I say that it is not illogical to think that the world is infinite. Those who judge it to be limited postulate that in remote places the corridors and stairways and hexagons can conceivably come to an end - which is absurd. Those who imagine it to be without limit forget that the possible number of books does have such a limit. I venture to suggest this solution to the ancient problem: The Library is unlimited and cyclical. If an eternal traveler were to cross it in any direction, after centuries he would see that the same volumes were repeated in the same disorder (which, thus repeated, would be an order: the Order). My solitude is gladdened by this elegant hope.
—  Borges, “The Library of Babel”

(via TYWKIWDBI (“Tai-Wiki-Widbee”): A postulated functional utility for wrinkled fingers)

From Brain, Behavior, and Evolution, a suggestion that the wrinkles induced in fingers by water serve a function similar to that of rain treads on vehicular tires.

Here we provide evidence that, rather than being an accidental side effect of wetness, wet-induced wrinkles have been selected to enhance grip in wet conditions. We show that their morphology has the signature properties of drainage networks, enabling efficient removal of water from the gripped surface..

One can immediately see that they possess the signature structure of drainage networks on convex promontories… Namely, the channel-like wrinkle depressions tend to be disconnected from one another and diverge away from one another as they get more distant from the ‘peak’ near the fingertip; the divides (or borders between the channels) are connected, forming a tree with its root near the fingertip…

Wet-induced wrinkle treads, on the other hand, are pliable, and the act of pressing a finger tip down on a wet surface ‘squeezes’ the fluid out from under the finger through the channels, and upon completion of this single pulsatile flow the entire finger’s skin contacts the surface. In addition to wet-induced finger wrinkles having the signature morphology of drainage networks,the time scale at which they appear (around 5 min) [Cales and Weber, 1997] is plausibly appropriate for natural wet conditions; it is fast enough to be relevant for dew or rainy conditions but not so quick that casual contact with water (like when eating fruit) will elicit it.


There can be no doubt about faith and not reason being the ultima ratio. Even Euclid, who has laid himself as little open to the charge of credulity as any writer who ever lived, cannot get beyond this. He has no demonstrable first premise. He requires postulates and axioms which transcend demonstration, and without which he can do nothing. His superstructure indeed is demonstration, but his ground his faith. Nor again can he get further than telling a man he is a fool if he persists in differing from him. He says “which is absurd,” and declines to discuss the matter further. Faith and authority, therefore, prove to be as necessary for him as for anyone else.

Ah! And obviously I would love to know the autor of this sentence LOL!


bdag gnyis - twofold identity: personal identity and identity of phenomena/ things; two aspects of selfhood: individual self and self-nature of phenomena; abbr. of {gang zag gi bdag dang chos kyi bdag} two postulated identities: self of individuals {gang zag gi bdag nyid} and that of phenomena {chos kyi bdag nyid} [RY]

rnam rtog - vikalpa, discursive thought, preconceived ideas, thoughts, interpretative concepts, habit-making thoughts, thought construction, postulates, cogitation, actual perception, thought, reflection, unreal conclusions, imagination, aberrations of the mind, obscuration, disgust, distaste, doubt, conceptual understanding, (subtle stage of mentality, division into subject and object, observable qualities defined, superstition, (man’s dividedness against himself, division into subject and object, tendency to artificially divide reality, second stage of rtog med in which a mind is postulated dealing with sense fields and sense perceptions or with subject and object, clinging to duality, characterized by a thorough-going split), SA rtog pa kun rtog, divisive thoughts, thought state [JV]

mtshan nyid yongs su chad pa'i kun btags - like the two egos, not existing bu by conception postulated as object so [IW]

At the peak of this phase, I postulated that Phantom was a whole lot of things: a lowbrow portrait of highbrow entertainment (see above), a racial passing narrative (The Phantom might be Persian?), an obscure birthing-horror allegory (The Phantom might be a fetus?). Even within the most liberal interpretation of the death of the author, these theories ignored too much, prioritizing the discovery of pennies over the act of sifting through cow dung to find them.

Languages are much more diverse in structure than cognitive scientists generally appreciate. A widespread assumption among cognitive scientists, growing out of the generative tradition in linguistics, is that all languages are English-like, but with different sound systems and vocabularies. The true picture is very different: languages differ so fundamentally from one another at every level of description (sound, grammar, lexicon, meaning) that it is very hard to find any single structural property they share. The claims of Universal Grammar, we will argue, are either empirically false, unfalsifiable, or misleading in that they refer to tendencies rather than strict universals. Structural differences should instead be accepted for what they are, and integrated into a new approach to language and cognition that places diversity at centre stage. The misconception that the differences between languages are merely superficial, and that they can be resolved by postulating a more abstract formal level at which individual language differences disappear, is serious: it now pervades a great deal of work done in psycholinguistics, in theories of language evolution, language acquisition, neurocognition, parsing and speech recognition, and just about every branch of the cognitive sciences. Even scholars like Christiansen & Chater (2008), concerned to demonstrate the evolutionary impossibility of pre-evolved constraints, employ the term ‘Universal Grammar’ as if it were an empirically verified construct. A great deal of theoretical work within the cognitive sciences thus risks being vitiated, at least if it purports to be investigating a fixed human language processing capacity, rather than just the particular form this takes in some well- known languages like English and Japanese.

How did this widespread misconception of language uniformity come about? In part, this can be attributed simply to ethnocentrism – most cognitive scientists, linguists included, speak only the familiar European languages, all close cousins in structure. But in part it can be attributed to misleading advertising copy issued by linguists themselves. Unfortunate sociological splits in the field have left generative and typological linguists with completely different views of what is proven science, without shared rules of argumentation that would allow them to resolve the issue – and in dialogue with cognitive scientists it has been the generativists who have been taken as representing the dominant view. As a result, Chomsky’s notion of Universal Grammar (UG) has been mistaken, not for what is – namely the programmatic label for whatever it turns out to be that all children bring to learning a language – but for a set of substantial research findings about what all languages have in common. For the substantial findings about universals across languages one must turn to the field of linguistic typology, which has laid bare a bewildering range of diverse languages, where the generalizations are really quite hard to extract. Chomsky’s views, filtered through various commentators, have been hugely influential in the cognitive sciences, because they combine philosophically sophisticated ideas and mathematical approaches to structure with claims about the innate endowment for language that are immediately relevant to learning theorists, cognitive psychologists, and brain scientists. Even though psychologists learned from the Linguistic Wars of the 1970s (Newmeyer 1986) to steer clear from too close an association with any specific linguistic theory, the underlying idea that all languages share the same structure at some abstract level has remained pervasive, tying in nicely to the modularity arguments of recent decades (Fodor 1983).

It will take a historian of science to unravel the causes of this ongoing presumption of underlying language uniformity. But a major reason is simply that there is a lack of communication between theorists in the cognitive sciences and those linguists most in the know about linguistic diversity. This is partly because of the reluctance by most descriptive and typological linguists to look up from their fascinating particularistic worlds and engage with the larger theoretical issues in the cognitive sciences. Outsiders have instead taken the articulate envoys from the universalising generativist camp to represent the consensus view within linguistics. But there are other reasons as well: the relevant literature is forbiddingly opaque to outsiders, bristling with arcane phonetic symbols and esoteric terminologies.

Since I was (unfortunately) correct in predicting Thomas’s S5 arc, I’d like to postulate the following for S6

“I hear that the Duke of Crowborough’s getting a divorce. And his butler’s on his last legs, poor chap” and then time progresses and Downton′s last kiss is a repeat of its first The End.

Ces derniers temps j’ai tellement écrit d’emails pour postuler à des petits boulots, de CV, de lettres de motivations, que le message que j’ai envoyé à O. pour lui dire que je voulais arrêter avec lui est super formel et très poli.

Ça ressemble presque à “ N’étant pas satisfait des retours vis-à-vis du travail que je fournis, je te prie de considérer ce message comme lettre de démission à notre relation ambiguë. Cordialement,”.

Scientific and Mathematical Terminology

I haven’t seen a post like this on tumblr so I decided to make one to clear these things out. You’re welcome to point out any mistakes or other stuff!

Axiom / Postulate - A statement or a proposition that is accepted without proof and regarded as fundamental to a subject. In mathematical systems axioms are the basis of everything and everything else is/can be derived from them. (e.g. Euclid’s postulates)

Conjecture - An unproven statement that is believed to be true. To be considered a conjecture, a statement must usually be proposed publicly. (e.g. Goldbach’s conjecture)

Hypothesis - Often called an “educated guess”. Basically the same thing as a conjecture, but not so “scientific”. (e.g. “If let go of this book, it will fall”, is a hypothesis.)

Theorem - In mathematics: A statement that has been proven. Usually a very important result with long or difficult proofs. (e.g. Fermat’s Last Theorem) In science: A well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. (e.g. Theory of relativity)

Proposition - A mathematical statement of no particular importance or a statement with a simple proof. (e.g. 4 is greater than 3)

Lemma - A “helping theorem”, a proposition with little applicability except that it forms part of a larger theorem. In some cases, as the relative importance of different theorems becomes more clear, what was once considered a lemma is now considered a theorem, though the word “lemma” remains in the name. (e.g. Zorn’s lemma)

Converse - A statement formed by interchanging what is given in a theorem and what is to be proved. (e.g. The isosceles triangle theorem states that if two sides of a triangle are equal then two angles are equal. In the converse, the given and what is to be proved are swapped, so the converse is the statement that if two angles of a triangle are equal then two sides are equal.)

Generalization - An extension of a previously proved theorem that uses the aforementioned theorem as a special case and extends it to a less-specific criteria. The generalization is almost always more complex and harder to prove than the “base-theorem”. (e.g. General theory of relativity is a generalization of the special theory of relativity.)

Identity - An equality, contained in a theorem, between two mathematical expressions that holds regardless of what values are used for any variables or parameters appearing in the expression. (e.g. Euler’s identity)

Rule - A theorem that establishes a useful formula. (e.g. Baye’s rule)

Law / Principle - A theorem that applies in a wide range of circumstances. (e.g. In mathematics: Law of cosines. In science: Newton’s laws of motion.)


In mathematics, the Riemann hypothesis, even though called a hypothesis, is really a famous conjecture. Bernhard Riemann hypothesised it, and since then (1859) no one has been able to disprove it, alas, no one has been able to prove it either, so at the moment it remains as a conjecture.

In science, if something is a theory, it means that it’s true. It is kind of a silly choise of a word since in everyday language if I say “I have a theory…” it doesn’t usually mean that I have something that I’ve proven to be true. But in science, a theory is a well-substantiated explanation of facts. I just wanted to emphasize this because I’m tired of people saying stuff like “evolution is just a theory”, because well yes, it is just a theory, and that means it is true.

snakeinthemanor asked:

Whats the possibility of Sauropods having trunks?

None. Darren Naish wrote about this but I’ll summarize his points here. (All of the images here are borrowed from his post.) First of all, for the unaware:

Now, unlike most tetrapods, sauropods have the openings of their nostrils located on top of their skulls. In extant animals, nostrils on top of the skull means a trunk. This has been an oft-postulated hypothesis over the years, appearing in books such as The Dinosaur Heresies and When Dinosaurs Ruled the World

It was first proposed by Coombs (1975) in a paper proposing that sauropods were primarily terrestrial, not aquatic; he noted that the “size, shape and position of the bony nostrils in sauropods ‘is similar in some respect to mammals which have, or are thought to have had, either a proboscis or at least a very large nose’” but also expressed scepticism due to the fact that tapir- or elephant-like trunks don’t exist in reptiles and they also lack the necessary musculature.

Another variation is Martin and Neave (2000)’s large-lipped Diplodocus - not even a trunk, just a giant, flexible lip with the nostrils just behind it. As far as we know, again, there’s no equivalent in reptiles of the muscles necessary for this, although this model is in fact unpublished. 

But then, in 2008, Bill Munns produced the rather horrifying-looking Brachiosaurus at the top of this post. Latching onto Coombs’ (1975) hypothesis, he produced a full-blown elephantine tubular proboscis. It looks ridiculous and a tad nasty, but that’s just me - but there are also a variety of reasons why sauropods wouldn’t and shouldn’t have had trunks, and here’s why.

(From All New Dinosaurs and Their Friends)

Skull shape. In animals like tapirs, the protowhale Makaracetus, saiga antelope, Macrauchenia, and the whole lot, the end of the snout usually has to be quite narrow in order to allow a trunk to be there. On the other hand, sauropods (in particular titanosauriforms like Brachiosaurus) have particularly thick and robust rostra. While Deinotherium had a trunk but also a thick snout, it seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

Necks. Sauropods have long-arse necks and a very wide vertical and horizontal feeding range; on the other hand, most trunked animals (if not all) are short-necked. Even though Macrauchenia has a comparatively long neck, it’s still nowhere near the giant overkill plant-mowing crane of doom that is a sauropod neck. 

(Not from his post, but from here instead)

Cranial musculature. Dinosaurs are lacking in facial muscles - in particular the muscles in modern animals that make trunks possible. Because phylogenetic bracketing indicates that there aren’t any close relatives of sauropods (crocodiles, birds, other dinosaurs) with trunks, it’s not very likely that they would have had trunks. Even if sauropods did evolve these muscles, they’d leave obvious scars, crests, or fossae that are indicative of attachment sites. See, for instance, the above tapir skull and its clearly visible lumpiness.

Nostril position and facial vasculature. Sauropod nostrils were not actually on the tops of their heads. People have imagined that the proboscis served as a kind of “nostril extension” that brought air upward from its tip to the top of the skull; we now have conclusive proof, however, that the actual openings of the nostrils were located at the front of the snout in a region called the nasal vestibular vascular plexus.

Cranial neurology. Trunks are complex organs that require complex muscle control through a large facial nerve - this is present in elephants (1 cm wide!) and tapirs, and the associated blood vessels are usually hypertrophied as well. Although a dinosaur skull is not exactly homologous to a mammal skull, the facial nerve roots in sauropods are tiny, and can barely support a trunk.

(Sauropod at left, elephant at right)

Tooth wear. The wear patterns on sauropod teeth indicate that they grabbed the foilage and tugged it sharply up or down in a practice called unilateral branch stripping - if there was a trunk there, it would almost certainly have gotten injured by the branch in some capacity. Plus, given how much we see sauropods using their teeth as shown by their fossils, wouldn’t you think that maybe a trunk would reduce tooth usage?

So, in essence, no trunk for sauropods, zip, zilch, ever. Hope this helps!

MTMTE 43 and Waltzing with the Fourth Wall

So I realize that the meta was (understandably) not everyone’s cup of tea – however I enjoyed every bit of it, partially because for James Roberts unique take on it. 

For someone in Tailgate, Cyclonus, Rung, and Bluestreak’s position, it would’ve been incredibly easy to fall into disassociation and panic, were it not for some deliberately orchestrated boundaries on their awareness by JRo. 

My first instinct while reading this involved some squinting at the blasé acceptance of the sheer weirdness of seeing their life thus far being outlined in a comic Tailgate is reading. After some consideration I remembered – in spite of all this cozying up to the fourth wall, none of them are aware of the audience. Matter of fact, Tailgate postulates they are the “only” audience by coming upon that ‘catchup’ panel. 

It downgrades a possible existential crisis into an unfortunate side-effect of Swerve setting off Brainstorm’s meta-bomb. And while on one level it’s a little saddening to see the opportunity lost for such a singular discovery – I’m grateful JRo chose to preserve the 4th wall that much. To have done otherwise would’ve completely shifted the focus of the issue from Swerve’s crisis to the very nature of the Cybertronian’s reality, and the narrative would’ve suffered mightily for it. 

On the other hand, it still leaves Swerve very much isolated in his perception of his own existence. 

And it’s a little saddening. 

And by little, I mean extremely. 

Between that, and the social isolation Swerve already experienced, it’s little wonder he retreated into sitcoms (crazy adventures with an obvious audience like the one he now lives in) and eventually to his quarters. Now that he’s going to be reconnecting with the rest of the LL crew, I find myself wondering how Swerve’s seemingly permanent connection to the fourth wall is going to affect his already shaky ability to form relationships. 

Hussie tho.
Has this been said but
I was in physics today
And we went on discussing about the “colour” of the sun (which is white = all the colours combined) but since it went through the atmosphere and some other media the colour was more yellow than supposedly
But since the colour we see of the sun is yellow
Then that would mean the frequency would have slowed through our atomosphere and the medium of space
Which means the visible light traveling would have been a bit faster
Meaning the sun would be green
Hussie wasn’t stupid
The green sun
Hussie backed it up with postulated physics
And even if this is false
Hussie could still say it was true
Bc Homestuck isn’t in our world
Real physics doesn’t apply at all.
It’s all in an accelerated time frame.
Holy shit.


Got it. Yes, Kant and the sublime. If you know about Kant’s philosophy: he was never able to reconcile the subjective with the objective. That was sort of his “failure” as a philosopher. He rejected empiricism and rationalism, concluding that we cannot really know the external world apart from our own internal framework of knowledge. Therefore, he was, in effect, trapped in his own conception of the world. This then prompted Hegel to postulate a form of idealism in order to reconcile the apparent dualism of subject versus object. (I always liked Hegel better.)

It makes sense for Kant to be interested in this idea of the sublime because, for him, it was something he knew was real but had no way of explaining logically. In his writings about aesthetics, he twisted himself into a pretzel trying to understand different types of feelings and intuitions. Since he had already trapped himself with his own epistemology, he had no other choice than to conclude that feelings were entirely subjective experiences. This was a mistake. He couldn’t wrap his head around the idea that feelings and intuitions are indeed inextricably linked to the external world, as Jung would later claim in his writings about the collective unconscious. Kant also described how the sublime can include feelings of fear or horror. This is probably because the feeling of the sublime is actually transcendence, which is essentially the “death” of the ego. Kant framed transcendence negatively as fear or horror because the feeling of “ego death” was somewhat incomprehensible and threatening to someone like him who was intent on elevating subjective experience (ego) above all else.

(This is all a gross oversimplification but you probably get the idea.)

In an attempt to draw everything together, physicists have come up with something called superstring theory. This postulates that all those little things like quarks and leptons are actually “strings” - vibrating strands of energy that oscillate in eleven dimensions, consisting of three we know already plus time and seven other dimensions that are, well, unknowable to us.
—  Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything

anonymous asked:

Okay, but why do nuns need to shave their legs? Aren't their legs covered?

Personal preference mostly. Only the postulants do honestly because their jumpers are shorter than the habit