It’s hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they always take things literally.
This was in the comments, and the punchline got me but good:
A physicist, a biologist, and an epistemologist are asked to name the most impressive invention or scientific advance of modern times. The physicist does not hesitate—”It is quantum theory. It has completely transformed the way we understand matter.” The biologist says “No. It is the discovery of DNA—it has completely transformed the way we understand life.” The epistemologist looks at them both and says “I think it’s the thermos.” The thermos? Why on earth the thermos? “Well,” the epistemologist explains patiently, “If you put something cold in it, it will keep it cold. And if you put something hot in it, it will keep it hot.” Yeah, so what?, everyone asks. “Aha!” the epistemologist raises a triumphant finger “How does it know?”
And yes, I added (a politically incorrect) one to the comment thread.
These are the words, from the titles of Wikipedia articles, in 10 different languages, where edits are most likely to be reverted.
The way that Wikipedia works is that anyone, within reason, can edit any page. But other people can then edit further.
A revert is when a follow-up editor completely removes the edits of someone who preceded them. Thus, one party or the other (or both) is completely unwilling to accept any part of the other’s position.
His classic 6-book series, available for decades now through Lindsay Technical Books, begins with instruction about how to build a home blast furnace and sand table so you can melt scrap metal and cast your own metal parts from wooden patterns. The remaining six books go on to describe how to use these castings to make your own lathe, metal shaper, milling machine, drill press, and indexing head. The order is important, because each tool requires the use of the previous machines in its construction.
Gingery began with a simple backyard foundry. This was a small 5-gallon bucket packed with sand. In its center was a coffee can of smoldering BBQ charcoal. Inside the can of charcoal was a small ceramic crucible into which he threw scrap aluminum – cans, etc. Gingery forced air into this crude furnace via a fan, burning the charcoal with enough heat to melt the aluminum. He poured the molten metal into a mold of wet sand carved out in the shape he wanted. When the cast was cool he had a workable metal holding plate, which became the heart of a homemade lathe. Other lathe parts were cast. He finished these rough parts with hand tools. His one “cheat” was adding a used electric motor — although it is not impossible to imagine a wind or water powered version.
When the rough lathe was up and running he used it to turn out the parts for a drill press. With the drill press and lathe operating he constantly reworked pieces of the lathe itself, replacing parts with improved versions. In this way, his tiny machine shop was an up-creation device, capable of generating higher a machine of precision than itself. He used this upcreation tool to manufacture the pieces needed for a fully functioning milling machine. When the milling machine was completed he could make almost anything.
Activists use shareholder meetings to propose … hmmm … unusual ideas for how corporations should behave.
Anyone who holds $2K worth of stock can go to an annual shareholders meeting, and propose just about anything they like. So if an activist group can hold their nose and make a little investment, they can raise some media attention that may be worth far more than $2K.
Until 1970, the SEC had a rule that companies could exclude from proxy ballots any shareholder resolution introduced “for the purpose of promoting general economic, political, racial, religious, social or similar causes.” The agency’s rule followed the seminal case of Dodge v. Ford Motor F 4.02 % Company (1919) in which the Michigan Supreme Court declared that “a business corporation is organized and carried on primarily for the profit of the shareholders.” …
Last year, according to the Manhattan Institute’s ProxyMonitor.org database, 47% of all shareholder resolutions on the proxy ballots of the largest 250 American companies by revenues involved social or policy concerns unrelated to share value. The issues included corporate political spending, environmental issues and animal rights. Since 2006, these companies have faced 1,150 such proposals …
Still, the SEC should revisit its broader rules about social or policy questions on corporate proxy ballots. Not one of the 1,150 shareholder proposals concerning social or policy issues since 2006 got the support of a majority of voting shareholders over board opposition. [emphasis added]
I added that emphasis for a reason: if these resolutions are never passed, then it’s not just that they are made to garner attention, but that they are only made for the free media attention.
Here’s an example:
Public-employee pension funds headed by elected partisan officials—most notably, those for New York City and state, respectively led by comptrollers Scott Stringer and Thomas DiNapoli—exploit the proxy process to browbeat companies into leaving trade associations and other groups that the officials view as unhelpful to Democratic Party interests.
This needs to end: can you imagine if corporations were allowed to submit proposals on live TV at the Democratic Convention? I didn’t think so.
Indeed, the basic functions of organised crime – protection rackets, narcotics, extortion and prostitution, have increasingly been assumed by the Russian state.
What did Mancur Olson say about stationary bandits?
And it’s not just organized crime and stationary bandits anymore.
What have we seen over the last 5 years? A Russia, increasingly acting like a teenage boy: angry that someone close has tried to walk away (Ukraine), taking things because it claims it deserves them (Crimea), enabling its more childish comrades (the Donetsk basin), interfering where it isn’t wanted (Syria), and willfully ignoring pain inflicted close to home (Sinai).
This was Greg Mankiw’s word of the day a while back, and now it’s mine too. I may as well quote in full:
I had never heard this word, but a correspondent recently drew my attention to it. Coined by C.S. Lewis, it is a type of argumentation where you assume your opponent is incorrect then quickly move to explain the causes of his folly. Of course, it is not valid as a matter of logic, but it is unfortunately all too common. Here is C.S. Lewis:
In other words, you must show that a man is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong. The modern method [Note: This essay was written in 1941.] is to assume without discussion that he is wrong and then distract his attention from this (the only real issue) by busily explaining how he became to be so silly. In the course of the last fifteen years I have found this vice so common that I have had to invent a name for it. I call it “Bulverism.” Some day I am going the write the biography of its imaginary inventor, Ezekiel Bulver, whose destiny was determined at the age of five when he heard his mother say to his father - who had been maintaining that two sides of a triangle were together greater than the third - “Oh, you say that because you are a man.” “At that moment,” E. Bulver assures us, “there flashed across my opening mind the great truth that refutation is no necessary part of argument. Assume your opponent is wrong, and then explain his error, and the world will be at your feet. Attempt to prove that he is wrong or (worse still) try to find out whether he is wrong or right, and the national dynamism of our age will thrust you to the wall.” That is how Bulver became one of the makers of the Twentieth Century. [emphasis added]
In my estimation, this is the dominant form of argument used by academics to disparage quality and quantity of other academics scholarly activities.
I live in Utah. I actually think this is the dominant form of argumentation here, with special emphasis on the “busily explaining how he became to be so silly” part.
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