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All the footnotes for the whole web site are collected here. They have back and forth links; an entry like:
gives you a link back to the source page in the parentheses. Some entries are just placeholders until I write another article to finish the thought; I have this digressive mind and rather than let the level get too deep (digression level, please, you don't have to bring out the shovel), I'll footnote and come back later.
Entries are alphabetical.
"A surprise attack involving the deliberate use of violence against civilians in the hope of attaining political or religious aims." (Unintended)
From http://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary. The US State Department said in 2000, according to ABC News, "No one definition of terrorism has gained universal acceptance." There is a definition in the US Patriot Act, but many people take objection to it, because it could be used to prosecute organizations and actions that many people consider legitimate. For my purposes here, the above definition will do. I'm not prosecuting anyone.
"I Love Lucy" in Africa, "The Bachelor" in Malaysia and CNN in Azerbaijan (Don't Look Down)
I'm not sure any of these are actually true. A quick internet search doesn't give me information on where they are watched (I Love Lucy is watched in Australia, but I wanted a relatively poorer country.) It is easy to believe, however, the shows are watched in remote places, certainly in poorer ones.
"To Serve Man"? (Diversity)
Yes I know about the Twilight Zone episode. Do you know about the Damon Knight short story? (November 1950, Galaxy Science Fiction)
"You can't always get what you want" (Unintended)
A spiritual favorite of mine. It's a little bit strange to quote a drug-using, rock and roll band when you are talking about spiritual principles. But, "if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need."
2°C versus 9°C (The Holocene)
Holocene temperatures were plus or minus one degree from present temperatures, other eras were -6° to 3°C from present temperatures. The graph I used is at
2014 article in Wired (Ants Build Nests)
Wired Nov 19, 2014
Entomologists have known for decades that ant colonies frequently move nests. But they have little idea why. A new study makes a valiant effort to solve this mystery. It ultimately comes up short on the question of why ants move, but it makes some interesting discoveries about how they do it.
Walter Tschinkel, an entomologist at Florida State University, tracked more than 400 harvester ant colonies for three years in the the Apalachicola National Forest, just outside Tallahassee.
He found that colonies moved about once per year, usually during spring and summer. There were variations within the population of colonies in terms of how often, how far, and in what season the moves took place, but otherwise few clues to why the ants move.
65% (The IQ of Water)
In the original version of this essay, I used 98%, a figure remembered from childhood. A friend corrected me. Since my childhood was a while ago, I should have checked. The point of the essay (or silliness depending on where you are coming from) remains the same.
appalled (The Competitive Spiral)
"The Italians have been shocked by how bloated Chrysler's management still is - there are nearly ten times as many people in external comunications as there are at Fiat - and the plodding, committee bound decision making process."
The Economist 4/25 pg 72
Atlantic Monthly (Nobody Should Starve)
March 2015, Graeme Wood, What ISIS Really Wants. The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here's what that means for its strategy and for how to stop it.
calculations (House of Cards)
Cruising jet 580 mph, correction 3.74e-13; fastest manned jet 5,261 mph, correction 3.07e-11; space shuttle 17,320 mph, correction 3.33e-10. Even for the space shuttle thats a 3 with 10 zeroes in front of it; not something you'd likely be able to feel. I'm calculating the correction = 1 - sqrt( 1 - v^2 / c^2 ). All speeds taken from wikipedia articles.
choice (Measured Education)
There is apparently a complicated process for determining the set of books that the kids are allowed to choose from, but I didn't understand it and it's not important for my point here, so I'll let it go for for the moment. My friend didn't think that much of the process either.
collapse of whole human civilizations. (The Holocene)
"The short-lived 1200-1000 cal yr B.P. RCC event coincided with the drought-related collapse of Maya civilization and was accompanied by a loss of several million lives, while the collapse of Greenland's Norse colonies at ~600 cal yr B.P. coincides with a period of polar cooling that is minor by glacial standards. Even the less extensive event from 4200 to 3800 cal yr B.P. coincided with major low-latitude drought and the collapse of the Akkadian Empire."
pg 252, Holocene climate variability, P.A. Mayewski et al. / Quaternary Research 62 (2004) 243-255
complexities (Presumed Innocence)
At least one of the complexities is the dimensionality of the comparison. The word "inferior" implies a linear one dimensional scale. How do you compare Mozart with Bill Gates? They are both brilliant but along different dimensions.
corporate planning (The Humanity of Diversity)
There are arguments pro and con regarding corporate diversification. The con arguments operate either with a reasonably known future or have a 'give up' option. The "stick to your knitting" argument carried to its logical completion would say that if the future changes so that our market disappears, we should disband. In reality the corporation will start looking for alternatives to continue to exist. Newspapers are currently a good example. Some of them diversified into internet web sites earlier than others, something that now looks like a good move.
If you believe that Kennedy, had he lived, would have accomplished as much, you ought to read more history. There's a certain irony in LBJ enacting the Kennedy plan, but it illustrates how there isn't all that much difference between parties and elected officials.
Even the very poorest Americans - those at the 2nd percentile of income in the United States - are at the 62nd percentile globally. (Don't Look Down)
Branko Milanovic, lead economist for the World Bank research group as quoted by Forbes contributor Tim Worstall 17 Oct 2011.
exceptions (Nobody Should Starve)
I admire the feelings behind the make a wish foundation, but perhaps we can admit the reality of death, however tragic, and make this world a better place, by investing in life.
yes you know Robert's Rules, not the finer points, but the broad outline: motion-second-discussion-vote.
five major extinction events in the past. (Are We There Yet?)
There seems to be general agreement that there are at least five and perhaps as many as twenty such events.
four syllables (Muy Frijo)
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (nine syllables) versus Happy Holidays (five syllables)
galactic freeway construction project (Diversity)
Cheap reference to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Godzilla foot (Diversity)
Bambi Meets Godzilla, animated short. Marv Newland 1969
good honest government (Historical)
It may come as a shock, but we had corruption back then. We've always had corruption, rigged elections and self interest. The United States once started a war because a publisher wanted to sell newspapers. It's better today; truly.
grass (Muy Frijo)
I was once told that Mean Joe Green was so angry that he was mad at grass.
hardware store (Spiritual Lessons From Evolution III)
It always takes a least two trips to get everything right. Plumbing takes three.
My guy doesn't exist, but if he did he would be male because I am, you are at perfect liberty to specify the gender of your recursive consciousness avatar.
knowledge (Measured Education)
In order to learn you need to know the difference between what will and will not annoy your teachers, so you can maximize information flow without making them angry. In little children this sounds frivolous, but, as you mature, it really makes sense.
last week (We Will Have Lost)
13 November 2015
Masculine (Muy Frijo)
I went looking for the gender of the word 'warm' and immediately fell into the whole language and thought issue. You don't use 'warm' that way in Spanish. There's even some question in my mind if 'warm' and 'cold' actually have gender because the expressions seem to be adjectival (the weather is warm).
my kids (Measured Education)
I'm being sarcastic here. Not that getting your children into college is frivolous, but the extent to which we all go sometimes seems inappropriate.
neighbor's tree (Tomorrow)
True story: I lived in an association that spent $50,000 on lawyers fees because somebody bought a house and then sued his neighbor and the association over a tree that was there when he moved in.
one of the reasons (Spiritual Lessons From Evolution III)
There are probably other reasons for getting hung up, having to do with entrenched positions and control, but that will take us away from the points I want to make.
Otherlands. (Are We There Yet?)
Otherlands by Thomas Halliday, Random House, February 2022.
parent (17, 27, 40 and 60.)
There is a beautiful poem by Linda Pastan called The Death of a Parent. You owe it to yourself to find and read it.
Before you believe your elected officials about their principles, look at their history. My representative in the house has a history of shady real estate deals, using his influence to make his property more valuable. I guess that is a principle: in two year olds, we call that "Gimme, it's mine."
Scientific American (Consciousness)
Scientific American, July 26, 2012, How Free Will Collides with Unconscious Impulses, Michael Shermer
Sheldon on "The Big Bang Theory". (A maze of twisty little passages...)
My friends described an episode to me and mid way through I started spouting the same things Sheldon had said in the episode. In the episode Sheldon was out with a bunch of jocks who were interested in a girl getting into a hot tub. Sheldon and I started talking about displacement, Archimedes, and Eureka. The jocks weren't impressed. Neither were my friends.
some signs. (Unintended)
"cracking or collapsing snowpack, whumping sounds and hollow drum-like sounds on hard snow.
Southern California (The Holocene)
Los Angeles January average 58.3°F and August average 75.1°F
special geologic period. (The Holocene)
"the last 10,000 years - the period geologists call the Holocene - has been quite unusually warm"
"the Holocene has been privileged in a further respect: its extraordinary climatic stability"
pg 6 A Brief History of the Human Race, Michael Cook
"the climate of the Holocene (11,500 cal yr B.P. to the present) has sustained the growth and development of
pg 243, Holocene climate variability, P.A. Mayewski et al. / Quaternary Research 62 (2004) 243-255
story (Muy Frijo)
Through Other's Eyes, collected in Nine Hundred Grandmothers
temperature (Presumed Innocence)
At the time of my first draft, 9 Sep 2012, we were suffering through a record setting heat wave. Meteorologists anticipated an El Nino condition for the United States West Coast but said they couldn't predict whether it would be hotter or cooler, wetter or dryer next year.
The poorest five per cent of Americans earn on average the same as the richest five per cent of Indians. (Don't Look Down)
dailymail.co.uk 5 Jan 2012
The urban dictionary (Squeeze)
At urbandictionary.com. The first definition for squeeze has sexual overtones but that's probably to be expected in a dictionary of slang.
Tom Cruise (Cooperation)
Tom is a good actor; that's not my issue. My problem is the mentality that seems to ignore the way we depend on each other, and to deliberately deny the help we give one another.
traits. (Presumed Innocence)
I know you've encountered some of them, so have I. Anecdotal evidence isn't proof. There's a humorous punch line in here somewhere.
water to acid (Unintended)
They tell you to add acid to water, so any drops splattered by the heat reaction when the acid and water combine are relatively dilute. We were young, we were scientists in training, we were foolish.
13 Feb 2023
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