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Comment: Re:times smaller,,, (Score 1) 60

by ScentCone (#49559863) Attached to: Cosmologists Find Eleven Runaway Galaxies
I get it. It's just too much trouble for you to choose between multiple ways of saying something in order to be succinct instead of vague. People who don't value clarity never realize that they people they're talking to - every time that happens - value that communication (and the person attempting it) less and less over time.

What's so hard to understand? This forum is full of people correcting others' poor use of communication when talking about everything from natural selection to global warming to employment demographics. Someone makes a sloppy choice of phrase, and the simple thing they're trying to convey turns into a four-step back and forth during which everyone from trolls to the merely dim decide to screw up the thread or just rant because the OP couldn't trouble themselves to just speak clearly in the first place.

This particular lapse in clarity, which comes up regularly in lazy science and technology reporting, isn't the point. The larger point is the grinding erosion in careful communication, and the erosion in clear and critical thinking of which that is an indicator. You think this is about ego? It's about understanding the power and value of properly nuanced communication, especially in the shortened format that venues like this tend to encourage.

I need to learn English? What you're really saying is, I need to forget English, because it's just too much trouble to quickly sort through the differences found in several ways to say the same thing, each of which contributes to a more quickly digested communication of different ideas. You're cranky because I'm not a fan of lazy thinking, and the fact that you think "learning English" means forgetting how to distinguish between different words is exactly the larger problem I'm pointing out.

Comment: Re:Demented reading of history (Score 1) 452

by Grishnakh (#49559245) Attached to: Woman Behind Pakistan's First Hackathon, Sabeen Mahmud, Shot Dead

What's blindingly obvious is that both sides are horrible. I was only saying that I could see why the Catholics wanted to prevent commoners from doing their own interpretation, because it leads directly to fundamentalism; I never said the Catholics were models of virtue themselves.

The best answer is to not have any "holy books" at all, because as soon as you believe something like that, you get all kinds of twisted logic and justifications for stupid and horrible things. ("It says XYZ here, and we can't question that, so it follows from that that we need to do ABC in this situation.")

Comment: Re:times smaller,,, (Score 1) 60

by ScentCone (#49558729) Attached to: Cosmologists Find Eleven Runaway Galaxies

There is nothing in there constraining SizeA or SizeB relative to anything else, just the size relative to each other.

No, no constraints in that sense. Just the larger constraints introduced by the fact that the purpose of saying anything at all, in that context, is to communicate something meaningful about A's size. And by choosing the "ten times more" construction, part of what you're communicating is the fact that B, the thing to which you're comparing A, is by implication already considered small. That format (rather than saying, "A is a tenth B's size") is a choice of words that communicates the understand that B is small, and A is even more small. The phrase "ten times smaller" is using the word "smaller" in the sense of "more small."

The words "ten times" is a multiplier. It's used, in a comparison, to say that one value is LARGER than another. In this usage, the smallness of A is ten times larger than the smallness of B. Trotting out that multiplier is a deliberate choice made to focus on smallness in both A and B, with A having ten times more of it. That doesn't describe the size of B, but it communicates that notion that B is already - in the scheme of things - considered small, and A more so.

Comment: Re:times smaller,,, (Score 1) 60

by ScentCone (#49558713) Attached to: Cosmologists Find Eleven Runaway Galaxies
It's a shame that your own literacy is so limited, and that your own ability to parse the differences between words is disabled by a lack of vocabulary breadth. That's got to be frustrating. Or maybe not, since perhaps ignorance is bliss in some way, right?

Saying that something is "ten times smaller" is like saying "ten times more small." The phrase "ten times" is a multiplier. It means that you're describing an aspect of something, and saying that there is ten times as much of that aspect. In that usage, the aspect you're describing and comparing is the smallness.

By choosing that construction ("A is ten times smaller than B"), you're deliberately focusing on B's size, and implying that the smallness of B is the thing that's being multiplied ... that B's smallness is important in what you're communicating, and that it's of note because A's size is even more so (small, that is). If we're not trying to convey B's smallness as part of the concept being communicated (perhaps B isn't really thought of as small at all, in the scheme of things), a different construction makes more sense. Makes for better communication: "A is tenth of B's size." We're still describing the relationship, but doing so without including words that suggest B's size is already considered small.

That you don't have the cognitive and communication skills to understand the difference, or that you DO, and prefer to have communication dumbed down and muddied, and require more back and forth to clarify what you mean, says a lot about you. Which is unfortunate. That you think you have to insult someone else in order to feel better about it is just kind of pathetic, really.

Comment: Re:times smaller,,, (Score 1) 60

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:truly an inspiration. (Score 1) 452

by Grishnakh (#49557585) Attached to: Woman Behind Pakistan's First Hackathon, Sabeen Mahmud, Shot Dead

A few points:

The 2A argument is a bit different. Personally, I can see both sides. Some of that may be my American (and southern) upbringing and environment, but to me, I can see both sides. One side argues that society is safer with guns because police can't be there in 5 seconds and you can protect yourself with one, the other side argues that a proliferation of guns is what makes society unsafe and that adding more guns to the mix just makes it worse. Both are valid points. Both sides, from what I've seen, have made valid points at times, and stupid points at others. This to me makes me think that the whole issue is far too complex for a simple binary choice, and also that our society's problems are a lot more complex than whether people have easy access to guns or not. I could go on and on about this subject, but at the very core, both sides have the exact same goal: a safe society for everyone. Neither side wants a society plagued by crime and violence, they just disagree on whether having legal access to guns helps or hurts this.

Gay rights is rather different. At its core, it's about equality: should homosexuals have the same rights as everyone else? Should they be allowed to live their lives peaceably, or should they live in fear and hide their orientation for fear of being ridiculed, harmed, or murdered? I honestly don't see how it's any different than civil rights for minority races. The only justification for oppressing gays is purely religious, and not based on anything rational at all. People hate them because they're different, and that's it.

That said, as for various smart people you listed, everyone does stupid stuff from time to time. I like to believe that we should *try* to be smart in our actions and beliefs, rather than being content to be dumb, but even the smartest of us do stupid things sometimes. Also, not everyone is smart in every subject. Being good at math for instance doesn't mean you've seriously thought much about ethics.

One can't proceed from the informal to the formal by formal means.