Yearly Archives: 2013

Most of America’s lake monsters are just the Loch Ness monster in a different lake.

 Most of Americas lake monsters are just the Loch Ness monster in a different lake.

From Atlas Obscura.

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Even the word “literal” is a metaphor.

Because of how language develops, it’s nearly impossible to be completely literal.

For example, the literal meaning of drift is not “to move as if driven or borne along by current” (OED again). The “literal” (by the letter) meaning is the letters d-r-i-f-t. It is only when one is metaphorical about the meaning of “literal” that “drift” can mean “to move downstream”. Only by further metaphorical extension can it mean to simply wander, as in drifting thoughts.

Via The Dish.

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You should eat apples whole.

James Hamblin thinks you should eat apples whole, core and all.

The core is a product of society, man. There is a thin fibrous band, smaller in diameter than a pencil and not bad to the taste. If you eat your apple vertically, it is not noticeable.

But what about cyanide! Apple seeds contain amygdalin, which can release cyanide if digested. According to John Fry:

Apple seeds contain about 700 milligrams of cyanide per kilo, so about 100 grams of apple seeds should be enough to dispatch a 70-kg adult human, but that’s an awful lot of apple cores even if you don’t eat the rest of the apple first.  In addition, the seeds would have to be pretty finely crushed to let the enzymes get to the amygdalin at all.

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Football teams shouldn’t punt on the fourth down, according to statistics.

Grantland has a video on the football coach who never punts. Why doesn’t he? Because statistically, it doesn’t make sense.

Cal professor David Romer concluded that teams should not punt when facing fourth-and-4 or less; NFL stats analyst Brian Burke has detailed the need to rethink fourth-down decision-making; Football Outsiders has conflated punts with turnovers. You’ve even read about it on this site.

Via Kottke.

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Here’s what happens when you quote Vampire Weekend to people who give a fuck about the Oxford comma.

Skip to the comments of this sort of misleading story about Oxford’s PR department dropping the Oxford comma:

James Colpean
Who gives a F*** about an oxford comma?

Why would you speak to me that way? I think it was an interesting, humorous, and topical article.

Well golly gee whiz James, I rather like the OC. It is a bastion of civility. You, on the other hand are crude, ignorant,and unstylish.

the New Old Godfather
Why even respondif you truly do not care?

(For the record, I always use the Oxford comma and think it will be with us as long as even anti-OC style guides have to make exceptions to let you use it “when a comma would assist in the meaning of the sentence or helps to resolve ambiguity”.)

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Hurricanes and typhoons are pretty much the same thing.

From NOAA’s Ocean Service:

Hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons are all the same weather phenomenon; we just use different names for these storms in different places. In the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, the term “hurricane” is used. The same type of disturbance in the Northwest Pacific is called a “typhoon” and “cyclones” occur in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean.

So location is the difference, but that also means there are other location-related differences. For instance, typhoons are more frequent and more powerful on average because of the Pacific’s warm water. Both hurricanes and typhoons can rotate clockwise or counter-clockwise, depending on whether they form in the southern or northern hemisphere. Here’s a handy comparison from Diffen.

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An immortal would be a cancer.

There’s a kind of selfish appeal to perpetuating oneself forever, but from the perspective of a population, such individuals have an analog: they are cancers. That’s exactly what a cancer is: a unit of the organism, a liver cell or skin cell, that has successfully shed the governors on its mortality and achieved immortality…and grows selfishly, at the expense of the organism.

From Pharyngula, via the Dish

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