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Thread: Really trivial stuff that bugs you

  1. #12751
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    Agreed, completely true, but "dark side" still makes me cringe. I can't help it.
    Let me see if I can summarize my position, for what it's worth.
    1) There is nothing intrisically wrong with the phrase "the dark side of the moon"--it's not a technical term that has been misused, it's a metaphor, with a true meaning.
    2) It's been around for centuries, it's commonly used today, it's not going to go away.
    3) Telling someone that the far side of the moon isn't literally dark all the time gives them knowledge, but only at the "interesting fact" level; it doesn't give them understanding.
    4) But teach someone to understand the phases of the moon, and they'll realize for themselves that "dark side" is not to be taken literally.

    Grant Hutchison

  2. #12752
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    I think they are no longer widely used both because it can be misinterpreted as referring to skin color AND because even the intended metaphorical meaning really is quite ethnocentric in being based on how well Westerners understood Africa, while the Africans living there knew their home just fine and could have spoken about “darkest Europe”.
    And because it was the language of imperialism.

    Grant Hutchison

  3. #12753
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    I think they are no longer widely used both because it can be misinterpreted as referring to skin color AND because even the intended metaphorical meaning really is quite ethnocentric in being based on how well Westerners understood Africa, while the Africans living there knew their home just fine and could have spoken about “darkest Europe”.
    Yes, I realized there was a somewhat more subtle racist/bigoted aspect later once I understood the intended meaning, but I was talking about my thought process when I believed it was about skin color.

    Here is an interesting article about a reporter getting some heat regarding using the term. In her case, she misunderstood it to refer to geographical areas that were dark due to being in deep jungle.

    https://www.npr.org/sections/publice...dark-continent

    It just seems to me a great way to cause confusion and misunderstanding.
    Last edited by Van Rijn; 2020-Feb-27 at 03:16 AM.

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  4. #12754
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    Did "dark side" acquire additional negative connotations after Star Wars? Just wondering.

  5. #12755
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    … Here is an interesting article about a reporter getting some heat regarding using the term. In her case, she misunderstood it to refer to geographical areas that were dark due to being in deep jungle. ...
    I recall at least one cartoon from the 40s/50s that displayed this literally. They showed a banner "Darkest Africa" across a scene of the characters making their way through a dark jungle. (It's possible they were making a witticism about the metaphor.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    It just seems to me a great way to cause confusion and misunderstanding.
    Metaphors are great if everyone who encounters them understands them. But, if someone is unfamiliar with a particular metaphor - or "tone deaf" to metaphors in general … aka, literalists - they can cause confusion. This is especially true if the metaphor is not entirely current or has morphed over time.

    It helps to know what you're trying to convey and the audience you're addressing. Pink Floyd exploring the mysteries of life metaphorically as "the dark side of the moon" is poetic license well-played. An astronomer speaking about exploring the surface of "the dark side of the moon" is begging for misunderstanding.
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  6. #12756
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    As a child I related "Darkest Africa" with visions of a continent that was mostly jungle. That was before I learned that the majority of the continent is savanna, grassland and desert.

  7. #12757
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    As a child I related "Darkest Africa" with visions of a continent that was mostly jungle. That was before I learned that the majority of the continent is savanna, grassland and desert.
    I've never encountered the literalist interpretations before, either in terms of dark jungle or dark skin colour. Maybe I was a peculiarly metaphorical child.

    Henry Morton Stanley is largely to blame for "Dark Continent" and "Darkest Africa" (at least, to a far greater extent than Pink Floyd for "Dark Side Of The Moon"). But Africa was fairly well-known to Europeans by the time Stanley visited--he was just showing a journalist's ear for an alluring phrase. And "dark" was also used in the sense of "benighted" (morally and culturally), which was a fine justification for imperialist European countries to bring the benefits of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution to Africa, by force if necessary.
    To me, it's that historically self-serving and exploitative use of "dark" that makes the phrases "Dark Continent" and "Darkest Africa" something that should be avoided in common discourse.

    Grant Hutchison

  8. #12758
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    As if we needed another reason to dislike Stanley...
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  9. #12759
    I am seriously thinking of watching Battlefield Earth or listen to flat Earth try to explain Corvid-19.
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  10. #12760
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    I am seriously thinking of watching Battlefield Earth or listen to flat Earth try to explain Corvid-19.
    Woah, self-harm isn’t healthy, no matter how you do it!
    The greatest journey of all time, for all to see
    Every mission makes our dreams reality
    And our destiny begins with you and me
    Through all space and time, the achievement of mankind
    As we sail the sea of discovery, on heroes’ wings we fly!

  11. #12761
    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    Woah, self-harm isn’t healthy, no matter how you do it!
    Skipped the flatearther but going to watch Battlefield Earth to right an article about some things in it.
    From the wilderness into the cosmos.
    You can not be afraid of the wind, Enterprise: Broken Bow.
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  12. #12762
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    I received my second Shingles vaccine dose yesterday, and now my arm hurts and I feel a little under the weather.

    I had a 4 month window to receive it, and figured I should get it over with. Who knows what the health care system will look like a month or two from now.


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  13. #12763
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    I received my second Shingles vaccine dose yesterday, and now my arm hurts and I feel a little under the weather.

    I had a 4 month window to receive it, and figured I should get it over with. Who knows what the health care system will look like a month or two from now.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    You've reminded me I need to get my wife in for her second one. I had mine when she had her first; she couldn't have the first when I did because she had active shingles at the time!
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  14. #12764
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    I received my second Shingles vaccine dose yesterday, and now my arm hurts and I feel a little under the weather.

    I had a 4 month window to receive it, and figured I should get it over with. Who knows what the health care system will look like a month or two from now.
    Got my 2nd shingles shot a few months ago after a relative caught it. Was lucky a CVS next to my office had one shot left after all others ran out. No aftereffects.
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  15. #12765
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    Really trivial stuff that bugs you

    Shingles vaccine follow up. A day after the shot, I felt really run-down.

    Last night I awoke with shivers, which is apparently a common (but not fun) side effect. Fortunately, I feel fine now.

    My wife, however, just has a sore arm.

    I’m probably not helping to assuage the “man cold” stereotype. But if they were looking for an immune response, they got one.



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  16. #12766
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    This is another "stuff that bugs me about myself" post.

    A little while back, I posted about my grandmother's clock. It still makes me happy.

    So I've been trying to get it adjusted to where it keeps good time. You do that by turning the little nut under the pendulum weight. Making the effective pendulum length shorter speeds it up a bit; and vice versa. I've figured my phone probably has pretty good time so I compare it to that. Making an adjustment every few days if it seems to be gaining or losing compared to the phone. I'm just not getting it to where I want it.

    Now the "bugs me" part: It's been within one second a day for the past several weeks. For a sixty-five year old mechanical clock. Almost as old as me. Why the heck isn't that good enough for me?
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  17. #12767
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    Applause. That's incredibly accurate. Is it temperature compensated in some way? Within a minute a week used to be the rule of thumb for grandfather clocks, beyond which external influences like temperature and floorboard movement began to interfere with precision and drown out any finer adjustments. In the absence of a case, air movement is also going to be a randomizing element.

    Grant Hutchison

  18. #12768
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Applause. That's incredibly accurate. Is it temperature compensated in some way? Within a minute a week used to be the rule of thumb for grandfather clocks, beyond which external influences like temperature and floorboard movement began to interfere with precision and drown out any finer adjustments. In the absence of a case, air movement is also going to be a randomizing element.

    Grant Hutchison
    Thanks! It's temperature controlled to the extent that the HVAC in the house keeps us withing a few degrees F. I also hadn't thought about air movement. Probably not much of that, although we do have forced air heating. Like I said, I'm really expecting too much from it. I have to admit it's been kind of fun trying to get it dialed in.
    And it's one of two chiming clocks in our house, the other being a modern repro "schoolhouse" clock. I got that as an anniversary award from my former company when we were having trouble with the other one. It's ridiculously hard to set so I just ignore it. I'll have to set it next weekend because of Daylight Time, however.
    Hmm, half past the hour in a few. I'll see how close Nana's clock is (compared to the phone) and report back.

    ETA: Oops, missed it!
    Last edited by Trebuchet; 2020-Mar-02 at 01:35 AM.
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  19. #12769
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    Ok, got it on the hour. The clock struck maybe 1/2 second ahead of the time changing on the phone. I'll see how it does in the morning.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  20. #12770
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Now the "bugs me" part: It's been within one second a day for the past several weeks. For a sixty-five year old mechanical clock. Almost as old as me. Why the heck isn't that good enough for me?
    Not that it has anything to do with the price of tea in China, but I know a guy who is into really precise clocks. He made a pair of clocks that will not go out of sync by a second even in the lifetime of the universe up to now. They're called optical lattice clocks.
    As above, so below

  21. #12771
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    This is another "stuff that bugs me about myself" post.

    A little while back, I posted about my grandmother's clock. It still makes me happy.

    So I've been trying to get it adjusted to where it keeps good time. You do that by turning the little nut under the pendulum weight. Making the effective pendulum length shorter speeds it up a bit; and vice versa. I've figured my phone probably has pretty good time so I compare it to that. Making an adjustment every few days if it seems to be gaining or losing compared to the phone. I'm just not getting it to where I want it.

    Now the "bugs me" part: It's been within one second a day for the past several weeks. For a sixty-five year old mechanical clock. Almost as old as me. Why the heck isn't that good enough for me?
    My grandfather clock keeps good time if I compensate for the room temperature, winter is half a turn looser! on the pendulum, than summer. I could modify the 1780 pendulum to compensate but it seems wrong to do so, any more than revising the hand painted flowers on the 11 inch dial. My more modern 1850 American wall clock is not so accurate, maybe it's the shorter swing. Is your grandmother clock temperature compensated with different metals?
    Last edited by profloater; 2020-Mar-02 at 12:08 PM. Reason: correction looser
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  22. #12772
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    Re' clock accuracy, I think we made a BIG mistake going to digital time keeping.

    It used to be, when someone asked you the time, you'd look at your analog watch or clock, see the big hand somewhere between the 2 and 3, and say, "It's about 15 after." And that was considered close enough.

    Now, someone asks, you look at your cell phone and say, "It's 12 after … no, 13 after … wait, I can get that to the second for you." And, of course every digital clock in your house HAS to match … microwave, DVD player, oven, coffee maker.

    Sigh.

    (In other developments, if those dang kids don't stay off my lawn I'm callin' the cops.)
    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by ignorance or stupidity.
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  23. #12773
    I am glad at times while working for the auction company that the pay acoording to the wall clocks in the legion hall, they are not digital, like Jim just said. Also another thing that bugs me is that they are coming back this weekend and they will probably be bringing back an eight feet long, four feet tall sideboard made out of black walnut.
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  24. #12774
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Re' clock accuracy, I think we made a BIG mistake going to digital time keeping.

    It used to be, when someone asked you the time, you'd look at your analog watch or clock, see the big hand somewhere between the 2 and 3, and say, "It's about 15 after." And that was considered close enough.

    Now, someone asks, you look at your cell phone and say, "It's 12 after … no, 13 after … wait, I can get that to the second for you." And, of course every digital clock in your house HAS to match … microwave, DVD player, oven, coffee maker.
    Radio time signals are the way to go. These days, the only clock I ever need to reset is the one in my car. There's a truly immense feeling of satisfaction to be had from waking up at the start or end of Daylight Saving Time, and finding that all your clocks (and your watch) have dealt with the problem already.

    Grant Hutchison

  25. #12775
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Re' clock accuracy, I think we made a BIG mistake going to digital time keeping.

    It used to be, when someone asked you the time, you'd look at your analog watch or clock, see the big hand somewhere between the 2 and 3, and say, "It's about 15 after." And that was considered close enough.

    Now, someone asks, you look at your cell phone and say, "It's 12 after … no, 13 after … wait, I can get that to the second for you." And, of course every digital clock in your house HAS to match … microwave, DVD player, oven, coffee maker.

    Sigh.

    (In other developments, if those dang kids don't stay off my lawn I'm callin' the cops.)
    I agree. When we used to look after my wife's niece she had a terrible time learning to use analog clocks because everything had to be down to the minute. She had no concept of "about quarter of six" or "around half past eight".

    That wall clock seemed to be 2 or 3 seconds early this morning. I'll track it for a while before making another adjustment. The rate may vary some through the day; the house is a few degrees cooler at night. That'd make the pendulum a hair shorter, right?
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  26. #12776
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    When I tell Simon it's "about a quarter past seven," he asks if I'm rounding.
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  27. #12777
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Radio time signals are the way to go. ...
    Some years back I was working in an office building that had several conference rooms, each with a wall clock. Twice each year the building maintenance man had to drag out a ladder and reset the clocks for DST/ST. To remove this (potentially unsafe) chore the company bought "atomic" clocks, with the time adjusted based on a signal from somewhere in Colorado. This would automatically reset for DST/ST. No more laddering.

    Unfortunately the metal framing of the building blocked the signal. So, twice each year, the maintenance man got out his ladder, took down the clocks and set them by a window over the weekend. The radio signal was then able to rest the clocks and he could remount them.
    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by ignorance or stupidity.
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    You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don’t alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views.
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  28. #12778
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I agree. When we used to look after my wife's niece she had a terrible time learning to use analog clocks because everything had to be down to the minute. She had no concept of "about quarter of six" or "around half past eight".

    That wall clock seemed to be 2 or 3 seconds early this morning. I'll track it for a while before making another adjustment. The rate may vary some through the day; the house is a few degrees cooler at night. That'd make the pendulum a hair shorter, right?
    Right, the steel coefficient is about 7 ppm and the period uses the square root, so about 3.5 ppm on the pendulum time, per degree C. You can easily build a pendulum with say, brass parts arranged to expand the other way, brass having a larger coefficient. That is common in last century pendulum clocks. Falling weight clocks can be better than spring powered because most escapements do affect the pendulum and a falling weight is nearly constant force. Balance wheels overtook pendulums and they also can be thermally compensated as well as better for accelerations, as in the famous need for good clocks on ships for navigation.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  29. #12779
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Unfortunately the metal framing of the building blocked the signal. So, twice each year, the maintenance man got out his ladder, took down the clocks and set them by a window over the weekend. The radio signal was then able to rest the clocks and he could remount them.
    Yes, large buildings need to link their clocks to a central coordinating hub, which has sight of a radio signal.

    Grant Hutchison

  30. #12780
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Right, the steel coefficient is about 7 ppm and the period uses the square root, so about 3.5 ppm on the pendulum time, per degree C. You can easily build a pendulum with say, brass parts arranged to expand the other way, brass having a larger coefficient. That is common in last century pendulum clocks.
    So-called "grid-iron" pendulums. The poor man's equivalent was just to have a wooden pendulum rod, which had a much lower coefficient of expansion.

    Grant Hutchison

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