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Gillianren
2009-Mar-20, 11:38 PM
In discussion with my therapist Wednesday, we were going over the treatment plan that the blasted clinic rules call for. For all sorts of reasons, I really don't have anything to put on a treatment plan. No drug problems, no parenting problems, and I can't work toward getting a job until the meds work--and, thank you system, I can't get a job even if they do, because I'd lose my health insurance and therefore my meds. So.

Anyway, we talked about the idea that I should actually sit down and write a book. I've been having trouble with my fiction-writing lately, but as anyone who reads my journal knows, nonfiction is not a problem. The goal, I think, is to publish a book that will at least pay for my health care. It had been suggested to me Monday that I really ought to sit down and write a book of Things Everyone Should Know. My therapist agreed that it sounded like something I could write and possibly get published.

Of course, this is a project for which I theoretically ought not to have to do research, though I am being careful to verify my information--how embarassing it would be to get things wrong in something like that! However, I would like help in collecting the list, if nothing else. After all, just because I think it's something you should know doesn't mean I remember to think of it that way myself. And, yes, the three questions from that list will be in the book.

So can anyone help? What do you guys think Everyone Should Know?

hhEb09'1
2009-Mar-20, 11:59 PM
So can anyone help? What do you guys think Everyone Should Know?Esquire and Popular Mechanics (to name two) frequently run articles listing what every body/guy should know/how, heavily tilted towards the Y. Marilyn vos Savant wrote "I've Forgotten Everything I Learned in School!": A Refresher Course to Help You Reclaim Your Education

HenrikOlsen
2009-Mar-21, 12:11 AM
I before E except when it's not and even then you may get fooled by foreign names.

It's it's when you mean it is, if not it's its and likewise his and hers.

If you use l33tsp34k on the internet, the only people who'll think you're cool are people you wouldn't want to be seen dead with.

Slightly more serious, how to change a fuse, how to change a light bulb, how to change a car tire. (I've seen people fail all three)

Tucson_Tim
2009-Mar-21, 12:14 AM
. . . it sounded like something I could write and possibly get published.


I think both are true. Great idea.

hhEb09'1
2009-Mar-21, 12:20 AM
I will always be the man who writes 18-syllable haiku.
18-syllable haiku-like :)

Otherwise, it's the same thing as six-sided pentagons, or twelve-sided cubes, or four-wheeled bicycles, or the fifth quartile.

korjik
2009-Mar-21, 12:25 AM
What an element is and what the differences are between them. What element Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Carbon, Iron, Aluminum, and Uranium is (are?).

What the proper grammar is for my last sentence. :)

That one too. :) :)

What animals are common in the wild areas of the continent you are on.

How to make fire. On this note, how about anything in the Boy Scout handbook.

How electricity is generated.

g and c (for Earth, and the reason why that qualifer is needed)

What is a craton, why mountains form, and what is a trench.

The difference between classical and modern physics and where it does and dosent matter in the normal person's life.

Can an airplane take off if it is on a conveyor belt.

What clorophyll is and why is that important.

Why is the sea salty? What is a tide?

Where did the Sun, the Moon the Earth and all the planets come from.

I have a feeling this could be a very big book

Somebody please stop me.

:)

HenrikOlsen
2009-Mar-21, 01:20 AM
18-syllable haiku-like :)

Otherwise, it's the same thing as six-sided pentagons, or twelve-sided cubes, or four-wheeled bicycles, or the fifth quartile.
I'm quoting, take it up with Vachss.

hhEb09'1
2009-Mar-21, 01:24 AM
I'm quoting, take it up with Vachss.I quoted you quoting Vachss. :)

Seemed on-topic anyway. It's interesting that someone would think that 18 syllable poems are a wild and crazy idea.

Gillianren
2009-Mar-21, 01:50 AM
Are we counting this as media? I thought I started it in BABBling!

Currently, I'm working on what will be a fairly large section about civics. It will be US-centric, but I don't think that's necessarily a failing in a book written by an American intended for an American publishing company. I'm covering the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation in short, and then I'm going on to fairly detailed stuff about the Constitution--the three branches of government, what the major figures in it do, what the Bill of Rights is, and on and on.

Korjik, since continents are awfully big places, knowing the wild animals on yours gets a little impractical. There are a lot of animals up here that we don't really have back home and vice versa, after all, especially if you're looking at birds and snakes. It would also be one of those places--there are a few--where I don't necessarily provide the answers. For example, in the civics section, I will advise that everyone should know who their various elected officials are, but that information won't actually be in the book, in part because it changes and in part because that would rapidly become a huge book!

Tucson_Tim
2009-Mar-21, 02:01 AM
I'm surprised you haven't written a book or two before now.

korjik
2009-Mar-21, 02:41 AM
Are we counting this as media? I thought I started it in BABBling!


Korjik, since continents are awfully big places, knowing the wild animals on yours gets a little impractical. There are a lot of animals up here that we don't really have back home and vice versa, after all, especially if you're looking at birds and snakes. It would also be one of those places--there are a few--where I don't necessarily provide the answers. For example, in the civics section, I will advise that everyone should know who their various elected officials are, but that information won't actually be in the book, in part because it changes and in part because that would rapidly become a huge book!

I see. You are correct. Make it region instead of continent. :)

hhEb09'1
2009-Mar-21, 03:23 AM
Are we counting this as media? I thought I started it in BABBling!
I didn't move it. I'm pretty sure it hasn't been reported, and moved, but I'll check.

SeanF
2009-Mar-21, 03:26 AM
Otherwise, it's the same thing as six-sided pentagons, or twelve-sided cubes, or four-wheeled bicycles, or the fifth quartile.
Honest to God truth, I just helped my wife with a program for her employer that dealt with payroll quartiles. They have a range that is divided into four sections, but an employee could end up in "quartile" 0 (if they're below the defined minimum) or "quartile" 5 (if they're above the defined maximum). :doh:

I don't know anything that I think everybody should know... :confused:

hhEb09'1
2009-Mar-21, 03:32 AM
Honest to God truth, I just helped my wife with a program for her employer that dealt with payroll quartiles. They have a range that is divided into four sections, but an employee could end up in "quartile" 0 (if they're below the defined minimum) or "quartile" 5 (if they're above the defined maximum). :doh:Moderator pay is in quartile 6.

As far as things to know, if we're staying on civics, the types of local governments and the differences are a good thing to know. Mayor, city manager, mayor/city manager, city council, county government, etc. Sometimes the cities and counties have overlaps--schools, parks, planning and zoning, waste, etc.

Paul Beardsley
2009-Mar-21, 04:26 AM
Most of mine are responses to the unthinking regurgitation of erroneous physics and astronomy in the science fiction that tends to get written for film and TV. It's my opinion that SF in these media is generally worthless as anything other than mindless entertainment (and often not even that), and my belief that it could be a lot more worthy of respect without compromising the entertainment value if the writers knew the basics of science.

I quite like the idea of a series of books with titles along the lines of, You Shouldn't Be Writing... Science Fiction/Detective Stories/Political Thrillers/etc... if you don't know this... There could be a general one too which includes startling revelations such as, "Shards of glass moving at high speed are likely to ruin your whole day."

So, from the SF volume:

Some materials may be stretched, compressed and so on to make them longer, fatter and so on, but (relativity aside) their mass changes only when material is added or removed.

A bag of sugar (or anything else) has the same mass (1kg in the case of the bag of sugar) whether it is on Earth, the moon, deep space or anywhere else. The force it exerts due to its weight will vary; this will depend on its mass and the acceleration due to gravity wherever it happens to be.

Geostationary orbit is at 22,300 miles above the Earth because at that height it takes 24 hours for an object to complete an orbit.

In a rotating spaceship or space station, "down" is away from the axis of rotation. In a nonrotating spaceship or space station, there is no down. There is no reason to suppose that we will ever develop the artificial gravity that features by default (i.e.without thought) on spaceships in most TV and films. aware that this compromise is being made.]

A power cut on an orbiting space station will not cause it to fall to Earth.

A human body exposed to vacuum will not explode, nor will it suddenly freeze.

Planets were so labelled by ancient people long before telescopes existed. If you didn't know already, you should be able to infer from this that you do not need a telescope to see some of the planets in our solar system. Five (well, six at a stretch) are visible to the naked eye, at least three of which are quite difficult to miss at certain times.

An awful lot of things cannot be stored in DNA. These include language*, compassion, and the ability to operate a machine left behind by an ancient alien race.

*As in a specific language, as opposed to Stephen Pinker's grammarese.

Solfe
2009-Mar-21, 04:29 AM
Everyone should know electronic age norms for the workplace.

For example:

What responsibility do you have to your employer since the internet basically makes everyone a mass media outlet? Basically how should you conduct yourself online and why. (This one should be a no brainer... don't attack the boss unless you want to lose your job, but people blow it all of the time.)

What responsibility does your employer have to you when handbooks, training and communication is performed electronically via a workplace network? Can you take such things off site for personal reference or a means of proof that you met goals? If I received a trophy or a plaque, its easy - take it. I honestly don't know about the electronic aspect of this one.

Solfe

01101001
2009-Mar-21, 04:32 AM
Everyone should know everything in the Thomas J Glover Pocket Reference Guide (http://www.amazon.com/Pocket-Ref-Thomas-J-Glover/dp/1885071000) -- or at least know to have one in every room and vehicle and emergency survival cache.

From a review at Amazon:


Pocket Ref is one sweet book. It is part encyclopedia, part trivia tome, part entertainment and part dispute-solver. Buried in the various tables and charts are tons of data and facts to aid the rider, roadside mechanic or budding MacGyver.

Gillianren
2009-Mar-21, 04:49 AM
I'm surprised you haven't written a book or two before now.

Er, eight, I think. However, getting a working draft of the first one ready to send to a publisher is proving a little difficult (long story), and it's a series, so I can't exactly just send one of the other ones. I've spent some time over the last year trying to finish the last one (I think it's the eighth, and the other half-finished one in the series is nine), but again, I've been having difficulties with my fiction. I've got a couple of other works-in-progress, but this one seems like I could knock it out pretty quickly. I did about a dozen pages (double-spaced, admittedly) this afternoon.

O Wise and Benevolent Mods, it's possible that I just didn't start it in the section I intended to. I think it makes more sense in BABBling, but it's possible I've also met my thread-moving quota for the day.

hhEb09'1
2009-Mar-21, 05:59 AM
O Wise and Benevolent Mods, it's possible that I just didn't start it in the section I intended to. I think it makes more sense in BABBling, but it's possible I've also met my thread-moving quota for the day.

http://www.mensware.us/BAUTWAN4.GIF

Van Rijn
2009-Mar-21, 07:09 AM
An awful lot of things cannot be stored in DNA. These include language*, compassion, and the ability to operate a machine left behind by an ancient alien race.


Though conceivably hypothetical aliens could build in DNA based biometric identification that would allow someone with the right markers to operate a machine.

Van Rijn
2009-Mar-21, 07:14 AM
What should everybody know? Critical thinking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_thinking) skills would be at the top of my list. More than any specific bit of information, everyone should know how to evaluate the stuff they see.

The Backroad Astronomer
2009-Mar-21, 07:51 AM
Sounds like a great plan, Gillianren. When it comes out tell us their probably will be few of us who would glad to buy a copy and help. :-)

Gillianren
2009-Mar-21, 08:01 AM
What should everybody know? Critical thinking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_thinking) skills would be at the top of my list. More than any specific bit of information, everyone should know how to evaluate the stuff they see.

Yeah, but I'm not sure I can sum that up in a couple of paragraphs.

sarongsong
2009-Mar-21, 08:08 AM
...I would like help in collecting the list...yes, the three questions from that list will be in the book...What 3 questions were those?

____________________________
To those who regard "crime fiction" as some sacred icon which must follow a rigid formula, I will always be the man who writes 18-syllable haiku.:doh: Syllable Count (http://www.wordscount.info/hw/syllable.jsp): 43

WaxRubiks
2009-Mar-21, 08:10 AM
everyone should know that if you hit someone over the head with a wine bottle, you could kill them.

Paul Beardsley
2009-Mar-21, 08:38 AM
Though conceivably hypothetical aliens could build in DNA based biometric identification that would allow someone with the right markers to operate a machine.

Ah yes, now that could work! That's the difference between thinking through the possibilities and merely copying someone else's ill-thought-out story idea. The markers ID idea is credible, and potentially dramatic.

Gillianren
2009-Mar-21, 09:04 AM
What 3 questions were those?

In another thread we were discussing that a sadly large percentage of the people surveyed didn't know how long it takes the Earth to go around the Sun, what percentage of the Earth's surface is covered in water (I've written that bit already, and I include the percentage of the Earth's water that's fresh and not frozen), and that dinosaurs and humans did not, contrary to certain claims and cartoon shows, live at the same time.

Paul Beardsley
2009-Mar-21, 09:46 AM
Ah yes, now that could work! That's the difference between thinking through the possibilities and merely copying someone else's ill-thought-out story idea. The markers ID idea is credible, and potentially dramatic.

My wife has just told me that this approach was used in Stargate, so kudos to them.

I'm fairly certain I have seen stories where a DNA injection has given people the ability to operate a machine. Probably on Star Trek.

Delvo
2009-Mar-21, 12:43 PM
Currently, I'm working on what will be a fairly large section about civics. It will be US-centric, but I don't think that's necessarily a failing in a book written by an American intended for an American publishing company. I'm covering the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation in short, and then I'm going on to fairly detailed stuff about the Constitution--the three branches of government, what the major figures in it do, what the Bill of Rights is, and on and on.Even without going into detail about any other country, it would be worthwhile to point out some basic differences between the American system and some other modern representative democracies. Otherwise people living in one such country tend to think that the others are set up the same way.


There are a lot of animals up here that we don't really have back home and vice versa, after all, especially if you're looking at birds and snakes.I'd exclude animals almost completely, as well as a lot of other science such as space-travel physics. If the idea is that it's stuff everybody "should" know, then there should be a restriction to things that will actually have a chance of affecting people's lives. Anything else is useless trivia that I can't say anybody "should" know. So the only animals I'd think of including are the dangerous ones and how to deal with them in an unlikely encounter, with a note that other critters that aren't listed aren't dangerous. (This would fit in with a theme of writing what the experts say you should do in various kinds of emergency situations.)

Similarly, I wouldn't want the book to include a lot of details about trees and forest ecology, but I would consider including a description of "forest succession" (the replacement of one set of species with others over time) and some broad factors that distinguish one tree's role in succession from another's (such as shade tolerance, fire adaption). That's because those particular bits of forestry are crucial to certain political/social issues on which there is already widespread misunderstanding because of the public just not knowing how things work. (The biggest one on my mind is that people think "old growth" forest is good, and think fire is important to keep a forest going, but don't notice that the two things contradict each other.)

And I believe the biggest thing for people to know about in nature and ecology is not about the plants or animals, but the water and soil (including how it's formed and destroyed, how it gets and "stores" nutrients, and how nutrients are extracted from it), because of how they make current practices, lifestyle, and population unsustainable. (For that matter, "sustainability" itself is an environmental issue that a lot of people have heard of but know almost nothing about.)

I agree that critical thinking about science news is important and not generally taught well in most schools, but I don't know how to deal with that. There are just so many different ways for news writers to mislead about science developments or leave out the important point of a story, that I wouldn't know where to begin trying to cover them all. And catching these problems often relies on knowledge of not just critical thinking but also a wide variety of different fields of science. To even know what areas of science to include primers on to support comprehension of future news articles, I'd have to scour a lot of scientific conversations I've seen or participated in online over the years and take notes on which glaring misunderstandings stand out the most to me, so I won't be able to report back here from that for days, maybe weeks...

HenrikOlsen
2009-Mar-21, 12:52 PM
First Aid
If they've unconscious and not breathing they're dying, start CPR.
It doesn't really matter how you do it, 5/1, 30/2 whatever, as long as you actually do something, and no, you can't kill anyone by performing CPR, but you're definitely killing them if you don't.

A.DIM
2009-Mar-21, 01:51 PM
I think everybody should know that everything is particle and wave, all else is opinion.

:D

Paul Beardsley
2009-Mar-21, 01:55 PM
You always have had a rather... unorthodox idea of what "opinion" means, A.DIM! ;)

Buttercup
2009-Mar-21, 01:59 PM
That Zechariah Sitchin is most likely 98% correct. :)

A.DIM
2009-Mar-21, 02:00 PM
You always have had a rather... unorthodox idea of what "opinion" means, A.DIM! ;)

Hey Paul, take it up with Democritus...

;)

HenrikOlsen
2009-Mar-21, 02:02 PM
That Zechariah Sitchin is most likely 98% correct. :)
How to recognize kooks, hoaxers and charlatans.

A.DIM
2009-Mar-21, 02:04 PM
That Zechariah Sitchin is most likely 98% correct. :)

What Henrik said.

I'm certainly open to an appropriate thread for discussion, if you'd like.

Buttercup
2009-Mar-21, 02:14 PM
What Henrik said.

I'm certainly open to an appropriate thread for discussion, if you'd like.

Oh no...I'm not going there, A.DIM -- lol! ;) But thanks for the invitation.

Paul Beardsley
2009-Mar-21, 02:17 PM
Hey Paul, take it up with Democritus...

;)

Your habit of citing Big Names for all the world as if they were relevant to your stance (let alone supported it) used to annoy me, but now I find it genuinely endearing.

Heck, once in a while they might even be relevant or supportive.

One thing's for sure - Leonardo da Vinci would agree with me! ;)

flynjack1
2009-Mar-21, 02:17 PM
First Aid
If they've unconscious, they're dying, start CPR.
It doesn't really matter how you do it, 5/1, 30/2 whatever, as long as you actually do something, and no, you can't kill anyone by performing CPR, but you're definitely killing them if you don't.

Remember your ABC's airway breathing circulation. if a person is breathing do not start CPR, all you will do is make them mad that you broke their ribs and have a possible law suit on your hands. But, I do agree that first aid is a must know thing.

On the subject of civics, perhaps a chapter on responsibility and accountability would be appropriate for those who wish to run banks and governments. When a Navy ship runs aground the captain knows his days as a captain are over. It doesnt matter that some Yeoman at the wheel, or officer of the deck screwed up. All good things that happen, and all bad things that happen are reflected on the captain. There was a time where such accountablity was widely accepted not just in the Navy.

One last comment, I think folks should know more about growing their own food. A little more time in the garden and a little less time on the xbox or whatever would do a lot of people good.

Paul Beardsley
2009-Mar-21, 02:18 PM
What Henrik said.

I'm certainly open to an appropriate thread for discussion, if you'd like.

I'm very busy at the moment, but in a month or so I would be up for it.

A.DIM
2009-Mar-21, 02:19 PM
Well, I didn't bring it up, Buttercup.

And I don't really think it is something everybody should know; ignorance can be bliss.

:)

Tinaa
2009-Mar-21, 02:22 PM
Don't spend more than you make. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Life isn't fair!

A.DIM
2009-Mar-21, 02:22 PM
Your habit of citing Big Names for all the world as if they were relevant to your stance (let alone supported it) used to annoy me, but now I find it genuinely endearing.

Heck, once in a while they might even be relevant or supportive.

One thing's for sure - Leonardo da Vinci would agree with me! ;)

He might!

But that'd be his opinion, no?

"An opinion is a belief that may or may not be backed up with evidence, but which cannot be proved with that evidence. An opinion is normally a subjective statement and may be the result of an emotion or an interpretation of facts; people may draw opposing opinions from the same facts."

So... as far as we know, and what I think everbody should know, everything is particle and wave, all else is opinion.

:D

A.DIM
2009-Mar-21, 02:23 PM
I'm very busy at the moment, but in a month or so I would be up for it.

I'll keep an eye out for the thread.

A.DIM
2009-Mar-21, 02:28 PM
One last comment, I think folks should know more about growing their own food. A little more time in the garden and a little less time on the xbox or whatever would do a lot of people good.


Here here!

I think a chapter should be given to this, growing food (and buying local); Fruits vegetables and nuts.
And perhaps a brief summary of how meat poultry and fish are produced for the "fast food" industry.

Moose
2009-Mar-21, 03:02 PM
Math to the high school level. The reason is this: No, you might not personally use it all that often. But businesses, governments, and/or con artists are using that math against you on a daily basis. They want your attention, your belief, and especially your money. Your working knowledge of high school math is the first (and only) line of defense you will ever have against getting ripped off.

HenrikOlsen
2009-Mar-21, 03:57 PM
Don't spend more than you make. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Life isn't fair!

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. Dickens

Arneb
2009-Mar-21, 04:03 PM
First Aid
If they've unconscious, they're dying, start CPR.
It doesn't really matter how you do it, 5/1, 30/2 whatever, as long as you actually do something, and no, you can't kill anyone by performing CPR, but you're definitely killing them if you don't.

This is complete and very dangerous nonsense. Every single sentence in this paragraph, if followed, could kill someone (except maybe the 5/1 vs. 30/2 part). I'd advise everyone to be extremely careful issuing medical advice on the Internet, especially if you are not a professional.

That brings me to another important point: Don't include actual medical advice in your book. Someone will always turn up who will say "she made me do it, and now my so and so is dead" and sue you for gazillions.

Plus, if your advice does happen to be wrong, it can lead to disaster if people follow it unchecked.

Also, as Henrik's post above shows, things that at a superficial glance sound reasonable enough can actually be totally wrong - subtleties of formulation are very important.

That said, I think you should include some basic facts about human biology and medical issues in your book. Like, which organ doees what; basic facts of why we breathe, why we digest, what nutrients are for, etc. Medicinewise, what is a tumour, what is inflammation, maybe; why will there always be a common cold. What are the biggest avoidable health risks (well, chemtrails, of course). I can work with you on the list in some more if you like.

HenrikOlsen
2009-Mar-21, 04:27 PM
Ok, I'll admit to too much shorthand in that one, the point I considered most important was to actually act rather than do nothing..

Insert stop accident and call 911 before everything and expand start CPR to: clear obstructed airways, check for breathing and if not breathing, commence CPR, 5/1 30/2 or whatever you can do for long enough.

Current first aid training deliberately excludes a check for pulse step as it's been shown that even trained professionals get that wrong, both feeling a non-existing and missing an existing pulse, in real life situations.
And, yes, it's specifically and explicitly stated in first aid training that you can't kill anyone by performing CPR on a beating heart.


Incidentally, the point of CPR isn't to get people back on their feet, it's to keep the blood hydrogenated enough to prevent permanent damage to heart and brain before the ambulance arrives.

mike alexander
2009-Mar-21, 04:45 PM
Don't include anything. No matter what, approximately half will disagree with you; probably more than half if you are right.


What you really need to know depends strongly upon where and when you are. Driving in to work (as opposed to driving into work, as I first wrote) it hit me how complex driving a five-speed manual shift car is. Especially since most of the work is semiconscious at best.

By which I mean, beyond the most basic of abilities (Stay Alert!) what you need to know is a constantly shifting window defined by the environment. In a completely urbanized environment knowing how to tie a half hitch or start a fire with flint and steel are irrelevant compared to knowing how to get cash from an ATM machine without being mugged or having your access number stolen. Most of the things I get paid to do at work have little application outside of work beyond the most general of suggestions (e.g., machine sounds funny, investigate).

The only general principle I can come up with is: You don’t know everything. Try not to prove this in public.

Arneb
2009-Mar-21, 04:45 PM
I guess this deserved mention :). But even in the corrected form, one could go on: Unconcious vs. unresponsive. Breathing vs. normal breathing. Etc. Very, very tricky stuff, a hot potato for a layman's book.

Maybe what should go into the book is: Learn to do First Aid.

Gillianren
2009-Mar-21, 06:26 PM
And I don't really think it is something everybody should know; ignorance can be bliss.

There's one I'll include--what that quote actually says and what it actually means.

As for first aid, I probably won't include much. It can be awfully chancy stuff. I'll probably put in "don't move seriously injured people unless absolutely necessary; wait until help arrives. Especially if you think they have a spinal injury." I'll probably put in "if bleeding is very severe, try elevating the bleeding place above the heart." I'll definitely put in "washing the wound is probably a good idea" and "don't put butter on burns."

Moose, I'm not sure I remember all the math I learned in high school. No, slash that--I don't remember all the math I learned in high school. I will say, however, that I've never really heard of anyone using quadratic equations to rip people off. I am definitely including the Pythagorean Theorem.

Delvo, you're quite right about other systems of government. I'll probably add questions (I'm doing it in a question-and-answer format) about theocracy, monarchy, dictatorship, parliamentary system with Prime Minister, and maybe one or two others.

I will probably include a bit about how credit cards work and why you should be careful about using them. I will include Occam's Razor. I will include "read instruction manuals, leases, and credit card agreements." However, I'm not really going to include much practical advice, even my beloved "why should you vote?" This is really more about information. Attitudes fill up the book much faster anyway.

A.DIM
2009-Mar-21, 06:37 PM
There's one I'll include--what that quote actually says and what it actually means.

Maybe I'll read your book, then; you've piqued my interest...


"where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise"

or

"not knowing something is often more comfortable than knowing it" ?

Gillianren
2009-Mar-21, 06:54 PM
"Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise." Everyone thinks they're quoting Shakespeare, and they're not even doing that; it's Thomas Gray--but they're leaving out just about everything that gives the quote any context. Thomas Gray is not saying that it's actually good to be ignorant. He's saying that, when it is, it's wrong to know things. What's more, he's really only talking about the future, too. If you actually read (or, you know, skim) the poem, you'll find out that he's talking about knowing about the future deaths of friends. In that case, ignorance is bliss. However, since the rest of the poem is about fond remembrances of Eton, one suspects he was not entirely in favour of ignorance.

Moose
2009-Mar-21, 08:22 PM
Moose, I'm not sure I remember all the math I learned in high school. No, slash that--I don't remember all the math I learned in high school. I will say, however, that I've never really heard of anyone using quadratic equations to rip people off. I am definitely including the Pythagorean Theorem.

Well, I'm not suggesting every single bit of it has direct applications to cons. Just that a solid understanding of high school math will let you see the more obvious bear traps, such as why loading up that 20% APR credit card is dangerous.

On the other hand, quadratics can be used in gambling to find 'middles'. That's a set of odds where an observant gambler can bet both (or all) sides and profit regardless of the results.

Casinos use the same technique in reverse to detect and eliminate those middles, and to guarantee they profit by a predictable amount over the long term. Granted, it's a bit more complicated than what you would learn in high school, but my 12th grade math teacher showed us a simplified form of it applicable to a simple 2-bet scenario (like boxing).

But from a "what everybody should know" perspective, I would expect that folks who understand math are less likely to get addicted to video slots and scratch-and-win.

sarongsong
2009-Mar-21, 11:18 PM
Manners. :)

tdvance
2009-Mar-22, 12:00 AM
Esquire and Popular Mechanics (to name two) frequently run articles listing what every body/guy should know/how, heavily tilted towards the Y. Marilyn vos Savant wrote "I've Forgotten Everything I Learned in School!": A Refresher Course to Help You Reclaim Your Education

I recall a book (I have it...somewhere in the house) whose title is something like "things all guys need to know". It includes things like, how to tie the 3 or 4 most useful knots (e.g. bowline, square) (in my opinion, you should at least know a square from a granny--getting that wrong is often hazardous) how to open a beer without an opener (microbrews and many foreign brews do not have twist-off caps--but I couldn't get the suggested method of slamming edge of cap on wooden rail fence to work for me), and other skills. A solution to the beer one is to carry a swiss army knife--which I used to do faithfully, till I got tired of losing them at airports (and getting the extra search apparently as punishment) because I forgot it was on my keychain.

But: what should everybody know?

1. basic survival things: grandpa told me everyone should know how to swim just in case you fall in the water. I'd guess lots of stuff (that I don't know how to do) might be useful here too--make an emergency tent out of leaves and twigs, for example (I think in that situation I'd probably bury myself in whatever I could find--I much prefer my two-room gale-force rated tent, though it takes me two hours to put it up and it's useless if I don't have it with me!). An idea of what's edible and what's not is probably useful too--for me, I'd stay away from all mushrooms--mom and dad knew which ones were good, but I don't.

2. know your location: back in WV, every 8th grader was required to take West Virginia History--I happen to think that's a good idea. You should also be familiar with the wildlife of your area--after all, you should know what's edible in an emergency and what you'd better avoid if you meet it in the woods. E.g., here, there are only 2 poisonous snakes--know them both and you won't run screaming from a garter snake (my sister killed a garter snake once, not realizing they are harmless and useful).

3. academia--you should probably know the basics of all the main subjects--If you are an American, know a fair amount of American history, as well as Western Civ, particularly the Greekl and Roman empires, which is the biggest influence on American culture. English--well enough to write and speak in such a manner you are not immediately dismissed as a buffoon when you apply for a job! Trust me--older interviewers especially have a real problem with the way "young people talk nowadays", so you should at least know what will help your case and what won't when you meet the interviewer.

Other basics--maybe I'm biased, but I think you should be comfortable with math up to Freshman calculus. Who cares if you never use it. The fact is, it is a way of thinking, not just a technique for manpulating symbols on paper. To do well in the world, it does help to know how to think your way through complex problems! Calculus is an efficient way of either teaching you that (or filtering you out anyway).

Add to that, statistics--you are, I strongly believe, less likely to be fooled by Ben Franklin's "third kind of lie" if you know can actually parse it. So take a Freshman statistics class. It is not necessary to know Lesbegue measure space theory and every possible distribution (but familiarity with the uniform and normal distributions is a good idea, those being the ones that pop up most often), for most people, just the basic calculation methods and how to interpret the results.

Science--familiarity with the scientific method--and this is intertwined with statistcs of course. The big three are Chemistry, Physics, and Biology--at the 101 level I think is a good idea for all three. If you know this much, you'd at least have some ability to evaluate the science section of a newspaper (which is sometimes good, sometimes misleading, sometimes just plain wrong). I'll confess, I never took college biology, just the HS version. I wish I did, though.

Another use of the classes is the techniques for the various sciences, learning how to accurately measure something, for example. (lesson learned: having a practical-joker lab partner in high school chemistry who blew on the scales when you weighed things does not help you get good results). It's also good to get rid of common misconceptions, such as the kinds that result in loss of control of car on slippery roads.

in the 21st century, you definitely need a comfort level with computers. That is one thing my parents don't have--they have a computer, but use it very awkwardly to this day, calling on a neighbor's kid to do things like update the virus scanner. When I was in college, there was offered an intro to computing, NOT programming--but a semester-long class on various office automation tools--the ones we used were (it being 1989 or so) Word Perfect, DBase, and some spreadsheet program...I forgot which one, maybe VisiCalc? I know Excell wasn't around back then. So, if you didn't learn all this on your own, it's a good kind of class to take. Today, you might add, knowlege of how to update your virus scanner....more and more important all the time! Also, I don't know if there is a class in "computer common sense", but I do know it ain't common--sister recently clicked on one of those popup adds saying "you're computer is vulnerable", thus making it a self-fufiling prophecy when it locked her out of her bank website while asking for credit card number. She had a hard time getting that straightened out.

Now, I wish I took shop in high school--what little I know about tool use is from trial and error--years of errors! But you know, I know someone who has to call a pro just to install miniblinds in her windows. All it takes is a screwdriver and the learning curve is not that much, and the blinds are cheaper from Home Depot, and labor rates are pretty high nowadays, even for something simple like using a screwdriver. But I recommend shop class in high school--what, an hour a day for a year, time well spent. Drivers ed too (I DID take that) even if you plan to live in NYC and never drive. Having the ability when you need to is tremendously useful. Saves bumming rides off of increasingly-annoyed friends. Oh, add typing--it does make computer usage more efficient. Mom knew I had a knack for computers and literally made me take typing in HS for that reason. When I see people at work struggling to get code typed in, I am glad I don't have that problem.

Oh--and a basic programming class will not hurt--just like calculus, programming is a way to think, a way of solving complex problems. It's either Harvard or MIT, or one of those big-name schools, that requires all students to demonstrate the ability to write say a 10-line program, to graduate. Not such a bad idea, really, and I believe everyone can be taught it--though teaching it in HS or even earlier might be better than waiting till college to get the version intended for those who plan to become programmers, that might go a bit fast for, say, people like my parents. Ok, mom actually took a BASIC programming class from a local college. She got a B, but mainly because she let her 8th grade son (me) do her homework for her....

tdvance
2009-Mar-22, 12:08 AM
[quote=Gillianren;1458214 However, getting a working draft of the first one ready to send to a publisher is proving a little difficult (long story).[/quote]

Long stories are good things if you want to write a book, right?

tdvance
2009-Mar-22, 12:11 AM
My wife has just told me that this approach was used in Stargate, so kudos to them.

I'm fairly certain I have seen stories where a DNA injection has given people the ability to operate a machine. Probably on Star Trek.

There's also The 5th Profession (4th profession? something like that) by Niven--it was RNA, not DNA, and the short story had this theory about memories being stored in RNA in the brain, since, after all, RNA was essentially a compact memory, making it at least plausible.

Of course, we know much more about the brain now than when this was written, and have a better idea where memories are stored, though there are still plenty of gaps in our knowledge.

Delvo
2009-Mar-22, 01:54 AM
First Aid... CPRThat would be something to convince the audience to take lessons for in real life, so the actual instructions wouldn't need to be in the book. Another thing in that category would be "how to swim".

Maybe if there were enough "take real-life lessons in this" items, a chapter could be devoted to explaining why you should take the lessons, without pretending to instruct the reader in how to do it in lieu of real lessons.

* * *

A book like this could require lots of illustrations. For example, explaining how to do the basic work on your own car is useless if you can't show somebody what the parts look like (and preferably several different versions of each part in different arrangements/orientations compared to other parts). And explaining how to identify plants or animals is futile without examples. Even the basics of how to cook (meaning not a list of specific recipes, but how to read and follow recipes in general, or how to make up procedures without a recipe) require that the instructee can identify kitchen tools, cookware, kitchen machines, and such, and teaching a beginner how to identify them in words without being able to point to something is quite a challenge.

Cougar
2009-Mar-22, 03:09 AM
It had been suggested to me Monday that I really ought to sit down and write a book of Things Everyone Should Know.

That's quite a catchy title. Your monetary goals can't be far behind. :) But the question can be addressed in so many voices. Who will you have professing? The new-age guru? The self-help motivational speaker? The savvy scientist with six PhDs in, say, medicine, physics, chemistry, biology, astrophysics, and psycho-history? :) Seriously, from what standpoint are these "things everyone should know"? I'm not suggesting you do it, but I'd like to see Things Everyone Should Know - About Astronomy. That would be great! Maybe I'll do that one.... :whistle:

But the project reminds me a bit of Per Bak's book How Nature Works (http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/4/4/reviews/bak.html). Again, a very catchy title. Come to think of it, Bak's expression of self-organized criticality probably ought to be on your list of things everyone should know.

Gillianren
2009-Mar-22, 04:51 AM
To clarify, these are specific pieces of information everyone, or at least everyone in the US, should know in order to consider themselves to be properly educated. I'm quite aware that I can't include "all math up to Freshman Calculus," for example--I'll also point out that I know a large amount of people who never took math that high. You don't need to in order to graduate in most high school systems, and my college alma mater doesn't require math at all.

Yes, a lot of it will be about non-US cultures. Name five Russian/Soviet leaders. Name at least one pharaoh. Name at least three Roman emperors. What is the Great Wall of China? What is the Bhagvad Gita? Where is the Cradle of Civilization? A lot of it will be non-culture specific. What does your heart do? How are stars made? What are the continents? (And, yes, I'm including all supercontinent arguments in that.) Name five elements. What are time zones?

And, yes, there will be a certain amount of purely practical information. How do I calculate a tip? What should I do in case of an earthquake? How do credit cards work? And so forth.

geonuc
2009-Mar-22, 10:08 AM
Sounds daunting, Gillian. However, you may be the sort of person to do it.

mugaliens
2009-Mar-22, 03:08 PM
So can anyone help? What do you guys think Everyone Should Know?

I think they should know those things Gillianren has become an expert on! For one, you're a superb grammarian! While most people aren't going to read a book on grammar, I think many would be interested in reading some stories about the more bizzare uses of grammar you've encountered.

You're also pretty experienced with your condition, and I think you've come far enough along over the years that you've been able to find humor in some of the more quirky aspects, such as the catch-22 of getting the right meds so you can get a job, but loosing the health care if you got a job...

How about calling it: "Danged if You Do, Danged if You Don't" - A colorful collection of the quirks of modern life.

Paul Beardsley
2009-Mar-22, 04:59 PM
There's also The 5th Profession (4th profession? something like that) by Niven--it was RNA, not DNA, and the short story had this theory about memories being stored in RNA in the brain, since, after all, RNA was essentially a compact memory, making it at least plausible.

Of course, we know much more about the brain now than when this was written, and have a better idea where memories are stored, though there are still plenty of gaps in our knowledge.

Good call on the Niven story.

Yes, at the time of writing, RNA memory was plausible science. I believe it has since been ruled out, but the fact that Niven was basing his science fiction on what was believed to be scientific is very much to his credit.

Tucson_Tim
2009-Mar-22, 06:33 PM
In the couple of writing classes that I've taken (moons ago), someone invariably asked the instructor about writing their first book and the best answer I heard was "write what you know about". Gillian, you seem to know a lot about some subjects and quite a bit about everything else. This seems like a perfect book for you to write..

Gillianren
2009-Mar-22, 06:44 PM
It is already starting to take over my brain completely, I'm afraid. I demanded of our checker at Safeway last night if he could name five New World foods. Obviously, I then had to explain the concept of New World foods. I did make a friend fairly happy when he realized he could, indeed, name two ballets. (And, yes, I pretty much expect everyone who isn't actually a music student to come up with the same two ballets.)

Jeff Root
2009-Mar-22, 08:13 PM
I happened to recognize Margot Fonteyn as we were passing on the
sidewalk, so I stopped and accosted her for an autograph. I had seen
her perform in Cinderella the night before.

Urk... I can only think of four New World foods... unless you count
turkey and bison... I know more, but can't bring them to mind.
(Potatoes, tomatoes, maize, bell peppers... Hmmm... Don't tell me...)

I just found this thread a couple of hours ago, and have been reading
it and typing up ideas. In my next post.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

peteshimmon
2009-Mar-22, 08:22 PM
Perhaps one phrase to start with;

Young people! Don't knock yourselves out.

Jeff Root
2009-Mar-22, 09:12 PM
There are people who think facts are primary, people who think
concepts are primary, and people who don't.


Is the "ren" in "Gillianren" for "Renaissance"? That's what I've
assumed for the last couple of years.


Was there anything useful in that book by William Bennet?


Are you familiar with the Whole Earth Catalog? I have one from
1969 or 1970, and the big 1971 Last Whole Earth Catalog. There
were several editions of it after that. Wonderful piece of work.
Stuart Brand was the editor. It was replaced by the Internet.


How about Machinery's Handbook?


What thoughts have you had about your book's organization?


I'd like to see a constantly-updated list of topics that you
are *NOT* going to include. I expect the list to be long, and
worthy of discussion.


Here is my number one contribution/suggestion:

Everyone is different. Even though your parents were your age at
one time, their experiences, their thoughts, their feelings were
different from yours. And since they aren't mindreaders, they
can't know what you think, how you feel, or why you feel that way
unless you tell them. You can't assume that they must know how
you feel because they were once the same as you. They weren't.

* * * *

Although everyone is different, everyone is a person, like you.
Even the guy who cleans restrooms and the guy who wants your
spare change have feelings and deserve respect. You don't have
to pretend you like everyone, but treat everyone like people.


* * * *

I started working on a web page that was intended to be a glossary
of terms dealing with genetics. Its main purpose is to clarify
the complex relationships between terms like gene, chromosome, DNA,
nucleic acid, and nucleotide. So far, however, most of the entries
I've written are for terms that I know more about, in the areas of
physics and chemistry which underly genetics, so that I have entries
on terms like element, atom, ion, nucleus, and electron. The most
extensive entry describes the periodic table very concisely. All
of this is stuff everybody should know. If you can use any or all
of it, that will be good with me. I could resume working on it.

http://www.freemars.org/jeff4/DNA/glossary.htm


First Aid:

I wrote a first aid book when I was about eight years old. Well,
the first three or four pages of one. I included an equivalent of
"don't put butter on burns." Even at that age, I hedged the wording
of that advice, knowing that I wasn't an expert on the subject.
The book didn't help any when I needed it, at school in third grade.
The advice it should have given me was, "Find help close at hand.
Don't run home to get mommy. That takes too long."


Tying knots:

Shoelaces stay tied MUCH better if you take two turns around the
loop instead of just one.

I only learned this from my sister a few years ago. I wish I'd
learned it when I was little.


Drownproofing. A little pamphlet I read in the 1960s explains how
to get your face to the water's surface so that you can take a
breath every time you need one, without panicing, even if you are
injured and can't use all your limbs. Extremely simple.


How to interact with a police officer, security guard, or other
person who tells you to do or not do something.


What to do in case of a fire. (You probably can't give decent
advice because anyone telling the truth could be liable for the
consequences.) (I wrote that before I got to your post re what
to do in case of an earthquake. That hadn't occurred to me!)


What to do with hazardous waste? I can't put it in the trash,
and I can't put in the recycling!


In the age of the Internet, of what use is a library?


Kitchen machines: Descriptions of what different kitchen tools
are useful for. Or aren't useful for.

I just now made this up: Don't put anything in a microwave oven
that you wouldn't put in a regular oven. I think that covers
babies and pets without being suggestively explicit. (It could
deter some people from doing things that sound insane if you
don't realize how harmless the environment of a microwave oven
appears to them, compared to that of a regular oven.)


I like to look at sunsets. When is it safe to look at the Sun?


It seems to me there are all kinds of mistaken ideas that children
can get from expressions adults use that children misinterpret.
Niel D. Tyson gave an example in a talk linked here the other day
that I listened to: There are bodies in space. Really??? There
are dead people in space??? Are they ghosts???

I don't know whether you can try to target those mistaken ideas.
Amelia Bedelia might be able to help.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Jeff Root
2009-Mar-22, 10:08 PM
Forget about the difference between good and evil... What's the
difference between bad and evil?

How is new money created? Who owns it when it is first created?

What does electrical grounding do? (I heard my next-door neighbor's
son say, while using an electric power tool, "I can't get electrocuted,
it's grounded!")

Where does all the trash go? The sludge removed from waste water?

What is involved in buying, owning, and operating a car?

Does the USA own the states? Does the UN own the USA?

Who owns the air? Who owns that butterfly over there?

What is science?

What is religion?

What is art?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Gillianren
2009-Mar-23, 01:20 AM
Is the "ren" in "Gillianren" for "Renaissance"? That's what I've
assumed for the last couple of years.

Yes. Yes, it is.


What thoughts have you had about your book's organization?

I'm dividing it into themes. "Civics," "Geography," "The Arts," "Food," and so forth. There are quite a few chapters where all I have is the chapter title, though of course I've only been working on this for a few days.


I'd like to see a constantly-updated list of topics that you are *NOT* going to include. I expect the list to be long, and worthy of discussion.

Oh, my. Well, start with "basic life advice." A lot of it has been given, but it's really outside the purview of the book. I will have "Why should I be nice?" I will have "How much should I tip and why?" For the most part, however, what I'm looking at is information.


I started working on a web page that was intended to be a glossary of terms dealing with genetics. Its main purpose is to clarify the complex relationships between terms like gene, chromosome, DNA, nucleic acid, and nucleotide. So far, however, most of the entries I've written are for terms that I know more about, in the areas of physics and chemistry which underly genetics, so that I have entries on terms like element, atom, ion, nucleus, and electron. The most extensive entry describes the periodic table very concisely. All of this is stuff everybody should know. If you can use any or all of it, that will be good with me. I could resume working on it.

I'm not really going into a whole lot of detail on much of anything. This is intended to be the barest overview--the really important stuff. If the book takes off, I may do others of more specific categories, but for now, really simple stuff.


What to do with hazardous waste? I can't put it in the trash, and I can't put in the recycling!

That's actually a pretty good one.


In the age of the Internet, of what use is a library?

I'll have to think about that.

HenrikOlsen
2009-Mar-23, 03:33 AM
Urk... I can only think of four New World foods... unless you count
turkey and bison... I know more, but can't bring them to mind.
(Potatoes, tomatoes, maize, bell peppers... Hmmm... Don't tell me...)beans,. at least the non fava related ones.

HenrikOlsen
2009-Mar-23, 03:42 AM
Is the "ren" in "Gillianren" for "Renaissance"? That's what I've assumed for the last couple of years.
I don't think I'm saying anything that hasn't been said before or isn't easily discernible by anyone with a minimum of Googlefu, Gillian is the name use by our Gillianren in ren faire and SCA situations, thus the user name.

Gillianren
2009-Mar-23, 04:16 AM
I don't think I'm saying anything that hasn't been said before or isn't easily discernible by anyone with a minimum of Googlefu, Gillian is the name use by our Gillianren in ren faire and SCA situations, thus the user name.

Quite right. Our Gillianren has a legal name that is not Gillian, but she doesn't like it very much, so she goes by Gillian in any situation she can. However, "Gillian" was taken as a name on the first board she joined, so "Gillianren."

Wow. Clearly, there should be a section about the third person.

WaxRubiks
2009-Mar-23, 07:21 AM
why the angles in a triangle add up to 180degrees.

also a proof of Pythagoras theorm a^2+b^2=c^2
which I was never taught at school, and worked out one for myself, which is quite simple, involving similar triangles.

Were other people taught a proof for that at school?

Gillianren
2009-Mar-23, 07:51 AM
I wasn't, and I don't really think everyone needs to know one. Knowing the theorem won't really be helpful to most people in their day-to-day life, either, but I still think you should know it.

WaxRubiks
2009-Mar-23, 08:03 AM
I think it would help most people if they knew some memory techniques.

I read an old book on this once about creating strange imagery to link things together, like numbers, or names to faces, which helped me a bit through the years.

Jeff Root
2009-Mar-23, 08:32 AM
Pretty much the whole of Euclidean geometry is stuff everyone needs to
know, but nobody really needs the proofs. On the other hand, everyone
should know how to generate proofs. But that isn't a set of facts.

Everyone should know how to generate proofs because it is the essence
of deductive reasoning. Given a set of facts, what other facts can be
deduced?

Some info about inductive reasoning could be really helpful. It goes
along with the previous suggestions on probability and statistics.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Jeff Root
2009-Mar-23, 08:51 AM
Not that any of the other topics are less difficult, but "geography"
seems like an incredibly difficult topic to cover in a book like this.
I'm trying to imagine how it can be handled, without much success.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

HenrikOlsen
2009-Mar-23, 11:35 AM
Not that any of the other topics are less difficult, but "geography"
seems like an incredibly difficult topic to cover in a book like this.
I'm trying to imagine how it can be handled, without much success.
Men are from Earth, Women are from Earth. Deal with it.
:lol:

Gillianren
2009-Mar-23, 06:18 PM
Men are from Earth, Women are from Earth. Deal with it.
:lol:

Oh, no kidding!

A sample of the geography questions I've got so far includes "What are the continents?" "What are the oceans?" "What shape is the Earth?" "Name the countries that border the US." "Name the states that border the one in which you live." "Name five European countries, five African countries, five Asian countries, three South American countries, and three Central American countries." (On those last two, I will not be listing; I will be sending the reader to another reference book. There are, as I think I mentioned, questions like that. Maybe a couple of appendices with things like the Constitution and a decent world map.) There's even a relatively detailed explanation of the origin of time zones as a concept, but I have elected not to go into the details of all those time zones that don't fit the hourly scheme of the others. Like that China only has one, per the Chinese government.

Graybeard6
2009-Mar-24, 06:24 AM
Question on a Hawaiian History final: "Name the monarchs of Hawaii, and Kamehameha I, II, III, IV, and V don't count as correct.

BTW; FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, GHW Bush, Clinton, GW Bush, Obama.
Hoover, Coolidge, Wilson, Taft, T Roosevelt.

WaxRubiks
2009-Mar-24, 12:45 PM
Here's an idea for a book cover

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3631/3381589957_283d96a488_o.jpg

geonuc
2009-Mar-24, 01:38 PM
Question on a Hawaiian History final: "Name the monarchs of Hawaii, and Kamehameha I, II, III, IV, and V don't count as correct.

BTW; FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, GHW Bush, Clinton, GW Bush, Obama.
Hoover, Coolidge, Wilson, Taft, T Roosevelt.
Those gentlemen were no more Hawaiian monarchs than they were Texan monarchs, or Georgian.

If my Hawaiian history serves, King Kam I did indeed reign over the entire island chain. Not sure about his successors.

Gillianren
2009-Mar-24, 05:18 PM
Those gentlemen were no more Hawaiian monarchs than they were Texan monarchs, or Georgian.

He was both suggesting a question and answering two other ones. I knew we had at least one person around here who would need to put "FDR" into any list of "Who were the Presidents during your lifetime?" I was actually specifically thinking of Graybeard, here, when I mentioned members who could have seen GWTW in its initial release.

Fazor
2009-Mar-24, 06:02 PM
I only skimmed through the three pages so far (I hadn't been on BAUT much, thus haven't followed the thread) so this may have already been stated.

I think you should have a part, if not an entire section, on how to find/verify information. If the book is about "Things people should know to consider themselves educated", it's important to know that no one knows everything; the truely learned know how to find the information they don't already posses.

You know, other than searching wikipedia. :-P

Tucson_Tim
2009-Mar-24, 06:11 PM
In the age of the Internet, of what use is a library?


This topic would make a very interesting thread. (Hint. Hint.)

Gillianren
2009-Mar-24, 06:54 PM
I think you should have a part, if not an entire section, on how to find/verify information. If the book is about "Things people should know to consider themselves educated", it's important to know that no one knows everything; the truely learned know how to find the information they don't already posses.

Yeah, I've got a chapter about research. This includes "How do you ask a reference question?" This is in no small part included because of my friend who works in the library and gets the most horribly-phrased questions you can imagine and worse.

"I'm looking for a book."

"What kind of book?"

"A good book."

Fazor
2009-Mar-24, 07:16 PM
Can you title that chapter after the line in your sig? ("I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!")
;)

Noclevername
2009-Mar-24, 07:44 PM
Perhaps a book about "How To Make Sure All This (Very Basic) Information Is Part Of Every Curriculum" might need to be the first sequel.

geonuc
2009-Mar-24, 08:39 PM
He was both suggesting a question and answering two other ones. I knew we had at least one person around here who would need to put "FDR" into any list of "Who were the Presidents during your lifetime?" I was actually specifically thinking of Graybeard, here, when I mentioned members who could have seen GWTW in its initial release.
Oh, my sincere apologies to Graybeard then. I read it as a political statement concerning US rule over the islands.

My first president was Ike and i can certainly name them in chronological order after him (and a few before him - I'm fuzzy on who Hoover succeeded).

I've always been a bit of a geography nut, and at a small party a few years ago the topic got around to which US state was next to another one. I claimed that I could describe the relative position of all 50 from memory and proceeded to do so when challenged. It helps that I've been to 49 of the 50. Alas, that stands as one of my life's greatest achievements. :(

Gillianren
2009-Mar-24, 08:40 PM
Honestly, I am already contemplating the subject of sequels. I'm finding that in, for example, the science section, there's a whole lot of information. The arts and history, too. (Then again, I only have three sports questions. So.) I'm also finding it entertaining to come up with wording for some of the answers that doesn't require any specialized information.

geonuc
2009-Mar-24, 08:50 PM
Then again, I only have three sports questions. So.
In general what do you think of sports as a need-to-know topic?

I could think of a few - mainly of the "who is" variety.

Who is: Man-o-War, Muhammed Ali, Pele, Wayne Gretzky, Martina Navratilova, Jesse Owens, Annika Sorenstam, etc.

Fazor
2009-Mar-24, 08:55 PM
Need to know sports trivia? Jockstraps go under the pants!

Noclevername
2009-Mar-24, 09:44 PM
Hmm, sprorts trivia you need to know; nnnnnnnope, unless you're planning to go on Jeopardy, there's not one single solitary thing about sports you actually need to know. Exercise, yes. Physiology and anatomy, sure. Sports? Pass.

geonuc
2009-Mar-24, 09:49 PM
Hmm, sprorts trivia you need to know; nnnnnnnope, unless you're planning to go on Jeopardy, there's not one single solitary thing about sports you actually need to know. Exercise, yes. Physiology and anatomy, sure. Sports? Pass.
But that isn't the criterion is it? I believe the criterion is what people should know. I think we already established that people don't actually need to know the year is based on one Earth orbit, but few here would not think people should know that.

Not that I'm advocating a sports section (it's not all trivia, by the way), just asking Gillian what she thinks.

Jeff Root
2009-Mar-24, 09:56 PM
Honestly, I am already contemplating the subject of sequels.
I have been thinking that your best bet might be to break it up from
the beginning. Otherwise you have 'What Everyone Needs to Know'
followed by a whole bunch of other books that show the title of first
book was misleading. There must be a term for it. Something like
"bait and switch". You think you are buying the whole package but
it turns out that you are just geting the starter, and you have to
buy a whole bunch more to get the complete set. It might be best
to have separate books on:

Government
Geography
Science and Technology
Art and Literature
History and People
The Media and Popular Culture



I'm finding that in, for example, the science section, there's a whole
lot of information. The arts and history, too.
I very much doubt that there will a section that doesn't have more
information than you can fit in one book.

This project looks terrifyingly much like one I would start. I want
like crazy for it to succeed. But I think it may need to be redefined.
Or maybe you have defined it in your own mind better than you've
described here.



(Then again, I only have three sports questions. So.)
Ah. Sounds like my kind of book. I'm wondering how specific the
questions and answers can be if everyone needs to know them.
Chances are, you will turn up 3,000 more.



I'm also finding it entertaining to come up with wording for some of
the answers that doesn't require any specialized information.
That's what I enjoy doing. It is what Isaac Asimov excelled at. He
did it by explaining that specialized information. Typically starting
with somebody in ancient Greece or Sumeria stubbing a toe.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Jeff Root
2009-Mar-24, 10:02 PM
geonuc,

You've described my understanding of it perfectly!

I think Fazor has the right idea about what kind of info everyone
should know, although that particular example can probably be safely
left out.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Jeff Root
2009-Mar-24, 10:07 PM
Now I'm thinking that there is *so much* uncategorizeable information
that a general book covering a plethora of topics is likely unavoidable.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Graybeard6
2009-Mar-24, 10:48 PM
If my Hawaiian history serves, King Kam I did indeed reign over the entire island chain. Not sure about his successors.

Kamehameha never conquered Kauai'i, but the chief eventually swore allegiance. From then on all the islands were united. For those who may be interested:

Kamehameha I (The Great)
Liholiho (Kamehameha II)
Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III)
Keawenui (Kamehameha IV)
Lot Kamehameha (Kamehameha V)
William Charles Lunalilo (Lunalilo I)
David Kalakaua (Kalakaua I)
Lydia Dominis (Liliuokalani)

Gillianren
2009-Mar-24, 11:03 PM
The three sports questions I have.

What is the difference between American football and what the rest of the world considers football?

When were the original Olympics? (Not, obviously, to the exact year, but I think you should have a basic knowledge.)

What are the modern Olympics?

Other than that, I got nothing. I may decide not to have a separate sports chapter and just dump the three questions into "Miscellany."

And, no, the sequels wouldn't be called More Things Everybody Needs to Know, though it's a decent title. I'd go with Things About ______ You Should Probably Know or something like that.

Moose
2009-Mar-24, 11:53 PM
What is the difference between American football and what the rest of the world considers football?

Armor, and the amount of time they spend wandering around between plays?

Gillianren
2009-Mar-25, 12:20 AM
Armor, and the amount of time they spend wandering around between plays?

I'm basically summing it up with "that thing you call soccer? Yeah, everyone else in the world calls it football. Also, the earliest recorded references to any game called 'football' comes from ordinances banning it."

PetersCreek
2009-Mar-25, 01:20 AM
To clarify, these are specific pieces of information everyone, or at least everyone in the US, should know in order to consider themselves to be properly educated.

I resisted this notion a bit when I first read it, thinking that even in the US, culture can be so varied that the knowledge one segment of the population might "need" in order to be considered "properly educated" wouldn't necessarily apply to another segment. But if I were to put myself in a publisher's shoes, I might answer that objection with "So what?" Controversy can sell as many books (or more) as can agreeable popularity.


What should I do in case of an earthquake?

Or a volcano. ;)


Honestly, I am already contemplating the subject of sequels. I'm finding that in, for example, the science section, there's a whole lot of information. The arts and history, too. (Then again, I only have three sports questions.

The possiblities are nearly endless, I would think. One that immediately came to mind could be What Every Tourist Should Know, subtitled How Not to Look Silly On Your Next Vacation. You could break it down by major destinations and offer suggestions on what not do, what not to wear, and what not to ask the locals or tour guides...like "What time do they turn off the Northern Lights?"

mike alexander
2009-Mar-25, 01:48 AM
How to use your native language.

How to recognize the difference between a fact and an opinion.

How to recognize emotion in a logical argument, and why both can be important.

Learning to say "I don't know."

Gillianren
2009-Mar-25, 02:07 AM
I resisted this notion a bit when I first read it, thinking that even in the US, culture can be so varied that the knowledge one segment of the population might "need" in order to be considered "properly educated" wouldn't necessarily apply to another segment. But if I were to put myself in a publisher's shoes, I might answer that objection with "So what?" Controversy can sell as many books (or more) as can agreeable popularity.

It is a fair argument, honestly. Though I submit that, regardless of culture, there are still things you need to know. I'm working on "What is a bacterium/virus/prion?" This includes things like "antibacterial stuff doesn't eliminate viruses" and "take your full course of antibiotics."


Or a volcano. ;)

Heh. And don't you go thinking you're the only one to worry about that around here, either!


The possiblities are nearly endless, I would think. One that immediately came to mind could be What Every Tourist Should Know, subtitled How Not to Look Silly On Your Next Vacation. You could break it down by major destinations and offer suggestions on what not do, what not to wear, and what not to ask the locals or tour guides...like "What time do they turn off the Northern Lights?"

Oh, ye Gods. I'm not actually surprised by that sort of question, though. I'll also share the story of the time I was at Arlington National Cemetery with one of my history teachers. She almost had to be physically restrained from going over and taking over another tour, because the guide referred to the Maine memorial as the Challenger memorial!

Tinaa
2009-Mar-25, 02:25 AM
How to balance a checkbook. How to figure interest on a loan. How to create a budget.

And like Fazor wrote, how to find your own answers to questions. Not everything is on the internet.

ABR.
2009-Mar-25, 02:37 AM
The difference between "reply" and "reply all" plus other netiquette.

Jeff Root
2009-Mar-25, 03:12 AM
How to recognize the difference between a fact and an opinion.
I was planning to say almost the opposite. Gillian indicated that she
wants to exclude "basic life advice." I was thinking of (and am now)
saying that there is no boundary line between facts and advice.
The two are thoroughly smeared together. Asserting a fact as an
essential bit of knowledge is giving advice.



Learning to say "I don't know."
In first grade, I assumed teachers knew pretty much everything.
I mean, they had to know everything or they couldn't be teachers,
could they? So I was a bit perplexed when I asked questions and
my teacher couldn't give an answer. When Alaska and Hawaii were
added to the Union, I went over the teacher's head to get the
straight dope on how the design of the US flag would be changed.
I asked the school Principal. She would certainly be in on the inside
for something as important as that. You have to know those things
when you're Principal!

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

HenrikOlsen
2009-Mar-25, 03:16 AM
In general what do you think of sports as a need-to-know topic?
If your health allows it, it's a good thing to participate in sports.
No, shouting at the TV screen is not participating in sports.

Gillianren
2009-Mar-25, 05:10 PM
Hauled over from the other thread--proper ellipsis use. Typography seems to disagree with me, but it's a recent development. When I was in high school, spell check dinged you if you didn't put spaces between the periods; now, it dings you if you do. At any rate. An ellipsis is three periods long with a space between the word and the first period and a space between each one. If you're ending a sentence with it, you add a period at the end; it's not technically part of the ellipsis. There will also be a space between the last period of the ellipsis and the period at the end, if you're doing it the way that uses spaces.

And, ye Gods, why proper grammar is important in the first place, which some otherwise intelligent people are apparently too ignorant to know.

HenrikOlsen
2009-Mar-25, 05:34 PM
If you're ending a word with it, you add a period at the end; it's not technically part of the ellipsis.
. . . ending a sentence . . . :whistle:

And I'd like to add when you elide part of a word (classically to anonymize a proper name, these days to obfuscate a swearword), it is grammatically an ellipsis, but typographically it is indicated by a long dash "―", the one longer that the em-dash.

"Hello," said M―.

One of the examples that typography and grammar don't necessarily have a 1-to-1 mapping, to which I also chose to consider that silly punctuation inside quotes rule which is really done because the thicker quotation mark type piece physically protected the thinner period and comma type pieces from being damaged while breaking lines.

Fazor
2009-Mar-25, 05:38 PM
. . . which some otherwise intelligent people are apparently too ignorant to know.
Did someone call my name? Oh; hello. :) (And I used the spaces. Are you happy? :) )

Again, I don't know if it's been mentioned or not but I brought it up in the other thread; if the book is about things US citizens should know, I think you need a section on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and what rights those documents actually grant us. There seems to be entire organizations and activist groups founded around issues that they feel are rights violations, but aren't.

HenrikOlsen
2009-Mar-25, 06:10 PM
Such as claiming that being banned here is a first amendment violation. :)

Such a section would probably need legal advice though, which could be expensive.

geonuc
2009-Mar-25, 07:27 PM
I'm not available.

Buttercup
2009-Mar-25, 07:37 PM
The proper use of the apostrophe. :rolleyes: I just want to scream when I see egg's. :p

HenrikOlsen
2009-Mar-25, 07:43 PM
That's the greengrocer's apostrophe, they are apparently barred by guild law from using them correctly.

Tucson_Tim
2009-Mar-25, 07:43 PM
The egg's structure is sometimes used as a model of the Earth's structure. The shell being the crust, the white part is the mantle, and the yolk is the core.

(You can start screaming now.)

Buttercup
2009-Mar-25, 07:48 PM
I'm not available.

:( Geonuc! I'm sad.


That's the greengrocer's apostrophe, they are apparently barred by guild law from using them correctly.

:confused: Oh really? Didn't know that.

Okay, but I'm still opposed to shrimp's as in coleslaw & 6 shrimp's. :mad: :lol:

Gillianren
2009-Mar-25, 08:16 PM
. . . ending a sentence . . . :whistle:

Yes, thank you. I've gone back and corrected it. I plead "in a hurry to go to an appointment."


And I'd like to add when you elide part of a word (classically to anonymize a proper name, these days to obfuscate a swearword), it is grammatically an ellipsis, but typographically it is indicated by a long dash "―", the one longer that the em-dash.

Maybe in a grammatical sequel. Then again, I already have a half-finished grammar text written. I add chapters as my students get to them, as that's what gives me motivation to keep going, but I haven't had any students finish the course yet.


One of the examples that typography and grammar don't necessarily have a 1-to-1 mapping, to which I also chose to consider that silly punctuation inside quotes rule which is really done because the thicker quotation mark type piece physically protected the thinner period and comma type pieces from being damaged while breaking lines.

Personally, I just think it looks better. But if that's true, why don't they have the same rule in the UK as they do in the US?


Again, I don't know if it's been mentioned or not but I brought it up in the other thread; if the book is about things US citizens should know, I think you need a section on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and what rights those documents actually grant us. There seems to be entire organizations and activist groups founded around issues that they feel are rights violations, but aren't.

As I've said, that gets long and legal. There is indeed a chapter on civics, which includes a fair amount on the Constitution; that's the chapter that makes it pretty clear that it's really geared toward US readers. (Australians, for example, have no real need of knowing what the Articles of Confederation were.) Probably there will be a sequel about civics, possibly co-written with my friend the lawyer. She's new in the business; she could probably use the cash.


:confused: Oh really? Didn't know that.

It's a grammatical joke. Trust me--the Greengrocer's Apostrophe is still wrong (unlike the Oxford Comma, which is correct but not required), but it has gained that name because of that egregious tendency you mention. And, yes, one of the questions is "What is pluralization and how do you do it?" This will mention and deplore the Greengrocer's Apostrophe.

Fazor
2009-Mar-26, 01:05 AM
So, if I open a store selling foodstuffs, I can start telling people I sell foodstuff's? Do I have to actually be green, or just have vegetable's or other item's that are green?

:whistle:

HenrikOlsen
2009-Mar-26, 01:32 AM
Personally, I just think it looks better. But if that's true, why don't they have the same rule in the UK as they do in the US?
Better trained typographers in the UK? :)

SeanF
2009-Mar-26, 02:32 AM
. . . I think you need a section on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and what rights those documents actually grant us.
Short section: "None."

Now, if you change "grant us" to "recognize" or "protect," you'd have something to write about.

:)

Jeff Root
2009-Mar-26, 11:19 AM
I thought "grant us" was pretty strange, too.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Fazor
2009-Mar-26, 12:17 PM
I know I know; but in my mind there's not really a difference between a founding government system "granting a right" and "promising not to infringe upon a certain 'natural' right".

They defined things (and few things at that) that should be inherent, and said government should not get in the way of those.

But it all just makes my point; when someone says "I have a right to drive anywhere I want!" . . . well, that's just wrong. But, as Gillian said, it is pretty involved. It can all wait for a sequel. :)

Gillianren
2009-Apr-03, 07:59 PM
Okay, I'm working on radiometric dating, which I understand pretty well and don't really need help on. Except for two things. Okay, uranium-235 decays into lead-207, lead-206, thorium-230, or proactinium-231. So why the different daughter products? Also, what does carbon-14 decay into?

Jeff Root
2009-Apr-03, 09:12 PM
The decay of uranium may be more complex than you think.

U-235, half-life 713 million years, emits an alpha particle to become Th-231.
Th-231, half-life 24.6 hours, emits an electron to become Pa-231.
Pa-231, half-life 32,000 years, emits an alpha particle to become Ac-227.
Ac-227, half-life 13.5 years, can emit an electron to become Th-227, or
it can emit an alpha particle to become Fr-223.
Th-227, half-life 18.9 days, emits an alpha particle to become Ra-223.
Fr-223, half-life 21 minutes, emits an electron to become Ra-223.
Ra-223, half-life 11.2 days, emits an alpha particle to become Rn-219.
Rn-219, half-life 3.92 seconds, emits an alpha particle to become Po-215.
Po-215, half-life 0.002 second, emits an alpha particle to become Pb-211.
Pb-211, half-life 35 minutes, emits an electron to become Bi-211.
Bi-211, half-life 2.16 minutes, can emit an electron to become Po-211, or
it can emit an alpha particle to become Tl-207.
Po-211, half-life 0.005 second, emits an alpha particle to become Pb-207.
Tl-207, half-life 4.16 minutes, emits an electron to become Pb-207.
Pb-207 is stable.

The above sequence is called the "uranium-actinium series". There is
a similarly-involved sequence called the "uranium-radium series" that
begins with uranium-238. There are also the "thorium series" and
"neptunium series". Those four cover all the possibilities. There are
four series because emission of an alpha particle is emission of four
nucleons.

Since U-238 has a half-life of 4.5 billion years, that is probably the
series you are most interested in, not the U-235 series I detailed.
The U-238 uranium-radium series ends with Pb-206 rather than Pb-207.

Carbon-14 emits an electron when it decays. That means a neutron
is converted into a proton, so it becomes nitrogen-14. That might be
justice since the carbon-14 was created when a cosmic ray neutron
collided with a nitrogen-14 atom in the upper atmosphere, releasing a
proton (plus an electron, making a hydrogen atom).

This info is from a standard chemistry textbook with the exceedingly
standard title, "Chemistry", by Linus Pauling and Peter Pauling.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

geonuc
2009-Apr-03, 10:37 PM
Jeff is correct, Gillian.

Note that Th-230 is a stop on the decay path of U-238 and that Pa-231 is a stop in the U-235 decay chain (as Jeff indicated).

Gillianren
2009-Apr-03, 10:52 PM
Thank you both. It all makes sense now. Did I mention I've never actually taken chemistry, and how not-helpful my physics class was?

Jeff Root
2009-Apr-04, 01:40 AM
Since I hadn't noticed or paid attention before to the fact that carbon-14
decays to nitrogen, I hadn't realized what bad news it is for living things.
Nasty!

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Delvo
2009-Apr-04, 04:24 AM
Here's a subject to include: statistics. I don't mean complex formulas or how to do statistical analysis yourself. I just mean the ability to understand the basic idea of most popular science or news articles on subjects that involve statistics, including curve interpretation (with examples of common curve types not limited to just the normal/bell), definitions of some important statistical words and phrases, and the ability to translate between words and curves either way (creating one when given the other).

Gillianren
2009-Apr-04, 04:33 AM
That's a really good idea.

I am now at about 90 pages, double spaced. I want to get to about 200 before I consider publication.

geonuc
2009-Apr-04, 08:51 AM
The discussion of common statistical concepts could be joined with that of basic risk/hazard analysis. In short, people should be able to determine what dangers and misfortunes in life are a real concern and which are not. Statistics helps with that evaluation.

Gillianren
2009-Apr-04, 05:33 PM
Quite sensible. I had a coworker once who informed me that there was a fifty-fifty chance of everything--either it happened or it didn't. I think I was too bewildered to explain just how very, very wrong he was. I'm not sure it would have helped anyway. I had some awfully . . . not intelligent . . . coworkers.

Moose
2009-Apr-04, 05:52 PM
I just mean the ability to understand the basic idea of most popular science or news articles on subjects that involve statistics,

That, and to know that whenever someone cites you an "average" without also citing the error, they're trying to sell you a load of something.

tdvance
2009-Apr-04, 05:57 PM
Actually, depending on how you look at it: I took a graduate "how to teach statistics to undergrads" class once, and the first day, the teacher said, one could say that all probabilities are either 0 or 1--it either happens or it doesn't (oops--in the other order). Later, I found a Heinlein quote to illustrate this: "probability is a measure of our ignorance". Or as that teacher said, probability only makes sense in the context of a model of reality. (not exactly true if quantum theorists are correct in that quantum events are governed by probability).

Gillianren
2009-Apr-04, 06:56 PM
Okay, I'm actually going to add "Why are fifty percent of our children below average?"

HenrikOlsen
2009-Apr-04, 07:02 PM
Including the bit that it's 50% below median, not below average?

Gillianren
2009-Apr-04, 07:36 PM
Yes, thank you. I'm afraid my explanation may be too snarky.


Why are fifty percent of our children below average?

This, to some people, sounds like a remarkably stupid question. On the other hand, a lot of people have also gotten pretty upset by things along those lines. You'd be amazed. Or possibly not. At any rate, for the reason half our children are below average, consider the bell curve up there. While it's true that statisticians consider anything within a standard deviation on one side or the other of the line average, the line in the middle is the actual average. Half the people will be above it. Half will be below. If that weren't true, it wouldn't be the average. (And anyway, statisticians don't call that line the average. It is the median, or the middle. Knowing that may help.)

Lechery
2009-Apr-04, 08:03 PM
I cannot agree with this, and I think you have missed the point of Henrik Olsen's comment.

I have never met any statistician, probabilist, or other such person who uses the term "average" the way you describe. In the particular example you give (assuming you are referring to a normal distribution when you say "bell curve"), the average is the line in the middle, and no statistician I know will use the word average to mean something different. However, the next two sentences rely on your assumption of a normal distribution. The sentence after that is wrong, as is the parenthetical remark. For a normal distribution, the average (or mean) is the same as the median. This is not true for all distributions - not everything is distributed normally.

Suppose we are measuring some attribute of a population, and that 30% of the population has a value of 90, 60% has a value of 100, and 10% has a value of 110. The average in this case is 98 (0.3*90+0.6*100+0.1*110). A full 70% of the population is above the average. The median, however, is 100. At least 50% of the population must be at or below the median, and at least 50% must be at or above the median. The statement that 50% of the population must be below average is just wrong, and not because statisticians use the word median instead of average. They use both words, correctly.

Gillianren
2009-Apr-05, 09:30 AM
Thank you. I did take some statistics, but I have to admit that it was some time ago, and--as in all my math classes--I had a hard time paying attention. Then again, that is why I'm bringing information to various professionals in various fields. My archaeologist friend is better suited than I to ensure my archaeology is correct, for example. I will revise it--not now; it's 2:30 AM here--and post the revised version again tomorrow.

Delvo
2009-Apr-05, 11:41 AM
Hauled over from the other thread--proper ellipsis use. Typography seems to disagree with me, but it's a recent development. When I was in high school, spell check dinged you if you didn't put spaces between the periods; now, it dings you if you do. At any rate. An ellipsis is three periods long with a space between the word and the first period and a space between each one. If you're ending a sentence with it, you add a period at the end; it's not technically part of the ellipsis. There will also be a space between the last period of the ellipsis and the period at the end, if you're doing it the way that uses spaces.

And, ye Gods, why proper grammar is important in the first place, which some otherwise intelligent people are apparently too ignorant to know.I had to quote the whole thing to avoid using any ellipses for the skipped parts. :D

On grammar issues, just stick to the ones that affect meaning, logic, or the work it takes the reader to figure out the author's intention, such as your/you're. How far apart the dots of an ellipsis should be does not qualify. That takes the subject out of the realm of correcting stuff that's wrong for a real reason and helping someone grasp the reason, and puts it in the realm of telling someone that something (s)he's doing is wrong just because someone else says so. It's just like that "no preposition at the end of the sentence" nonsense, based on a language other than English and struggling in denial of the way English really is. It will be arbitrary and appear haughty and stuffy.

Delvo
2009-Apr-05, 12:49 PM
Here are some graphs showing how a normal distribution is different from some reality in some cases. The "normal" distribution is what you'd get if the data is essentially random around a definite, single center. (Even then, it could be tall and skinny or short and wide, but I didn't illustrate that.)

To the left are two graphs that have a single hump and two dwindling "tails", like a "normal" curve, but with tails that don't dwindle at the same rate and a hump that's not in the middle. One's skewed left and the other's skewed right. The lowest and highest values (the left and right ends) are the same in each case, so the mid-point, the middle, is the same in each case. But that's not the mean (average), or the median. In a skewed or asymmetrical curve, those get shifted away from the midpoint in the direction of the skew, toward the top of the hump, and they don't all get shifted the same distance from the midpoint. The dotted line I put farther up the slope where it's high and steep is where you'd have to look for them, but even then, they wouldn't all be in the same place. (I think what I've got there is the median; I tried to put it where roughly equal amounts of gray area were on the right and left of it. If this were a graph of a real data set, I'd be able to mark the mean, median, and mode all separately, but it's just a quick sketch I did this morning to show basic general shapes.)

To the right are two other graphs that aren't much like a normal curve at all, but which can still be perfectly real. For example, I saw graphs like the upper right one many times as a forester because it reflects the usual natural tree population distribution (without recent major disturbance) in terms of size: lots of little ones and few big ones. The graph below that shows a general increasing trend which gets cut off by a maximum, so it's driven by at least two completely different factors. The two graphs on the right are both very non-random distributions, which is why they don't look much like "normal", but there's no reason why everything has to be in a normal distribution.

HenrikOlsen
2009-Apr-05, 04:00 PM
Ehm, your median is wrong, the median is the value where half the samples are equal or above and half the samples are equal or lower, not the number halfway between the maximum and minimums.
Set: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 21.
Median is 4, not 11.
Average is 6 (1+2+3+4+5+6+21)/7
71% of the samples are below average. :)

Delvo
2009-Apr-05, 07:05 PM
Ehm, your median is wrong...And so was the other thing, but they're fixed now.

Tobin Dax
2009-Apr-05, 07:20 PM
Including the bit that it's 50% below median, not below average?
I agree with including that bit. Keep "average" in the title, and correct that error in the text. Maybe even an example like in Henrik's post at 9 a.m. PDT.

Gillianren
2009-Apr-06, 12:24 AM
Okay, try this. The beginning's the same, but from there, I've changed it.


At any rate, for the reason half our children are below average, consider the bell curve up there. Assuming that the range of data follows a bell curve—a pretty good assumption, if you have enough data on naturally occurring things like height or weight—there will be a midpoint, the tallest place on the curve. This will be what people think of when they mean the average, though it's actually the median—the midpoint of scores or heights or whatever it is you're looking at. Because it is the midpoint, logically, half the people will be above it and half will be below.

Delvo, the way an ellipsis works has been the same the whole time there's been an ellipsis. We had someone here who used nothing but, never actually ending sentences. I'm also tired of people using a whole row of periods. That's wrong. It has always been wrong. I freely state in my explanation that the spacing issue is up to you and has been changing, but I do think it's important to know how it works correctly. I'm actually putting very little grammar in. Even commonly confused stuff. I have "its"/"it's," pluralization, and maybe one or two others.

Lechery
2009-Apr-06, 01:09 AM
I'd say that is all correct, if we take the later sentences to include a correction of the use of "average" in the first sentence. You could go into greater detail; the mean (or average) and median are two different concepts which happen to coincide in the case of the bell (or normal) curve, but do not coincide in general. But whether you wish to go into that level of detail is a judgment call, based on how complicated you are willing to make it, who makes up the audience, and that sort of thing.


Delvo, the way an ellipsis works has been the same the whole time there's been an ellipsis. We had someone here who used nothing but, never actually ending sentences. I'm also tired of people using a whole row of periods. That's wrong. It has always been wrong. I freely state in my explanation that the spacing issue is up to you and has been changing, but I do think it's important to know how it works correctly.

I do most of my writing using software that inserts all the correct spacing in the appropriate places automatically. One result of this is that I often fail to use the spacing I would normally use when writing with other software (such as a web browser when posting at a b board).[/QUOTE]

Gillianren
2009-Apr-06, 01:23 AM
I'd say that is all correct, if we take the later sentences to include a correction of the use of "average" in the first sentence. You could go into greater detail; the mean (or average) and median are two different concepts which happen to coincide in the case of the bell (or normal) curve, but do not coincide in general. But whether you wish to go into that level of detail is a judgment call, based on how complicated you are willing to make it, who makes up the audience, and that sort of thing.

Yes, I could go into greater detail. I do actually know greater detail, though the last math class I took was about ten years ago, and I haven't used any of it pretty much since. The book is aimed mostly at people like various of my friends, who are assuredly not stupid, but there are fields where they are, shall we say, sorely lacking information.

ETA--You have PMs turned off!

Lechery
2009-Apr-06, 02:57 AM
Not trying to imply that anyone is stupid, sorry if I did. It's just that one misses an awful lot in web-based communication, it's often hard to tell where people are coming from.

If you really want to go wild, you could point out that there are distributions for which the average doesn't exist :)


ETA--You have PMs turned off!

I hope I'm not being stupid, but how does one turn them on? I went through all the options under "User CP," but I couldn't find anything. There was an option to allow other users to send me email - is that it?

Gillianren
2009-Apr-06, 04:05 AM
Not trying to imply that anyone is stupid, sorry if I did. It's just that one misses an awful lot in web-based communication, it's often hard to tell where people are coming from.

No, no--it's just that the whole project got started from a poll that indicated, to me at least, that at least some of the people responding must be stupid. I'm trying to indicate that I'm not really aiming at the people who don't know how long it takes the Earth to go around the Sun. (Incidentally--everyone I've asked that question has kind of blinked at me and said they couldn't remember the decimals, because they couldn't believe I was seriously asking it.) Now, it's true that pretty much all of my friends are college-educated, but then, my boyfriend isn't, and I think he should know most of this stuff, too. I am, however, having trouble really sparking his interest.


If you really want to go wild, you could point out that there are distributions for which the average doesn't exist :)

Believe me, I do not feel educated enough to try that one!


I hope I'm not being stupid, but how does one turn them on? I went through all the options under "User CP," but I couldn't find anything. There was an option to allow other users to send me email - is that it?

You know, I'm not sure? I don't remember having to.

geonuc
2009-Apr-06, 10:38 AM
Lechery - if you click on 'User CP' at the left of the forum menu bar and then select 'Edit Options', you'll find a control for enabling PM's.

geonuc
2009-Apr-06, 10:44 AM
Believe me, I do not feel educated enough to try that one!
It's not that complicated. If you have a distribution that contains data with only two discrete values, the median will be between those two values, but will match none of the data. It is a good example of where the statistical median can be a useless number.

Lechery
2009-Apr-06, 12:37 PM
Lechery - if you click on 'User CP' at the left of the forum menu bar and then select 'Edit Options', you'll find a control for enabling PM's.

I suspect I'm going to feel incredibly foolish when this is eventually resolved, but I've been there, and can't find it. I went again, and still can't find it. There is an option to allow emails from other members (which I have now checked), but that's something different, isn't it? Is it possible I need to enable some other option before this one shows up?

Lechery
2009-Apr-06, 12:40 PM
It's not that complicated. If you have a distribution that contains data with only two discrete values, the median will be between those two values, but will match none of the data. It is a good example of where the statistical median can be a useless number.

This is a different situation than the one I had in mind; here, the median (and the mean, or average) exists, but isn't a number that can occur with any probability.

There are distributions, such as the Cauchy distribution (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cauchy_distribution), where the mean is simply not defined. The definition of the mean for a continuous probability distribution is an integral, and for this distribution, the integral doesn't converge. The median still exists though.

geonuc
2009-Apr-06, 12:42 PM
I suspect I'm going to feel incredibly foolish when this is eventually resolved, but I've been there, and can't find it. I went again, and still can't find it. There is an option to allow emails from other members (which I have now checked), but that's something different, isn't it? Is it possible I need to enable some other option before this one shows up?
I little bit further down from the email boxes is one labeled "Enable Private Messaging". Do you see that one?

Lechery
2009-Apr-06, 12:42 PM
It's not that complicated. If you have a distribution that contains data with only two discrete values, the median will be between those two values, but will match none of the data. It is a good example of where the statistical median can be a useless number.

I responded to this, but apparently my response needs some kind of approval, and hasn't shown up. Maybe it's in the same place as my PMs :(

geonuc
2009-Apr-06, 12:44 PM
I responded to this, but apparently my response needs some kind of approval, and hasn't shown up. Maybe it's in the same place as my PMs :(
If your post included a link, it must be approved first. That will be the case until you meet a minimum number of posts. Spam control.

Lechery
2009-Apr-06, 12:48 PM
I little bit further down from the email boxes is one labeled "Enable Private Messaging". Do you see that one?

No. I have a block called "Messaging & Notification," which has three sub-blocks, called "Receive Email," "Default Thread Subscription Mode," and "Visitor Messaging." None of them have anything that seems to be related to PMs, at least that I can tell. Should it be in this Messaging & Notification block?

Lechery
2009-Apr-06, 12:49 PM
If your post included a link, it must be approved first. That will be the case until you meet a minimum number of posts. Spam control.

Ah. I think it did include a link.

geonuc
2009-Apr-06, 12:52 PM
No. I have a block called "Messaging & Notification," which has three sub-blocks, called "Receive Email," "Default Thread Subscription Mode," and "Visitor Messaging." None of them have anything that seems to be related to PMs, at least that I can tell. Should it be in this Messaging & Notification block?
Doh!:doh:

I just remembered - the admins recently instituted a 10-post minimum PM block, too. You're almost there.

Gillianren
2009-Apr-06, 05:15 PM
I just remembered - the admins recently instituted a 10-post minimum PM block, too. You're almost there.

I remembered it just before I got to your post. No wonder things were different for me. I joined more than a month ago!

I think, based on a post I just read, that I should put in "what is a skeptic?"

Jeff Root
2009-Apr-07, 02:45 PM
Gillian,

Can you say to what extent you want (or will tolerate) the book to reflect
your own personal interests and views of what is and is not fundamental or
important, and to what extent you want it to come across as a universal
standard, above the whims of any one individual author? I'm just asking
about your choice of topics to include, not the expression of those topics.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Jeff Root
2009-Apr-07, 04:08 PM
Something everyone should know:

A lot of "alternative" or "natural" nutritional and medical information is
bunk, but a lot of it is perfectly good. How do I tell which is which?

For example, my sister thinks sea salt is better than the ordinary salt
you find in the grocery store because the latter has had all the nutrients
stripped out of it. She says ordinary salt is "bleached". I haven't told
her yet that bleach is made from salt. She may have just confused two
different things she read. From the "trace mineral" list on the bottle, it
looks to me like most of those minerals are present in such tiny amounts
that they would be nutritionally insignificant for reasonable salt usage.

She has virtually identical comments about sugar and flour. Namely,
that they are over-processed, removing nutrients. It is apparent that
there is truth in that-- but how much? Only a grain? Should I take
what she says with a grain of salt?

She also thinks that microwave ovens destroy the nutrients in foods and
create all kinds of nasty chemicals. That's why I started a thread a few
months ago in the general science forum asking about microwave ovens.
The consensus there appears to be that the chemical changes do happen,
but far more so in ordinary ovens than in microwave ovens, because of
the differences in temperature (higher in regular ovens) and distribution
of thermal energy (from the outside in in regular ovens; in water and fat
molecules in microwave ovens). The microwaves themselves are far too
weak to cause any chemical changes. It is the heat which causes the
changes in the chemistry, and changes in chemistry = cooking.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Gillianren
2009-Apr-07, 05:14 PM
Can you say to what extent you want (or will tolerate) the book to reflect your own personal interests and views of what is and is not fundamental or
important, and to what extent you want it to come across as a universal standard, above the whims of any one individual author? I'm just asking about your choice of topics to include, not the expression of those topics.

Actually, some of the subjects I find most interesting are ones where I don't have many questions, simply because not everyone needs to be aware that, oh, Sir Francis Bacon has been rumoured to have been the son of Queen Elizabeth I--that two of her rumoured sons, in fact, have been rumoured to have written the plays of Shakespeare, as has she herself. I think it's interesting; I think it's funny. I will include what happened to her mother and her father's other five wives, because I'm tired of people thinking he killed them all, but broadly, I'm trying to limit it to actual universal information where possible. Though even for that, I cannot think of more than those three sports questions.

To be fair, I'm also only including one actual equation--I'm probably going to explain the principles behind a lot of them, but I'm not sure the average person would understand the concept of the second squared, and I'm not sure I feel confident in explaining it.

As for the expression . . . I will admit that some of the religious questions are more biased toward how Catholics do things than other Christians, because I grew up Catholic and have to do less research to know. (I also, and if people could help me on this I'd be grateful, don't feel I have enough information about Hinduism and Buddhism.) However, even there, I am working very hard to keep my actual beliefs out of it. On the other hand, I am not bothering to keep my snippiness out of certain things, such as my section on alternative medicine.


What is alternative medicine?
Alternative medicine is things used in treatment of various conditions that are not tested by proper scientific standards—or, in many cases, have been tested and have been shown not to work. Now, it is also true that some alternative medicines have actually passed scientific tests and have been shown to work. However, that logically means that they are no longer alternative and are now part of legitimate medical treatment.

What is homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a "treatment" created in the late eighteenth century that works on three basic principles. First is "like cures like," which means that the best treatment for any condition is something that mimics that condition. The second is that, the more a substance is diluted, the more powerful the medication made of it will be. The third is that shaking the diluted solution each time somehow imprints the "memory" of the substance on the water. Homeopathy has consistently failed every test on it and has no plausible scientific method for it to work anyway, as homeopathic treatments are so diluted that it is nearly impossible for any of the molecules of the original substance to be present in it, even if like did cure like. Water memory would also imply that any substance to originally be in the water, no matter what, would leave its imprint on the water. You can imagine the sorts of things that would indicate.

I should put in things about sea salt, bleached flour (sugar isn't bleached; the molasses is spun out of it), and the effect of microwaves on nutrients, though.

geonuc
2009-Apr-07, 07:36 PM
Seems I don't have to wait for the book to be published before learning something. I thought homeopathy and alternative medicine were essentially synonymous terms. I know better now. :)

Gillianren
2009-Apr-07, 11:21 PM
Nope. I've been reading various books about alternative medicine the last few days, and while they talk a lot about homeopathy, they also talk about chiropracty, acupuncture, and herbal therapy. (Yeah, I know--a lot of it works. But the industry isn't regulated, and a lot of it stays untested. Besides, St. John's Wort inhibits the working of oral contraceptives.)

Tobin Dax
2009-Apr-08, 01:14 AM
To be fair, I'm also only including one actual equation--I'm probably going to explain the principles behind a lot of them, but I'm not sure the average person would understand the concept of the second squared, and I'm not sure I feel confident in explaining it.
I would suggest that you initially define g as 32.2 ft/s per second. I received that advice from somebody else, and talking about acceleration that way seems to work well. If you want to get into ft/s2, then you can briefly explain that (ft/s)*(1/s)=(ft/s2). If you're being less specific, this description of acceleration still works. I'm using feet instead of meters due to your American target audience.

This has made me think of something else: units on measurements. My students have a hard time using units. That might primarily be due to the fact that they get so many new units thrown at them that the can't keep track, but I don't think that the students grasp their importance. There is a big difference between miles and feet, between centimeters and meters, etc. Most people probably understand the difference between miles, feet, and inches or between other every-day units, so maybe it's not worth including.

[I think I have a grammatical mistake after "inches" in the above sentence. I'm not sure what I should put between "inches" and "or."]

Gillianren
2009-Apr-08, 01:21 AM
You should have used a comma.

It's a good idea, though I'm going to have to think some about how I'm going to use it. I already have some details about measurements, including the basic difference between Imperial and metric. (Which reminds me--does anyone know what measurement system they use in Liberia?) I'm not sure I want to have a chart--I'm trying not to have anything that requires illustrations, hence no how-to--but I'm not sure how else to do it. Maybe a bit on the origin of the mile? I don't know.

Tobin Dax
2009-Apr-08, 02:25 AM
You should have used a comma.
Thank you. That's what I thought, but it almost looked wrong after the list.


It's a good idea, though I'm going to have to think some about how I'm going to use it. I already have some details about measurements, including the basic difference between Imperial and metric. (Which reminds me--does anyone know what measurement system they use in Liberia?) I'm not sure I want to have a chart--I'm trying not to have anything that requires illustrations, hence no how-to--but I'm not sure how else to do it. Maybe a bit on the origin of the mile? I don't know.
I think that the origins of Imperial measurements are interesting, but the origin is a different subject than their use and comparison between systems. It would be neat to discuss, but, IMO, the decision is yours.

I don't think that a comparison chart is necessary. A meter is a few inches longer than a yard, and kilometer is about 6/10 of a mile. The metric prefixes can be discussed in their own paragraph, which will sort out centimeters, meters, and kilometers. The same can be done for inches, feet, yards, and miles. Okay, you should probably also mention that an inch is about 2.5 cm, but that can also be done in a sentence.

Jeff Root
2009-Apr-08, 02:41 AM
There are 2.54 centipedes or 25.4 millipedes in an inchworm.

.

mahesh
2009-Apr-08, 02:46 AM
..... Most people probably understand the difference between miles, feet, and inches or between other every-day units, .......
Oh, give them an inch, and they want a mile!...they should be kicked by a foot, Tobin...

mahesh
2009-Apr-08, 02:51 AM
Har Har!...funny Jeff Root....
It's not for yotta or metre say...let's deca look; there's hecta pay...

Is that your peta inchworm?

mahesh
2009-Apr-08, 03:15 AM
No. I have a block called "Messaging & Notification," which has three sub-blocks, called "Receive Email," "Default Thread Subscription Mode," and "Visitor Messaging." None of them have anything that seems to be related to PMs, at least that I can tell. Should it be in this Messaging & Notification block?
Yes. Lechery, as geonuc says...

like:
Private Messaging
This forum features a private messaging system (http://www.bautforum.com/private.php), which allows members to send messages to one another privately.

If you do not want to send or receive private messages, you may disable the private messaging system. Enable Private Messaging

it's been a couple of days now and your post count increased...so may be one is allowed more options...
I don't know much, of the restrictions placed on BAUTzens with under ten count.

Did you resolve it?

Gillianren
2009-Apr-08, 05:10 AM
Can someone explain the exact mechanism of volcanic formation at subduction zones to me? I know I learned about it, but I don't remember, and Wikipedia's explanation doesn't help.

geonuc
2009-Apr-08, 08:37 AM
Can someone explain the exact mechanism of volcanic formation at subduction zones to me? I know I learned about it, but I don't remember, and Wikipedia's explanation doesn't help.
I could, but I know a couple of members here that could do it better. Post this question over in the 'Geology Discussion' thread and you're sure to attract their attention. :)

Gillianren
2009-Apr-08, 05:16 PM
I'm using Wikipedia as a refresh-my-memory-and-check-dates source (yes, I will be mentioning that), and sometimes, it's not actually helpful. I have, on a few occasions, had to go through three or four see-alsos before I finally found the information I was looking for. On at least one occasion, I still couldn't and had to seek the information through other sources.

Then again, for an awful lot of entries, I'm not using them at all. That's kind of the point.

Jeff Root
2009-Apr-08, 08:01 PM
You can find anything on the Internet. But you don't always get what
you want. Sometimes you get what you ask for, instead.

How's that for a neat little package of clichés?

An article in the '1973 World Book Science Year' titled "Earth's Heat
Engines", by Kenneth S. Deffeyes, is all about plate tectonics. The
multilayer transparencies that accompany the article illustrate how
the subduction of the Juan de Fuca Plate under the American Plate,
directly below you, generate your lovely volcanoes and exciting
earthquakes.

Many years ago, long before the Internet, I did some work on making
a handbook of measurement, based around SI metric, but referencing
all the practical units that I thought people might run into. My goal
was to make it consise enough to fit in a shirt pocket. So I might be
able to provide info or answers for you in that area. If you have
questions or want me to make suggestions, lemme know. Right now
I don't have any suggestions because I haven't thought about it yet.

I have an unfinished set of web pages that sort-of evolved from that
handbook. It has a different purpose, but some of the same content.
Only a little piece of it is currently on my website. I'll upload
the rest of what I have and give you a link later. I got overwhelmed
trying to decide which bits and pieces to use. I find that most of
the bits on my computer are newer, but some on the server are newer,
or at least have more recent date stamps, which makes the branches
of the decision tree too complex for my un-cooperative brain.

Re acceleration of gravity as d/t^2: Understanding rates of change
is really important. I'm sure I could write something about it.
It is the basis of calculus, and I think that everyone should know
what calculus is. To that end, I started this thread of 62 posts:

http://www.bautforum.com/science-technology/77325-calculus.html

The discussion goes off topic sometimes, but then veers back on.
Rather fugue-like.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Infinity Watcher
2009-Apr-08, 09:58 PM
I've had a look through the thread and can't see this one suggested but I only skimread so I might have missed it: logic and fallacies. Some basic stuff of the form: if p then q, p therefore q could be useful, combine this with the more common fallacies and you have the basics to work through an arguement and judge its merits.

Other than that I can't add much.

Jeff Root
2009-Apr-08, 10:56 PM
I have a textbook about logic that I was supposed to read but didn't.
So I can say with the confidence of a truly clueless ignoramous that
the entire content of the book could be condensed to two pages with
no significant loss of information. Modus ponens, modus tollens,
bibbity-bobbity-boo.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

HenrikOlsen
2009-Apr-08, 11:10 PM
It's not that complicated. If you have a distribution that contains data with only two discrete values, the median will be between those two values, but will match none of the data. It is a good example of where the statistical median can be a useless number.
In that case, and other cases with an even number of samples where the two middlemost ones aren't equal, there is not a unique median from the basic definition, though it's still meaningful.
I believe the common solution is to use the average of the two middlemost samples as median when the number of samples is even.

And it's definitely equally useful as in the odd-numbered case.

Lechery
2009-Apr-08, 11:38 PM
Yes. Lechery, as geonuc says...

Hi Mahesh, I responded to this post, to say that my restrictions on private messaging have been lifted. However, your post contains a link, which I quoted, and apparently my restrictions on posting messages with links have not been lifted :(

mahesh
2009-Apr-09, 12:42 AM
Just think of it as Cricket, Lechery. Playing at Lord's, like this, will stand you in good stead. You've just got in. Stay at the crease. Have a feel around. Patiently work your self into an innings. There are many ways, in cricket, to get out and walk that long walk, back to the pavilion. So steady does it.

Is this making any sense to you? Cricket, I mean.

Gillianren
2009-Apr-09, 02:28 AM
Cricket doesn't make sense to anyone.

Lechery
2009-Apr-09, 03:34 AM
Cricket doesn't make sense to anyone.

I'm afraid you've put yourself on a sticky wicket with that comment!

Gillianren
2009-Apr-09, 04:57 AM
Maybe that's one I should put under Sayings--"what does 'sticky wicket' mean?" Except I don't know myself, even after the best efforts of Dorothy L. Sayers.

Lechery
2009-Apr-09, 05:27 AM
Maybe that's one I should put under Sayings--"what does 'sticky wicket' mean?" Except I don't know myself, even after the best efforts of Dorothy L. Sayers.

Don't forget a "googly"!

Jeff Root
2009-Apr-09, 06:08 AM
Years ago I visited a website that had hundreds of explanations of
common sayings and expressions. It was very nicely done. They had
put a lot of work into getting the facts right and telling the history
of the saying clearly and concisely. Very clean, simple web page
layout. And my vague memory is that it wasn't even too hard to find
a particular expression that I wanted to know about. But that was a
couple of computers ago, and I don't have a bookmark for it. I hope
it still exists. Everything on it could have been copied to Wikipedia in
a few minutes, but the person or people who made that website can't
be copied....

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Infinity Watcher
2009-Apr-09, 09:42 AM
I have a textbook about logic that I was supposed to read but didn't.
So I can say with the confidence of a truly clueless ignoramous that
the entire content of the book could be condensed to two pages with
no significant loss of information. Modus ponens, modus tollens,
bibbity-bobbity-boo.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Heh, I'm no scholar myself when it comes to logic if I'm honest I think the fallacies are of more importance but I think you probably need to give a basic grounding in necessary and sufficent conditions and some of the other stuff that comes with it to be able to properly explain the fallacies, it's like learning the language in the same way that engineers have their own language or doctors or any other profession: you can explain without it but you can't be as precise about it and the end explanation can have holes in it.

geonuc
2009-Apr-09, 10:41 AM
In that case, and other cases with an even number of samples where the two middlemost ones aren't equal, there is not a unique median from the basic definition, though it's still meaningful.
I believe the common solution is to use the average of the two middlemost samples as median when the number of samples is even.

And it's definitely equally useful as in the odd-numbered case.
You misinterpreted my example, Henrik. I was referring to a situation where there are only two values, not two data. Say you're a paleontologist examining a group of critters that seem to have either six legs or eight. What use would the average (median) numbers of legs be? Very little, I think.

Euniculus
2009-Apr-09, 01:06 PM
Everybody should at least have basic cooking skills. I'm meeting too many 20 and 30 somethings who cannot cook to save their lives.

danscope
2009-Apr-09, 04:59 PM
Yes, and when the bottom falls out and they find themselves living on 20% of what they 'used' to have, they suffer quite terribly. It's really too bad.

Gillianren
2009-Apr-09, 05:12 PM
Don't forget a "googly"!

Gosh! It's a googly! (I have no idea what that means. It's an advertising slogan Lord Peter as Death Bredon came up with for Tomboys Toffee in Murder Must Advertise.)

Yes, I know there are websites a-plenty that'll define sayings for me. I have to know which ones I think should be on there in the first place before I do any defining. I have books, too. I think we can all agree that Gillian is perfectly capable of knowing what words mean. (I'm sorry if that sounds snippy, but I keep realizing really, really obvious things that I totally, absolutely forgot about. On my list of Jewish holidays, I completely forgot Passover, which is not only important but, you know, this week.) There are about thirty questions I have written but not answered, but none in Sayings. I have three answered ones--what is deus ex machina? Is ignorance really bliss? Why do we tilt at windmills?--but that's it.

I absolutely agree that everyone should know basic cooking skills; this is not the book in which to teach them. I may throw in a list of books I think people should also read, such as Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for the Food, the best basic cooking book I've ever read, but essentially no "how-to" stuff outside "how do I ask a reference question?" And I'm getting my librarian friend to give me advice on that.

Jeff Root
2009-Apr-09, 06:11 PM
A composite of basic physics, electricity, and measurement units:

I learned at a young age that lightbulbs glow because they resist the
flow of electricity through the filament. What I inferred from that was:
The greater the resistance, the brighter the lightbulb glows. Which of
course was exactly backwards. It took quite a while to unlearn that.

A clear description of the relationship between electric current, voltage,
resistance, and power, which avoids my misconception, would be good.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Jeff Root
2009-Apr-09, 06:24 PM
I'm working on a book to be titled, 'Things Everyone Should Know That
Gillian Didn't Tell You'.

-- Runcible Versimilitude, in Pookeepsie

Lechery
2009-Apr-09, 10:31 PM
I learned at a young age that lightbulbs glow because they resist the
flow of electricity through the filament. What I inferred from that was:
The greater the resistance, the brighter the lightbulb glows. Which of
course was exactly backwards. It took quite a while to unlearn that.

Yes, but only because you connected the light bulb to an approximately constant voltage source. If you connected it to a constant current source, the relation would be what you originally thought :)

mahesh
2009-Apr-10, 12:42 AM
Gillian, you passed over Passover?

Well, any way, in absence of any input here, from the Grandee, His Highness Erudition, Mr William Safire, here's a bit about the 'sticky wicket' :
http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/334550.html

I can't understand, people can't understand cricket! but there again, it's the same, I suppose. I can't / don't understand baseball!

Incidentally, I heard recently, that cricket was invented in Belgium!

Thanks guys. And for the chocolates....

Happy Easter!

mahesh
2009-Apr-10, 12:50 AM
Oh Gillian, what's this book you are writing? Writing about?
But that's terrific!

....and I ought to read through this thread a bit more thoroughly...

Gillianren
2009-Apr-10, 02:30 AM
If I were to write an entire chapter in a book detailing exactly what everybody did in a game of baseball, I posit that you would come away understanding the basic rules. Not that I would, because I don't like baseball any more than I like cricket. I'm just saying that I don't think the two are comparable. Though thanks always to Mr. Safire. I may not agree with anything he writes outside the column, but On Language is good stuff.

AndrewJ
2009-Apr-10, 02:59 AM
If I were to write an entire chapter in a book detailing exactly what everybody did in a game of baseball, I posit that you would come away understanding the basic rules.

One-day cricket is profoundly simpler than baseball. One innings each as opposed to nine in baseball. Nine!

Jeff Root
2009-Apr-10, 03:12 AM
I learned at a young age that lightbulbs glow because they resist the
flow of electricity through the filament. What I inferred from that was:
The greater the resistance, the brighter the lightbulb glows. Which of
course was exactly backwards. It took quite a while to unlearn that.
Yes, but only because you connected the light bulb to an approximately
constant voltage source. If you connected it to a constant current
source, the relation would be what you originally thought :)
That can be explained by saying that ordinary chemical reactions,
such as those in an electric battery, provide approximately constant
voltage regardless of the resistance, while current must be adjusted
either manually or by some kind of feedback mechanism to remain
constant when the resistance changes. In other words, constant
current is a situation that isn't natural, normal, or common.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

geonuc
2009-Apr-10, 12:11 PM
Or more to the point, with a lightbulb, the voltage souce is normally your friendly, neighborhood power company and they supply a constant voltage product (or they try to).

.

mahesh
2009-Apr-10, 12:41 PM
Yeah, ....when three light bulbs flicker (are on) at Lord's, they stop playing. :D
That's a constant we have, in cricket...and adjourn for extended tea.


edit to add resulting scenario
like so...:
http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/03Zx2sTgx39BX/610x.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.daylife.com/photo/03Zx2sTgx39BX&usg=__zDj8TMmvVKKLY7roNi3Y0x0gG1g=&h=405&w=610&sz=59&hl=en&start=2&um=1&tbnid=OngfwbrfKvK0hM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=136&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dbad%2Blight%2Bat%2Blords%2Bcricket%2B ground%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26um%3D1

oh, and the 'bad light', (the constant glow from the bulbs) sometimes, continues after 'tea'

http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://www.cricinfo.com/db/PICTURES/CMS/53300/53399.jpg&imgrefurl=http://content.cricinfo.com/engvaus/content/image/218643.html&usg=__oUTuAiPGJDcLjuDCJmoQWpybIxM=&h=486&w=350&sz=32&hl=en&start=10&um=1&tbnid=ePMlP0hicb1lAM:&tbnh=129&tbnw=93&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dbad%2Blight%2Bat%2Bthe%2Boval%26hl%3D en%26sa%3DG%26um%3D1

so much for constancy of current / voltage ....

HenrikOlsen
2009-Apr-13, 03:27 PM
If I were to write an entire chapter in a book detailing exactly what everybody did in a game of baseball, I posit that you would come away understanding the basic rules.
Everything I know about cricket I got from Murder must advertise.:lol:

D11011101
2009-Apr-13, 06:31 PM
everyone should know that if you hit someone over the head with a wine bottle, you could kill them.

Everyone should know that most men are paranoid about being hit in the testicles therefore discounting it as the first place to hit in a fight.

D11011101

D11011101
2009-Apr-13, 06:34 PM
Everyone should know that lead doesn't make good pipes and that killing all the cats isn't the best way to stop the plague.

D11011101
From my unpublished work: It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Gillianren
2009-Apr-13, 06:35 PM
Everything I know about cricket I got from Murder must advertise.:lol:

As I keep saying, yes. I know a fair amount of out-of-date stuff about wine from those books, too.

geonuc
2009-Apr-28, 06:06 PM
Has anyone mentioned knowing the difference between a flu and a cold. That antibiotics are effective against bacterial infections, but not viruses? That sort of thing.

Gillianren
2009-Apr-28, 07:28 PM
I've got what is a bacterium and what is a virus, with an emphasis that antibacterial products don't work on viruses. I also have what is a vaccine, and are vaccines dangerous. (Answer? No! Of course not!)

Jeff Root
2009-Apr-29, 05:53 AM
Is this something everyone needs to know? Why do many participants
in certain sports (mainly American football) put black marks under their
eyes? They've been doing that for probably thirty years, now, and I
have no good idea what its purpose is. Every explanation I've been able
to imagine makes no logical sense. If this makes it into the book, I'll wait
until I have a copy of the book in my hands to read the answer.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Jeff Root
2009-Apr-29, 06:07 AM
On the other hand, if the book has anything to say about "antioxidents"
in foods, I'd like a sneak preview of the answer. Specifically, I'd like to
know whether Gillian has an opinion about the efficacy of antioxidents,
and if so, what is that opinion?

My personal accounting of essential nutrients totals about 65 different
chemical substances or classes of substances, which doesn't include any
antioxidents.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Van Rijn
2009-Apr-29, 06:19 AM
I've got what is a bacterium and what is a virus, with an emphasis that antibacterial products don't work on viruses. I also have what is a vaccine, and are vaccines dangerous. (Answer? No! Of course not!)

I would be careful about absolute statements about the danger of vaccines. While there is a lot of nonsense about vaccines, there are real risks. People occasionally do react badly to vaccines though the benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risks.

Gillianren
2009-Apr-29, 06:44 AM
To be fair, I do actually mention that. However, for most people, the answer is no. I only even mention it to refute the autism claims.

Jeff, some of those vitamins you're intaking are antioxidants. You just don't know them by that name. And I'm not sure I feel qualified to discuss them more than that. My understanding is that not all the science is in yet.

Jeff Root
2009-Apr-29, 08:08 AM
Right. I had noticed that some vitamins are also considered antioxidants.
That appears to be an incidental function.

(And I noticed that I misspelled "antioxidants" when I re-read my post just
now before I got down to yours, where you spelled it correctly, of course.)
Sounds like we're about equally knowledgable / not.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Jeff Root
2009-Apr-29, 08:19 AM
A fill-in-the-blank question about the book:

These are things everyone should know in order to ________.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Gillianren
2009-Apr-29, 05:30 PM
A fill-in-the-blank question about the book:

These are things everyone should know in order to ________.

That is the wrong kind of question. I don't think you should know everything you should know for any particular reason. You just should. Oh, a lot of the information is useful in practical ways--the entire second chapter, for example, is things everyone should know in order to be a good citizen--but I don't think there has to be an "in order to."

gzhpcu
2009-Apr-29, 05:50 PM
I have not read the entire thread, but my question is, how would the planned book differ essentially from:

The Practical Guide to Practically Everything ?

http://www.amazon.com/Times-Practical-Guide-Practically-Everything/dp/031235388X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1241027078&sr=8-1

or

The New York Times Guide to Practically Everything ?

http://www.amazon.com/Times-Guide-Essential-Knowledge-Second/dp/B001KZI7Z4/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_b

Gillianren
2009-Apr-29, 06:10 PM
It differs from the first in that what I am writing is not a how-to book. It differs from the second in that what I am writing is not as wide-ranging. I am just looking for things I think everyone should know, not things I think are neat to know.

And, frankly, even if there were no difference except that I am writing this one and not the others, I don't think it would much decrease the market. The kind of people who buy this sort of book--and I count myself among them--by lots of this kind of book. There is considerable overlap among the Imponderables books, the Straight Dope books, and even the Jan Harold Brunvand books of urban legends, but people still buy all three.

Argos
2009-Apr-29, 07:16 PM
Sorry if I haven´t partaken so far, but you could split the book into sections, Gillian. Like What Should Everybody know in Science, History, Geography, etc...

Gillianren
2009-Apr-29, 07:48 PM
It is currently divided into chapters by subject matter, and when it's finished, I plan to go back and arrange questions by discipline--or, in the case of history, chronological order. I am, however, aware that there is more than enough material of "information that is useful but not vital" to fill several more books. Still, one at a time, right?

Jeff Root
2009-Apr-29, 07:49 PM
Jeff Root
A fill-in-the-blank question about the book:

These are things everyone should know in order to ________.
That is the wrong kind of question. I don't think you should know
everything you should know for any particular reason. You just should.
In that case, the answer is, "These are things that Gillian thinks
everyone should know, or that other people lobbied so hard for
to be included because they thought people should know
them that Gillian finally relented and put them in, too."

Right?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Fazor
2009-Apr-29, 07:53 PM
Oh! How about, everyone should know that using turn signals isn't optional! And what to do at a traffic light that is out.

...of course, traffic laws may vary too much from one area to another, so you could condense the chapter on driving to one simple sentence: "Stay the heck out of Fazor's way!"

Jeff Root
2009-Apr-29, 08:01 PM
I am, however, aware that there is more than enough material of
"information that is useful but not vital" to fill several more books.
Wait-- Now I'm unsure again what you're trying to do. Your book
consists of information that is in some sense "important". Is that
important information useful? Is it vital? Is it both? Why do you
distinguish the two? Why "useful but not vital"? Why not vital?
Why not useful AND vital?

-- Jeff, still in Minneapolis

geonuc
2009-Apr-29, 08:13 PM
In that case, the answer is, "These are things that Gillian thinks
everyone should know, or that other people lobbied so hard for
to be included because they thought thought people should
know them that Gillian finally relented and put them in, too."

Right?

Why are you saying this? Is there something wrong with Gillian writing a book and asking us for input?

Jeff Root
2009-Apr-29, 08:55 PM
Jeff Root
In that case, the answer is, "These are things that Gillian thinks
everyone should know, or that other people lobbied so hard for
to be included because they thought ... people should know
them that Gillian finally relented and put them in, too."

Right?
Why are you saying this? Is there something wrong with Gillian
writing a book and asking us for input?
Huh? No, certainly not!

I am, first, acknowledging that just because I think
everyone should know this thing or that, Gillian's opinion might
conceivably differ from mine (well, anything is possible) and she
might think the thing isn't appropriate. Since she is giving us the
opportunity to make suggestions, she is also making herself
vulnerable to lobbying. And since I have made a few suggestions
which she hasn't apparently found useful, vital, or important, I'm
trying to determine what her criteria are.

-- Jeff, in... uh... where was I?

Gillianren
2009-Apr-29, 10:00 PM
Why does everyone get so annoyed when things are subjective? Yes, sure, it's my opinion that ultimately matters. (Lobbying, I should point out, avails you naught. Suggesting can get you in, but if I decide it doesn't fit what I'm writing, pressuring me to change my mind probably won't get your idea in the book.) This is what I think everyone should know. Of course. Does that actually need to be overtly stated?

Now, there are things I can't fathom people disagreeing with me about--if you are a US citizen, you should know how the US government works. This seems so obvious I can't imagine having to defend it. You should know how your body works. If you have a credit card, you should know how credit cards work. I don't think those things actually are subjective. I think they are just basic logic.

A lot of other things, while not essential to you as a person, are helpful when it comes to getting by in modern life. How e-mail works. How snail mail works. How plumbing works. The difference between climatology and meteorology and what each one's predictions suggest. The concept of language and how it varies from place to place. Things like that are important.

The basics of science. The basics of history. The basics of art. Geography. It's possible to get by without those, but the world around you makes more sense if you know them.

And, yes, the entirely subjective stuff. What is Citizen Kane? (The only film identified in the book as something you have to know, though I'll listen to arguments about others.) What are The Canterbury Tales? A lot of stuff about the Space Race that I think is important to know but which does not reliably directly impact everyone's life. A lot of stuff about history, human evolution, and so forth. Totally subjective, but I still think it's worth knowing.

And maybe I'll rearrange the book, when I rearrange the book, along the lines of how subjective I think the knowledge is. But that seems like an awful lot of work--and itself awfully subjective!

gzhpcu
2009-Apr-30, 06:19 AM
Bet you'll have an entry about what you need to know concerning libraries...:)

SkepticJ
2009-Apr-30, 08:03 AM
What the scientific method is, and why it is what it is. e.g. empiricism


Comprehensive list of logical fallacies and why they're fallicious.

Gillianren
2009-Apr-30, 05:10 PM
Bet you'll have an entry about what you need to know concerning libraries...:)

And I won't ask the opinion of those who literally have no idea what they're talking about concerning them.


What the scientific method is, and why it is what it is. e.g. empiricism

Already there, I promise you.


Comprehensive list of logical fallacies and why they're fallicious.

I keep thinking about that, actually. The problem I have is that it would take dozens of pages to do it properly. I think I'll just touch the highlights, and if anyone knows a good book on the subject, I'll add it into the suggested reading list. I can handle adding a good website instead, but I do so prefer books.

Fazor
2009-Apr-30, 05:27 PM
For the sake of BAUT and BAUT-like people everywhere, can you include how reasoning works? Scientific method, really.

Maybe you can help decrease the number of "No tigers have vandalized my home since I bought this garden gnome, thus this garden gnome prevents tiger vandalization!" type products that are out there.

Argos
2009-Apr-30, 06:04 PM
And I won't ask the opinion of those who literally have no idea what they're talking about concerning them.


[DeNiro voice]Are you talking to me? ARE you talking to ME?[/]

;) :)

Gillianren
2009-Apr-30, 06:21 PM
[DeNiro voice]Are you talking to me? ARE you talking to ME?[/]

;) :)

You've at least been in one.

Fazor, I'm trying. Shall I post what I have about it for people to snipe at me over?

Fazor
2009-Apr-30, 06:24 PM
If you're that brave. And once I personally figure out how to think rationally I'd be happy to review it. ;)

gzhpcu
2009-Apr-30, 07:13 PM
And I won't ask the opinion of those who literally have no idea what they're talking about concerning them.

Ouch! :lol:

Gillianren
2009-Apr-30, 07:59 PM
Okay, try this.


What is the scientific method?
Obviously, scientists don't just randomly start calling things true. They have to have a system for determining how things really work. This involves experimentation and observation. First, a scientist forms an idea about something. Then, they test the idea. Then, they tell other people about it, and those other people test it. If it passes enough tests, it becomes mainstream thought. This is based on a lot of evidence and takes some time to happen. Even then, it could always be wrong. Science does not deal in truth or proof.

What is Occam's Razor?
Occam's Razor is the premise that the simplest answer that covers all the information is the one most likely to be correct. Einstein supposedly said, "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler," which—although considered a rebuttal to Occam's Razor—strikes me as a pretty good way to sum it up. Occam's Razor does not state that the simplest answer is always true, as many simple answers are outright absurd. However, it is simpler and therefore more likely to suggest, however, that the Apollo Program actually happened than to posit an enormous, complicated, and even more scientifically difficult hoax.

What is a hypothesis?
A hypothesis is the basic idea based on someone's observations. The person will look at those observations and come up with a testable explanation to fit them. In order to be a true hypothesis, it must be falsifiable—you must be able to prove it wrong. It will not be proven correct, as it could always be wrong. The test might be based on what will happen in experiments or what will be seen in future observations.

What is a theory?
A theory is a hypothesis that has survived many tests. While common usage calls any idea about how the world works a theory, this is not the scientific meaning of the term.

What is a law?
Contrary to popular belief, theories do not become laws if enough evidence is presented. Generally, a law is a factual observation that holds true, such as the rate of gravity. Laws just are. Things like the conservation of momentum and Archimedes' principle of buoyancy are laws.

Fazor
2009-Apr-30, 08:13 PM
Do I get an editor credit if I point out you used the term "however" twice in the Apollo sentence of Occam's Razor?

. . . just because it'd be irony of the highest level to see the titled "Editor" next to my name. :-D

tdvance
2009-Apr-30, 09:57 PM
I would be careful about absolute statements about the danger of vaccines. While there is a lot of nonsense about vaccines, there are real risks. People occasionally do react badly to vaccines though the benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risks.

Every time I get a flu shot, I have to sign a paper indicating that I understand that I could die from it and won't sue, etc.

SeanF
2009-Apr-30, 10:00 PM
Every time I get a flu shot, I have to sign a paper indicating that I understand that I could die from it and won't sue, etc.
I would think a form promising not to sue in the event you should die would be pretty much pointless. :)

Gillianren
2009-Apr-30, 10:10 PM
Do I get an editor credit if I point out you used the term "however" twice in the Apollo sentence of Occam's Razor?

. . . just because it'd be irony of the highest level to see the titled "Editor" next to my name. :-D

. . . Irony it is. Thank you. How would you like to be credited?

tdvance
2009-Apr-30, 10:14 PM
perhaps as the primary author? :)

Fazor
2009-May-01, 12:14 AM
. . . Irony it is. Thank you. How would you like to be credited?

Cash or money order; either's fine by me.

geonuc
2009-May-01, 09:24 AM
I would think a form promising not to sue in the event you should die would be pretty much pointless. :)
Not pointless from a legal standpoint. It would be somewhat effective against suits brought by the estate. I say somewhat, because 'hold harmless' forms are often found to be ineffective.

Jeff Root
2009-May-01, 01:07 PM
What is the scientific method?
Obviously, scientists don't just randomly start calling things true.
They have to have a system for determining how things really work.
This involves experimentation and observation. First, a scientist
forms an idea about something. Then, they test the idea. Then, they
tell other people about it, and those other people test it. If it
passes enough tests, it becomes mainstream thought. This is based on
a lot of evidence and takes some time to happen. Even then, it could
always be wrong. Science does not deal in truth or proof.
A scientist forms an idea about something based on observations.
So the scientific process begins with observation. Always many
observations, not just one. But typically one specific observation
will trigger an idea of how what is observed might be connected in
some way to other things that are known from previous observation
of other things. That connection is the idea.

To reflect the notion that the scientific process begins with
observation, I would reverse the order of the subjects in the third
sentence to read "This involves observation and experimentation."

Observation is *always* involved; experimentation is not. We can't
perform experiments to test the idea that stars become red giants
when the hydrogen deep in their cores begins to run out, or the idea
that birds are closely related to dinosaurs. Those ideas can only
be tested by how well the various observations fit together.

It is a most curious notion that a scientist would wait to tell
others about an idea until after it has been tested. It happens,
for sure, but generally a scientist will try to get feedback from
others before starting an experiment, at least if it is at all
involved. Certainly, between getting the idea and conducting an
experiment, a scientist is likely to do library research, to find
out if anything is already known about the observed phenomenon.

(I have long thought it perplexing that such different activities
are both are called "research".)

If an experiment requires the help of other people, it can be
expensive, which means that somebody may have to be convinced to
pay for it. That means the idea needs to be explained to others
before the experiment can be set up -- sometimes before it can
even be designed.

I understand the intent of the final sentence, but most readers
will not. "Science does not deal in truth or proof." What does
that mean? It requires further explanation. It could require
an entry of its own.



What is Occam's Razor?
Occam's Razor is the premise that the simplest answer that covers
all the information is the one most likely to be correct. Einstein
supposedly said, "Everything should be made as simple as possible,
but not simpler," which -- although considered a rebuttal to Occam's
Razor -- strikes me as a pretty good way to sum it up. Occam's Razor
does not state that the simplest answer is always true, as many simple
answers are outright absurd. However, it is simpler and therefore
more likely to suggest, however, that the Apollo Program actually
happened than to posit an enormous, complicated, and even more
scientifically difficult hoax.
Unless you have some material about the Apollo hoax nearby, I'd
suggest/lobby that you use a different example, and make it concrete
by spelling it out in some detail. Detailed, concrete examples can
make the difference between a reference book that gets glanced at as
needed, and a book that is fun to read. Rube Goldberg replaced the
dry words "enormous, complicated, and difficult" with entertaining
cartoons. If you can compress the verbal equivalent of a cartoon
into much less than a thousand words...



What is a hypothesis?
A hypothesis is the basic idea based on someone's observations.
The person will look at those observations and come up with a testable
explanation to fit them. In order to be a true hypothesis, it must be
falsifiable -- you must be able to prove it wrong. It will not be
proven correct, as it could always be wrong. The test might be based
on what will happen in experiments or what will be seen in future
observations.
The phrase "the basic idea" seems to refer to something described
elsewhere. What? The "idea" in the section on scientific method?
What is meant by "basic"?

An hypothesis is a guess about what will happen or what will be
observed in specified circumstances. It is often a logical deduction
from a theory, which may be new and completely untested, or may have
been long and widely-accepted. For example, a theory is that liquids
freeze when cooled sufficiently. I hypothesize that the liquids in
these bottles will freeze if I put them in my freezer for an hour.



What is a theory?
A theory is a hypothesis that has survived many tests. While common
usage calls any idea about how the world works a theory, this is not
the scientific meaning of the term.
An hypothesis is, as the word suggests, something less than a thesis,
or theory. It is a guess about a specific connection or relationship
between things. It is often a prediction derived from a theory.

A theory is greater than a hypothesis. It is usually more than a
single idea. At its best, a theory is an inseperable, coherent set
of ideas which unify a wide range of observations into a way of
thinking that provides "understanding" of the phenomena involved.
A theory is an explanation of connections between observed phenomena
which makes accurate predictions of other phenomena possible.

Predictions from a theory are called "hypotheses". When a range of
hypotheses derived from a theory are tested and found to be in accord
with observations, the evidentiary support for the theory grows,
making it likely to be accepted as a useful explanation of the
phenomena it describes.



What is a law?
Contrary to popular belief, theories do not become laws if enough
evidence is presented. Generally, a law is a factual observation
that holds true, such as the rate of gravity. Laws just are. Things
like the conservation of momentum and Archimedes' principle of
buoyancy are laws.
This is unsatisfying.

A law is a simple relationship between phenomena which has been
well supported by evidence. It is as powerful as a theory, but
as simple as an hypothesis.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Jeff Root
2009-May-01, 01:10 PM
In the previous post I used my standard "An hypothesis" rather
than your "A hypothesis". I think I make the choice of article
based in part on which syllable gets the primary stress.

An hyPOTHesis is less than a theory
A hypoTHETical case
A hypoDERmic needle
An hyPERbola
A hyperBOLic trajectory
A hotel
A HEro
An herOic deed
An HONest mistake
An HONor

I don't have a complete theory to explain it, though. That would
be nice, because a theory is greater than a hypothesis. There are
cases where I prefer "a hypothesis". And either way is okay for
me in all cases. But I do have preferences.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Jeff Root
2009-May-01, 01:28 PM
Why does everyone get so annoyed when things are subjective?
Since I'm the one asking for clarification of the criteria, this
must refer to me. I have no problem with subjectivity. None.
I've said as much more than once on more than one topic here.
It's just that your criteria were sufficiently unclear to me that
I didn't know how to make good recommendations, and I was afraid
that your criteria might also be unclear to you.



there are things I can't fathom people disagreeing with me about--
I don't think there will be much disagreement about what you
include. Only what you exclude.

Good is that which promotes freedom.
[Jeff S. Root, circa 1980s, private notes, previously unpublished.]

Music is good.
[Observation of the moment. Strauss waltzes, Pachelbel's Kanon]

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Gillianren
2009-May-01, 05:50 PM
There are cases where I prefer "a hypothesis". And either way is okay for me in all cases. But I do have preferences.

I'm afraid that, since you're in the US, you get stuck with "a hypothesis." "An hypothesis" is generally the British version.

Also, is there a reason you shorten lines the way you do?

Jeff Root
2009-May-01, 06:31 PM
I'm afraid that, since you're in the US, you get stuck with "a hypothesis."
"An hypothesis" is generally the British version.
I'm not likely to remember that. I will probably remember that you
prefer "a hypothesis", just as I prefer "an hypothesis" in most cases.



Also, is there a reason you shorten lines the way you do?
Three reasons that I can think of. Possibly more that I can't.
I don't expect anyone to adopt my practice on line length.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Argos
2009-May-02, 03:00 PM
A scientist forms an idea about something based on observations.
So the scientific process begins with observation.

I would disagree with you here, Jeff. Yes, that´s the norm, but sometimes the scientific process may begin with an hypothesis. A classical example is the theory of relativity, which began as a pure mental construct.

Jeff Root
2009-May-02, 09:01 PM
The theory of relativity was built on observations just as much as any
other theory. Einstein didn't begin with an hypothesis, he began with
Maxwell's equations, Galileo's principle of relativity, and the constancy
of the speed of light. Those were all results of observations.

I didn't say that the scientist who comes up with an idea needs to
make the observations himself. But the process always begins with
observations.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis