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Mute point Mon, Nov 28, 2011
In the past few weeks, I've heard two different intelligent people say the phrase "mute point" instead of "moot point".  At first, it annoyed me that anyone would fail to meet the unattainably high grammar goals I secretly set for myself and others.  But then a link pointed out that these people might think the phrase refers to mute as in "if something doesn't matter, it's not saying anything. It's 'mute.'"  I have to say I hadn't considered that, and it kind of makes sense. #language

Kids are gross (2) Mon, Nov 28, 2011
Let's all be honest for a moment and admit a simple fact:  Human children are disgusting.  It seems that everything that typically remains inside a normal human being has the tendency to leak out of a baby, whether it's snot, partially chewed food, partially digested food (i.e. puke), or fully digested food (i.e. poop).  Here are some rebuttals I can imagine hearing from parents: 
  • You did the same thing when you were a baby.  Irrelevant.
  • It's different when it's your own kid.  Even if I had a kid, 99.9% of kids would still be gross.
  • Everything a baby does is beautiful and innocent.  Wrong.
As a non-parent, I legitimately have a difficult time controlling my gag reflex in the presence of a child who's eating.  Quite possibly the most disgusting thing I've ever seen in my entire life was when my nephew scooped the half-chewed and mushy food bits out of his around-the-neck Baby Bjorn thing and put a big ol' handful in his mouth.  That was years ago, and it still gives me chills.  A more recent episode involved a new father lovingly spooning the excess mashed potatoes off his baby's face and putting the contents into his own mouth.  Granted, some of the blame in this case lies on the disgusting parent. #lifestyle

Google Reader shared items Wed, Nov 23, 2011
I've been using Google Reader for about 5 years now, and I had been using their "shared items" feature not to actually share items, but to essentially save them.  If I came across something interesting or noteworthy in my RSS feeds, I'd "share" it, but since my shared items were kept private, they were essentially saved items.  Google pushed out an update to Reader recently to make things look nicer and integrate with their latest Facebook knock-off, and in doing so they got rid of the old shared items system.  They "conveniently" offered the opportunity to download old shared items in JSON format, which for all intents and purposes is completely useless to anyone who doesn't currently write software that utilizes JSON.  Needless to say, I disagree with Google's decision to do away with this feature, I'm annoyed by their attempt at softening the blow, and I have yet another reason why I hate depending on web technologies instead of writing my own software. #technology

College purpose Wed, Nov 23, 2011
Clark Kerr, former president of the University of California, once stated somewhat sarcastically, "The chancellor's job had come to be defined as providing parking for the faculty, sex for the students, and athletics for the alumni."  (via NPR) #education

Turkey sex Mon, Nov 21, 2011
The Broad Breasted White breed of turkeys is the most common commercially-raised turkey in the US.  But there's a problem: 
These birds have shorter breast bones, exceedingly large breasts, are often very fat, and have shorter legs than "standard" turkeys, rendering them unable to breed without human assistance (typically via in vitro fertilisation).
Unless you intentionally buy a heritage breed for three times the price, this is the turkey you eat at Thanksgiving.  (via Freakonomics)

Slightly related:  Corn sex, grape sex #nature

Rewarding failure Fri, Nov 18, 2011
The bank that currently holds my mortgage was one of the ones that failed circa 2009.  It got taken over by the government, then sold to a bigger bank, then later sold to another bank.  Thankfully this had absolutely zero effect on me as a mortgage holder, aside from worrying that it might have an effect on me as a mortgage holder. 

I just got a letter in the mail from this bank offering me a good deal on refinancing.  I'm actually thinking about refinancing anyway, but I'm hesitant to go with this bank because it feels like I'd be rewarding failure, and that's not something I really want to do. 

Related:  Advertising a failure #psychology

Engineering is hard Thu, Nov 17, 2011
I could've told you this
Business majors spend less time on course work than other college students, but they devote more hours to nonschool duties, like earning money and caring for family members. In contrast, engineering students spend the most time studying and the least on outside demands.
(via Shoebox) #education

Grape sex Mon, Nov 07, 2011
Like corn, there's a lot to be said about grape reproduction
But Walker says grape breeding is frowned upon in the industry. Most vines are grown from a branch that's taken off an existing plant. "This essentially means that grapes have not really been having sex very much," says Sean Myles, a geneticist at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College.
Makes me hungry.  I think. #food

E-book weight (2) Thu, Nov 03, 2011
A computer science professor from UC Berkeley calculated that a 4GB e-book reader filled to capacity weighs about 0.000000000000000001g more than an empty one. 
"Although the total number of electrons in the memory does not change as the stored data changes," Dr. Kubiatowicz said, the trapped ones have a higher energy than the untrapped ones. A conservative estimate of the difference would be 10^-15 joules per bit. As the equation E=mc^2 makes clear, this energy is equivalent to mass and will have weight. Plugging this into Einstein's equation yields his rough estimate of 10^-18 grams.
Or, as another writer put it, about 2 tons less than the equivalent number of actual books.

(via Marginal Revolution) #science

Polamalu quote Wed, Nov 02, 2011
I missed the game, and I dislike the Steelers, but I like what Troy Polamalu said about this past weekend's game
When asked about the play after the game, Polamalu said, "Whatever is going to get me in trouble, I'm saying the opposite."
I like his style. #sports

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