Vagueness is standardly defined as the possession of borderline cases. For example, ‘tall’ is vague because a man who is 1.8 meters in height is neither clearly tall nor clearly non-tall. No amount of conceptual analysis or empirical investigation can settle whether a 1.8 meter man is tall. Borderline cases are inquiry resistant. Indeed, the inquiry resistance typically recurses. For in addition to the unclarity of the borderline case, there is normally unclarity as to where the unclarity begins. In other words ‘borderline case’ has borderline cases. This higher order vagueness shows that ‘vague’ is vague.
Archive for the ‘funny’ Category
“The fact that there has not been a serious incident involving liquid explosives indicates, I would have thought, that the measures that we have put in place so far have been very effective.”
Ah, that’s how. On which basis the measures against asteroid strike, alien invasion and unexplained nationwide floods of deadly boiling custard have also been remarkably effective.
— From The Register. (Yes, it’s old, but I’ve been behind on Bruce Schneier’s blog.)
A non-textual one this time:
– From Wednesday’s Girl Genius strip.
The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.
I actually came across Dadasaurus Rex a couple of weeks ago. It lends itself very well to the treatment since not only is the panel layout the same in each strip, the art is the same as well. Here’s a rather excellent one I got:
A fairly accurate depiction of what happens when you don’t get enough sleep, I think. :)
I’m here to shoot a pilot.
— Nobody, apparently. A director called Mike Figgis was supposed to have said it, but apparently the story was a hoax. But it still makes a funny example of what not to say to the security people at an airport.
“Suppose I wanted to—have a party?” I said.
“Like, what kind of a party?”
“Suppose I wanted Noam Chomsky explained to me by two girls?”
“If you’d rather forget it…”
“You’d have to speak with Flossie,” she said. “It’d cost you.”
— From “The Whore of Mensa”, a short story by Woody Allen (quoted at Language Log).
Being the functional programming nut that I am, I couldn’t help but chuckle at this.
Found on Wikiquote:
Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it.
— Brian Kernighan