specific one.

But this is nothing special about 'the + singular' constructions. Statements about "a computer" can be generic or singular, statements about "computers" can be generic or (indefinite) plural, statements about "beer" can be generic or indefinite.

(Incidentally, "the horse" is never collective in the sense that "a herd" is, because when it's used for more than one horse it means *all* horses, whereas "herd" refers to one individual collection of horses.)
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby mathmannix » Thu Jul 24, 2014 12:52 pm UTC

My wife's uncle has herd of horses, but I have herd naught.
I hear velociraptor tastes like chicken.

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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby addams » Thu Jul 24, 2014 1:49 pm UTC

xtifr wrote:
HES wrote:
The Moomin wrote:Six is an even number.

Six is an odd number of legs for a horse to have, though.


And thus we can conclude that six is a number which is both odd and even. Which is not a surprising place to arrive at, given that we started with philosophy. Philosophy, as far as I can see, makes it all too easy to end up with ridiculous conclusions, which is why I'm glad I never pursued it very far. I'll stick with science, thanks. :)

I like Science, too.
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Math is Philosophy.
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Just like in Philosophy,
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One or Two might be Elegant.

Any answer that is Not one of the Five is Wrong.
Some answers are more Wrong that others.

It was a Philosopher that stated as Fact,
"All Matter is made up of All the same Stuff."

Aristotle went to his grave before we collectively got the bright idea he was correct.
"We stand on the Shoulders of Giants." (who first said that?)

The Science Historians say Sir Isaac Newton wrote that in a Letter. (shrug)
He was, just, Philosophizing.
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standing_o ... _of_giants

Back to The Snake.
How long do Snakes live?

If it is Sixty, will it soon be Extinct?
Those three nations can Market The Snake.

Barnum and Bailey Style:
"Come See The Snake!"
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For Fun and Adventure.
Some People go into Peace Spots or Cool Spots.

Other people chase Natural Oddities.
There is a Market for The Snake.

Look at Gibraltar!
It is a Natural and Man Made Oddity.
Loads of people go there.

oh, dear...I checked the internet.
Large Snakes, barring disaster, live longer than their smaller relatives.

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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby orthogon » Thu Jul 24, 2014 3:07 pm UTC

Separate linguistic issue to whatever y'all are talking about, but am I right in thinking that "horse" can be plural? As in "We have three score and six horse, sire".
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:31 pm UTC

It's not conversationally very common, but yes, I think that is okay in some cases, as with many other animals. (sheep, deer, fowl/poultry, elk, moose, etc.)
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby Envelope Generator » Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:42 pm UTC

I've seen animal singular-as-plural usage referred to as "snob plural". Five quail and so on.
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:56 pm UTC

String theory is a synthesis of particle physics and general relativity. Snake theory is the synthesis of string theory and animism, in which all strings are segments of one great snake with a proper length of 10^86 meters1.

Horse-ness very strongly causes tetrapodia and somewhat strongly correlates with it. Horse-ness is sufficient but not necessary for tetrapodia; likewise horses don't necessarily have tetrapodia. Horses almost never speak because speech strongly anti-correlates with hoarseness.

Ghosts are a species of supernatural entities existing in the spiritual and material planes. That is, each specimen exists in both planes; except expectational ones that don't, like three legged horses.

A farmer had five horses; two died. How many horses does he have left? Five: three living horses, two dead ones; or is a dead horse not a horse?
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby mathmannix » Thu Jul 24, 2014 5:12 pm UTC

Quizatzhaderac wrote:A farmer had five horses; two died. How many horses does he have left? Five: three living horses, two dead ones; or is a dead horse not a horse?


It depends on how much time has passed, and how the bodies have been disposed of. (of how the bodies have been disposed?)

If a horse has died, it may become thereafter more than one horse:
- the outer layers have been taxidermied and put on display in the main house; this can be called a horse.
- the skeleton has been donated to the local museum, and properly assembled for display; this can be called a horse.
- the meat has been served at a banquet; this can be called a horse of a feast.
- the ghost has not passed on, but remains haunting the stables; this can be called a horse. Or perhaps, during the hours whence the earth is directly between the farmer's stables and the sun, a nightmare.
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby BlitzGirl » Thu Jul 24, 2014 5:28 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote: a nightmare.

I see what you did there.
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jul 24, 2014 5:33 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Did no one else ever learn about the usefulness of context clues way back in elementary school? Or just never figure out that context is useful for more than just figuring out what a new vocabulary word means?


Not in philosophy, evidently...

A *lot* of philosophical issues stem from imprecision and/or misuse of language.

Quizatzhaderac wrote:A farmer had five horses; two died. How many horses does he have left? Five: three living horses, two dead ones; or is a dead horse not a horse?


A horse is a horse, of corpse, of corpse.

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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jul 24, 2014 5:40 pm UTC

Envelope Generator wrote:I've seen animal singular-as-plural usage referred to as "snob plural". Five quail and so on.

I come from a poor family and I don't think I've ever heard anyone say "quails". The plural of "quail" is "quail", like "deer", for everybody I know. You see a flock of them run across the road while driving through the backcountry? "Look, quail!" It would sound really weird to hear someone say "Look, quails!" instead -- on par with "Look, deers!"

Tyndmyr wrote:A *lot* of philosophical issues stem from imprecision and/or misuse of language.

The branch of philosophy which has dominated the English-speaking world for the past century or so has been all about the precise use of language to clarify our conceptual frameworks. The problem is not that philosophers are being imprecise, it's that our intuitive concepts and natural languages are imprecise, and philosophers' work proceeds largely by taking those fuzzy things, trying to nail down a more rigorous formulation of them, and then exploring what the implications of formulating them that way are.
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby Envelope Generator » Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:09 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Envelope Generator wrote:I've seen animal singular-as-plural usage referred to as "snob plural". Five quail and so on.

I come from a poor family and I don't think I've ever heard anyone say "quails". The plural of "quail" is "quail", like "deer", for everybody I know. You see a flock of them run across the road while driving through the backcountry? "


I've never seen a quail or heard anyone say "quail". I was just ad-libbing by stereotypes. :/
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:14 pm UTC

Poor family where, though? Somewhere with wild quail it seems.
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People trying to be sophisticated will take their language from many different places. For instance: if I wanted to talk about quail, I might choose to use whatever terminology the the locals use where I go quail hunting. Someone who doesn't live near quail and can't afford to travel to shoot stupid birds? They might just apply the commonest pluralization rule (slap an s on the end).
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby HES » Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:17 pm UTC

I thought quail was seafood, and wondered how a flock would find its way onto a road. TIL...
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby Envelope Generator » Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:21 pm UTC

The quail is the other thing, besides the fox, that upper class English people shoot while wearing tweed. I think I should've said five fox. But I'm not sure if I give five fox.
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:37 pm UTC

HES wrote:I thought quail was seafood, and wondered how a flock would find its way onto a road. TIL...
You should write an uncylopdiea article. I'd like to learn more about the animal in your head.
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby addams » Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:58 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Quizatzhaderac wrote:A farmer had five horses; two died. How many horses does he have left? Five: three living horses, two dead ones; or is a dead horse not a horse?


A horse is a horse, of corpse, of corpse.

That is very cute and funny.
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:07 pm UTC

Envelope Generator wrote:I've seen animal singular-as-plural usage referred to as "snob plural". Five quail and so on.
Maybe "hunter plural" would work better? It seems very common to refer to unpenned food animals that way.
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby FLHerne » Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:25 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:Separate linguistic issue to whatever y'all are talking about, but am I right in thinking that "horse" can be plural? As in "We have three score and six horse, sire".

I've only seen that used in reference to cavalry troops (in the same sense as 'foot' for infantry), never for horses on their own.

Also, 'quails' is just plain weird; who uses that?! :| I can't think of any animals that are variably singular or plural (except my German teacher insisting on 'sheeps') - clearly we're all snobs. :P

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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:33 pm UTC

Quizatzhaderac wrote:Poor family where, though? Somewhere with wild quail it seems.

South central coast of California, mostly Santa Barbara and Ojai.

Are wild quail uncommon in the rest of the country? I mean I wouldn't expect to see them in urban or extensive suburban areas, but I thought they were a common wilderness animal to be found anywhere there aren't lots of people, like deer or coyotes or foxes ("fox" as a plural also sounds really weird to me, BTW).
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:07 pm UTC

A quick look through Wikipedia seems to suggest they're not that rare or isolated. But in my personal experience, I've had more use for the word "Unicorn" than "quail".

But like Envelope, I have the uninformed impression they only exist in places rich people visit to shoot things without getting dirty or sweaty.
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby Flumble » Thu Jul 24, 2014 10:45 pm UTC

Quizatzhaderac wrote:But like Envelope, I have he uniformed impression they only exist in places rich people visit to shoot things without getting dirty or sweaty.

Are you missing a few etters or is your impression dressed well?

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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby freezeblade » Thu Jul 24, 2014 10:55 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Quizatzhaderac wrote:Poor family where, though? Somewhere with wild quail it seems.

South central coast of California, mostly Santa Barbara and Ojai.

Are wild quail uncommon in the rest of the country? I mean I wouldn't expect to see them in urban or extensive suburban areas, but I thought they were a common wilderness animal to be found anywhere there aren't lots of people, like deer or coyotes or foxes ("fox" as a plural also sounds really weird to me, BTW).


Never noticed that, but you're right. Growing up in the middle central coast of California, there were quail everywhere. And up here (bay area, california) there don't seem to be any, never gave any thought to it though (I am in an urban area this time though). That said, using foxes as plural sounds perfectly fine to me, but the other way (I saw 15 fox down by the river) sounds ok as well.
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby addams » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:29 pm UTC

Quizatzhaderac wrote:A quick look through Wikipedia seems to suggest they're not that rare or isolated. But in my personal experience, I've had more use for the word "Unicorn" than "quail".

But like Envelope, I have he uniformed impression they only exist in places rich people visit to shoot things without getting dirty or sweaty.

You, really, must get out more.
If you don't see Quail, you are missing a treat.

They are cute as can be and still be a bird.
You may have seen them and did not know.

The babies are tiny.
The big ones are small.

They are cute.
They are common.

They come in at least two varieties.
The ones with a Question Mark over their heads; Those are Sufi, Sikhs and Unitarians.
There are ones with an Exclamation Mark over their heads. Those are Existentialists.

Quail don't do well in Urban Environments.
The Domestic Cat gets them.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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orthogon
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby orthogon » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:30 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:
Quizatzhaderac wrote:A farmer had five horses; two died. How many horses does he have left? Five: three living horses, two dead ones; or is a dead horse not a horse?


It depends on how much time has passed, and how the bodies have been disposed of. (of how the bodies have been disposed?)

If a horse has died, it may become thereafter more than one horse:
- the outer layers have been taxidermied and put on display in the main house; this can be called a horse.
- the skeleton has been donated to the local museum, and properly assembled for display; this can be called a horse.
- the meat has been served at a banquet; this can be called a horse of a feast.
- the ghost has not passed on, but remains haunting the stables; this can be called a horse. Or perhaps, during the hours whence the earth is directly between the farmer's stables and the sun, a nightmare.

Excellent. For extra credit, state for each case the pointfulness or otherwise of flogging it, changing it in midstream and looking it in the mouth.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

slavko
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby slavko » Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:35 am UTC

I confess to thee,
truly, I understood not this comic.

sudo make me a username
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby sudo make me a username » Fri Jul 25, 2014 8:50 am UTC

mathmannix wrote:
Quizatzhaderac wrote:A farmer had five horses; two died. How many horses does he have left? Five: three living horses, two dead ones; or is a dead horse not a horse?


It depends on how much time has passed, and how the bodies have been disposed of. (of how the bodies have been disposed?)

If a horse has died, it may become thereafter more than one horse:
- the outer layers have been taxidermied and put on display in the main house; this can be called a horse.
- the skeleton has been donated to the local museum, and properly assembled for display; this can be called a horse.
- the meat has been served at a banquet; this can be called a horse of a feast.
- the ghost has not passed on, but remains haunting the stables; this can be called a horse. Or perhaps, during the hours whence the earth is directly between the farmer's stables and the sun, a nightmare.


Reminds me of a question I once heard: can a ghost and a zombie come from the same person?

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bachaddict
Handel Played it Better
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby bachaddict » Fri Jul 25, 2014 9:05 am UTC

Burton wrote:Blue Whale fact:

The blue whale can grow up to one hundred feet (which it uses to scuttle across the ocean floor, stirring up plankton to eat).

Edit: It can also grow up to thirty meters (if it needs to measure pressure depth or oxygen levels or other such things).

Thanks for making me laugh! :lol:
slinches wrote:Also, the OTC isn't a disease. In fact, it's the cure. As we all know, Time heals all wounds.

Thanks for the molpish wig ggh!
he/him/his

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mathmannix
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Re: 1398: "Snake facts"

Postby mathmannix » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:40 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
mathmannix wrote:
Quizatzhaderac wrote:A farmer had five horses; two died. How many horses does he have left? Five: three living horses, two dead ones; or is a dead horse not a horse?


It depends on how much time has passed, and how the bodies have been disposed of. (of how the bodies have been disposed?)

If a horse has died, it may become thereafter more than one horse:
- the outer layers have been taxidermied and put on display in the main house; this can be called a horse.
- the skeleton has been donated to the local museum, and properly assembled for display; this can be called a horse.
- the meat has been served at a banquet; this can be called a horse of a feast.
- the ghost has not passed on, but remains haunting the stables; this can be called a horse. Or perhaps, during the hours whence the earth is directly between the farmer's stables and the sun, a nightmare.

Excellent. For extra credit, state for each case the pointfulness or otherwise of flogging it, changing it in midstream and looking it in the mouth.


You can't beat a dead gift horse in the mouth when he's down, or while crossing streams. (Which could cause total protonic reversal.) Just like you should never grab a bull by its china shop.

sudo make me a username wrote:Reminds me of a question I once heard: can a ghost and a zombie come from the same person?


Depends upon your definition of zombie, but if the zombie doesn't have a soul, then sure, why not. Ghosts are souls that have failed to move on for whatever reason. Zombies (and vampires) that don't have souls are empty shells which evil spirits have decided to take up residence in.
I hear velociraptor tastes like chicken.


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