Saturday, February 26, 2011


As more and more appliances in bathrooms become automatic, bathrooms become creepier and creepier. I was just minding my own business in the stall of an otherwise empty bathroom, and the paper towel dispenser next to the sink decides that I might then need a paper towel. I have also been in bathrooms when a toilette flushes of its own accord. Eventually all bathroom appliances will be networked so that they can alert staff when they are dirty, out of paper towels, etc. Then they will really start working together against us.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Our country is at war; shouldn't we be doing peace reenactments?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Trying to be famous is like trying to win the lottery: you only marginally improve your chances, and you look really silly unless you succeed.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I would like to define a new word: malinformation. Turns out I can't. After I spent a brief time with a google, I found that this is a word that already exists and gets some minimal usage.

I would like to redefine a minimally used word for my own purposes: malinformation. I am defining it to be as close to malnutrition as possible, but with knowledge in place of nutrients. People may be malinformed by having not enough of some or all types of knowledge, or they may have an imbalance of different types of knowledge. Edema is a swelling of the stomach that is a symptom of certain types of malnutrition. Egoma is a swelling of the head that is a symptom of certain types of malinformation.

Malinformation is often overlooked and rarely treated since the afflicted tend to avoid help rather than seek it. Recently though, Bill O'Reilly has come forward and presented his malinformation to the world, and I think that this is our chance to bring malinformation into the public consciousness. I propose the creation of the Bill O'Reilly Foundation for Malinformed Adults (BO'RFMA), and I propose that their first action as an organization be to help Mr. O'Reilly himself. The beauty of this organization is that you can make a world of difference for only the price of postage. Here is how it works: if you receive a science related magazine such as Science or Nature, or if there is a science section in another periodical that you receive, send them to
Fox News Headquarters
1211 Avenue of the Americas
NY 10020

with a note saying that they are for Bill O'Reilly or anyone else in their organization who has a debilitating lack of scientific knowledge. If you don't receive such a periodical then find a good website, such as this one, and email it to Mr. O'Reilly at With your support Mr. O'Reilly and those like him can look forward to a better future.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Game 2

Sometimes I like to play the Net Environmental benefit game. In this game you try to use environmental reasons to argue against something that is based on environmental reasons. If you are successful then you switch sides and you repeat until you fail to come up with a good argument. Here is an example of a round of the Net Environmental-benefit game:

In Vermont they don't use salt on the roads or sidewalks because it is bad for the local wildlife for all that salt to be washing over the ground and into rivers in the spring. Instead they put down sand which does not melt the ice but improves traction. Switch. Is there really a net environmental benefit if even one person falls and breaks a bone? What are the costs to the Earth's natural resources of making the x-ray and the cast, and the fact that most everything the patient touches in the hospital will be thrown away afterwards to prevent disease transmission? Switch. The salt affects more than just the wildlife, it also increases the rate of rusting of cars, meaning that more replacement parts must be made from our natural resources, and worthless rusty metal gets put in a junkyard somewhere. Game Over.


Sometimes pluralizing a single word can completely change the meaning of a sentence. For instance when someone says "Substance is really important to me" I think that person is deep, or at least trying to be. If someone says "Substances are really important to me" I think that person is into drugs.


I think that there should be a psychological study into learning motivated by smartasses. I recently realized that I have trained myself over the course of several years to say "water heater" instead of "hot water heater". This could be the birth of a whole new style of teaching.

NOTE: In order to heat water, the appliance itself must be hot. Thus it really is a "hot water heater," jerk.


When I am walking with someone towards an automatic door I try to reach the door a little ahead of them, stop, and say "Here, let me get that for you."

On a related note, revolving doors killed chivalry.


When I see that I have misspelled a word on my computer, I often right click on it rather than try to fix the mistake myself.
The "Learn Spelling" option has been catching my eye a lot recently and it makes me a bit defensive.