Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Survey of Lethal Lies, Dinosaur Feathers, and Grammar

Miscellany:

  • I've added a 'random post' applet on the right-hand side of this precious, precious blog's layout. It throws forth a random post from the vast archives of this precious, precious blog. Huzzah truth in advertising! (applet source)
  • Why is zero a plural noun in English, i.e., why do we say We have zero dogs rather than We have zero dog? This explores the question in a seemingly convincing way. I think a commenter to the post gave the best answer to the question, albeit in the form of a sentence fragment, which strikes me as bad form on a post addressing grammar: "Always dangerous to assume natural languages work logically."
  • It turns out that dinosaurs were sprouting feather-like structures well before previously known, or so reports Science News. The mind reels at the sheer number of dinosaur books that need to be re-illustrated.
  • The infallible Mr. Ratzinger has taken a bravely stupid stand against condom use; perhaps no one better expressed the proper response to this than PZ Myers: "Claiming that condoms increase the problem is disinformation and outright quackery — it's a lie that will kill people." Well, surely Ophelia Benson deserves a share of the prize for best rebuke.

1 comment:

twoblueday said...

I must say I've never heard anyone say "I have zero dogs." I do not own a dog. If asked, in a non-yes-or-no question about it, I'd probably say "I don't have a dog," maybe "I don't have any dogs.: In another mood I might say "I have no dog." I'm trying to dream up an example of anything I might say where "zero" would end up, of necessity, being plural.

I don't set myself up as the null point in consideration of issues, the norm providing a place of departure, except in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way when I advise a group of friends/acquaintences that they should thenceforth call me "Norman Normal" because of the central position occupied by my intellect and approach. For reasons unknown to me, they laughed, and often did call me "Norm" with a sarcastic inflection, and laugh again.