Archive for the ‘humor’ Category

A little bit of fun

Did you ever wonder if grad school is just like kindergarden?

Or when is it ok to take a holiday break?

Of course, you could be completely unaware of the news.

I personally want to join the tautology club.

And for some reason, perhaps because I’m a particle theorist, the following description of snow tracking really cracks me up.

Finally, you should check this wedding cake picture as well. It uses a Standard Model of decoration.



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As I contemplate a set of bubble sheets and a midterm coming up for my class,   I have to think that all those multiple choice tests that I took in my life ended producing a valuable skill. They taught me how to take the tests so that when I design them I can solve them and fix the errors that crop up. I can now make them with great confidence. After all that training, I am a professional.


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Scientific papers have through the years introduced new terms that become words of everyday language. Energy being one of them. It used to be called vis viva by Leibnitz. the modern usage was introduced in 1807. The word comes from greek, and it is usually the case thaht greek and latin roots are used to indicate new concepts.

The name photon come from 1926, from a paper by Gilbert Lewis. Before that they were called light quanta. Lewis theory was discredited but the name stuck. Similarly, quarks were named so by Gellman.

More recently, words like embiggen (to make bigger) appeared for the first time in an episode of the Simpsons making fun of the illiteracy of the people in Springfield.

This didn’t stop the word from becoming part of the arxiv. So now it is a perfectly cromulent word.

More recently, the word emblackening has entered the physics vocabulary. Here is the first reference that seems to discuss it.

The `emblackening’ factor is a function that takes a given metric without a black hole horizon, and changes it to another function that does have a black hole horizon, therefore emblackening the metric. Gee whiz. Why couldn’t they just call it the blackening factor? Or the time warp function?

That one would be fun. Let’s do the time warp agaaaaaain!

Of course, I was complaining about the mangling of the English language and improper use of prefixes. Probably this is due to the many instances where I have heard English being mangled by my English professors when I was a kid in Latin America and the struggles I had to make my English writing acceptable. I guess I have to adapt to the changing of the language. So wth, I have to accept the new stuff, and rofl my way into using the new modes of communication. Lol.

You can also read a discussion on ’emblackening” here. This is from the National Novel Writing month. Where people complain that it does not exist, while empurple does. It turns out that you can empurple your text (this is to make a piece of text very ornate by use of flowery language), or someone can empurple you by making you very angry. Sadly, emredding and emgreening is out of the question.

So if you’re stuck out of finding fancy new words, just consider reading a scientific paper. You might be surprised at the whole new levels of richness that your vocabulary can aspire to.

My fingers are itching to use ridiculon as nomenclature for a particle whose properties would be completely ridiculous and incompatible with experiments. There are plenty of models that are populated by ridiculons.

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Take out the popcorn and watch this. If you’re a cat owner, like me, you might have seen situations like this in the past. It’s nice to finally understand what the arguments between cats are about.

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Babelfish fun.

Here I am, completely overwhelmed by my academic endeavors (hence the low amount of recent blog posts). Over the past few months I have collected spam in Russian directed to this site, and turned it via Babelfish into English. These are the spam messages that say, in some form or another: your blog is good, with a link to a dubious website. This is unlike the random letters with nasty links sort of spam. The whole point of this exercise is that the simple message above gets garbled. I’m sure that having a lot of slang helps in this. Plus it also shows some interesting cultural differences between here and there, wherever there might be.

  1. Sufficiently interesting and cognitive theme
  2. Outstanding [statya].[Respekt] to the author.
  3. It is excellently written! I will much think…
  4. [Mlin], [spamery] simply reached already by this their primitive!
  5. This here from what you did take that so especially and one-sided? I think that it is possible to make in order to open this hypothesis.
  6. But why it is here exclusive thus? I search for, why not to enlarge this theme.
  7. Well why you did solve only thus? I reflect, how it is possible to enlarge this theme.
  8. [Blog] is very qualitative. To you reward for it or order of honor. =)

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A murder of crows

Lunch here can be very entertaining at times. Especially on days like today where we didn’t speak about physics at all. Today I learned that the proper plural for a (relatively large) set of crows is a murder of crows. Unexpected, perhaps, but I’m sure there is an illustrious reason for the name of such a collection of birds to be named such. That is not too different from a school of fish or a herd of antelope. Except for the fact that the plural collective sounds more gruesome in the case of  crows. Here is a link where you can find a few of these fun plurals. Now, in the spirit of this idea, here are a few suggestions on plurals for professionals:

  • A confusion of economists.
  • An arrogance of physicists.
  • A rabble of politicians.
  • A conspiracy of lawyers.

Some suggested a co-set of mathematicians. It doesn’t ring right.  I’m still considering what would be the correct way to describe large numbers of accountants ( a book of accountants, perhaps?). Perhaps I could play to stereotypes that accountants are boring, but I couldn’t find something that sounded quite right either. Bring in your witty suggestions. It is especially important to play to stereotypes of professions. Looking especially for fun ways to describe academics of various branches.

Update: it’s a congress of baboons as well. No surprise there.

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