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Comment: Re:times smaller,,, (Score 1) 47

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:Damn... (Score 1) 379

by Pseudonym (#49557513) Attached to: Woman Behind Pakistan's First Hackathon, Sabeen Mahmud, Shot Dead

Why did they seceed from India when India has millions of muslims?

There are generally two reasons why countries secede: either the previous regime is intolerable, or someone is on a power trip (or some combination of both).

I'll let historians debate which was the more dominating motive in the case of Pakistan.

Comment: Re:truly an inspiration. (Score 1) 379

by Pseudonym (#49557477) Attached to: Woman Behind Pakistan's First Hackathon, Sabeen Mahmud, Shot Dead

How do you know that gtall is American? If he or she lives somewhere else in the developed world, US-style fundamentalist evangelicals probably are a tiny minority there, and worldwide they certainly are.

They aren't a problem because they are numerous (on a worldwide scale). They are a problem because they've been infiltrated by secular politicians (and only quite recently; we're talking the mid-to-late 70s) and their leaders are cashed-up at the moment. Comparisons to Saudi Wahhabism are not coincidental.

Comment: Re:truly an inspiration. (Score 1) 379

by Pseudonym (#49557449) Attached to: Woman Behind Pakistan's First Hackathon, Sabeen Mahmud, Shot Dead

And yet, their cultural identity as the foundation of Christianity and Islam make them culturually.

Jewish people do not generally define themselves culturally as the foundation for Christianity and Islam. This makes even more sense when you consider where antisemitism has historically come from: the majority culture wherever they happened to be.

The very term "Judeo-Christian" is a piece of modern revisionist history.

Comment: Re:truly an inspiration. (Score 1) 379

by Pseudonym (#49557435) Attached to: Woman Behind Pakistan's First Hackathon, Sabeen Mahmud, Shot Dead

Yet they're amazingly well represented in finance, media, and law.

European culture made sure that they couldn't do anything else. Historically, Jews in Europe were not allowed to be members of a trade-guild, because doing so required making a Christian oath. For city dwellers (i.e. non-farmers), peddling and money-lending were two of the only jobs available until quite recently.

Comment: Re:truly an inspiration. (Score 1) 379

by Pseudonym (#49557401) Attached to: Woman Behind Pakistan's First Hackathon, Sabeen Mahmud, Shot Dead

Neither Christians nor Jews are book-worshippers. Besides, both Christians and Jews agree that no Gentile is bound the civil/religious code of the ancient Hebrews. By the way, that is right there in the Bible too.

The statement that "neither Christians nor Jews do that" is not a universal quantification, and nobody who made it through the first week of any critical thinking course would ever mistake it for one. Finding some tiny subset of Christians in some cultish backwater of Christendom (such as, oh, the US Bible belt) does not negate the claim.

Comment: Re:times smaller,,, (Score 1) 47

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) 47

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) 47

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.

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

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