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3:00 PM
it didn't keep islam out
The Bering Strait did the same.
BEfore civilization, JSBangs.
ah, there you might have an argument
Human species is about 200,000 years old. Earliest civilization: 5000.
@RegDwight: Looks like we just got into a funky smackdown. I didn't see that you had posted when I clicked Submit.
5000? No way.
More like 11,000.
3:01 PM
7000, max.
I define civilization as start of the Neolithic.
So, 5000 years before Christ.
Let's say 11,000. It's still only 5% of the time we've been on Earth.
I think we have evidence of permanent settlement from a much earlier date. But I suppose the date doesn't really matter.
@Robusto Hehe. What was your term for that situation? I forget.
Civilization refers to the creation of cities. So we must date this to the first populations large enough to support what we would call cities.
@RegDwight — Slinx? Minx? I forget.
3:02 PM
My point is, human beings have had plenty of time to diverge.
@Robusto Ah! Unquote!
And, though we are remarkably similar, the sad thing I guess is that we don't care much about our similarites.
We care about our differences.
Why cities? Well it doesn't matter whether you take villages or cities: it must be something like that.
@RegDwight — Would be unquote if I were aware of it: If I had consciously, and with malice aforethought, posted the very same answer after having ample time to view yours.
Moreover, the similarity statistic that you are always quoted is a misleading one: We may be 99.5% alike, the remaining 0.5% could be very important in determining traits we deem sociologically important.
3:04 PM
@Robusto I see. The rules are complicated and forgiving.
@Bill: I still don't see fundamental differences of opinion among us, or am I mistaken?
@RegDwight — I think you mean "unclear and flexible" ...
In any case, people will fear your mighty diamond, so I might as well just delete mine.
I mean differences within this room.
Ah, right, we were talking about why sociobiology is controversial.
That's why.
Because if you take evolution seriously, and apply it to human beings, you go down historically dangerous paths, and arguments.
3:06 PM
@RegDwight: Besides, you need all the rep help you can get these days.
People have twisted to history to make it seem that the eugenicists arguments were based on sloppy thinking: They were no wronger than Plato was wrong,
@Robusto Haha, that sentence is wonderfully self-referential.
Or Aristotle; no one thinks they have nothing to contribute to modern philosophy and/or science.
i'm the skeptic here. skeptical of sociobiology
3:06 PM
@Robusto Nah, I told you that I can just lean back now.
though i'm not dogmatically opposed, or else i would have stormed out calling you a bunch of racists a long time ago
Not so much sloppy thinking as naturalistic fallacy is what I accuse the likes of Hitler of.
@RegDwight — So in order to make it interesting I'm going to have to carry you now? Slacker.
We should get off race, because that tends to cloud people's mind..
What about feminism?
gah, feminism
are there any women in the room right now?
3:07 PM
You read about the recent Wikipedia controversy, where Sue Gardner asked why woman didnt' contribute to Wikipedia?
It might cloud minds (but not mine I believe?).
neither dory or martha is present, it seems...
Women do cloud my mind. I admit it.
It's verboten to say for example, that women simply don't have the same interest in areas outside domestic life as men do, though that's true, in my opinion.
@Bill: You seem to keep taking people seriously who do not deserve it in a serious discussion!
3:08 PM
Feminists hated sociobiology.
And do we care about feminists?
They hated the fact it seems to say that women rightly value domestic life over more abstruse pursuits, because they have babies to take care.
Only if they have good arguments.
@Bill, actually i here run up against the same problem. i'm not dogmatic about this, but i await a really convincing argument that the social explanation is inferior to the biological explanation
Well, you are asking me why "sociobiology wasn't accepted"
3:09 PM
(outside of a few areas which i would think are obvious, like babies)
Oh, right; but I meant "accepted" by intelligent people, scientists and the like who know their business.
What about this? People with like XXY, who never knew they were born boys because they had no genitalia, refused to play with dolls and wear dresses?
And changed their gender 20+ years later when such facts were revealed to them.
[citation needed]
@Billare — Be careful. If you're too vocal in espousing that anti-feminist belief you are likely to dead-end yourself, genetically speaking. Either that or you'll have to find a woman who is too dumb to understand she's being insulted, in which case you'll be dragging down the IQ potential of the genetic match. Same result either way.
@JSB: I think both social and biological explanations can be very interesting and useful; besides, they are intimately connected in various ways.
3:11 PM
@Cerb, tru dat
@Robusto Pretty much so. I've been preaching that rep is rather meaningless for years, but it's only after I got outrun by mighty Robusto that I discovered the true meaning and the meaningful truth of my own sermons. Now it's no earthly tasks no more, apart from reading a book and keeping an eye on the chat. I'm smooth-sailing in shiny nirvana.
@Rob: Most of my female friends would agree with Billare. Women are not stupid, you know.
plus, males and females have been different for hundreds of megayears, so biological differences between them are a priori much more plausible that differences between the races
@Robusto I like to distinguish between Feminism and feminism. Feminism is a sociological movement, with its own beliefs that I don't agree with.
@RegDwight — You've been pwned! It's a T-Rex question! Glad I got out while the getting was good.
3:12 PM
@Robusto feminism, as in wanting the most for women within their capabilities and interests, I am wholly for.
@Reg: Nooo don't leave us here on this wretched planet!
@Robusto See, my friend, I knew that before I posted my answer.
The thing is, if I say something like "women tend not to be interested in abstract science as men", feminists think I am being boorish and sexist; but there are SO MANY MEN WHO WOULD LOVE FOR WOMEN TO BE INTERESTED IN SCIENCE.
At Math SE, girls' profiles have 3x times the views as men's.
@Bill, that's hilarious
@RegDwight — Don't worry about dressing for the occasion. Nirvana is "Come as you are" ...
3:13 PM
In fact, I've watched girls destroy the comraderie of many all-male type vocations, competing for competent women.
@RegDwight — And yet you chose to feed the troll.
@Billare: "women tend not to be interested in abstract science as men" — as far as I'm concerned, this is pretty much accepted among those who know stuff, including women.
@Robusto Yes. That is the true luxury here in Nirvana. You get to feed anyone you want.
When guys meet that girl programmer who loves to talk programming, battles and torn friendships begin.
It is just the causes of this preference that are not clear yet.
3:15 PM
It almost happened to me, and my best friend since the 5th grade!
@Robusto The key is I chose to. Not he chose me to. There's a difference. That's why we go over these things.
Well, you could take the argument a step further and say that science is a sublimation of the sex drive, and follow that on with some kind of abstinence decree for scientists (as if they needed one).
@RegDwight — Well, I hope you and your dinosaur are very happy together.
@Billare: I think feminists who are appalled by the statement that women are less interested in science for whatever reason are committing the reverse of the naturalistic fallacy.
@Robusto Thank you. You see, nirvana is eternal, but dinosaurs tend to go extinct like there's no tomorrow. So I enjoy it while it lasts.
@Cerberus Women can be interested in science, just not ABSTRACT stuff. If it involves people, they are much more likely to go for it. That's why women there are plenty good doctors and biologists who are women
@Cerberus Women are not as loner or systemizing as men. That's just a scientific fact.
3:17 PM
@Bill: Fine, however you want to phrase it more exactly. It is rather the type of statement that is interesting than the exact statement, for me.
@RegDwight — Hmmm, I wonder. Is nirvana really eternal? Will nothingness end when the universe blinks out, or will there just be more of it?
I think Hawking predicted a 17% increase in nothingness.
@Cerberus — I think he was rounding down.
@Robusto I will tell you when I get there. Except you won't be around anymore, my friend.
The bastard!
What, Reg is going to take the whole planet down with him?
Or, rather, up?
3:19 PM
Interesting that you said Dawkins first, then changed it to Hawking.
Is there a Dawkins radiation too? I hope so.
Yeah I don't know why I said that.
@Cerberus Planet? Universe! Please, don't pull a kiamlaluno on this one.
@Cerberus — Yes, when Reg goes, we all go. At least from his perspective.
Possibily because they are paragons of clarity, each in his own way?
I see, so Reg is a phenomenologist.
And how is that related to Kiam?
Feb 9 at 15:09, by kiamlaluno
I will not split hairs saying that a sun is not simply a star. ;-)
He got confused there, arguing that a bok globule were a black hole full of red dwarves or something.
3:21 PM
Hah, right, that would be a rather thin hair indeed.
@Cerberus — It's called a brain fart. I once made a lengthy reply discussing The Golden Bowl and referenced "Henry Miller" as its author. Chain of mental events: Henry James is stored in the same part of my brain that houses Daisy Miller; I reached in there and got the "Henry" and the "Miller" without at all thinking of Tropic of Cancer.
@Rob: Yes that is exactly what it is! I do wish we had a somewhat more pleasant expression...
Something like misguided priming?
David Reimer was born as a male identical twin in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His birth name was Bruce; his twin was named Brian. At the age of 6 months, after concern was raised about how they both urinated, the boys were diagnosed with phimosis. They were referred for circumcision at the age of 8 months. On April 27, 1966, a urologist performed the operation using the unconventional method of cauterization. The procedure did not go as doctors had planned, and Reimer's penis was burned beyond surgical repair.[2]
@Cerberus Cerberal flatulence?
3:25 PM
@Bill, your link's a 404
Read the text, this one is more indicative.
ah yes, that guy
David Reimer (born: August 22, 1965 – died [suicide]: May 4, 2004) was born as a healthy male, but was sexually reassigned and raised as female after his penis was accidentally destroyed during circumcision. Psychologist John Money oversaw the case and reported the reassignment as successful, and as evidence that gender identity is primarily learned. Academic sexologist Milton Diamond later reported that Reimer never identified as female, and that he began living as male at age 15. Reimer later went public with his story to discourage similar medical practices. Eventually he committed sui...
@Reg: I think you are slightly missing the point! But thank you very much, I'll keep that in mind!
i'm familiar with the story
3:26 PM
/irony tag
i'm not sure how that's relevant to the argument, though
since you originally referenced XXY people
which Reimer was not
actually, i've sort of lost the thread of the argument entirely
since i never disputed that there are differences between males and females
Yes, let me find that.
I don't think I have every disputed anything either. Long live harmony and unanimity.
Mar 15 at 21:35, by RegDwight
(Not that I haven't found myself on any side of any debate at one time or another.)
What did you dispute then?
3:29 PM
@Reg: I know the feeling. I do like to stir things up now and then, critically question statements and all.
i can't remember now. maybe we should link hands and all sing Kumbaya?
Argh, I must go in any case..
I meant yay about Kumbaya.
3:30 PM
Yeah, that was a funny moment.
Ciao, all.
anyway, i reject both the radical feminist position that all gender difference is socially constructed, and the radical sociobio position that all gender difference is inherited and driven by evolution
Bye Bill!
bye, bill
good talk
@JSB: I agree 100% (who wouldn't!).
3:30 PM
@JSBangs As Robusto once put it, "Gender, she is stupid".
presumably the radical feminists would disagree with me
What I like most about myself is that I don't have to become a radical feminist before disagreeing with people.
Yes but... there will always be someone who disagrees about anything; should we care?
but since we don't have any of those in the room at the moment, let me voice my other disagreement: there's an awful lot of hand-waving about the bio -> society that goes on in most of these discussions
i see a lot of: darwin, therefore women can't do math!
(i exaggerate slightly)
3:32 PM
Shopping is hard, let's go shopping!
Right, I agree; the same applies to psychology sometimes.
People like simple patterns; nothing is more compelling than a newer, simpler pattern; the old pattern will be heretical very soon; cf. people who quit smoking.
@Cerb, very good point
It is a bit like the "true" meaning of a word: when someone asks, you know exactly what it means; but then it might always happen some day that you spot a sense of the word you didn't think of before, even though you thought you had considered all possibilities.
Well never mind, that was a bit of a weird analogy.
I need to refresh: several avatars are not showing up.
Ugh, now none them are showing up.
Restart browser.
Still no avatars.
the SE gods are punishing you
They are! God is a she, I knew it.
I don't see avatars in Questions either.
3:49 PM
Avatars are on Users page
James Cameron stole'em all.
@RegDwight God, I hate shopping.
So do I. But my wife just won't understand.
+1 on the shopping hate
i don't even like shopping for things that i want, like video games and artisanal cheese
@RegDwight — Say that again in Na'vi.
3:53 PM
But, see, I'm female, therefore I ought to love shopping, shouldn't I? Oh, and makeup, and doing my hair, and communication, and any number of other things. It always makes me feel... inadequate somehow.
I hate shopping and Jane Austen equally.
@Robusto So your version of Hell must involve going shopping with Jane Austen...
i love jane austen!
Jane Austen I like. Not all of her books, and not all of the characters in even the books I do like, but there's something ... satisfying about her happy endings.
@Robusto ... and JSBangs!
3:55 PM
Here's the difference between men and women. When men think of porn, they think of naked women; when men think of porn for women they think the reverse applies (women looking at pictures of naked men). But for women, porn is actually reading Jane Austen.
@Martha Lemme guess, could it be because they are, um, happy?
@RegDwight — Ninth Circle, totally.
so what does that make a man who likes Jane Austen?
@JSBangs — His name is d'Arcy.
Need I say more?
@RegDwight Well, that's part of it, but there are any number of books that end more-or-less happily, but aren't particularly satisfying in the way they do so.
3:57 PM
@Martha — "Smoking is the perfect pleasure because it leaves one feeling so unsatisfied." — Oscar Wilde
@JSBangs That's like women admiring Ron Jeremy for his directing skills.
That's why so many men prefer smoking to Jane Austen. More healthful.
Apropos health, I am told that I should take my coughs and my sneezes and my Language Instinct and go home, for little Jeebus' sake.
@RegDwight — Don't want to infect little Jeebus, for Christ's sake.
Well, I guess that would mean me's out, folks!
4:05 PM
4:15 PM
@RegDwight, The Language Instinct. I would have thought you had better linguistic taste than to go in for Pinker
(hopefully he'll see this when he gets back)
@JSBangs — He sees every sparrow that falls.
4:28 PM
So what is wrong with Pinker? (Haven't read him.)
4:44 PM
i don't care for the approach to linguistics that he peddles
namely, he popularizes the idea that language is an "instinct" (hence the title of the book), and that there are lots of hardwired linguistic features in the human brain
i strongly disagree with this view, and belong to the opposite camp that hold that the human linguistic facility is merely an application of our general cognitive facility
IOWs, there is no dedicated language module in the brain, but rather a just a particular application of the thinking/reasoning module
5:02 PM
@JSBangs — So do we need words to have concepts? That's the key issue, I should think.
i argue that we do not
although the words certainly help
the dumb are still cognitively human, though they find it much easier to express themselves once they're taught to sign
for that matter, consider small children who haven't learned to speak
I personally think that words provide a structure upon which we build and order concepts.
But the structure can overwhelm the concept.
We can rely too much on the words and find ourselves unable to reach the height of the concept without that verbal scaffolding.
This is why so much math and physics can't be expressed in English, for example.
They are expressed in mathematics, which is a kind of language but closer to the source of the purely conceptual. Or so I would imagine.
I expect that mathematical language has its limitations as well.
But it has an unambiguous clarity that other human languages lack.
I see.
I think some of the ambiguity mathematical language experiences comes to us through paradoxes.
I wonder how this supposed difference of separation between cognitive and linguistic faculties would be worded: isn't it rather a matter of definition? Does it matter?
5:15 PM
Feb 7 at 15:38, by RegDwight
In the foundations of mathematics, Russell's paradox (also known as Russell's antinomy), discovered by Bertrand Russell in 1901, showed that the naive set theory created by Georg Cantor leads to a contradiction. The same paradox had been discovered a year before by Ernst Zermelo but he did not publish the idea, which remained known only to Hilbert, Husserl and other members of the University of Göttingen. Let R be the set of all sets that are not members of themselves. If R qualifies as a member of itself, it would contradict its own definition as a set containing sets that are not member...
Feb 3 at 20:53, by Robusto
When my elder son was five, he would ask me approximately 55,321 questions per day. So we were driving home one day and asking me questions, and at one point he asked me a question I didn't have a ready answer to. It was a conceptual question, and I didn't really understand it. I replied, "I don't even know if there's a word for that." He thought for a minute, then said. "If we don't have a word for something, does that mean we can't think about it?"
I suspect it means it is hard for us to ratiocinate about it.
But that is the crux of the matter right there.
@Rob: I agree that non-verbal (if I may call it that) thought can be just as complex as verbalized thought, and can even be about the same topic and follow similar lines of argument. But it isn't all the same in several respects; the degree of identity differs with the topic, I suppose.
@Cerberus — I don't really know. There's a whole branch of study associated with this kind of issue.
:For other uses of Epistemology and Theory of knowledge, see Epistemology (disambiguation) Epistemology () () is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope (limitations) of knowledge. It addresses the questions: * What is knowledge? * How is knowledge acquired? * How do we know what we know? Much of the debate in this field has focused on analyzing the nature of knowledge and how it relates to connected notions such as truth, belief, and justification. It also deals with the means of production of knowledge, as well as skepticism about different knowledge claims. The ...
What do we really know?
How do we know it?
How do we know we know it?
@Rob: Yeah there is much to be said about the subject. But frankly I am usually not easily impressed by paradoxes: they just show the limits of a certain model, but that doesn't mean that the whole model is useless. Any model has limits, because it is a human construct.
@Robusto Gödel's theorem says that mathematical language does have limits.
Gödel's incompleteness theorems are two theorems of mathematical logic that establish inherent limitations of all but the most trivial axiomatic systems for mathematics. The theorems, proven by Kurt Gödel in 1931, are important both in mathematical logic and in the philosophy of mathematics. The two results are widely interpreted as showing that Hilbert's program to find a complete and consistent set of axioms for all of mathematics is impossible, thus giving a negative answer to Hilbert's second problem. The first incompleteness theorem states that no consistent system of axioms whose the...
5:24 PM
I must admit I'd forgotten the second theorem.
Heh I had forgotten all about them but the name...
See also:
A Gettier problem is a problem in modern epistemology issuing from counter-examples to the definition of knowledge as justified true belief (JTB). The problem owes its name to a three-page paper published in 1963, by Edmund Gettier, called "Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?", in which Gettier argues that this is not necessarily the case. The basic issue is one that everyone is able to relate to: what conditions must be satisfied for a belief to become knowledge? For a proposition to count as knowledge it must (a) be believed, (b) it must be true, and (c) the believer must have good reaso...
And now I have to go to a meeting about a much less interesting topic.
Ok bye @Rob!
Yeah there is another paradox that lays bare some limits of the common definition of "knowledge". But is that a problem? It is merely the choice of one definition over the other, rather a language problem than a cognitive or deep-philosophical problem.
I often have the feeling that supposed philosophical problems can be solved easily if people will just have a better understanding of the limits of the human mind, and of the way language works.
6:11 PM
@Cerberus — To which I will counter, how can we know the limits of the human mind? That would require an intelligence greater than we have, by its very definition.
@Rob: Not necessarily. First, we might theoretically not need as much capacity if we want to map only its limits, not its contents; secondly, we are not trying to map all the limits of our mind, but only a few; thirdly, we might not even need to understand the nature of the limit, but only the fact that we have arrived at some limit, whatever it may be.
@Cerberus — How would we recognize a limit?
@Rob: The mere fact that we arrive at a paradox that we cannot solve within the model might be enough evidence. Some paradoxes are encountered within the model "the mind" or "human cognitive functioning": if we cannot solve them, we might consider that the paradox could be due to the limits of our thinking, instead of pointing in other directions. This would be very hard to prove, if at all possible; but I think it might be a useful hypothesis in many cases/paradoxes/problems.
If we can resolve a paradox it is within the limits of our capability; however, if we cannot resolve a paradox, all we know is that we cannot at present resolve it. We may be able to resolve it at some future time. You can't prove a negative proposition.
6:26 PM
True, it wouldn't be proof; but accepting that our thinking might be limiting a solution to the paradox would allow us to keep using certain models and methods of reasoning, even when some might want to toss them all together, saying "we have found a paradox here, so there must be something wrong with the whole system and it is useless".
(Perhaps you could say that ascribing certain paradoxes to the limits of our understanding would amount to the same as saying "all we know is that we cannot at present resolve it" and accepting our inability as unavoidable in some cases.)
@Cerberus — I think that expresses it correctly. But we still can't know what we don't know.
@Rob: Agreed, we can't. But we might discover some limits and thereby overcome them... though that sounds rather optimistic.
6:43 PM
This has been marked status-completed, but has not actually been fixed:
Q: On Users page, location is truncated even though horizontal space is used for tags

Brian NixonThe user-location span doesn’t use all the available width in the user-info div, though the user-tags div does, thus: CSS bug?

Can someone with Powers(TM) either remove the completed tag, or find out from Them Higher-Ups in what sense they're using "completed"?
Ooops, still trying to learn that chat stuff.
Good evening every one (it's night here in Tunisia)
Good evening, @Alain
I merely intended to react (as a layman, I confess) to that comment from JSBang:
he[Pinker] popularizes the idea that language is an "instinct" (hence the title of the book), and that there are lots of hardwired linguistic features in the human brain

i strongly disagree with this view, and belong to the opposite camp that hold that the human linguistic facility is merely an application of our general cognitive facility

IOWs, there is no dedicated language module in the brain, but rather a just a particular application of the thinking/reasoning module
Not sure how to quote a message yet
i don't know if there's a quote function
there is a reply, though
Thats what I press and I got :703850 showing up.
6:50 PM
mouse over the message you want to repl to, and click the right-pointing arrow in the right hand side of the box
yeah, i don't know about that
So yes, if I may jump in.
Although I have no degree in linguistics etc... whasoever and many other things, I always do have an optinion nevertheess
... and sometimes venture in making it public...
@AlainPannetier I think a fair few of us here are like that :-)
but i actually do have a degree in linguistics! this automatically makes my opinion better than yours
I never say anything unless it is absolutely true.
In this particular occurrence, I find it strange, if language is with us for the last million of years or even if it's less than 100 000, which I doubt, that evolution would not have carved physical adaptation into individuals to support it.
6:54 PM
@Robusto What, never?
No never!
we do have physical adaptations for speech: the vocal chords, tongue, and epiglottis are specifically designed to allow human language
@Robusto (sings) What, never?
@JSBang; the good thing then is that I can replace one less stupid thing.
Well ... hardly ever!
6:55 PM
[All]: He hardly ever speaks incorrectly!
Anyway, you probably know that our ability to speak has had an influence of the position on our larynx in our throat.
Why wouldn't it have an influence on our cortex then ?
@AlainPannetier —Word.
@Robusto - Word ?. I'm lost already. Sentence ?
it could, but there are actually very few things that can be shown to need special brain structures
what's more important is that there are few, if any, actual linguistic universals
anyway, i have to go to a meeting now
be back in about 30 min
6:58 PM
@AlainPannetier — "Word" is slang for "What he said" or "I agree" etc.
Hm. I see. Trying to catch up in many domains at the same time. ;-)
@JSBang, I'll have a look around to see who says waht about this. Thx for "listening".
I'll play with Junior then. He just brought me yet another broken toy ;-)
7:27 PM
@AlainPannetier — So how are things in Tunisia? Peaceful? The revolution there has entirely been eclipsed by recent events in Egypt and Libya.
They have just added another layer of rubble on Top of the one due to Scipio Africanus. All but one general stores are burnt to the ground.
But people go around their daily business.
And I thought no one could improve on the Romans' devastation of The New City.
They sapred the salt this time ;-)
Just finished reading an interesting book about that very incident, btw. The Ghosts of Cannae.
Well, more than just that incident. But it explains how Scipio Africanus escaped alive from the unparalleled defeat at Cannae only to wreak vengeance on the Carthaginians later.
I just looked it up on Amazon. Seems interesting.
You got me again ! I confused the father and the son again. I was actually referring to the son : Scipio Aemilianus
7:36 PM
From the 3rd Punic War?
Yes and he is not the son anyway !
but the grandson.
It's complicated. There are so many Scipios and Ciceros and so on. All Romans had pretty much all the names everyone else had.
by adoption
I know !!!
They must have done it on purpose !
I think they had a cognomen and a praenomen and a few others. Can't remember if those are the right terms now.
By the Republican era and throughout the Imperial era, a name in ancient Rome for a male citizen consisted of three parts (tria nomina): praenomen (given name), nomen (or nomen gentile or simply gentilicium, being the name of the gens or clan) and cognomen (name of a family line within the gens). Sometimes a second or third cognomen, called agnomen, was added. The nomen, and later, cognomen were virtually always hereditary. This system was derived from the Etruscan civilization. Females were officially known by the feminine form of their father's nomen gentile, followed by the genitive ca...
There we go.
So it's praenomen, nomen, and cognomen.
There are also agnomen and a few others. And once you get into A.D., all rules fly out the window. Almost.
7:43 PM
Moreover it changed depending on the period of Roman history !!! Nearly as complex as the pharaoh's names. May be I'll keep to the list of Catholic Popes ;-)
Right, because that's so much less complicated.
Yeah, can't go wrong there.
@Martha owes me a coke.
How about I just scratch one off the list of beverages you owe me, and call it even?
Where is said list? Produce it, please.
While you're getting me my Coke, btw.
Feb 17 at 21:19, by Robusto
"The rules of Jinx are clear and inflexible." — Pam Beesley, The Office
But back on topic, the study of history would be so much less complicated if royalty were forbidden from ever reusing a name. For any of their children.
7:46 PM
Tell that to the Russians, too.
I can't tell you how many times I got lost in Pasternak's Dr. Zhivago because I couldn't figure out who the hell they were talking about.
And actually, might as well extend the rule to all nobility, because you never know who will end up become royalty.
Name, nickname, surname, patronymic ... geez.
That's another thing: novel writers should be required to give their characters names that start with different letters. (Yes, by extension this means that no book may contain more than 26 named characters.)
I like the attributive names for Egyptian pharaohs, uniting the Upper and Lower Nile with metonymy: Master of Sedge and Bee.
What about Henry Ford 1,2,3 ?
7:49 PM
@Martha — Russian has a larger alphabet ...
A: "Why is this not" versus "why is not this"

MarthaThe usual order is "Why is this not [ready yet]?" Inverting it to "Why is not this [rose in bloom]?" might be possible in poetry, but it sounds awkward at best in everyday usage. Note: awkward at best is a euphemism for incorrect. Edit: you didn't ask about it, but for completeness I thought I'...

(See your comments on that answer.)
Worst novel ever in this regard is One Hundred Years of Solitude
in which every single character is named after some other character
I see. You really hold a Jinx grudge, Martha.
5 mins ago, by Robusto
Feb 17 at 21:19, by Robusto
"The rules of Jinx are clear and inflexible." — Pam Beesley, The Office
Or how about Finnegans Wake, in which the names of people and places change depending on whim, apparently.
Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker => Howth Castle & Environs => Here Comes Everybody ... etc.
7:52 PM
Never read Finnegans Wake. Now probably I never shall.
I tried FW once. Gave up after one paragraph, which is still an unbroken record for how quickly I'll put a book down.
@all - I'd better get some sleep. I'm knackered. Thx for the hospitality. This chat room definitely makes interesting reading. Later.
8:10 PM
I too must go to a better place.
Specifically, home. Where dinner will be :-)
2 hours later…
10:28 PM
I'm tempted to change the title of this question to something more generic:
Q: Help Save The Planet Using / With Your Phone

mvexelDoes Help save the planet with your mobile phone have a different meaning or connotation than Help save the planet using your mobile phone ?

Wouldn't a title like "Using vs. With" be more useful in the long run?
(Also, I can't find a duplicate, but it seems such a basic question ought to have been asked before.)
@Martha: Perhaps we could have it both: "With v. Using: 'Help save the planet using/with your phone'?"?
(I can never find duplicates when I need them ...)
That sounds like a plan, @Cerberus. Editing...
Cool. (I usually do question titles like that.)
I also tagged it while I was at it.
@Martha: I have corrected a typo you made in the title.
10:40 PM
Oops, what'd I do?
You wrote "using v. than".
There are some titles I have edited four times in a row, because I made some silly error every time... so I know the feeling.
What was it called again when you've been staring at a word so long that it loses meaning and coherence?
Semantic satiation.
Right! Thanks.
10:43 PM
Or at least, that's the official-sounding term that has earned me lots of rep. I actually like "word glare" better (which someone posted as a comment).
I remember being linked to your answer once. Pretty good find (assuming you didn't write the Wiki article yourself... well, even then).
Word glare is nice as well. But semantic satiation is the best.
Nope, I don't usually contribute to Wikipedia. (And the Language Log link is much more interesting.)
Huh what link?
11:00 PM
This one:
Oops, it's Language Hat, not Log. Gah. I should just give up for today.
Haha never give up!
And thanks for the link. I'll vote for you next time. Hehe.

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