Blog: musings

Star Wars, Firefly, and why cowboys matter

So, there's a new Star Wars movie coming out this year, and my main concern about it is the conversation that will inevitably occur around it. Not necessarily about how good it is, or how bad it is, or the speculation about future movies, or whatever. That I can handle. It basically just takes ignoring what everyone else says about it. No, I mean the conversation comparing it to previous movies, and the prequel trilogy specifically. I know it's going to happen, because it always happens. For some reason, people cannot stop talking about how much they dislike the prequel trilogy.

It's actually amazing. Most of the time, if someone doesn't like something, they'll tell you about it, and maybe give you some reasoning for why they don't like it, and if it ever comes up again, they may mention it, but it will be left at that. With the Star Wars prequels, it's completely different.

Each time the prequels are mentioned, no one is ever satisfied with just mentioning that they don't like them. Each time, they must l…


Formal vs Informal

Ever wonder about the real difference between formal and informal language? I mean, the real difference? The real difference isn't that certain words are inherently more formal than others, it's that certain words are just generally accepted as more formal, even if the formal word and the informal word mean the same thing. Take the phrases "adhere to" and "stick to." One is far more formal and business-like than the other. However, when you really look into them, I mean really look into them, they mean exactly the same thing. Seriously, to "adhere" means to "stick." But in a business context, you'd never use "stick to" if you wanted to sound professional. You''d always use "adhere to." How and why did this happen?


Telephones and Calculators

I’m often confused by the difference between the configuration of the numbers on calculators and telephones. It’s fairly similar, with the three by three grid for numbers 1 through 9, and then the zero placed underneath. The difference is that on calculators, the 1 is at the bottom left, and the numbers go up in value from left to right and up from there. This is the same for keypads on computers. On phones, however, the 1 is on the top left, and the numbers go up in value from left to right and down from there.

Why are they different?

According to this handy telephone timeline, the first touch-tone telephone was introduced in 1963. I can only assume that the number configuration for telephones has not changed since then. According to Wikipedia, as well as a few other places I looked, the first pocket calculators, came out in the 1970s. It seems to me that the people developing the calculators could have at least talked to the people developing the touch-tone phones and said, “Hey, the numbers on ou…