Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Re:times smaller,,, (Score 1) 48

by ScentCone (#49557675) Attached to: Cosmologists Find Eleven Runaway Galaxies

That has nothing to do with the wording people are arguing over

No, that's EXACTLY what people are arguing about. You say "A is ten times smaller than B" when B is already understood to be small compared to something else. The implication in that sentence is that B is already known for its smallness, and A is even smaller. Except, people use that same construction even when B isn't considered small. They use that incorrect connotation when what they're really trying to say is, "B is big, but A is only a tenth as big."

Comment: Re:times smaller,,, (Score 1) 48

by ScentCone (#49557213) Attached to: Cosmologists Find Eleven Runaway Galaxies

Just like every time someone says, "Product A is $2 cheaper than Product B," I have to guess that, "Product B is $2 more than Product A." Maybe we shouldn't have slept through math class.

Math doesn't help in the absence of context. If Product A is $2 cheaper than Product B, but Product B costs $10,000 ... does it really matter? That's a little different than Product B costing $3, right? Right. In real life, context actually matters, or you're just wasting people's time.

Comment: Re:times smaller,,, (Score 1) 48

by ScentCone (#49557205) Attached to: Cosmologists Find Eleven Runaway Galaxies

There is no confusion that it might mean something else.

Yes, there IS confusion. Are we supposed to infer that the thing that the new 10-times-smaller version is being compared to was already considered small? That's what implied, but nobody knows for sure because the person saying it is lazily using a common, and poorly thought out, construction that doesn't actually tell us that.

No, you're not. It is perfectly reasonable for someone to say something like, "The Small Magellanic Cloud is the smaller of the two Magellanic Clouds," without implying it is smaller than a breadbox or even small in general.

OK. But let's say you don't know how big the Small Magellanic Cloud is, relative to, say, the Milky Way, or Andromeda, or anything else. And then someone says, "We've just found a new galaxy, hiding behind a dust cloud, and it's three times smaller than the Magellanic Cloud." What are you supposed to gather from that use?

Fine, you don't like the wording

No, I don't like people conveying information in a way that forces you to go research something they mentioned without providing any useful context. When somebody cites a comparative size, but doesn't explain why (or if) that comparison is meaningful, then it's a waste of time. Especially when the communication is theoretically about science and/or technology.

Comment: Re:times smaller,,, (Score 0) 48

by ScentCone (#49556201) Attached to: Cosmologists Find Eleven Runaway Galaxies

even though everybody knows what it means right away

You're missing the point.

When someone says, "The new battery is ten times smaller than the old battery," yes ... we can guess that part of what's meant is, "The new battery is a tenth the size of the old battery."

But there's a reason those are TWO DIFFERENT SENTENCES.

When you use the word smallER in that context, you're communicating that the old battery is small, and the new battery is even smaller. Why? Because you're saying that the new battery has time times the smallness of the old one. That has a completely different connotation than a sentence that suggests that the old battery was what it was (or was large), and the new battery is comparatively small.

The reason we have lots of vocabulary words, adjectives, and constructions is so that we can be nuanced and more precise in simple communication. When you use a sentence that essentially forces the audience to go find out what you actually meant by "ten times smaller" (was the old one small, or huge?) then you've done the opposite of providing useful information. All of that in order to avoid using slightly different words that we also all know?

This is pure laziness, that's all. It's mimicking a sound or phrase without thinking about what's actually being communicated. It's no different than people who say, "I could care less," when they mean exactly the opposite. They are uttering sounds without thinking about the actual words they're using. One small, lazy spoken step for man, part of one cumulative giant leap towards dumbing everybody down.

Comment: Re:No, it's the SJW Crowd Who Defends Islam (Score 0) 383

by peragrin (#49555431) Attached to: Woman Behind Pakistan's First Hackathon, Sabeen Mahmud, Shot Dead

You should read how the bible treats women. It isn't any different from sharia.

Females are considered second class citizens in all monotheist religions. Fortunately the USA and most of Europe is made of descendants of various pagan religions that Christianity had to adapt to. Christianity had to add local customs. Things like Christmas, Halloween, new years, Some of those pagann religions had women as equals. It took centuries. But it happened.

Comment: Re:Just be prudent although... (Score 3, Interesting) 38

I'm not posting this AC, and will take the karma hit off need be.

So with that, let me say that I hope you die of some horrible cancer that makes you smell like rancid cat shit, so awful that your own mother hopes you die, but you don't, and just linger on, more foul and corrupted with each passing day, becoming as vile and repugnant on the outside as you are on the inside.

An egghead is one who stands firmly on both feet, in mid-air, on both sides of an issue. -- Homer Ferguson

Working...