Where do you go to find the answer to a question about science fiction? Google? Wikipedia? The New York Times? All of those are plausible answers, but it would sure be convenient to have everything you want to know in… Read More ›
Month: January 2021
Gaston is learning Polish—and liking it!
“Polish is a very difficult language,” says the typical American who doesn’t live in the Dorchester neighborhood known as the Polish Triangle. That’s primarily because they want to buy a vowel when they see so many consonants. They look at… Read More ›
Twelve Gifts for Writers
What a refreshing antidote to that horrid book of unscientific advice that I won’t name here. You know which horrid book I’m talking about: that undeservedly famous guide by Strunk and White. The antidote is the little book Twelve Gifts for Writers by… Read More ›
Nerds, Harry Potter, and Burmese translations: what do these have in common?
You know those “Common Bonds” puzzles, a.k.a. “What do these three have in common?” Look at the title to this post. The first two items are easy—nerds have a lot in common with Harry Potter—but Burmese translations? Take a look… Read More ›
Support your local restaurants!
Barbara and I continue to follow Tara and Michaela’s advice: support your local restaurants! Last night we had fantastic take-out from the Ashmont Grill: bacon-wrapped meatloaf with mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, and mushroom gravy; wood-grilled 12 oz. ribeye steak with roasted… Read More ›
Suppose you lived on a dodecahedron. How would you avoid your neighbors?
“Suppose you lived on a dodecahedron,” I say. “How would you avoid your neighbors?” “But I don’t live on a dodecahedron,” you claim. “Anyway, what if I don’t want to avoid my neighbors?” Stop! This is mathematics. We make abstractions away from the real… Read More ›
Lost Yiddish words?
“Every language changes.” This is a standard response when peevers complain about “bad” English. In fact, it’s appropriate response #1. As you know, peevers file regular grievances about singular “they,” about new words, new meanings, the word “irregardless,” slang, the willingness… Read More ›
The 99% Invisible City
“Always read the plaque.” This is getting out of control. I now have 13 books on my list of Top Ten Favorite Books! The 99% Invisible City is now the thirteenth. Something has to be done. And why, you ask, are there 13 books… Read More ›
Gym Jordan, grammar expert
Leading Republican congressman Jim Jordan is well-known as an expert on “pronouns“:
A number theory discovery by a 12-year-old Nigerian boy! And one by an 11-year-old Massachusetts girl!
Everyone knows the stereotype: mathematical discoveries are made by white and Asian males in their 20s and 30s. Right? Well, like all stereotypes, there’s a certain amount of statistical reality that supports this impression and obscures all examples to the… Read More ›