A strange idea that it occurred to me to wonder about today: Which is larger, the proportion of United States citizens who can name the president of China, or the proportion of Chinese citizens who can name the president of the United States?
My gut reaction is that OF COURSE the latter is larger, both because our president is internationally famous and because Americans are largely ignorant of foreign politics. But that's a highly provincial reaction and I have no idea if it's really true.
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Seeking a decentralized RSS reader to replace an online one that's been failing to update some of my feeds in a timely fashion, I discover that one of the more popular browser plug-ins uses a pair of nested drop-down menus as its main UI: one menu to select a feed, another under that to select an article.
I've tried this out, but it feels very uncomfortable to me, tense and unsettled. And I think it's because I've gotten used to treating feeds as nouns, and a drop-down menu is made of verbs.
When a work of fiction wants to depict a completely alien mind, it usually gives them different motivations from humans. Maybe they want something they find intuitive but we have difficulty understanding; maybe they lack motivations we find essential. But it still gives them motivations: effects that they are trying to produce through their actions. Could there be a mind so alien that it doesn't even work like that?
...Have I just described something that exists on Earth, or even in humans?
Like, I could pick up a bicycle wheel and carry it a mile and rotate it one full turn while I'm carrying it. Is that a paradox?
The paradox as I understand it:
Take a wheel of radius A and staple a smaller wheel of radius B to it so their center is the same. If you roll A one full rotation along the ground, both wheels move a distance of 2*pi*A, even though the smaller wheel would move 2*pi*B if you rolled it along the ground
The resolution that seems obvious to me: Yeah. So? The smaller wheel didn't move like it does when it rolls because it wasn't rolling. It was just rotating and being moved at the same time.
Youtube recommended a video about Artistotle's Wheel Paradox. The whole thing seemed very stupid, but I was willing to believe it just hadn't been explained well, so I went and read up on it at Wikipedia as well. It still seems extremely stupid. And yet mathematicians as eminent as Galileo and Mersenne took it seriously. Is there something I'm missing? How is it even a paradox?
PSA: cloth and paper masks worn to help prevent spread of Coronavirus (and other diseases) do not need to form a seal to be effective.
They do two things:
a. capture most of the droplets you exhale/cough/sneeze out
b. slow down (and thus reduce the range of) any droplets not caught
If you have two layers of fabric covering your nose and mouth, you are wearing a fabric mask correctly.
If breath reflects off of them and escapes around the edges, that is just fine -- the bulk of the droplets were caught, and those few that leave around the edges are slowed a ton. Mission accomplished.
Misinformation on this point (most of which seems to be repeating proper fit and donning for PPE masks, which do need to form a seal) is leading people to not wear masks because they believe they are difficult or impossible to wear correctly.
For maximum drama, use Miles Morales. A Black teenager whose dad is a cop. Yeah, he'd be plenty conflicted. Dad would be all "Not all cops" and Miles would be "Your coworkers are trying to kill me but I can't tell you directly". And some of his friends would say "ACAB" and maybe he'd have objected to that before but now he just stays quiet.
Spider-man, now. Making a Spider-man story about current events would be easier, because Spidey's relationship with the police has always been turbulent (the PS4 game notwithstanding). You'd just have Spidey show up at a protest in NYC and express support -- WHICH IS SOMETHING THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED -- and suddenly half the NYPD is out to get him, just like back in his "wanted for a murder he did not commit" days.
Rhombic dodecahedron disguised as a man
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