Friday, April 24, 2015

Clearing the Tabs

Yes, it's that time again. TOF has been accumulating tabs on his browser like a hound dog accumulating ticks. Now he will blow them all off at once! Hang on.

1. Is There Anything This Theory Cannot Explain?

Global Warming Climate Change is going to make our music sadder. Or happier. Or something. No fooling. This is Science!™, man. Peer-reviewed and everything. It even uses Statistics!
Music: Will climate change give us the blues?

2. More Authors Than You Can Shake a Stick At.

Sylometry, the statistical analysis of words in texts, has demonstrated that Genesis was written by three different authors. A computer analysis showed that six different authors wrote the fourteen Epistles attributed to St. Paul. Problem is the same techniques when applied to the works of James Joyce showed that Ulysses was written by five different authors, none of whom wrote any part of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

3. Zap! Zap! Take That, Ming the Merciless!

The Army Is Testing Handheld Ray Guns

Presumably, it is much harder to hold them with the feet.

4. Fire Photon Torpedos

No, really: Gen 3 High Energy Laser Completes Beam Quality Evaluation

5. Is This Going Too Far?

We hope. Warp Factor 5, Mr. Sulu!
NASA May Have Accidentally Created a Warp Field


6. Okay, But Whom Do We Root For?

ISIS, Taliban Announce Jihad Against Each Other

7. In a Fit of Cultural Insensitivity

Muslims threw Christians overboard during Med voyage
Oh, wait. It's only insensitive when it's Islamophobia. The Post made sure to add to the headline the initial word "Police:..." So the Post cannot be accused of racial [sic] insensitivity by reporting what muslims did. They are only reporting what Italian police said. Whew! Close call there. Now we can get back to being "troubled by the failure to provide sufficiently prompt and generous welfare assistance to the Muslim refugees, streaming across the Mediterranean."

The surviving Christians on the raft retaliated by... wait for it... linking arms and holding fast, making their mass to heavy for the muslims to throw them overboard.

8. Do Black Lives Matter?

The Christians thrown off the raft in the Med were black men from Ghana and Nigeria. Another thirty murdered by ISIL in Libya were Ethiopian. Kenyans are also being attacked.

9. That's Enough Free Speech, Bub. The Next One'll Cost Ya.

The First Amendment Should Never Protect Hatred
Possibly the most insidious thing is that we can't tell if this is a parody or not. Surely, no one can be that tone-deaf, can she?  And yet TOF recalls no less than Stanley Fish writing decades ago that freedom of speech does not cover incorrect speech. He meant politically incorrect speech; but just think how much quieter our elections would be if it were impartially enforced. The Internet would empty out almost overnight.


  1. Re #9: good grief! A bit of searching reveals Cohen's genuine but a nobody, and with aspirations to become a somebody. Given our drift, it's a good bet she will be.

  2. RE #3: One use the article suggests for the (actually not a ray at all) weapon, disabling wirelessly-controlled IEDs, wouldn't last very long: "go off when this thing is deactivated" is only a little harder to rig a bomb with than the other way around.

    RE #5: Awfully early to say for sure, see also those tachyonic neutrinos we keep thinking we've found.

  3. Item #2 is funny.

    Item #6...isn't there some way that the two opponents can annihilate each other, without hurting bystanders?

    Barring that, some way that they can both lose?

  4. Sylometry, the statistical analysis of words in texts, has demonstrated that Genesis was written by three different authors.
    ...So which version of the text were they working from to make this determination? Have they done studies to demonstrate it's just as effective on works in translation and not, perhaps, fooled by a translator with a penchant for unusual word choice?

    I suppose I'll need to add that to my list of things to hunt down.

    1. I wonder if sylometry has ever been applied to English versions of Tolstoy. And if the results were then compared examination of Russian versions of Tolstoy.

  5. Regarding sylometry, if it were ever applied to Tolkien's works they would conclude that there were at least three authors. The first author we encounter, let us call him H, wrote The Hobbit, but towards the end of The Hobbit (especially in versions discovered after 1950) a second author, L, intrudes. His tone is a little darker and more concerned with great deeds and the weight of past ages than with common folk like hobbits. L’s works probably date from earlier than H’s, and in fact H is probably lifting elements from L’s older texts and dropping them with some modification into his own story.

    L is the main author of The Lord of the Rings, but in some places (especially in the beginning) the later writer, H, added to the work. H is more concerned with Hobbits in their own right, and his tone is markedly different from L’s. One of the more obvious examples is early in The Lord of the Rings when the point-of-view shifts suddenly to a fox encountering and wondering about hobbits sleeping out of doors. The fox is never seen again, and no other animals are anthropomorphized in this distinctly H-like way.

    But we can’t be too hard on H for this, because L himself borrows heavily from an even earlier writer, S, whose tone is different from both H and L. S set down the original myths, one of which L retells in more detail. S’s style is more archaic, more distant than either S or H. Many of the songs and poems in L’s work are probably taken directly from S, as well as are passages like "Helms too they chose, and round shields” that reflect a more archaic phrasing.

    S may be more than one writer himself; the volume of collected S myths, The Silmarillion, reflects at least three different shades of style and tonality.


New Story from Michael F. Flynn

 Greetings All.    Mike (Dad) has a new story in the July/August edition of Analog . I know Analog is available on Kindle store and Analog ...