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Lionel Mandrake

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: The Left Coast
Home country: USA
Current location: electrical wires
Member since: Sun Jul 1, 2007, 06:47 PM
Number of posts: 3,754

About Me

I study, play the piano, play chess and go, and enjoy the company of my wife, children, grandchildren, other relatives, and friends. I am a perennial student at a local university, where they let me take classes and use the library for free (because I'm old). My serious reading includes math, science, history, and biography. I enjoy science fiction and mysteries, which my wife and I refer to as "mind rot". And now on to politics. I hated Nixon and Reagan. I think W is a war criminal and was easily the worst president in US history. Thank Darwin he's gone. I will support any candidate who is a "dove". I support "plan B" without prescription for girls of all ages. I support free abortion on demand, without delay, and without the requirement to notify anyone, for all women and girls who want it. I think it's time to repeal the Bush tax cuts for corporations and the very rich. I think other damage done by conservative Supreme Court Justices rivals that done by the monster they put in the White House.

Journal Archives

pronunciation of poly-

In words like polygon, polygonal, polyhedron, polygamy etc. ...
Is there any rule about which syllable is stressed?
Or is this part of the lexicon?
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Thu Aug 25, 2016, 07:08 PM (2 replies)

WTF - compass for ipad doesn't work.

I searched the Apple store for "compass" and found "free compass for ipad". I downloaded and installed it. It gives me a choice between "magnetic north" and "true north", but neither of these choices works properly. As I rotate the iPad, the arrow doesn't stay pointed even approximately north. Why?
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Thu Aug 18, 2016, 12:18 PM (6 replies)

"Trump University" ?

To me, a university is a place dedicated to the search for truth. A real university teaches "hard" sciences (like mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology), "soft" sciences (like psychology and sociology), and humanities (like history, philosophy, classics, and English). A real university does not necessarily provide students with a marketable skill, although that is often a side effect of education.

Trump had a lot of gall to call his scam a university. He should be ashamed of himself, but of course he isn't. He feels no more shame than any other psychopath.
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Sun Jun 5, 2016, 06:02 PM (12 replies)

Universal Grammar, parameters, and all that.

I'm starting to read a book about what Noam Chomsky has been up to this century. One of the ideas is that language acquisition is simplified by the existence of parameters, each of which must be set to one of only two values. One such parameter is the choice of whether heads of phrases come first or last. For example, in English a preposition (the head of a prepositional phrase) comes before its object. Other languages exist in which the equivalents of prepositions come after their objects, so one speaks of postpositions. The claim is made that every language must have all heads first or all heads last, never a mixture of the two.

I'm wondering what a linguist of this persuasion would make of the English word "ago", which seems to be a postposition, as in "Four Score and seven years ago, our fathers ... ." Similarly, Latin like English has lots of prepositions, but it also has a few postpositions, such as "causa" and "gratia". (MGM's motto "Ars gratia artis" is bad Latin; it should read "Ars artis gratia".)
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Tue Dec 15, 2015, 07:32 PM (1 replies)

A year from today will be the semisesquicentennial of the event

that propelled the US into WW2.

Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Mon Dec 7, 2015, 03:21 PM (0 replies)

"Never Let Me Go" (2010)

This is a gem. Charlotte Rampling plays a truly evil character and IMO has an impact all out of proportion to her limited time on screen. The plot features an alternate reality which might be a world ruled by Ayn Rand and Donald Trump. Sort of like "1984" without the warfare. Warning: don't expect a happy ending.
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Tue Oct 27, 2015, 12:24 AM (1 replies)

'hijastro' & 'filiaster'

Both words mean 'stepson', and the Spanish is derived from the Latin. But why '-aster'? What does a star have to do with the meaning of 'step-' in English?

I asked this question to a classics professor at Cal State Long Beach. He replied that 'filiaster' has nothing to do with the noun 'aster', that the -er is just a masculine marker, and that the -ast- must be a bound Latin morpheme meaning 'step-'.

I wonder if anyone here agrees or disagrees with my friend the classics professor.
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Tue Oct 13, 2015, 02:00 PM (1 replies)

RIP William Provine

William B. Provine has died. He had been a professor of history and of biology at Cornell University. The website of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) includes the following statement about Provine:

In a memoir published in Isis in 1999, he explained that in his view, a student working on the history of biology "should be as familiar with the science as any doctoral student"; for his own part, he added, "I am very happy to move between history and science."

Read more: http://ncse.com/news/2015/09/william-b-provine-dies-0016624

Provine was no mere "externalist" historian of science. He wrote the kind of history that interests scientists as well as historians. Would that there were more like him.
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Fri Sep 4, 2015, 05:08 PM (5 replies)

American neo-Nazis support Donald Trump (big surprise).

An article in today's LA Times mentions that "the Daily Stormer, a website that has called for anti-immigrant violence, endorsed Trump for president."
http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/la-na-immigration-politics-20150826-story.html

When I read that, I was reminded of the German tabloid Der Stürmer, which was first published in 1923 and which endorsed Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Sturmer

And, sure enough, it turns out that the Daily Stormer is a neo-Nazi rag:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Daily_Stormer

I wonder if Trump welcomes this support.
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Thu Aug 27, 2015, 08:33 PM (4 replies)

American neo-Nazis support Donald Trump (big surprise).

An article in today's LA Times mentions that "the Daily Stormer, a website that has called for anti-immigrant violence, endorsed Trump for president."
http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/la-na-immigration-politics-20150826-story.html

When I read that, I was reminded of the German tabloid Der Stürmer, which was first published in 1923 and which endorsed Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Sturmer

And, sure enough, it turns out that the Daily Stormer is a neo-Nazi rag:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Daily_Stormer

I wonder if Trump welcomes this support.
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Thu Aug 27, 2015, 11:56 AM (3 replies)
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