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3:02 PM
@RegDwight: "Friendship," said Corso, looking around as if waiting for someone to explain the word to him. "Bars and cemeteries are full of good friends."
What language did you read The Club Dumas in?
I remember that sentence. But Iäm not sure if I remember it from this book. O if it reminds me of a very similar sentence from elsewhere.
@Robusto Deutsch.
This English translation is by Sonia Soto. She seems very good.
Hehe, the German layout turns an I'm into an Iäm. Still makes sense. How come I never noticed that before?
Because iämbic pentameter comes naturally to you?
@Rob: Thanks for Anna Moffo.
3:10 PM
@Robusto Probably. But yeah, I don't remember any flaws with the German translation of The Club Dumas. What I do remember, as I mentioned earlier, is how my father complained about the Russian translation of The Fencing Master, because it kept mixing up épées with rapiers.
What terrible flaw!
@Cerberus — You're welcome.
Is an épée a regular-ish sword?
@Cerberus Well, it actually is, in a book that is all about fencing.
@RegDwight — Would have been worse if he'd mixed them up with rapists.
3:11 PM
The épée () is the modern derivative of the dueling sword, the smallsword (itself descended from the rapier, used in sport fencing). Épée is French for "sword". As a thrusting weapon the épée is similar to a foil (compared to a sabre), but has a stiffer blade that is V-shaped in cross-section, has a larger bell guard, and is heavier. The technique however, is somewhat different, as there are no rules regarding priority and right of way. In addition, the entire body is a valid target area. Background While modern sport fencing has three weapons (foil, épée, and sabre), each a separate...
@Reg: Ah, yes, I see.
An epee is a strong fencing sword.
There are basically three fencing swords: foil, saber, and epee.
@Robusto Not even thwacking you, because everybody saw that coming.
Hmm... does it have that meaning in English specifically? Or also in French? German?
All those are French or French-derived, I believe.
3:12 PM
I think the distinction is universal.
@Robusto I would say that rapier comes from German.
Except that in French épée doubles as the most general name for swords, as in noblesse d'épée?
I thought they called it Schlager ...
Hah I remember many swords called Schlagers in this German PC game I played.
3:14 PM
@Robusto Nope you're right, from French. It's in Russian that it comes from German.
As in English Slayer for a sword.
"It is important to remember that the word “rapier” was not used by Italian, Spanish, and French masters during the apogee of this weapon, the terms spada, espada and épée (or espée) being instead the norm (generic word for “sword”). "
A rapier is a slender, sharply pointed sword, ideally used for thrusting attacks, used mainly in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. Description The word "rapier" generally refers to a relatively long-bladed sword characterized by a complex hilt which is constructed to provide protection for the hand wielding it. While the blade might be broad enough to cut to some degree (but nowhere near that of the wider, slightly heavier swords in use around the Middle Ages), the long thin blade lends itself to thrusting. The blade might be sharpened along its entire length, sharpened only from...
Ah! So épée is cognate with spade. I should have known.
Und alle Männer klangen, Schwerte auf Schilden ...
@Cerberus Well, rapier ultimately comes from espee rapiere, according to Etymonline.
3:16 PM
Wow, my keyboard seems wacky today. Hope I'm not, like, having a stroke or something.
And I believe all spade words come from Greek spatha.
A keyboard stroke?
A facebuster, also known as a faceplant, is generally a takedown move in professional wrestling in which an attacking wrestler forces his/her opponent down to the mat face-first without involving a headlock or facelock. If these are used then the move is either a DDT or bulldog variation. Inverted mat slams are commonly referred to and considered to be facebusters. A standard facebuster, also known as a jumping facebuster, involves the wrestler grabbing hold of the opponent's head / hair and jumping down to their knees, forcing the opponent's face into the mat. Variations Argentine facebus...
Any cerebral stroke would be key, I should think.
"Faceplant" in English slang refers to pitching headfirst to the ground from skis, snowboards, skateboards and the like.
Entirely different from "faceroll" by the way.
Vorsicht! ArthurRex ist wieder da!
3:19 PM
Oh I only know facepalm.
Oh dear, the famous pseudo-vgv...
BTW, how offensive is lulz to you, Cerberus?
It still makes me think of dick every time I see it, yes.
Then again, what doesn't.
Thank God the meme doesn't go like prachtigez lullenz hebbenz or something.
3:22 PM
Haha wtf.
You're right that the plural is not luls, thankfully.
Huhuh ... he said lulz ... huhuh.
Note also that the verb lullen (informal) means talking.
@Rob: Yeah I am really like that when I read it.
In German, there's lallen when you're too drunk to talk.
We haven lallen too.
Diiferent root.
When I was drunk in Germany I found silence to be a good policy.
3:24 PM
@Cerberus Excellent. Lallen and lullen. What's not to love?
Making a virtue out of a necessity at times, but still ...
I think lullen comes from talking with your dick, i.e. in a less-than-formal manner. It is now basically synonymous to chatting for most people.
Whoa, @Martha's here. Zip up, you guys.
Nice wordplay.
You know, I'm not sure how we got to this kind of swordplay from that kind of swordplay.
3:25 PM
But I think she can deal with us, as long as the discussion is about language...
You are even gaining virtual rep with these comments in chat.
Now Martha just needs to tell us that there's lállénzok and lőllénnek in Hungarian.
Hahaha yes! Martha, enlighten us!
1 hour ago, by Robusto
Language is the original hallucinogen.
And don't be stingy with accents and weird marks!
Long consonant clusters would also be appreciated.
That would be Polish.
3:27 PM
@Cerberus — You're so ... diacritical.
I think we have to at-mention her. @Martha, I'm at-mentioning you!
coy look Why, thank you, good Sir.
@Martha is waiting, ruler in hand. She always gives a measured response.
She hasn't even thwacked you for swordplay yet!
Maybe she's sick?
3:30 PM
Don't tell me that you're your sis, @Martha!
Oh dear.
What she must not think of us!
Is that a @Martha trap you just laid?
Shaveless, actually.
Let the record show that @RegDwight cast the first baby reference.
Here we were, talking about swordplay, and out of the blue he brings up babies. Still working on that buzzkill merit badge, Reg?
3:34 PM
Well, I told you I could turn this place into a boring pit of boredom anytime.
Actually, a buzzkill badge should be available on SE sites. Sometimes awarded posthumously.
Sorry, I was trying to catch up on chat, didn't notice all your @-mentions.
What was the question? (Still not caught up.)
It is funny to see how Anna Moffo keeps her head quite still and upright when she sings. Which she does remarkably well, by the way.
@RegDwight — Don't you mean "a boring pit of boring boredom"?
3:35 PM
@Cerberus — Seriously, you have to hear her sing "Ach, ich fuhl's"!
OK will do.
Oh the aria by Mozart.
@Robusto quoting my math professor (again), I think of A, say B, write C, mean D, and E would be correct.
The one you couldn't find.
Good one! Thank you!
What can you say about an aria that is absolutely perfect?
Nothing! I am so glad that we have performances like hers forever available in our archives. Long live recording and the internet.
3:40 PM
If you don't have this recording, run out and get it immediately.
I'm always amazed at how Mozart could be light and airy and yet deep and moving at the same time.
I guess that's why we call it genius.
@Robusto He's got some pretty dark stuff, too. Darker than Beethoven. In fact, Beethoven can be quite mozarty at times, too.
Agreed. I don't understand why some people say they don't like Mozart at all. Sure, he has written a lot of music that is merely light and all rather alike, but also the deep music you mentioned.
@RegDwight — /nod
3:43 PM
Gardiner, English Baroque Soloists.
Consider also his violin sonatas in minor, absolutely great: sad but still light, in a way.
@Cerberus — Everything Mozart ever wrote was some kind of aria. Think about it.
Hehe. I suppose so...
That's principally how one can tell unknown Mozart from unknown Haydn: Mozart always has a lyrical quality that Haydn often lacks.
For example, think of his Sonata #11 in A, the Rondo, Alla Turca 3rd movement: It's an aria, complete with backing chorus.
I wonder what a good performance of KV 304 in e minor is. This one is quite fast. Sounds OK but I think I have heard better:
Oh this one is quite good. Good recording quality at least:
3:48 PM
People often play Mozart too fast, and Beethoven even more so.
Hmm is that so? To be honest I don't know enough about most music to tell the difference unless I have heard it a great lot.
@RegDwight — That's why I've always liked Glenn Gould's renderings.
Oh he is perfect.
Oh, and speaking of playing things too fast: nearly everyone always plays Liszt too fast.
@Cerberus Well, in the olden days all these Allegros and Moderatos referred to your walking speed. And people walked slower, and they didn't have cars.
3:51 PM
I think Liszt played Liszt too fast.
I still don't understand how some people can insist on the harpsichord for Back's keyboard works. Sure it is historically correct; but what matters more?
Notable exception: Michele Campanella.
So what was "fast" for them is actually not what is "fast" for us.
@Reg: Oh, really? Is that scientific fact, that people walk faster now?
3:51 PM
Didn't Bach try to invent a pianoforte-like instrument?
@Cerberus — Well, I don't insist on the harpshichord. I love Gould's Bach (how not?), but as well I love Ralph Kirkpatrick's.
@Martha: Oh did he? Well he should have if he didn't!
@Martha — Liszt was fast in a lot of ways. He was the original rock star, with groupies and everything.
@Rob: But do you enjoy the harpsichord version nearly as much?
@Cerberus Well, obsiously I read it somewhere. And recently there have been quite a few recordings of Beethoven that basically slow down like 20% and it gets an all-new quality.
3:53 PM
Yeah I heard Liszt was the first true modern music celebrity...
@Cerberus — They are different instruments. It's asking me to choose between my children.
I will say I can't imagine a more expressive version of the Goldberg Variations than Glenn Gould's. But I think Ralph Kirkpatrick's Italian Concerto is definitive.
@Rob: Well I am sure you have a favourite child... evil look
@Robusto Yeah, I mean, Albeniz wrote for the piano, but everyone plays his stuff on Spanish guitars.
Look at Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition: great on the piano, great in Ravel's orchestration. Different interpretations of the same piece.
Oh yeah.
3:57 PM
What do you call the movement that began in the 20th century and had the intention of performing classical music wie es eigentlich gewesen, exactly as Bach etc. wrote it? Authentic music? I think Historically Improved Music is not exactly the same.
They felt that traditional practice has deviated from original practice and the actual music "as it was written".
No idea if it has a name.
Thankfully this movement has been under some criticism of late.
@Cerberus — Yes it does, and I can't think of it at the moment.
Historically informed performance (also referred to as period performance, authentic performance, or (HIP)) is an approach, or movement, in the performance of classical music and theater. Members of this movement usually play on period instruments, deploy older types of acting and scenery, and consult historical treatises, as well as additional historical evidence, to gain insight into the performance practice (the stylistic and technical aspects of performance) of a historic era. Historically informed performance might have originated in the performance of Medieval, Renaissance, and Baro...
That's not exactly it, though.
4:00 PM
Yeah I found that as well.
Oh "informed", I don't know why I wrote "improved".
They also play with mean-tone tuning and all that.
Current tuning is "equal-temperament": the scale is divided into 12 equal intervals. This means that a C-major chord sounds the same as a G-major chord, only higher/lower. This is not the only tuning possible.
In mean-tone tuning, the thirds are a little flatter, making them sweeter sounding.
But that's in C major. If you tune a piano like that, F# major sounds like shit.
Yup, you get wolves.
In musical tuning, when the twelve notes within the octave are tuned using meantone temperament, one of the fifths will be much wider than the rest. If the meantone fifths are tuned from E to G, the anomalous interval will be between G and E. This interval is known as a diminished sixth, which is meant to be the enharmonic equivalent to a fifth; however, the interval does not sound the same as the other fifths: it is severely wide and dissonant, and it seems to howl like a wolf (because of the beating). This anomalous interval thus has come to be called the wolf fifth. By extension,...
4:04 PM
Some people call that idea the "Period Instrument movement" but that still isn't the word I'm trying to think of. "Original instruments movement" is closer, but still no cigar.
In other news, niece is now a carnivore. Mmm, chicken.
@Martha: Yay!
Cue picture of niece eating chicken.
We didn't actually take any pictures. Pureed chicken looks indistinguishable from, say, cream of wheat.
The paragraph on Variety of opinion seems to be exactly the criticism I was looking for. How can people assume that all information performers had in 1700 was what was in the sheets? Surely Bach had instructed people, and there must have been traditions of interpretation encouraged by the composer.
4:10 PM
"Members of this movement usually play on period instruments, deploy older types of acting and scenery, and consult historical treatises, as well as additional historical evidence, to gain insight into the performance practice (the stylistic and technical aspects of performance) of a historic era."
I would say they do the opposite of just taking the sheets and ignoring the rest.
Right, that was what originally put me off; but it seems this movement includes all kinds of historicity.
Well, yeah, if you just put on a wig, that doesn't mean jack.
As I said earlier, check out the English Baroque Soloists.
Sure it is useful and valuable to try to identify what belongs to modern tradition and what is 100% original and historical; but to throw the former away would seem nonsense.
I don't think we're throwing away anything. Think enrichment, not substitution.
That would be great!
4:15 PM
Just like when someone covers an old song, the original doesn't just go away.
Poor Kosmonaut.
Q: "Get off of my Cloud" - Origin/meaning & will it change?

ArthurRexWhat is the etymology of this phrase and will it change due to Cloud Storage?

It is just that those historicists sometimes go too far, or so I was led to believe by their opponents.
Haha that looks like a perfectly fruitless discussion, on clouds.
@RegDwight — Well, the "originalist" movement was meant to counter the excesses of the Romantic era, so in that sense it is understandable.
Think of Eugene Ormandy's renditions of Bach.
And what the heck is this?
Q: Constructing Metaphor

xscapeHi, Can you please help me on constructing metaphors of the following: my muscles are aching that I cannot move anymore my sweat are like tears fell down freely my senses are gone cycling is a sports .... Thank you

4:18 PM
@Rob: Absolutely! The ubiquitous vibrato etc. needed some criticism.
@Reg: My God. No idea what to do with that.
And in the 19th Century people had somehow forgotten that Baroque music involved a lot of improvisation. Those middle movements that were all whole notes were played as written ! And reviews of the period talked about the "wonderful serenity" of these slow movements. :)
No one understood figured bass anymore, either.
It is just that I think some originality has been preserved in tradition, and that we should not throw away anything that isn't on the sheet, as you agree.
Secondly, originality should not be our one and only concern: beauty should also matter, cf. Gould and the piano.
It parallels prescriptivism vs. descriptivism in language.
Hmm, a complicated analogy...
@Robusto Oh God I still suck at figured bass. It's embarrassing, but I often can't play it a prima vista.
I can read and understand it just fine, but somehow there's no connection from my brain to my fingers. Really weird.
4:23 PM
BTW, on a different subject, I just read an article in this week's issue of The Economist in which the writer talks of "a business-orientated social network." So maybe that is a piece of evidence for orientated/oriented involving Br/Am flavors.
@Robusto Or the writer just saw that question on EL&U and wanted to mess with us.
@RegDwight — The keyboardists of the day were the jazz improvisationalists of their time.
@Robusto Tru dat.
@RegDwight — That is the more likely explanation.
@Reg: Ha! That must be it. Nice.
4:26 PM
Q: Constructing Metaphor

xscapeHi, Can you please help me on constructing metaphors of the following: my muscles are aching that I cannot move anymore my sweat are like tears fell down freely my senses are gone cycling is a sports .... Thank you

Now that is one I would definitely vote to move to Writers.SE.
You can.
@RegDwight — That's what the heck it is.
Or not. You can't. I can.
Incidentally, why does everyone always type out complete usernames instead of 3-letter abbreviations?
Me does. ShreevatsaR, kiamlaluno.
4:28 PM
Is it a token of honour?
@CerberusTheCheeseEatingDutchman: IDK.
Or was that supposed to be a why?
@Cerberus, because chat makes it easy: you type out the beginning, then hit Tab when the correct name appears.
Oh, yes, that was "why"... weird typo...
@Cerberus Well, we don't really type it most of the time. If there's that gray arrow in front of it, it's been inserted automatically.
@Martha Or that.
4:29 PM
@Rob: I can see that this nickname for me would save you time, as it must be the first thing that comes to mind, for you.
@Cer: You like this better than the honorific I bestowed upon you above?
@Martha: Oh, I see, a tab... but still, just leaving it at 3 letters seems easier, unless the name is short, like yours?
@Cerberus — Hey, can I help it if there aren't any really useful ethnic slurs involving the Dutch? Gimme a break!
Hey, don't dis Martha.
@Reg: But then you need to use the mouse?
@Rob: I feel unprescriptivistish today, so do as you please!
4:30 PM
I have to use the mouse all the time anyway, to hunt down quotes and references.
@Reg: Of course.
t te
Ah, uhuh, nods.
oops, sorry, that was niece helping
4:31 PM
Ze invasion of ze niece!
I hate it how you are able to convey cuteness through mere incongruous letters.
Soon Martha's entire family will be on here.
"A piece of cheese no larger than a die / May bait a trap to catch the nibbling mie." — Ambrose Bierce
@Martha is trying to babyjack the chat again, but I am not playing along.
Oh, Right, neither am I.
4:33 PM
Is along the antonym of long?
I don't believe in antonyms.
I don't believe in love.
Is antonym the antonym of nym?
4:34 PM
I don't believe that anything will ever be enough.
You need a tertium comparationis in order to have opposites imo.
This is @RegDwight not babyjacking the chat?
@Martha — Ssshhhh! You'll wake him up!
Child is now trying to eat her daddy's tie. I guess chicken wasn't enough.
No idea what you're talking about.
Me talking about OMD.
4:36 PM
Am I "you"?
What is OMD?
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.
A band?
Waiting for Reg to edit his line...
Very much so.
4:38 PM
Not at all.
How would you say that in German? Kein Dank or something?
I knew this once.
Niece is now standing in playpen, munching the edge.
4:39 PM
Nicht der Rede wert.
Munching is tha best.
Or simply gern geschehen.
Ah, "don't mention it".
In Dutch, you could say "no thank" (as in, no thanks necessary), or "gladly done".
Geen dank, graag gedaan.
French je vous en prie keeps suprising me, because its meanings would seem a bit ambiguous and I keep forgetting how it works.
You could use it as "please": please do this for me.
Or as "don't mention it".
Ain't this a dupe?
Q: Using contracted forms (don't, let's) in a formal text

DaGHow compelled should I feel to use non-contracted forms (do not rather than don't and so on) when writing in a rather formal text, say an academic paper? In one case I am afraid to seem too stilted, in the other, too casual. Are there good guidelines? And are there differences in this regard bet...

Q: Usage of contractions like "it's" and "that's" in textbooks

TamásIs it considered bad style to use abbreviations contractions like "it's" and "that's" (instead of spelling them out as "it is" and "that is") in a textbook or academic publication?

Q: Should contractions be avoided in formal emails?

Bruno RothgiesserIn a formal email of the kind where you begin with "Dear Mr. Surname" and finish with "Best regards", for example, should we use the following contractions? Or are the non contracted forms more appropriate? We have -> We've We would -> We'd There is -> There's etc.

I say, yes, dupe; however, I feel that the answers to this newest question are better than those to the older ones.
4:46 PM
@Cerberus In Russian, there's не за что, literally "there is nothing for which".
@RegDwight — I would say you're right.
Is it at all done to close older questions in favour of a newer dupe?
@Cerberus Yes, that's what I was thinking about the textbook question, but not about the email one.
Is Nemo the opposite of Mo?
Well, the existing questions are more specific; the new question is the more general. I.e. if the new question had existed, the older ones could've been considered dupes.
4:47 PM
@Martha Hence my asking here.
@Reg: OK the e-mail question is about a different genre. The best question with the best answers would be one about contractions in general, answered with a comparison of genres and estimated acceptance of contractions in each.
And is antimony a word that means "being habitually broke"? Seems like a pretty elementary deduction to me.
Rob: Nemo is short for non homo, i.e. no human/person.
Geezis, what does a guy have to do to earn a THWACK around here ...
Mar 6 at 15:06, by Robusto
Uh, @RegDwight, grown-ups are trying to have a conversation.
yesterday, by Robusto
@RegDwight Ssshhh, grown-ups are talking, dear.
4:49 PM
@Robusto, I'm ignoring you. ... Oh, wait.
Ever since that damned baby came along I have been feeling so abandoned ...
I used to bully my little brother a bit too when he was born.
Well, if you insist.
Feb 17 at 19:20, by Martha
@Cerberus — I know, it's from The Odyssey.
Ok, I'm getting yelled at to go get dressed already. Have fun, y'all.
4:50 PM
@RegDwight — I'm so hard-up I'm willing to take THWACKS by proxy.
@Robusto I figured as much.
@Rob: You mean Odysseus calling himself Oudeis ("no-one" in Greek) so that Polyphemus cried "No-one destroyed my eye!" to his fellow cyclop(s)es?
Bye @Martha!
@Cerberus — Yes.
4:52 PM
Who invented captain Nemo? I forgot. I suppose he was modelled after Odysseus?
Nemo is the Latinized version of that.
Jules Verne.
Ah, right.
And does Nemo use the same technique in Jules Verne?
@Cerberus I am yet to see an older question being marked as a dupe of a newer one on any site of the network, but people do keep wondering whether it would make sense.
But then the'd have had to be speaking Latin...
@Reg: It might make sense; but perhaps merging would be better in those circumstances?
Well, personally, I think The Odyssey was a tale Odysseus invented to explain to his wife why it took him 10 years to get back from Troy. And I bet when he told it to her he left out the part about spending several years on Girl Island.
4:54 PM
But merging is probably even more work.
@Cerberus That, or simply providing a better, all-encompassing answer to the original question.
@Rob: You must be right!
@Reg: I sometimes try to do that, but then I fear that it won't get noticed...
@Cerberus It most certainly will, as the question gets bumped to the front page.
And on a tiny community such as ours, that never goes unnoticed.
@Reg: But only in Active? I usually use Newest.
Let me see what happened to my answer on absolute constructions of today.
Meh, I had to delete my answer to the contraction question. I think I do need that reading comprehension class after all. Either that or I have to stop doing 10 things at once.
4:56 PM
@Cerberus Well yeah, what should I say, it cannot be bumped on the newest tab, obviously.
Well, my son managed to drag his ass out of bed by the crack of noon, so I'm going to go be with the family. TTYL.
Bye @Rob!
And I will use that as an opportunity to go back to my LEGO. I'm building a truck.
@Reg: That's why I still think answers to new questions will get more attention, partly because an answer that already has several votes will usually seem more reliable by that fact.
Oh have fun!
I shall be going for a run.
@Cerberus It depends, really. I've seen answers coming in late and taking the lead on quite a few occasions.
Plus, keep in mind that our community is growing.
5:00 PM
@Reg: Sure it happens, but I have seen many better or more complete answers that never caught up with month-older answers that were OK but not nearly as good.
Back in the day, "highly upvoted answer" meant like +5. Today it's almost like +50.
That is a good development!
So if you post a new answer, more people might jump on than on all the older posts combined, and you will bubble to the top.
But of course there's no guarantee.
That might happen, sure.
@Cerberus I've been there myself, with my answer to nohat's dash vs semicolon question.
5:02 PM
Linky please?
A: When to use a semicolon and when to use a dash?

RegDwightI don't think I was ever taught a clear-cut rule, and as a non-native speaker, I am probably spoiled to some extent by the usage of dashes in other languages. That being said, following nothing but my intuition I would use: a semicolon when the sentences express related, yet independent (especi...

It struggled to get to +3, while the other (incorrect) answers kept climbing from +5 to +10.
But now, as you can see, I've almost caught up.
Of course it helps if the OP is still around and helps you out by accepting. There are many factors that play into it, that's for sure.
Your example sentences are brilliant.
I've stolen them all.
Yes the accepting is not very frequent I should expect?
I though I included a link?
5:04 PM
Oh, from Oatmeal.
I now remember you mentioned it.
Yes, you added a link.
bad memory
@Cerberus It actually is, our ratio of accepted answers is excellent. But unaccepting and then accepting a more recent answer is a different beast altogether, of course.
I don't have any stats on that.
Oh that is what I meant, accepting in the context of there already being an earlier acceptance etc.
Sure. But anyhow, LEGO!!!!!
Have fun!
Thanks. Have fun running.
5:07 PM
P.S. I can't wait for April 1; I already have some nice questions in mind...
5:27 PM
Son is taking a shower. Just wanted to drop back in and tell @Cerberus that he unfairly judged me.
yesterday, by Cerberus
You know, conspiracy theories and all...
Because I responded to this:
yesterday, by Cerberus
@Rob: I heard the reactor wasn't in real danger of melt-down? Or am I mistaken?
And now there's this news:
This is a bad, bad situation. I feel for those poor people over there.
2 hours later…
7:04 PM
@Rob: Right, there is still the chance that a meltdown will happen or has already happened. But most experts seem to agree that the chance of lots of radiation and health risks are very low.
Even so, this situation is not good. But there are a few points to consider:
1. A meltdown doesn't mean that the reactor and all radioactive material is released. It probably destroys the reactor internally, but not much radiation should escape in the present situation.
2. When they are talking about a "last-ditch" attempt to cool the reactor, this just means that cooling with sea water will render the reactor unusable in the future, not that this method is unlikely to succeed.
3. The current "state of emergency" doesn't mean that there is a large chance of lots of radiation: it is a legal thing the PM must declare if there are problems at a nuclear plant.
So, yes, the situation is serious, but experts say that the chance of a real disaster with many dead and seriously contaminated is very low for now. Some people have been contaminated, but I think those were probably very close to the plant? The tsunami and the quake will most probably claim far more victims.
(In point 1. I meant to say "a meltdown doesn't mean that the reactor explodes".)
Note that an important factor in the massive release of radiation from Chernobyl was that it contained radioactive graphite that burned. This burning and the smoke that spread thousands of miles caused most of the widespread radiation, so my sources say; the Japanse reactors (and any reactor of the 2nd generation or newer, if I recall correctly) do not contain graphite and cannot burn. But, yes, this situation still sucks big time for Japan. Poor people.
3 hours later…
10:05 PM
This question has been heavily edited, and is probably worthy of reopening:
Q: Correct term or phrase for "unidirectional gaga"

marioI'm not sure if such a figure of speech exists in English, and "unidirectional gaga" is certainly not correct. But which wording expresses that a person becomes dumber from having exercised/performed something too frequently or in only one particular fashion. It's an adverb or phrase that is u...

10:41 PM
@Kos: Voted.
11:20 PM
I have a question that has been answered before, but I still find it hard to apply the answers to practical situations. When is it appropriate to correct grammar mistakes in answers? I just read a two-sentence answer in which "whom" was used where it should be "who". Since this can be a sensitive issue, reflecting on someone's analytical skills in general and snobbery specifically, would it be a good idea to edit this?
FYI, this "whom" was plain wrong, used for a subject.
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