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Comment Re:The Irony of Esperanto (Score 2) 223

Interesting. I've always thought that assigning a gender to inanimate objects was useless. This is the first reason that I've seen that shows a use. Are there other reasons?

I am procrastinating about going to work, so I decided to google it and got sent to the wiki, of course.

1 In a language with explicit inflections for gender, it is easy to express the natural gender of animate beings.
  2 Grammatical gender "can be a valuable tool of disambiguation", rendering clarity about antecedents.
    3 In literature, gender can be used to "animate and personify inanimate nouns".

...and goes on to describe #2 as the most useful, as you mentioned.

Among these, role 2 is probably the most important in everyday usage.[citation needed] Languages with gender distinction generally have fewer cases of ambiguity concerning, for example, pronominal reference. In the English phrase "a flowerbed in the garden which I maintain" only context tells us whether the relative clause (which I maintain) refers to the whole garden or just the flowerbed. In German, gender distinction prevents such ambiguity. The word for "(flower) bed" (Beet) is neuter, whereas that for "garden" (Garten) is masculine. Hence, if a neuter relative pronoun is used, the relative clause refers to "bed", and if a masculine pronoun is used, the relative clause refers to "garden". Because of this, languages with gender distinction can often use pronouns where in English a noun would have to be repeated in order to avoid confusion. It does not, however, help in cases where the words are of the same grammatical gender. (There are often several synonymous nouns of different grammatical gender to pick from to avoid this, however.)

Since the flower bed example points out what I always thought was a glaring deficiency in English, I grudgingly accept #2 as useful.

But now it's time(masc) for me(masc) to go to work(masc). No more fun(fem).

Comment Re:Technically it met its goals (Score 1) 171

I'd say Douglas Adams covered it...

"There is an art to flying, or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. ... Clearly, it is this second part, the missing, that presents the difficulties." ..."

As the rumors suggest, Zuma failed the second part.

Comment Re:But majority-minority districts are just fine?? (Score 1) 409

Outstanding, thanks for that. Another lesson that politics is often a double-edged sword. For a little more history from wikipedia...

The word gerrymander (originally written Gerry-mander) was used for the first time in the Boston Gazette on 26 March 1812. The word was created in reaction to a redrawing of Massachusetts state senate election districts under Governor Elbridge Gerry (pronounced /ri/; 1744–1814). In 1812, Governor Gerry signed a bill that redistricted Massachusetts to benefit his Democratic-Republican Party. When mapped, one of the contorted districts in the Boston area was said to resemble the shape of a mythological salamander.[4]


Gerrymandering is used most often in favor of ruling incumbents[15] or a specific political party—the one drawing the map. Societies whose legislatures use a single-winner electoral system are the most likely to have political parties that gerrymander for advantage.[citation needed] Most notably, gerrymandering is particularly effective in non-proportional systems that tend towards fewer parties, such as first past the post.

For years I had been misled by a bit of fake news from some article claiming that Jerry Brown invented jerrymandering. Actually, it wasn't until wikipedia came out that I found the actual history.

Cue arguments about...
Democratic-Republican Party (bet you didn't know about that)
Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown the Reboot, Jerry Brown the Sequel.
Fake news
Did I miss any buzzwords? Oh yeah.

Submission + - SpaceX Zuma Launch a Failure (qz.com)

Al Katawazi writes: Unnamed sources have reported the total loss of the Zuma payload lofted upon a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday night. Reports indicate that the satellite failed separate from the second stage of the rocket. SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell has denied any problems with the SpaceX systems resulting in the loss. Northrop Grumman, the contractor who had constructed the multi billion dollar satellite had opted to mate it to the Falcon 9 using their own custom adapter rather than using the standard SpaceX interface.

Submission + - SPAM: Was the Billion Dollar Secretive SpaceX-Launched Zuma Satellite a Failure?

Excelcia writes: The secret American spy satellite code-named Zuma reportedly didn't reach orbit in Sunday's failed SpaceX rocket launch and the payload is "“presumed to be a total loss.” The Wall Street Journal is quoted as saying

Lawmakers and congressional staffers from the Senate and the House have been briefed about the botched mission ... the secret payload is believed to have plummeted back into the atmosphere because it didn’t separate as planned from the upper part of the rocket.

Officials at SpaceX, however, suggest there was no failure in their launch and some science commentators are questioning whether the assertion that the spacecraft was lost is accurate. Amateur astronomers may have photographic evidence of a successful flight:

About the rumours that #Zuma or its Falcon 9 failed: I have a positive, photographically documented observation of the Falcon 9 upper stage venting fuel after re-entry burn, ahead of re-entry, over East Africa some 2h15m after launch. Pretty much where it ought to be.

Link to Original Source

Comment Re:What morale? (Score 1) 225

they keep signing up because it's scary out in the real world to try to get a job

Sure, some do. It's amazing how different individuals will do different things for different reasons. And just exactly who is being assigned to the word "they" now? All military? Only ossifers? Only the ones that claim patriotism?

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