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Inspiration
In the USA, we use traditional measures in everyday life, and SI when we have to communicate on topics that might have international interest, like science. One of the place that bleed over occurs is in medicine, which, although an art, subject to many individual vagaries, is allied to science.

Pediatrician, discussing fevers, said a low fever was 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. I'd internalized the number as 100 years ago, and took a moment to see her thermometer: she had one set to report on the Celsius scale. 37 is 98.6, 38 is 100.4, 39 is 102.2, and 40 is 104 in the cute little lisp converter I wrote to figure this out:

(defun ftoc (x)
( * (- x 32) .5556))
;Correctly translate Fahrenheit to Celsius
(defun ctof (x)
(+ ( * 1.8 x) 32))
;Correctly translate Celsius to Fahrenheit

Result? I keep my definition, and note that the pediatrician may be using the Celsius numbers as shorthand for low, serious, and emergency fevers.

And add a new characteristic error to my collection. Do you have any favorite characteristic errors you notice?
13th-May-2016 12:01 pm - My tweets
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12th-May-2016 12:01 pm - My tweets
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11th-May-2016 05:47 pm - My tweets
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9th-May-2016 09:06 pm - My tweets
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  • Mon, 18:33: RT @EugeneMirman: Regardless of who you support this coming November — please try to be condescending and assume the worst of everyone you…
  • Mon, 18:40: RT @DPRK_News: Beet ration increases from six pounds per family to 2,500 grams per family, in celebration of victorious Seventh Workers Par…
7th-May-2016 12:01 pm - My tweets
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4th-May-2016 12:01 pm - My tweets
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3rd-May-2016 12:01 pm - My tweets
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2nd-May-2016 12:01 pm - My tweets
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2nd-May-2016 08:38 am - My tweets
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30th-Apr-2016 02:59 pm - My tweets
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27th-Apr-2016 03:00 pm - My tweets
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22nd-Apr-2016 10:33 pm - My tweets
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22nd-Apr-2016 08:53 am - Intelligence
Inspiration
An article from the Mail says that moderns are about one standard deviation less intelligent than Victorians.

While it bases its test on reflex time, I'd suggest that a simpler demonstration of the same thing is the everyday vocabulary employed in novels and popular non-fiction. It is much larger, full of reference to standard works (Book of Common Prayer, Shakespeare, King James Bible, Pilgrim's Progress &c. &c.) most of which are now considered too difficult for highschool, which remains the final degree for the majority of the population. Thomas Hardy, Anthony Trollope, and George Meredith were major novelists, though the standard was Dickens. Thomas Carlyle is one of the most enjoyable non-fiction writers. In the US, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry James would be his opposite numbers. Take a moment and try them out. My trick is to have a pocket dictionary nearby, and make a pencil mark every time I have to look up a word: if I see something with 4 or more, I take time to write it out for myself. There may be other tricks that work as well when facing unfamiliar vocabulary.

What's discouraging about this is the direction of the change over time, and how poorly it is reflected in our popular understanding of ourselves. Reality. It takes work.
21st-Apr-2016 12:03 pm - My tweets
Inspiration
20th-Apr-2016 05:26 pm - New Experiences
Inspiration
Not sure what to make of this. Was browsing newspapers around the world, hit Australia, and ran into google insisting that the news site was unsafe (I'm browsing, not sending credit card information), and then ran into a server denial. Went through Google to see if the link had changed, ran into the same thing. Copied the link, searched for a proxy that existed to avoid censorship, and got in.

If the links from the US to Australia are getting corrupted before the transition to dictators censoring at will, I can imagine how that evolves.


Badly.
20th-Apr-2016 09:47 am - My tweets
Inspiration
18th-Apr-2016 09:37 am - Society's Infrastructure
Inspiration
The problem the US is currently facing has to do with the decay of its social infrastructure, leading to many decisions undertaken in profoundly discivic ways.

Time to rebuild, guys.

Example: Mannerbund
Passivism
17th-Apr-2016 12:06 pm - My tweets
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17th-Apr-2016 01:52 am - My tweets
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13th-Apr-2016 11:47 pm - My tweets
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5th-Apr-2016 12:05 pm - My tweets
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4th-Apr-2016 12:05 pm - My tweets
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10th-Mar-2016 12:05 pm - My tweets
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9th-Mar-2016 12:20 pm - Publisher's Backlist
Inspiration
Publishers generally have a backlist of books that they think will take off, and they've got the printing sufficiently automated that they can do a short run, stock the wholesalers' warehouses, and wait. Shakespeare makes a good one. Just redo the cover every decade or so, and it has a bump in sales.

But then there are books which so perfectly don't fit when they are published, and so perfectly fit the situation 40 years later that...

The book is The Camp of the Saints by Jean Raspail: a book only praised by the French and American conservatives, and therefore not worth reading. It stayed on the backlist, finding different republication rights in different decades, unitl 2011, when it hit the best seller list, and stayed close to it ever since.

Why?

Because it fits what is going on in Europe now, and what the political establishment wants to happen to the US now. They want a more biddable electorate, not as independent, not as well paid. And they're getting one.

And they're getting one.

And you wondered why Trump and Cruz had an impact.
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