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bio website johansens.us
location Michigan
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visits member for 2 years, 10 months
seen Jul 10 at 13:44

Jan
2
comment Is there a word for beings that will eat other Sentient beings?
Could get very philosophical here. As we have only one example of a generally-recognized intelligent life form available for study -- humans -- it's very difficult to draw generalizations. I think in real life we first define a category based on vague feelings that "A and B go together but C is different" and then search for a way to define it technically, rather than the other way around. For example, biologists have definitions of "plant kingdom" versus "animal kingdom" based on technical considerations like the presence of a cell wall, but people used the words "plant" and "animal" ...
Jan
2
comment Is there a word for “air can pass through it”?
"Air-permeable" would mean specifically that air can pass through, as opposed to "water-permeable" or more generally "liquid-permeable". But in any case, this is a technical term, suitable for technical contexts but likely to be inappropriate for casual conversation. A biologist might say, "A semi-permeable membrane surrounds the cell's cytoplasm", but a handyman is very unlikely to say, "The screen door is air-permeable."
Dec
20
comment Correct pronunciation of “TT”?
soft = unvoiced, i.e. said without using your vocal cords; hard = voiced, with vocal cords. "t" and "d" are hard and soft versions of the same sound. Similarly p/b, f/v, ch/j, s/z, and k/g. See, for example, slb-ltsu.hull.ac.uk/awe/index.php?title=Hard_%28consonant%29
Dec
20
comment Come on, don’t be such a nimrod!
Not to get into a deep discussion of epistemology, but every assertion one makes is at best "probably true", with varying degrees of certain. I can't say with 100% certainty that tchrist exists: maybe it's just a fake name created by another user on here to hide his excessive number of posts. I can't say with 100% certainly that France exists: I've never been there, nor have I ever met anyone who claims to have been there. Maybe it's a fictional place invented by the British to frighten small children. Etc.
Dec
20
comment What does the suffix “-saurus” mean?
"Thank you for using your brain." I don't know, sounds dangerous. Too many people using their brains, the next thing you know, they start questioning the Established Order. :-)
Dec
20
comment What does the suffix “-saurus” mean?
@Urbycoz Now I have all these mental pictures of the "Tyranno-thesaurus" chomping on words! If I ever teach kids of the appropriate age again, I'll have to make up some appropriate illustrations!
Dec
20
comment Is there a word for beings that will eat other Sentient beings?
As Shakespeare wrote, worms are clearly the highest form of life on Earth, or at least the top of the food chain. "Worms are the emperor of all diets. We fatten up all creatures to feed ourselves, and we fatten ourselves for the worms to eat when we’re dead." Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 3.
Dec
20
answered Is “fine” one of the strangest words in English language? How did it come to be this way and are there other examples?
Dec
20
comment Correct pronunciation of “TT”?
Theoretically, the second "t" in the first word of this sentence is pronounced with a soft sound. :-)
Dec
20
answered Is there a word for beings that will eat other Sentient beings?
Dec
20
comment How are 'marry', 'merry', and 'Mary' pronounced differently?
@PeterShor Or you may be an example of my point: We can tell the difference, but you can't. :-) An interesting experiment in such a case would be to have person A say the two words and see if person B can identify which he is saying -- presumably just saying the words in isolation, with no surrounding sentence to give clues. If a hearer can tell them apart but you can't, then there really is a difference that is too subtle for you. If no one can tell them apart, then presumably there is no difference.
Dec
20
answered Is “take care” always a friendly utterance or can it sometimes be considered threatening?
Dec
19
comment Why are so many English expressions derived from baseball terminology?
@JohnLawler: "only Americans both play baseball and speak English" Many of the UK posters on here are likely to assert that only half of that statement is accurate.
Dec
19
comment Is English particularly well suited for so-called “natural language programming”?
user867: To an extent, sure. I personally prefer Visual Basic to the C/Java family in some ways, namely I find it easier to read things like "if x>0 and y=7 then ... end if" then "if (x>0 && y==7) { ... }". Yeah, it's more to type, but it just reads nicer. But that's a long, long way from what proponents of NLP claim that they will be able to do Any Day Now.
Dec
19
comment Is English particularly well suited for so-called “natural language programming”?
Horatio: That's actually pretty close to another example from their manual. One of their commands was "frame", which drew a box around the graph. They amitted that there were limits to their "natural language" processing, and gave the example that if you wrote "by all means do not draw a frame", it would recognize "frame" and draw the box!
Dec
18
comment Why are so many English expressions derived from baseball terminology?
I suspect this question will be quickly closed. It's highly subjective. Beyond saying, "Because lots of Americans understand and love baseball", what more could one say? I suppose a more-answerable question would be if this makes the US different from other countries. Like, do British people use a lot of football (soccer) metaphors, etc?
Dec
18
answered Is English particularly well suited for so-called “natural language programming”?
Dec
16
awarded  Necromancer
Dec
12
comment You are my dismay
@Mari-LouA True. I think that's more an idiom then a literal use of the words though. Note that one would not normally say, "My son Bob is my pride" or "My son Bob is my joy". It's always, "... my pride and joy." The fact that it only makes sense when the specific combination of words is used is pretty much the definition of an idiom.
Dec
11
comment How are 'marry', 'merry', and 'Mary' pronounced differently?
Only 17% pronounce them all differently? I'm a member of a tiny minority! I'm sure we are discriminated against in some way. BTW I grew up in New York, spent most of my life in Ohio, and now live in Michigan.