Odds and Ends Archive

September 21, 2013

Philosophers Are Smart and Hot

They seem to be in a realm of their own. At least according to Sanjay Srivastava's correlation they are. As the father of two working professional philosophers I’m not at all surprised. They are in a class of their own:...

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February 21, 2013

Quotation Of The Week

“I’ve long been amused when academics talk about the deep meaning in pop culture, which is often just sophisticated-sounded nonsense spewed over vapid and temporary mediocrities.” – Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture Wars...

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January 24, 2013

Blogging Hiatus Slowdown

As the two of you who read this blog on a regular basis know, things have been a little slow around here for a couple of months and what there has been has not been all that abnormal or all...

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January 18, 2013

Still Another Quotation Of The Day

That Armstrong is a fraud who doesn’t deserve the millions of dollars he’s sitting on right now isn’t even a question anymore. The only real question is…is professional cycling roughly equivalent to professional wrestling on the hokum scale? From PZ...

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January 16, 2013

Quotation Of The Day

The fact is that thinking critically, being consistent in applying the same standard of reasoning to all arguments whether we agree with the conclusions or not, takes real effort. It requires questioning ourselves on our motives and refusing to take...

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January 8, 2013

This Just Might Indicate A Negative Review

“. . . the worst piece of incoherent and morally reprehensible tripe I think I’ve ever read in my life. [M. G. Piety on Stephen T. Asma’s article, “In Defense of Favoritism”] Via Leiter Reports...

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December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

Special day mysticism isn’t really my thing. Still, certain days aid in marking the unfolding of life. Along with birthdays and anniversaries, New Year’s Day is certainly such a day. So be safe tonight (if I’m not too late). Enjoy...

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December 16, 2012

Thank You Microsoft

The Abnormal Interest server was abnormally down between 2:30 this morning and a few minutes ago. Microsoft was kind enough to provide a security update but couldn't quite get the server to restart properly. How did I fix the problem?...

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December 4, 2012

A Quotation With Many Applications

„Wie er zu dieser Einschätzung gelangt ist, bleibt ein Ratsel” – something like, “How he came to this assessment remains a puzzle.” This is from Josef Tropper and Juan-Pablo Vita, "Die keilalphabetische Inscript aus Tiryns," UF 42 (2010), 693. They...

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November 24, 2012

What We Know Is Wrong

Is this even possible? Not if we actually know it. About once a month our philosopher daughter, Shirley, and I engage in a discussion of epistemology. Often this conversation, by necessity, wonders into metaphysics. This morning was no exception. I...

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November 19, 2012

A Day To Give Thanks

and a day to remember those in need. According to Scott Huler writing for Scientific American, today is World Toilet Day. Yep. You heard me: Nov. 19 is World Toilet Day. Brought to you by the Water Supply and Sanitation...

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November 17, 2012

Steven Pinker On Writing Classic Prose

Steven Pinker’s talk on written communication in the sciences applies as well to written communications in the humanities. He offers an abnormally interesting set of suggestions on how to improve written communications. He also suggests several obstacles to good communication....

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November 8, 2012

We Lost With Over 60% Of The Vote

There may be two or three abnormal readers, that is 50% of you, who are curious about how the ballot measure I worked on fared. We poled 60.22% of the vote. That may sound good but we needed two thirds...

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November 6, 2012

It’s Election Day

and there’s little I can do about it now. I no longer have what amounts to a full time job with lots of overtime and no pay. No more Save the Pomona Public Library signs to deliver. No more door...

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October 5, 2012

Slow Blogging – Fast Politicking

If anyone cares, blogging will be slow for the near future. While I will continue to post from time to time, most of the time that I (ab)normally use for blogging and the research that drives many of my posts...

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September 28, 2012

Reflections On Fairness And Funding Of Our Public Library

Yesterday two of us advocates for a ballot measure that would provide continuing funding for our local Pomona Public Library had an encounter with our opposition. We didn’t intend for it to be an encounter; we hoped it would be...

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September 23, 2012

Over 5,300 Travel Miles But I’m Back Again

Shirley and I took a road trip two thirds of the way across the US – the longest road trip we have ever taken. We visited our daughter in Kent, OH. While there we also met face to face for...

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August 11, 2012

The Two Lost Last Weeks Of July

If anyone cares, you can see how Shirley and I filled the days between July 17 and July 31 by checking out our Mediterranean 2012 Flicker Set. The nice thing about a link is that there is no need to...

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August 9, 2012

Font Type And Impression

Errol Morris tells the story in the New York Times. Here’s a sample, Don’t get me wrong. The underlying truth of the sentence “Gold has an atomic number of 79” is not dependent on the font in which it is...

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August 4, 2012

On Plagiarizing a Website

Mark Goodacre illustrates a rather clear undocumented use of one of his webpages in the commonly used Introducing the New Testament by John Drane. I’m sure the kind of paraphrasing Mark notes would garner a low, maybe failing, grade and/or...

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July 31, 2012

I’m Back

For the last two weeks Shirley and I have been on an eating extravaganza occasional interrupted by some other actives like visiting museums and archaeological sites. Should the fatigue induced fog that now obscures my thought clear in the next...

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July 16, 2012

Now Caltech

The Los Angeles Times reports: Caltech, the school that couldn't succeed at sports if it cheated, has turned itself in to the NCAA for cheating. One of the country's losingest athletic programs has chosen to vacate wins it doesn't have,...

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July 10, 2012

“The Usefulness Of Useless Knowledge”

Abraham Flexner, a founder of the Institute for Advanced Study, began his 1939 paper, “The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge,” with these words, Is it not a curious fact that in a world steeped in irrational hatreds which threaten civilization itself,...

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June 30, 2012

My Role In Money And Politics

The other day I send a modest contribution to the presidential candidate of my choice. It doesn’t matter which one. Well, it does matter but not for the purposes of this post. I’ll be sending some small money in support...

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June 15, 2012

Just Another Day

Today seems like if should be a milestone day. I just sent off a paper I’ve been working on for quite some time. I hope the journal editor and the peer reviews see it as something they want to publish....

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June 12, 2012

Lifetime Author Fee Model For Open Access Journals

The question of how to finance peer reviewed journals has been around for a while. Entangled with this is the question of copyright ownership and open access.. There are basically two approaches. There is the reader fee approach and the...

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June 7, 2012

eLogic Gallery

David Marans’ Logic Gallery is a chronologically ordered collection of quotations on logic from the most important thinkers in western civilization. At least from those who had anything to say on the subject. In addition to a quotation or two,...

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May 29, 2012

Is This Really Controversial?

From Rich Barlow writing at BU Today, Should the three Rs be four Rs, as in reading, ’riting, ’rithmetic, and ’rogramming? That’s the argument made by Carnegie Mellon computer scientist Jeannette Wing and increasingly by academics from a broad spectrum...

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May 24, 2012

Illuminated Manuscripts Cookies

Anniina of Luminarium Blog shares her “Medieval Illuminated Initial Cookies.” Check them all out. They sure look good. Via Boing Boing...

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May 15, 2012

Slow Blogging For Now

I have a head cold and I can’t think and blog at the same time. Some readers may not be surprised at the second half of the conjunction. Abnormal blogging will resume when my head clears....

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Titles Only From Here On

May 3, 2012

How Long Did It Take And How Much Did It Cost?

April 30, 2012

The Zeigarnik Effect

April 26, 2012

Just For Laughs

April 20, 2012

Your Work Should Remain Yours

April 6, 2012

On Outsourcing Work – To Customers

April 5, 2012

Big News On The Small Mammoth

March 17, 2012

More On The QWERTY (Supposed) Effect

March 14, 2012

The End Of Encyclopedia Britannica In Print

March 12, 2012

Can A Writing System Influence Meaning?

March 10, 2012

Curiosity, Education, Perception, And Humanity

March 9, 2012

Fun Divination Quotation

February 26, 2012

Audience Failure

February 13, 2012

Bruhns, Bach, Beethoven, Couperin And A Whole Lot Of Bull

February 10, 2012

A Reflection On Written And Oral History

February 9, 2012

The Colors Of The Season

January 24, 2012

Philosophy In Brazil: An Experiment In Democracy

January 22, 2012

Two Thoughts On The Commedia

January 20, 2012

Holy (Unsupported?) Snakes

January 19, 2012

A Slackers Apology Online

January 14, 2012

A Small Step In The Right Direction

January 7, 2012

Visit Yasemin's Kitchen

January 6, 2012

Quotation Of The Day

December 24, 2011

Have A Joyous, Merry, Happy One

December 14, 2011

A Matter Of Procedure

December 11, 2011

There Must Be A Word For Them

December 2, 2011

Medicare And A New Breast Cancer Treatment

November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

November 10, 2011

You Might Be Getting Ripped Off

November 5, 2011

A Very Domesticated Cat

November 2, 2011

Another Reason To Avoid ATMs

November 1, 2011

Trick Or Treat

October 22, 2011

Slow Blogging Ahead

October 18, 2011

Quotation Of The Day

October 3, 2011

Quotations Of The Day

October 2, 2011

The Big Piano And The Little Piano

September 25, 2011

Banned Books Week

September 22, 2011

Cognitive Bias in Sports?

September 20, 2011

Quotation Of The Day

September 19, 2011

My Problem Of The Day

September 12, 2011

Phrasal Stress Or Modal Ambiguity

September 11, 2011

Nearing The End (I hope)

September 10, 2011

On Mercurial Words

September 7, 2011

Homer Multitext

August 30, 2011

Publication and Profit

August 29, 2011

I Just Solved The Most Pressing Question In Philosophy

August 27, 2011

A Question Of Priorities Accompanied By A Rant

August 25, 2011

Philosopher Gets $1.5 Grant

August 21, 2011

“The End Of The Ship”

August 20, 2011

A Problem

August 17, 2011

On Translation

August 15, 2011

You Can See Russia From Alaska

August 6, 2011

Things To Do And People To See

July 22, 2011

Goodbye Minitel

July 19, 2011

West On P

July 17, 2011

Parkinson’s Law Inaction In Action

July 12, 2011

I’m Waiting And Worrying

June 24, 2011

You Know You’re Getting Old When . . .

June 22, 2011

Syntactic Dependencies In Herodotus Book I

June 14, 2011

Abnormal Clouds

June 3, 2011

Computers, Computers

June 2, 2011

Quotation(s) of Yesterday

May 28, 2011

Babies are Bayesians?

May 20, 2011

Wondering The Tracks Exhibits

May 14, 2011

On Theologians Economists

May 7, 2011

Happy Birthday David Hume

May 5, 2011

Solid Liberal

May 1, 2011

Strange Demographics

April 28, 2011

And Now For Something Completely Different

April 10, 2011

A Whole New Way To Waste My Time (And Yours)

April 5, 2011

Dealing With Error In Someone Else’s Work

April 4, 2011

The Viola As Fine Wine

March 31, 2011

A Minor Rant

March 18, 2011

Relative Abstraction and Instrumental Music

February 24, 2011

Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek-English Lexicon Online

February 18, 2011

Friday’s Question