A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Saturday, May 31, 2014

More Odds and Ends

Today, TOF presents for your delight a Quote of the Day, a Science! Marches On!, and a Statistical Puzzle for you to solve, among the usual sundry miscellany.

Quote of the Day

"An enemy is just a friend who wants to kill you." – Doug TenNapel

Elephant in the Room

"Boko Haram has been carrying out atrocities for years. The group has murdered thousands and caused thousands more to flee. It has burned churches with people inside them; it has massacred people in the streets. But until now, the Western media has paid little attention. Why the change?

Here’s a possible explanation: the majority of Boko Haram’s targets and victims have been Christians—according to one estimate, something like 60%. In fact, 60% may understate things. Boko Haram considers schools and places of entertainment  “Christian” institutions, so one should see attacks on those places as part of an anti-Christian campaign as well. In fact, although it hasn’t been widely reported, Chibok is a predominantly Christian city, and most of the kidnapped schoolgirls are Christians. That was the point."
-- Mark Movsesian, "Choose Your Victims Well"
The term "boko" is derived from the English word "book."  "Haram" means "unclean."

Revenge of the Scotsman

A: “All fish breathe through gills rather than lungs.”
B: “But whales are fish, and they breathe through their lungs.”
A: “Whales may look and seem like fish, but they aren’t truly fish because they breathe through their lungs.”
-- Amod Lele, "The No True Fish Fallacy"

Think about this one the next time someone tries to pull the "No True Scotsman Fallacy" fallacy. There are formal fallacies and material fallacies, and the latter are only fallacies depending on the matter of the proposition, not the form.

We Were Expecting an Auto Race

"Cycling Event Kicks Off Bike Month in Toronto"--headline,, May 26


"Despite Enrollment Success, Healthcare Law Still Unpopular"--headline,, May 29

What if They Gave a Winter Olympics and Nobody Came Because They Had No Place to Go

"No Countries Want to Host the 2022 Olympics"--headline,, May 28

Science!™ Makes Astonishing Breakthrough

"Tired All the Time? Maybe You Need More Sleep"--headline,, May 29

A New Concept of Bipartisanship

h/t Mark Shea
At a recent commencement speech at West Point, President Obama called for closing Gitmo and blasted the U.S. for spying on innocent civilians.  We need to find out who's been president all that time.

No Sh*t?

"U.N. Vows to Eliminate Open Defecation by 2025"--headline, Inter Press Service, May 28
They're going to... "eliminate" it...

Science Marches On!

"Does Porn Affect the Brain? Scientists Urge More Study"--headline, Agence France-Presse, May 29

Computers Are Taking Over!

"New 'Electric Brain' Records Store Sales, Gives Receipts"
--headline, Reading (Pa.) Eagle, Jan. 24, 1938

Solve the Statistics Puzzle! It's Fun, Boys and Girls!

"More than half of the world's 671 million obese people live in the U.S., China, India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Germany, Pakistan and Indonesia."


  1. Herman Melville, of course, would agree that A's argument was fallacious.

    "Be it known that, waiving all argument, I take the good old fashioned ground that the whale is a fish, and call upon holy Jonah to back me....."

    1. And has anyone written more, or better, about whales, than Melville?

  2. I, for one, am shocked that countries making up more than half of the world's population have more than half of the world's obese people.

  3. Can they really not have known that "55% of the world's population accounts for more than half of anything" was not something that counts as "news"? I mean, isn't that kind of thing introduced around eighth grade? I know actual Stats classes are covered in high school, but I remember getting a basic overview of "x percent of y population does z" in middle school.

    At this point, a case can be made that having your name in a newspaper byline should result in mandatory remedial math classes.

  4. Perhaps Obama will find out he is president, to his surprise, when the media informs him.


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