Archive for the ‘Ponder’ Category

Survey Dilemma

Some things I tend to overthink. Surveys, for example, take me a long time to complete because I must consider the question and the implications of the answer.

I was not involved in this survey, but I read a little bit about the results. The survey had to do with how much time people spend on their smartphones and when and where – all the usual habits.

One question that stood out to me was “Do you sleep with your phone next to your bed?”

The surveyors used the high percentage of positive answers to indicate that people are addicted to their phones. Something along the lines of “it’s the last thing they do before going to sleep and the first thing they reach for in the morning.” If I hadn’t known the intent of the question, I would have answered Yes. But knowing the intent of the question would make me want to answer No.

I keep my phone on my nightstand, but only because I use it as my alarm clock. Before I go to sleep, I put it out of commission – airplane mode, all communications off, etc.

If I answer the letter of the question: yes, I keep my phone next to my bed.

If I answer the spirit of the question: no, I sleep with my alarm clock next to my bed.

The fact that my phone is the same physical device as my alarm clock complicates things. In this case, I’m not using my phone for its communication purposes. Is a phone still a phone if it’s not used as a phone?

I would have a similar dilemma if a survey question asked me if I had an alarm clock. My answer depends on why you need to know. If you want to know how many people wake up on their own without some sort of a signal, then yes I use an alarm clock. But if you represent consumer device manufacturers and want to know which appliances are in one’s home, then no I do not use an alarm clock.

You wouldn’t think yes/no questions could be so complicated, and that’s why I don’t trust surveys. Because a lot of times, the people devising the questions don’t realize there could be complications with the way their questions are worded.

But David said, “What have I done now? Was it not just a question?”

1 Samuel 17:29

Help with Plurals

The English language is not very consistent. Today I’m proposing some singular/plural forms to help reduce the confusion.

For example, the plural of mouse is mice.
The plural of louse is lice.
The singular form of lice is louse.
But the singular form of dice is die.
It should be douse.

mouse -> mice
louse -> lice
douse -> dice
spouse -> spice
rouse -> rice
vouse -> vice
twouse -> twice

I don’t know how you can have a singular form of twice, but in case you should ever need it, there it is.

And, of course, we one ouse -> many ice.

Once I have spoken, and I will not answer; Even twice, and I will add nothing more.

Job 40:5

Various and Sundry Thoughts

Here are some thoughts I jotted down that aren’t quite sufficient for their own individual blog posts. If you’re the type of person who likes Twitter, pretend each of these is a tweet.

  • It doesn’t matter how old you are – anything imaginary outside your bed can be magically shielded by a simple bedsheet.
  • Your house is clean, with no fruit flies. You bring in fruit and let it sit. Fruit flies appear. Magic, or does every piece of fruit you buy contain fruit fly eggs?
  • It’s more fun to imagine that, for all the newly-formed local minor-league and rec teams that end in FC, the FC stands for Fight Club rather than soccer.
  • Why did they settle on GOAT to mean Greatest Of All Time rather than BOAT for Best Of All Time? How about COAT or MOAT?
  • I’ve been toying with the idea of bringing a weighted red handkerchief to meetings at work. Then if someone says or claims something I think is wrong, I could toss it in their direction. Challenging things in such a manner would certainly liven up things, or maybe I’ve just been watching too much football.

one male goat for a sin offering;

Numbers 7:16

Pulled Pork

I had pulled pork for dinner. With BBQ sauce and coleslaw and baked beans and potato salad and all that you’re supposed to have with it. And cornbread.

You can get pulled pork or pulled chicken. Since I like symmetry, I tried to think what would be the opposite of pulled pork.

The opposite of pull is push, so is there a pushed food?

I would say yes – the hot dog.

As far as meat goes, I can’t disagree that a hot dog is the opposite of pulled pork.

Note: to sound more technical, you can use the term extruded rather than pushed. Doesn’t really sound appetizing either way though.

I suppose spaghetti and other noodles are also extruded, although with pasta it doesn’t seem so bad. Pasta is fun to watch being made. Maybe pasta could be called “pushed dough” or “pushed wheat”?

So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

Job 39:29


For some reason, I feel like discussing the word postpone.

I like symmetry, so it bothers me that no one ever uses the word prepone. There should be a matching word. Post means after, pre means before, so prepone should mean to move something earlier in schedule. Just the opposite of postpone.

I did some searching, and there was only one online dictionary that listed prepone as the opposite of postpone. Maybe it hasn’t caught on because no one ever does anything earlier than necessary. Things at work are always delayed, never opposite-of-delayed.

And while I’m at it, why don’t we use the word pone for schedule? It’s certainly easier to write and to say, but maybe people have a problem with Latin (where the pone from postpone originated)?

It’s not like we use all the forms for postpone currently, so we could just use pone as it is and not worry about ponam, ponemus, or ponendum.

So Amasa went to call out the men of Judah, but he delayed longer than the set time which he had appointed him.

2 Samuel 20:5

Winter Season

There was a discussion in a nearby cubicle at work. They were discussing the start of winter. What drew me over there was that one guy was claiming winter didn’t start until Dec. 21st. This was about a week before Dec. 21st, and we had snow and temperatures below freezing for weeks already. In fact, he was arguing that it was not winter yet, and the temperature was about 10 degrees F with snow and ice all around.

I made my case that winter is a weather season, and it runs December and January and February around here. He said I was wrong because winter is defined as starting on December 21st. Who defines winter?

If you ask Google to define winter, you’ll get my definition. Another dictionary lists time from the winter solstice to the vernal equinox as the first definition, but also lists other definitions.

I stand by my assertion that winter is defined by the weather where you are. For example, I would argue that what makes winter in Michigan is different from what makes winter in Florida.

This guy was dead set on the astronomical definition of the winter solstice. I agree that the winter solstice is Dec 21st, but if anything that should be the middle of winter, since it is the lowest daylight. Consider it as the peak of winter. He argued that this would not be the case, because the coldest weather comes after Dec 21. That was amusing, because he was using weather as an argument against me, when he wouldn’t accept it as an argument against his case. I recognize there is a lag, but that’s due to thermal mass mostly; winter has started blowing in long before winter solstice.

To me, arguing that winter doesn’t start until the solstice is like arguing you’re not climbing a mountain until you’ve reached the peak.

FYI – this is related to the post about the summer season from a few months ago.

Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him.

Jeremiah 36:22

Botanical Gardens

My wife took the kids to a nearby botanical gardens. Nothing remarkable about the outing itself – this post is about the title “botanical gardens”.

It got me wondering what gardens people have that aren’t botanical?

  • mechanical gardens
  • entomological gardens
  • mineral gardens
  • chemical gardens

I left “vegetable gardens” and “zoological gardens” off the list because those are actual terms that I assume caused the differentiator term “botanical” to be added to the phrase. Oh, and “flower gardens”, which should just be a subset of “botanical gardens”.

Yes today’s post is slightly related to last week’s post about mechanical kids.

What other kind of gardens would you most like to see? Other than botanical or zoological.

I made gardens and parks for myself and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees;

Ecclesiastes 2:5