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September 10, 2010


What no cant? Can't? One, two, and six sound good...the rest? Well, amuse me.

Welcome aboard.

Wow, you archive your comments? That's serious. Though if you are in TypePad, it does that for you on all the typepad blogs you comment on.

With you and Gary, I'm looking forward to a new Golden Age that we can open complaints to newbies a couple of years from now 'you should have been there when...'

So when's the debut?

Chris J:

Sunday, I hope.


Archiving comments is a habit I got into when I learned (the hard way) to compose comments in Notepad, so I have a copy when something crashes mid-post. And it's a way to keep track of what conversations I've been in, especially if I'm commenting on a variety of sites on different platforms.

I think it's terrific to have Dr. Science added to ObWi's flock of bloggers.

LJ: "With you and Gary...."

I am but a humble guest blogger, and former and sometime commenter.

I say "welcome, welcome!" to Dr. Science in that role.

Dr. Science, welcome!

Can you explain again about why the pens at the Post Office never work?


Well, maybe a sort of Joey Bishop on the Tonight Show sort of guest. (as opposed to a Joan Rivers, leave to get a different gig and causes a huge rift guest)

Carson always had the Monday night slot as guest host night, maybe a similar gig with the timing being an open thread on the Friday evening in the inimitable Farber manner?

Mike Schilling:

That one's *easy*. Tragedy of the commons, now playing at a post office near you.

I agree with lp. A regular Gary Farber gig would be a good thing.

I like hearing about people's kids. Welcome indeed.

I'd actually welcome posts on theoretical population genetics. I was always slightly interested in the subject and then became slightly more interested when the creationists started using Haldane's cost of selection concept as an argument against evolution. (I'm not a creationist, btw, but I thought that particular argument about the maximum rate of gene substitution was interesting even if the creationists were using it for their own purposes.)

And a regular Gary Farber gig would be a great thing--second best would be Gary regularly commenting again.

Welcome! But you need to learn to say ObWi, not ObiWi. Where'd that "i" come from? The site is not a Jedi.

A regular Gary Farber gig would be a good thing.

Thirded. Or fourthed, or whatever.

Welcome, Dr. Science! I always wondered about that MA thing, and whether my BS out-sciences it.

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.


The Farber and Doctor Science families have agreed to work with us.

This a big step in our business.


That's a real promising group of proposed topics. But I admit that the one which looks like the most fun is the "Reasonable Teenager Girl standard for social networking sites" -- now that could be an eye-opener for a lot of us here! (Always good to hear something from outside one's own experience.)


Welcome, Doctor Science.

Official Scientific Question:

Is there some sort of contagious disease, affecting only inanimate objects, that causes seemingly unrelated devices like my computer, my car, and my dishwasher all to have trouble the same week?

Welcome aboard the good ship ObWi, Doc -- nice to see someone who isn't a dude with a hand on the tiller. ;)

Oh, and what everyone else said re: Gary joining the permanent roster. Who else here has the patience/tenacity to eviscerate flimsy arguments from collectivist libertarians and tedious concern trolls without resorting to overt ridicule (even when the discourse is in fact ridiculous)?

Well I think Gary is excellent at overt ridicule, he just tends to use facts to do it.

And, oh yeah, what everyone said about Doc and Gary.

(Barring objection from Doctor Science I really like having a front pager I can call Doc)



Things I will try not to post about *all* the time: ...my fat lazy cat...

Oh thank jeebus!

And here I thought it was that pens, once chained, lose the will to write.

I'm just waiting for a chance to say "thank you, Doctor Science!"

[my way of saying "welcome".]

I too am looking forward to reading about "Reasonable Teenager Girl standard for social networking sites". That will be fun.

Full disclosure: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the TV series) is always running somewhere in my brain. In on episode, "Anne", she's just about to whack an evil demon who's been imprisoning teenage runaways and sucking the life out of them. Buffy has shut down the operation, the head demon ("Ken") is pinned down, and Buffy says, "Hey, Ken. Wanna see my impression of Ghandi?" Then she whacks him. A rescued girl goes, "Huh?" And Buffy says, "Well, you know, if he was really pissed off."

Buffy's like my eternal legendary Reasonable Teenage Girl.

Gandhi. One of the most misspelled names of the past century.

But I can play _Buffy_ trivia for any episode, and entirely remember that line, of course.

Congrats, Doctor Science. Every so often when I read one of your comments I halfheartedly google it, but do you by chance know if the old "Ask Doctor Science" bits are available anywhere on the web? I still remember parts of the one about why wintergreen lifesavers spark in the dark. "Do you pet your cat with a hard rubber rod? When you turn off the TV do ghostly hands and faces appear on the screen?"

Gromit, are you perhaps thinking of Mr. Wizard?

Ira Flatow also did the wintergreen lifesaver thing.

Ask Dr. Science, on the other hand, is comedy from Duck's Breath Mystery Theatre.

Thanks, Gary, but I know the difference. It was "Ask Doctor Science", not a straight science show. I also particularly remember the one about why wagon wheels turn backwards in movies. It involved the wheels secreting a trail of fluid, as I recall.

Hokay, sorry. Presumably you know of this video and this. Not everyone may have, though.

Oh, Gary, I have actually reflected upon the constant misspelling of "Gandhi" before, and have thought, people, learn to spell already, and then I went and did it myself. Thank you. I resolve to do better. Look. See my face? Resolve face.

Hey, we all make typos, and when I'm tired enough, my fingers will be very creative.

The Gandhi misspelling point comes as I prepare my lectures for English phonetics, where I introduce a variety of dialects to my students and discuss some features of those dialects (I am at a loss to explain how it never coincided with preparation before) and one of the points that I make is that aspects English orthography actually tell us a range of interesting things .

Because voiced alveolar stops come in aspirated and non-aspirated versions, the fact that it is dh rather than d actually tells us something about the pronunciation of Gandhi in Gujarati and this gives me a chance to reinforce some points about aspiration in English, which start in the class discussion of Scottish English dialect and the fact that we spell words like what and where with that h as well as the spellings we find of hwaet in Old English. (I also do the tried and true class exercise of having students pronounce b/p and t/d with a paper in front of their mouth to demonstrate that we are talking about phonology rather than phonetics)

It also explains why English speakers make this misspelling: the velar plosives (/k/ and /g/) are naturally aspirated in English, but the voiced alveolar plosive (/d/) is never aspirated. So it may not simply be lazy fingers, it could be related to a native speaker's subconscious knowledge of sound-orthography relations.

So the next time you spell it Ghandi, instead of a resolve face, tell them it is just your linguistic Weltanschauung talking...

liberal japonicus, will you mary merry marry me?

I think I will blame my linguistic Weltanschauung the next time I misspell "Ghana" as "Ganha".

Whoa, I'm only going give you cover for Ghandi. With Ganha, you are on your own...

Blame it on the ganja.

Yo, Dr. Science! Yay!

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