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How English Beat German As the Language of Science

readin Re:Chinese (323 comments)

Even the Chinese have trouble learning to write Chinese. It is more severe than the flaws of most languages - especially in an age of typing. But I'm pretty sure they teach pinyin to all the kids in China (except perhaps HK and Macau) so pinyin might take over as a written language. I believe it is already heavily used as an input tool for computers (they type the pinyin and a list of characters that match show up - then they select the character).

Esperanto and Lobjan haven't caught on nor are they likely too. It is hard enough to learn a new language - learning one that no one uses doesn't interest many people.

about a week ago
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How English Beat German As the Language of Science

readin Re:Criminalizing a language. (323 comments)

... why aren't there mandatory whippings for blatant disregard of the Constitution when making laws?

I figure your comment is probably sarcastic but I'll just say that legislators would have to be guilty of something specifically codified in criminal law to be receiving such punishment but since it is not illegal to make dumb laws there is no punishment. Even if it were somehow illegal the Eight Amendment of the very same Constitution forbids such punishment.

Whether or not it is in the criminal law, it is by definition illegal to violate the Constitution because the Constitution is the law of the land. You're right though that no punishment is specified. Perhaps their should be.

about a week ago
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How English Beat German As the Language of Science

readin Re:Criminalizing a language. (323 comments)

... why aren't there mandatory whippings for blatant disregard of the Constitution when making laws?

I figure your comment is probably sarcastic but I'll just say that legislators would have to be guilty of something specifically codified in criminal law to be receiving such punishment but since it is not illegal to make dumb laws there is no punishment. Even if it were somehow illegal the Eight Amendment of the very same Constitution forbids such punishment.

I guess it depends on your definition of cruel and unusual. America has mostly discarded physical punishments such as whippings, but given a choice between a whipping and three years in jail where I'm likely to receive beatings just as bad or worse than the whipping anyway - the whipping would seem less cruel and unusual.

And what about long sentences that effectively remove the prime of your life? You go to jail when you're twenty and come out when your 40 (especially bad for a women who may be deprived of the opportunity to ever have children). 200 or even 400 lashes delivered 10 at a time on a monthly basis (or whatever the back can tolerate) would again seem far less cruel and unusual.

about a week ago
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How English Beat German As the Language of Science

readin Re:death of German math (323 comments)

So many top scientists did leave that the entire center of science moved from the German world to America.

Which lead to the radar, sonar and atomic bomb and hence victory in WWII. Think about that the next time your friendly republican says that cutting government budgets is always a good thing (particularly to give tax breaks to the wealthy)... but we digress.

Yes, next time your friendly Republican wants to cut government budgets, remember how freedom and lack of government oppression is what brought those great scientist to America, and that such freedom and limited government should be encouraged.

about a week ago
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How English Beat German As the Language of Science

readin Re:I am SHOCKED! (323 comments)

Would it have mattered? Certain cultures seem to rise above whereever and whenever they get the chance. Japan was held back by their government's ban on foreign contacts until the 1860s, and then they modernized so quickly that by 1905 they were able to defeat a modern Western Navy and by the 1930s they were a colonial power. Then after WWII they rebounded again.
Germany was wealthy before the war and rebounded well afterward.
China was wealthy until they decided to limit foreign contacts. Communism held them back for a while too. Then when they let capitalism have a shot they became wealthy quite suddenly. Chinese in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia have long been wealthier than their neighbors. Hong Kong did very well under the British.
Taiwan, with cultural influences from both China and Japan, has done very well.
Northern European countries are wealthier than southern European countries. Is it the wealther? Natural resources?

America helped them rebuild quickly to provide a bulwark against Communism, but even without that help (assuming it wasn't needed to prevent a Communist takeover that would have set them back centuries) the Germans and Japanese would likely have rebuilt and become wealthy again fairly rapidly.

about a week ago
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How English Beat German As the Language of Science

readin Re:German illegal? (323 comments)

It was made illegal in 23 states. And this was during a time when the 14th amendment wasn't being taken literally by the supreme court. So except for the 14th amendment, it wasn't a violation of the US Constitution.

The Sedition Act of 1918 is a better example, where Freedom of Speech was infringed: "any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States...or the flag of the United States, or the uniform of the Army or Navy".

We had a progressive in the White House (Wilson). Progressives tend to view the Constitution as an impediment to their agenda.

about a week ago
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How English Beat German As the Language of Science

readin Re:German illegal? (323 comments)

Nixon's southern strategy is what helped flip a lot of this

I love the contortions that Democrats go through to excuse the fact that the DP has always been the home of racism in America. The DP fought for slavery, undermined the Union war effort, invented segregation, invented Jim Crow, founded and staffed the KKK, enslaved blacks with welfare and promotes racialism, racial preferences and racial conflict whenever it can.

Yep

about a week ago
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How English Beat German As the Language of Science

readin Re:German illegal? (323 comments)

FDR all over again. Concentration camps, anyone?

And NOBODY seemed to have a problem with this!!!

So NOBODY had a problem with it and it sailed through Congress, became a law, and American Moslems started being rounded up and herded into camps or deported? I guess I haven't been paying enough attention to the news because I missed all that. Funny I haven't noticed anyone being missing from my office.

about a week ago
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How English Beat German As the Language of Science

readin Re:Chinese (323 comments)

... not to alarm you, but how about Chinese? Asia is growing in power, economically, socially, politically. Will Chinese surpass English in the future?

Not Chinese as it is currently written. It is too hard to learn. It is to hard to type. Chinese written with pinyin may work, but I'm not sure if the number of homophones will make that difficult.

Chinese as spoken might work. The grammar is simple. I can't say much about the precision and ambiguity since I don't know the language that well.

Currently Chinese scientists learn and use English. The transition would likely occur if the Chinese government decided to make it happen by sponsoring conventions, journals, and such.

about a week ago
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How English Beat German As the Language of Science

readin Re:Same old American Xenophobia (323 comments)

Imaginary ideal?

It's in the fucking constitution.

There is nothing in the US Constitution that requires uncontrolled immigration be tolerated. There is nothing that requires accommodation of foreign languages in government or schools. There is, technically, nothing in the Constitution that prevents a State law banning the use of certain languages. Banning the use of German during the war was a little crazy, but lots of crazy things happen when a population gets whipped into a war frenzy.

It should not be forgotten that Woodrow Wilson was President during WWI. Wilson was a racist tyrant of the first order. All the dictators of the 20th century admired Wilson.

Yep

about a week ago
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How English Beat German As the Language of Science

readin Re:Same old American Xenophobia (323 comments)

Imaginary ideal?

It's in the fucking constitution.

It's just ignored a lot.

Where in the American Constitution does it say we have to accept anyone and everyone, and that we shouldn't expect those we do accept to adapt to our culture and political system?

about a week ago
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How English Beat German As the Language of Science

readin Re:Same old American Xenophobia (323 comments)

True, he should have used other countries like Japan, Norway, Mexico, Australia, etc. that also are less welcoming to border jumpers/trespassers.

about a week ago
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How English Beat German As the Language of Science

readin Re:How English Beat German As the Language of Scie (323 comments)

In science, everyone uses the metric system.

You're right. It's not just the Germans. The largest French-speaking country uses French units. The largest Chinese-speaking country uses French units. The largest Spanish speaking countries all use French units. Japan uses French units.
Only America uses practical units. No wonder we're so technologically advanced and our language has become a standard.

Now, if we can only get the engineers to convert.

Not just Engineers. Everyone should convert away from those French units and return to using the rational measurement system America uses.

about a week ago
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Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

readin Re:Paging Arthur C. Clarke... (534 comments)

" And that's assuming that the English translation is actually 100% faithful to the original meaning, which I doubt."

From what I've been told, copies of the Bible are pretty darn accurate. One of the values of the Dead Sea Scrolls was demonstrating that the words hadn't changed significantly over the centuries.

As for the translation, the tough part on this particular subject is likely that the language didn't provide for distinctions between "Earth" and "other planets' since no other planets were known to exist by the people who spoke the language that was first used for writing down Genesis. All they knew was that there were points of light in the sky. A planet was just a point that wandered as opposed to one that remained still.

about three weeks ago
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Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

readin Re:Yawn... (534 comments)

I won't address whether or not they are headed for Heaven, but simply note that you can't have a coherent discussion about a religious grouping of peoples if you're not going to group them based on their religious beliefs.

Imagine you're doing a study of mice and you take measurements to find that 0.00001% of them are over 200 pounds! When someone asks you how you were deciding whether each specimen was a mouse you say "we'll in many cases we just asked, and some frat guys in Mickey Mouse ears assured us they were mice, so we included them in our measurements even though they don't fit the 'traditional' views of what a mouse is or should be."

about three weeks ago
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Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

readin Re:Can we even detect ourselves from beyond LEO? (534 comments)

they did that with Voyager: turned it back on Earth and the answer came back "Inconclusive". I don't think they were that far away, either.

Was Voyager looking for "life" or "intelligent life"?

about three weeks ago
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Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

readin Re:ET would disprove God (534 comments)

Your quote from Genesis refers to all things "on earth". It doesn't mention giving man dominion over outer space (it mentions the sun and moon, but doesn't say anything about giving man dominion over them). Psalms was written much much later and is mostly (entirely?) poetry. You can expect a little poetic license. I don't know of anywhere that the Bible discusses what we should do with outer space and any aliens we find. By extension of the general themes of the Bible, I would expect we should do our best to use the resources of outer space wisely for the good of all man our posterity. And I would expect that we should treat any intelligent aliens well. What might be tricky, for Christians and non-Christians alike, is if we explore and encounter aliens who a lot smarter than apes and dolphins, but a lot dumber than _most_ humans.

about three weeks ago
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Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

readin Re:Note: Theologians (534 comments)

So while the Pope and Dalai Llama might be willing to welcome ET with open arms, wingnuts like Westoboro Baptist are going to have apoplectic fits about "devils" and "demons."

The Pope has like a billion followers and Westboro has like 20, right? So we're in pretty good shape.

about three weeks ago
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Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

readin Re:Average I.Q. (534 comments)

There is a lot of wisdom built into many of the world's theistic religions. A low IQ person without this wisdom is less likely to survive, to start a family, to support that family, etc. For a high IQ person the wisdom can still make a difference but they are more likely to be able to accomplish goals despite the lack of received wisdom.

So perhaps it isn't a matter of high-IQ people becoming atheists, it is a matter of low-IQ theists being less likely to take themselves and their offspring out of the gene pool.

about three weeks ago

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