969 reputation
410
bio website cs.virginia.edu/~abh2n
location Charlottesville, VA
age 44
visits member for 3 years, 6 months
seen Nov 21 at 2:24

I am a Principal Scientist at Dependable Computing in Charlottesville, VA, where we work on safety case engineering, formal specifications, requirements gathering, and other safety-critical and security-critical software engineering issues. I have a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Virginia, with my dissertation involving a genetic algorithm exploration of neural network models of the hippocampus. I've also previously earned Masters degrees in Physics/Astronomy (involving General Relativity) and Computer Science (involving improving multi-processor implementations of hippocampal neural network simulations).


Oct
24
comment What is the word for a sentence that initially sounds profound or deep, that is, in fact, meaningless or empty?
@DoktorJ: see also philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/149/… :)
Oct
20
comment Alternative expression for “xyz Nazi”
There's also the "police state" which the KGB, etc. refers to.
Jul
29
comment What is “beer money”?
@tchrist: I know that I've heard the term used here in the US, although it's entirely possible it's been by people who imported it from the UK.
Apr
22
comment Single word for “personal vocabulary”
@AndrewLeach: Are you suggesting that might makes right? (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Might_makes_right for the unaware.)
Sep
23
comment Morbid curiosity about “more better”
I would add that while it is grammatically correct, it is not stylistically correct. This was an important distinction that finally got through to me in my senior year of high school. It's grammatically acceptable to change tenses in the middle of a paragraph, but it is not stylistically acceptable (in most scenarios). Of course, as my caveat suggests, what is stylistically acceptable can be a difficult thing to define, but I don't feel that makes the task an unimportant one. (I should add that I'm arguably not the best person to be telling other people what is stylistically acceptable.)
Aug
11
comment Different conditional clauses — “if you saw”, “if you were to see”, “if you had seen”
@Tiny: As a native English speaker myself, if you replace a lion with the lion the question has changed from one where you're just referring to a generic lion that might or might not exist to a specific lion—perhaps one you yourself had seen and you were wondering what your listener would have done in that situation. The original sentence (with a lion) can stand alone. Change it to the lion and you should've already mentioned the specific lion in a prior sentence.
May
7
comment “On/at/for/over the weekend” in American English
@Monica - as MT_Head said, it's not very common, but if someone said, I'll get that done on the weekend, it would be to distinguish from getting it done during the week. It might take an hour, or it might take the whole weekend. It also might not get done, of course. :)
May
5
comment The property of something to return to its original state when not being acted upon
+1 for the first paragraph, but it is the interaction of the soup with the pot it is in that causes it to return to its original non-rotating state. Its rotational inertia is acting against this return to a steady state. (On the other hand, its rotational inertia also fought against it leaving its steady state when it was first being stirred.)
May
3
comment Is “all total” grammatically correct?
The Eggcorn Database recognizes this as a known eggcorn: eggcorns.lascribe.net/english/559/total
Apr
14
comment Is “well-connected” correct here?
Good choices, but in both the question and the answer the double usage of "family" bothers me. I'd prefer, "The James family was prominent and very influential in the community..." or something similar.
Feb
26
comment What is the word(s) for someone who is very particular about the small details of something?
@ArmenTsirunyan It's not showing up in my version of Google Chrome (v17.0.963.56 on Mac OS X Snow Leopard).
Feb
4
comment What do you call a person who is regionally biased?
+1 I think both chauvinist and xenophobe are good answers, with chauvinism including a strong pride in one's country (easily extendible to region), where as xenophobia emphasizes more of a hatred for outsiders.
Jan
9
comment How to say one has been accepted directly at a competitive examination?
@MattiSG: Not necessarily. There are merit-based scholarships and need-based scholarships. Merit-based scholar ships often include perks (e.g., exclusive study lounge) in addition to the financial support.
Dec
6
comment What is the difference between optimal and optimum?
Maybe it's just my engineering background, but I'm an American and optimal seems quite common to me. As others have suggested, my experience is that common usage is for optimal when an adjective is desired and optimum when a noun is desired. Although optimum can also be used as an adjective, I find that this is an infrequent usage.
Dec
6
comment Alternative to “Merry Christmas”
@Jay: You appear to be taking this very personally. Re-read what I wrote. You seem to be reading it very selectively. I never said what you think I said, specifically "that one should use this greeting to be 'non-offensive'". What I said is that one reason people do use it (not that they should) is because there are people on both sides of the issue who are sensitive. FWIW, if I knew you personally, I would wish you a Merry Christmas, because I have no desire to offend anyone.
Dec
5
comment Alternative to “Merry Christmas”
@Daniel: In the US, you would have to be living under a rock not to be aware that many people think that secularists have been trying to de-Christanize Christmas for a long time. I personally think it's much more complicated than that (e.g., was the introduction of Santa the beginning of this process?), but more importantly, by making such an assumption, you basically end up with a "Bah, humbug" squared. Please, let's just take greetings at face value and not look for reasons to be offended. Otherwise, I risk offending some people by saying "Merry Christmas" and others by not.
Dec
5
comment Alternative to “Merry Christmas”
There are multiple reasons that people say "Happy Holidays". One of those reasons is to be as non-offensive as possible (a lighter version of your "refuse to acknowledge Christmas"). However, there are plenty of other reasons. To assume that you know the reason that the person greeting you is saying "Happy Holidays" is to be presumptuous. To take offense at it is to have a very thin skin, the very thing that many defenders of "Merry Christmas" say about those who get offended by that phrase. Personally, I find either phrase perfectly adequate.
Nov
6
comment Meaning and usage of “be of”
Also, one can "be of sound mind".
Jul
11
comment “flat” vs. “apartment”
No citations, so I won't post it as an answer, but your sentiment generally agrees with my experience with one caveat: I don't feel that "apartment" in the US has the connotation of a single floor.
Jul
11
comment Where/when did the *idea* of bad words come from in English?
Your Dong citation reminded me of this YouTube video: youtube.com/watch?v=sHcfGJ5SwCA (warning: video contains excessive use of the word in question).