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“The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.” — G.K. Chesterton
Math With Bad Drawing's "Headlines from a Mathematically Literate World" is a rather good -- and awfully funny -- compendium of comparisons between attention-grabbing, math-abusing headlines, and their math-literate equivalents.
Our World: After Switch in Standardized Tests, Scores Drop
Mathematically Literate World: After Switch in Standardized Tests, Scores No Longer Directly Comparable
Our World: Proposal Would Tax $250,000-Earners at 40%
Mathematically Literate World: Proposal Would Tax $250,000-Earners’ Very Last Dollar, and That Dollar Alone, at 40%
Our World: Still No Scientific Consensus on Global Warming
Mathematically Literate World: Still 90% Scientific Consensus on Global Warming
Our World: Hollywood Breaks Box Office Records with Explosions, Rising Stars
Mathematically Literate World: Hollywood Breaks Box Office Records with Inflation, Rising Population
Our World: Illegal Downloaders Would Have Spent $300 Million to Obtain Same Music Legally
Mathematically Literate World: Illegal Downloaders Would Never Have Bothered to Obtain Same Music Legally
Turn any surface of your home into the cavernous surface of the Death Star thanks to these custom-made Star Wars tiles. What a brilliant idea!
The English language has a new preposition, driven by Internet conventions: "Because." It's not clear where this originates, but I like the theory that's it's a contraction of "$SOMETHING is $MESSED_UP, because, hey, politics!"
English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet [Megan Garber/The Atlantic]
However it originated, though, the usage of "because-noun" (and of "because-adjective" and "because-gerund") is one of those distinctly of-the-Internet, by-the-Internet movements of language. It conveys focus (linguist Gretchen McCulloch: "It means something like 'I'm so busy being totally absorbed by X that I don’t need to explain further, and you should know about this because it's a completely valid incredibly important thing to be doing'"). It conveys brevity (Carey: "It has a snappy, jocular feel, with a syntactic jolt that allows long explanations to be forgone").
But it also conveys a certain universality. When I say, for example, "The talks broke down because politics," I'm not just describing a circumstance. I'm also describing a category. I'm making grand and yet ironized claims, announcing a situation and commenting on that situation at the same time. I'm offering an explanation and rolling my eyes—and I'm able to do it with one little word. Because variety. Because Internet. Because language.
(via Making Light)
Male northern elephant seal (Supergiant Animals - BBC)
Banker James M. Fail repeatedly donated money to his alma mater, the University of Alabama, which he credited for his success in the business world. But he declined opportunities to give his name to an Alabama facility. “After all,” he said, “who would want anything with the name ‘Fail’ on it?”
In 2008 he found a way to support the school and accept credit — he put his name on the visitors’ locker room.
In 2011 Australian architect Horst Kiechle created an entire human torso from paper, as a geometric sculpture, for the science lab at the International School Nadi in Fiji.
He’s made the templates available for free — you can fold your own paper man, complete with removable organs.
Octopus is ready for Halloween. I even turned him into a greeting card!
I'm guest of honor this weekend at the Dallas's Fencon this weekend, and I've just learned that some of the other speakers won't be able to talk, thanks to the government shutdown. They're government space scientists, and the 143-year-old Antideficiency Act makes it a crime (punishable by fines and imprisonment) for government employees to volunteer to do their own jobs (which, in their cases, includes talking about science to the public). The law dates back to the Lincoln administration, and was aimed at stopping fraudsters who did "government" business, then presented a bill for services that hadn't been contracted but had nevertheless been performed -- a kind of Civil War era version of red-light windscreen squeegeeing.
Elis Stenman built a house out of paper. In 1922 the mechanical engineer began designing a summer home in Rockport, Mass., using wood for the frame, floor, and roof but fashioning the walls from newspaper pressed about an inch thick and coated with varnish.
“Actually, I guess he was supposed to cover the outside with clapboards, but he just didn’t,” Stenman’s grandniece, Edna Beaudoin, told the Cape Ann Sun in 1996. “You know, he was curious. He wanted to see what would happen to the paper, and, well, here it is, some 70 years later.”
In 1924 Stenman moved in and began making furniture, also out of newspaper, rolling it into logs, cutting it to length with a knife, and gluing or nailing it into usable finished pieces (one placard reads THIS DESK IS MADE OF THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR).
Stenman died in 1942, and his family has maintained the house ever since, showing it to curious visitors. “I think probably the most common question is just ‘Why?’” Beaudoin says. “We just really don’t know where he got the idea to build a house out of paper. He was just that sort of a guy.”
As evidenced by this page, readers, Paranatural is a classy, cerebral comic experience. For the record, being Eightfold’s medium would in fact involve lots of papery, peely skin. You’d look like a mummy at the peak o’ your possession and also be compelled to eat a lot of books.
Also, special announcement! I am now a full member of Hiveworks, a webcomics collective/publisher/ad thing/evil syndicate. Previously I was a Hiveworks affiliate, but now that my clone body is viable outside the nutrient pond and I have slain my inferior original version I [insert non-threatening and mundane alternative to crossed-out statement], membership has opened up as an option. You can click the li’l Hiveworks logo at the top of this site to check out the infant forms of your future overlords, hail their coming glory, hail some other great comics. For me, membership means more readers, additional ad $, and getting to talk to some great people, so I’m really happy about this turn of events!
I am also looking forward to fulfilling my blood oath by introducing Buzzinga, the Contractually Mandated Hiveworks Bee Mascot, into Paranatural within the next few pages. Hopefully he will be as entertaining as I am legally obligated to make him! I wouldn’t want to trigger any of those evisceration clauses. Ha ha. Run.
Ever since Bert got us a K-cup machine, it’s become painfully obvious that we were lacking in mugs. After far too long searching online for something we both liked, I decided to paint my own. Two are memes and the other two are from Adventure Time! It was a fun project. I’m hereby adding handpainted mugs / bowls to my commission-able works.
1. Sketchin’ – I knew I was going to freehand these, so I practiced each one a few times. Lined paper helped me get the sizing down.
2. First lines – Armed with my smallest brush and a paper towel to mop up my mistakes, I ruined some perfectly nice white mugs. This was the most nerve-wracking step. My hand is shakier than I’d like.
3. Colors – I bought a set of 10 colors because I have never done this before and had no idea where to start. This worked out fairly well. Some of the colors are translucent and some opaque, but I still like how they mixed and they baked well too. There was precious little information on how long to leave them before adding new layers, so I gave each half a day. This worked, so I will probably keep doing it that way.
Honey Bear comes from this meme, where various things lurk and wait for their moment to strike.
The Shiba Inu comes from the subreddit called Super Shibe. Bert gets a huge kick out of it, so this one was the first I planned.
I’d heard great things about Adventure Time, so when it (finally) showed up on Netflix I gave it a few episodes. Instantly a fan. Not only that, but Bert appreciates it too which meant this would be the perfect way to top off our new set of mugs.
On Nov. 4, 1909, English pilot John Moore-Brabazon put a pig in a basket, tied it to a wing, and took off.
The basket read I AM THE FIRST PIG TO FLY.
On Feb. 18, 1986, frustrated that heavy rains had prevented some jurors from reaching his court, U.S. District Court Judge Samuel King said, “I hereby order that it cease raining by Tuesday. Let’s see how that works.”
California immediately entered five years of severe drought, with strict water rationing.
When colleagues reminded King of his order in 1991, he said, “I hereby rescind my order of February 18, 1986, and order that rain shall fall in California beginning February 27, 1991.” Later that day the state received 4 inches of rain, the heaviest storm in a decade, and two further storms added another 3 inches.
In a letter to a local newspaper, King said this was “proof positive that we are a nation governed by laws.”
Physician Eugene Lazowski was practicing medicine in the Polish town of Rozwadów when he discovered that injecting healthy patients with dead bacteria could cause them to test positive for epidemic typhus without experiencing any symptoms.
Working secretly with his friend Stanislaw Matulewicz, Lazowski began injecting thousands of Poles in the surrounding villages, deliberately creating the appearance of an epidemic. Fearful of a contagious illness, the Nazis quarantined the affected villages rather than sending their residents on to concentration camps.
Lazowski’s efforts saved an estimated 8,000 men, women, and children who would otherwise have been sent to prisons, slave labor camps, or death camps. He survived the war and moved to the United States in 1958, where he taught medicine in Illinois.
“He’s why I became a doctor,” one of the spared villagers, Jan Hryniewiezki, told the Chicago Sun-Times in 2000. “He was a patriotic hero because he wasn’t afraid to do what he did during very bad times.”
“The basic duty of a physician is to preserve life,” Lazowski explained, “and this was a way of saving lives.”
As a librarian, I can say these are significantly more coherent than most requests... I did have someone once ask for "Running in the Wind" when they wanted "The Art of Racing in the Rain".
For her 1974 book Lighter Side of the Library, Janice Glover asked American librarians to recall titles requested by confused patrons, and the books they turned out to want:
Requested: Who Is Your Schoolmaster?
Book wanted: Hoosier Schoolmaster
Requested: Entombed With an Infant
Book wanted: In Tune With the Infinite
Requested: The Missing Hand
Book wanted: A Farewell to Arms
Requested: The Armored Chinaman
Book wanted: The Chink in the Armour
Requested: King of the Ants
Book wanted: Lord of the Flies
Requested: The Wooden Kid
Book wanted: Pinocchio
Requested: Five Pennies and the Sun
Book wanted: The Moon and Sixpence
And so on: From Here to Maternity; The Merchant of Venus; “Allergy in a Country Churchyard”; My Heart Is Wounded, They Buried My Knee. One inspired library staff finally sent a student home with Homer’s Iliad; he had come in asking for Homeless Idiot.
Ray Bradbury left his personal book collection, and some other personal effects, to the Waukegan Public Library, which is planning a permanent Ray Bradbury exhibit. Road trip?
The Indonesian word for water is air.
Franz Bibfeldt is unusual among theologians — he doesn’t exist. In 1947, divinity student Robert Clausen invented the name for a fictitious footnote in a term paper at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, and his classmate Martin Marty then wrote a review of Bibfeldt’s book The Relieved Paradox in the seminary magazine. The book was imaginary, but the conspirators arranged for it to be cataloged at the school library and always checked out.
When the hoax was discovered, the perpetrators were reprimanded and Marty was sent to Chicago, where he eventually rose to become a dean at the University of Chicago divinity school. So, Marty said, “Bibfeldt had more influence on me than any other theologian.”
Under Marty’s influence, Bibfeldt grew into an invisible mainstay at the school. A display case in the entry hall was filled with signed photographs of mayor Richard Daley, Spiro Agnew, Illinois senator Charles Percy, former Georgia governor Lester Maddox, and the 1971 Playmate of the Year, all inscribed to Bibfeldt, and an annual symposium featuring bratwurst and beer was held each year on the Wednesday closest to April Fool’s Day. Graduates eventually spread Bibfeldt’s gospel elsewhere — he’s noted in the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation; a session at the American Association of Religions meeting in 1988 was devoted to Bibfeldt; and in 1994 the evangelical magazine The Wittenberg Door named him theologian of the year.
Bibfeldt himself is characteristically modest — reportedly he has given only one interview, and that to Howard Hughes — but his acts are famous:
“We use him very mildly, gently, to satirize the whole theological system,” Marty said. “There’s really no malice in it.”
In 2011 M.V. Berry et al. published “Can apparent superluminal neutrino speeds be explained as a quantum weak measurement?” in Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical.
The abstract read “Probably not.”
In 1978 John C. Doyle published “Guaranteed margins for LQG regulators” in IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control.
The abstract read “There are none.”
Full text of “The Unsuccessful Self-Treatment of a Case of ‘Writer’s Block’,” by Dennis Upper, from the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Fall 1974:
Yeah.. about that, Bruce...