Saturday, May 26, 2001

Statistics, Words and Cohabitation

The census bureau causes a ruckus with a few choice numbers and words... "I've become very well acquainted with the number 72 this week," laughs Dorian Solot, executive director of the Alternatives to Marriage Project. "Suddenly one day, the phone starts ringing off the hook, but nothing had changed in the outside world. Someone had just stated a number."
The Dallas Morning News: Science

Friday, May 25, 2001

Quote for today

To have doubted one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man.
-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., poet, novelist, essayist, and physician (1809-1894)

Tuesday, May 22, 2001

What constitutes a "modest" vs. a "substantial" majority?

From an Interest!Alert Enews story: "...A more modest 56% to 28% majority believes that churches and religious organizations have too little power and influence. Also, a 51% to 30% plurality feels that racial minorities have too little influence. Conversely, a substantial (57% to 23%) majority believes that TV and radio talk shows have too much political clout. "

The full story:
Large Majorities Believe Big Companies PACs Media and Lobbyists Have too Much Power in Washington

Monday, May 21, 2001

More Quoted Wisdom

Talking is like playing the harp; there is as much in laying the hand on the strings to stop their vibrations as in twanging them to bring out their music.
-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., poet, novelist, essayist, and physician (1809-1894)

Men ever had, and ever will have leave, / To coin new words well suited to the age, / Words are like Leaves, some wither every year, / And every year a younger Race succeeds.
-Horace, poet and satirist (65-8 BCE) [Ars Poetica, Art of Poetry] translated by Wentworth Dillon, Earl of Roscommon (1633-1685)

True------1/2 True-----False?

What constitutes "true air"? With or without "odors"?
Hamilton Beach True Air� Air Cleaner

Thursday, May 17, 2001

A newspaper perspective on a well-known g-s idea

Jon Carroll from the SF Chronicle has some fun with symbols and the people who give them meaning.
Into the world, armed only with eyes

Hedy(1) is not Hedy(2)

Another example of how a popular perception may not tell the whole story...
TimeLab 2000: Stories (BEAUTIFUL BRAINS)

Thursday, May 10, 2001


When you read a classic, you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in yourself than there was before.
-Cliff Fadiman

In seeking wisdom, the first step is silence, the second listening, the third remembering, the fourth practicing, the fifth -- teaching others.
-Ibn Gabirol, poet and philosopher (c. 1022-1058)

Tuesday, May 01, 2001

Words don't mean, people mean...

Excerpted from A Word A Day Mail Issue 31:
From: Mary Brown (
Subject: anachronistic words

You were talking about words having different meanings depending upon the period of history. I remember reading that one of the first descriptions of the newly built St. Paul's cathedral in London in the early years of the eighteenth century called the new building 'amusing, awful and artificial'. Sir Christopher Wren was, however, really pleased as he knew this meant in today's terms that it was amazing, awe inspiring and artistic.

Check out the delightful A Word A Day email service for more on words and meanings.