Friday, April 23

I've been ill, but I think I'm getting better.

And now I have a question about what I should post over the next week. Here are some choices:

A little writeup on the quite significant contribution to astronomy made by females over the years (now it's not such a big deal anymore, of course, and there are many fine female astronomers and astrophysicists, but prior to the mid-20th century women in the sciences were much more rare), spotlighting a few in some detail.

A more broad than deep assessment of the differences between British and American English, explaining or speculating on where some of the differences came from, the cross-pollination that still occurs, and also touching on the truth that English is a truly international language, not only in Britain and America and in the former or current Commonwealth countries (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Kenya, and so on), but also as the de facto second language of much of the rest of the world, and of the Internet. How has the explosion of English around the world and in cyberspace affected it? Where is it headed?

A fun, delightful, jovial, life-affirming, joyous, and fascinating Solar System Quiz.

An original essay about the impossibility of motion, from the point of view of a rational logician. Other paradoxes are touched upon but not in any depth. Those Zeno fans out there will like this one. Everyone else will skip it.

Ratings of movies, television shows, games, apps, and films that I have seen or been exposed to over the past few months. Using my patented new rating system, of course.

The story of how, despite my better judgment, I got into what seemed a benign discussion with some old high-school friends recently having to do with Christianity, on a specific topic about which, it turns out, I knew much more than any of them did, though they are self-proclaimed Christians and I am not, and how it went horribly wrong terribly quickly, to the extent I had to kick them off my Facebook friends list, and even ban a couple of them. A parable on how one should not argue with closed-minded people about anything, no matter how trivial it seems, and especially if they are in a wolfpack group and you are alone.

How to set up and optimize a Bit Torrent client, and where to find stuff to download.

How to set up and optimize your music collection, with possible fascinating sub-topics covered depending upon how long I ramble on about the main topic.

A Photoshop tutorial in which I take a so-so digital photograph and use the software to bring out its full potential. Would include many screenshots but no animation or video - I'm not that awesome yet. (Though on my New Blog I hope to be....)

A list of books to read before you die.

The usual poems, pictures, funnies, quotes and so on will appear when they appear, and I'm working on a short story I hope to actually finish as well as the final installment of the "Substitute teacher" posts, after which I plan to begin producing the essays (tutorials? I have to find a better word for them. Anyone who can think of a good one gets a free point in the solar system quiz) themselves.

So if any of the above sound interesting, let me know, otherwise you can't complain about what I do post!


Metamatician said...

Aha - "monographs" for the little lessons. I get the free Solar System Quiz point unless someone comes up with a better word than that. :P

Pia said...

Interesting options. I think i'd most like to hear the story about the narrowminded ones, i always prefer the personal stories. Also like the poems and pics but i can of course not say i mind being educated on the other topics either and the discussion on the role of english will most likely be interesting too. A very flexible customer popping in here :-).

An Gabhar Ban said...

Based on your comment it looks like we get a Solar System quiz anyway... :D

I vote for the quiz, the look at the English language, the conversation with your religious fanatics, or a list of books to read as long as you give some reasons. However, if you haven't noticed, I generally read whatever you post so ultimately it's up to you. (Photoshop and music collection help is always appreciated though.)

Way to go on the short story! Looking forward to reading it! :)

and how about exposition or discourse??

Metamatician said...

Thanks for the feedback, ladies. Yep, the solar system quiz is already written, hehe.

I'll roll the others out as I feel like it, I guess. Parts of most are written already.

Exposition and discourse are both good words, whitesheep. But a little boring, don't ya think? Sound pretty academic.

Still looking for that perfect word... Till then, at least 'monograph' has that Victorian, antiquarian charm to it. :P

Mandula said...

I'm interested in the solar sytem quiz, the english language, and the photoshop tutorilas. The paradoxes, the bittorrent, the ratings of the moviez and the books can come too. :)))

An Gabhar Ban said...

White SHEEP??!!

Metamatician said...

*Jerks the line quickly*

Got another one!

LOL, I knew you would respond to that =D

Metamatician said...

And thanks Mandi for your feedback. I'll get to work on those Photoshop tortillas right away ;-)

Hehe, I'm feeling ornery today...

An Gabhar Ban said...

Do you see the hook dangling from the corner of my lip? LOL

Metamatician said...

Yep :)

Raelha said...

Good to hear your feeling better.

Yes please! to all of the suggested options, apart from the Solar System Quiz which it seems we will be getting anyway so needs no further championing, which is good 'cause I used to have to gripe to get a quiz out of you :p

And hmmmm... lecture, or maybe seminar or tutorial are better since we will be exchanging ideas. Or how about Metatorial or even Metatation?

Raelha said...

oops *you're

An Gabhar Ban said...

Oooohh...I rather like Metatorial... :D

Metamatician said...

Nice one, Rach! I like it, too.

Metatorials they will be, then, unless someone thinks of an even better name.

+1 to Raelha's Solar System Quiz :)

And thanks for your comments, too.

Raelha said...

:D ooh, thank you. PLeased you like it. I'll hold my breath on the point though. I remember a school fair once where they had a Chuckie Egg competition, with the grand prize of three pounds for the winner. Being something of an addict, I sat myself down right away and got an admirable high score that had the organisers impressed. I kept going back throughout the day to see if anyone had beaten it, and they got so fed up with me and, due to the fact that no-one had got nowhere near my score, gave me my prize. Then, an hour or so later, just as I was ready to leave, they called me over and asked for the money back. Turns out there was a better player than me around, so I had to hand over my hard-won earnings. I sat down to play again but didn't have time to reach his score - they chucked me off the computer in the end so they could close up. So, no point for me until the quiz starts please.

I also remember, while I was playing, some pompous toff commenting at my back something like 'ooh my, what a good player you are little girl!' and me thinking 'what a twat' (am I allowed to use words like that here? I used to swear an awful lot when I was younger, I'm much better behaved nowadays). Anyway, when I had a quick break in play, I turned round to see who pronounced such condescending words and had my own thoughts confimed upon seeing it was the local Conservative MP, Nick Winterton. Obviously hoping to pick up the younger vote, but failing miserably. I've never thought much of politicians since.

Metamatician said...

Point taken - oops, I mean lesson learnt! Funny story... Guess that's when the Conservatives lost your vote ;) Kidding, all politicians are slimy, else they wouldn't go into politics...

You can use whatever language you want on the meta-plane. It's a censor-free zone. :)

Oh, and I have a little blast from the past for ya:


Thanks again for the story! It reminds me a bit of when I was in elementary school (forget what they call it there - primary school I suppose - I was about 9 or 10 years old). There was a quiz held in the library each week beginning on Monday, with the prize given to the first kid who answered correctly, unless Friday came and went, in which case no-one won and we got a new quiz the following Monday.

The quiz was usually written on a little blackboard mounted on a tripod near the library's entrance, and there was a stack of little cut-up bits of paper and those stubby golf pencils provided so you could write your answer out and stuff it in the box. Very occasionally the librarian or her assistant would get creative and they'd have a glass jar of jellybeans or something and you'd have to guess how many there were, but usually it was just a question written in chalk. Quite fortunately for me, it was often about the sciences, or some historical event.

Well, as I was a pretty regular denizen of the library, I'd always show up first thing Monday morning (or whenever we were first allowed in - I don't remember now), write out my answer, and just hand it to the assistant over the counter, to make sure it was seen first. To cut to the point, I won something like the first 8 or 10 quizzes (even the jellybean one) - I remember "black hole" being the answer to the very first one, which cheered me on - and I think eventually they stopped the game or changed it so that the same person was ineligible to win more than once a quarter. Something that seemed terribly unfair.

I don't even remember what the prizes were. I don't think they were anything special - mostly your name up on the board on a glittery star or something, and it probably got a bit embarrassing as my name started accumulating. But hey - it wasn't my fault that a)few kids actually frequented the library, and b)I actually went there and pulled down books and sat and READ them... rather than sit and do homework or gossip quietly until admonished by the librarian. I think I must have finished just about every book on their science and nature shelves, and knowing me probably even cheekily asked if they could get some more in.

I'm sure the librarian was quite happy when we moved and I was whisked away to another school!

Raelha said...

Hee, that sounds just like you. I was once asked to stop playing a certain game, just because I won it every time - nothing as intellectual as your library questions, it was 'spot the matchbox', 'cept it was hidden in a friend's garden during their birthday party, and I found it first every time. Even when all the parents told me to pretend I hadn't seen it and let someone else win, I ignored them - I got bored of waiting for someone else to find it, they were taking so long. So I know how you felt. I thought it was most unfair, it wasn't my fault if everybody else was completely unobservant.

I had a lovely librarian in my school, she let me help out, reshelve books, and then even loan them out when I proved to be responsible - Mrs James, she was called, as I remember.

Oh, and I have a copy of Chuckie Egg (the BBC version, not the inferior Spectrum one!) on floppy disk somewhere. I hunt it out every now and again and have a play. I've fallen a long way since my heyday of 'Almost SchoolCchampion' though.

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