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Latest vs. Newest

“Latest Crew Blasts Off for the International Space Station”

I wrote this in response to an e-mail newsletter distributed by NASA.

Yes, they are all dead, dead, dead....
Also, they never could get anywhere on time.
What you really meant was the “newest crew”.

These newsletters from NASA contain grammatical and logical errors almost every time. They also include the e-mail addresses of the authors, but nobody ever writes back OR publishes any corrections. Also, about half the time, the e-mails to those addresses get returned with the note “Recipient unknown” or “Address unknown”. Why publish any e-mail address if it is not going to work? Why bother?

When I write an e-mail to the office of the President of the United States, it goes through, so the people whom I mentioned above cannot claim that they are too busy of VIPs.

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@D.A.Wood - Just in case you can remember what your original question was, would you say the 'latest' Start Trek movie (you seem to be a fan) or the 'newest' Star Trek movie. If something is part of a sequence, I'd think I'd tend to say 'latest'. And don't we usually talk about the 'latest model' of something rather than the 'newest model'.

Amongst all the off-topic stuff you said something about 'select' which seems to have gone unnoticed - 'they use "select" when they needed "selected", and they use "chose" when they needed "chosen"', and you say that people don't know the difference between an adjective, a noun and a verb. Well I've never heard anybody use 'chose' for 'chosen', but 'select' most definitely is an adjective as well as being a verb - 'They live in a very select area'. - you couldn't say 'selected' there, and I would argue that 'only a select few' has a different meaning from 'only a selected few'.

You say nouns cannot be adjectives, when they obviously can and commonly are (they're known as nominal modifiers, I believe). But when anybody suggests a list of common nouns used as adjectives, you avoid the issue and just harp on about when we can and can't use US as an adjective, and even then ignoring Jeremy's example of the US press, which as far as I know isn't part of the US government yet, although it might have looked that way for a few years.

And who are these so-called 'lazy dog writers' who confuse England with English etc, Can you provide any examples.

@Jeremy, you have my sympathies.

Warsaw Will August 10, 2012, 3:00pm

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D. A. Wood,

"I also proudly write American English, and "thusly" is quite a useful word here. If you don't like it, don't complain about it."

Look hypocrisy! He says don't complain about it when he made two pages about complaining: the one we're on and the "Molotov Cocktails".

As for analytical, how dare you, you arrogant son of a bitch. You know they make a million of you in book stores: they're called encyclopedias. If I wanted one, I'd go out and buy one. I'm sure I wouldn't have to listen to or deal with an absolute prick then.

"If you are unwilling to learn anything about precise, step-by-step reasoning, then just skip over it and don't read about it."

Take a page out of your book? No thanks. You ignore everything that might jeopardize your intellect.

You also fail to see the point completely. This is forum about English and discussion about English. And you just litter your posts with useless, unneeded facts. And like I, and everyone else, have said you don't even acknowledge the information, facts, and quotes we've given to you. You just dismiss them.

You've been lumbering around like a buffoon for too long.

I also commend Warsaw Will, Jeremy Wheeler, and Les R for being able to tolerate you more than I can.

Jasper August 11, 2012, 7:36am

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I really wonder where people get their ideas from. "Latest", meaning "most recent" or "newest", is well attested in US English. On the other hand, the meaning "deadest" is not (nor, as far as I know, is that meaning idiomatic in any form of English).

Jeremy Wheeler July 24, 2012, 4:45am

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I wonder what "US" functions as when used (as often in the US press) in such forms as "US troops", "US Navy", "US elections", "US border", and so on. I prefer the use of US rather than "American" becuase America is a big place and the US but a small part of it. Even "North America", to my mind, includes Mexico and Canada.

Jeremy Wheeler July 25, 2012, 4:40am

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On the separate issue of nouns as adjectives, what adjectives would you use to replace these?
car door, clothes shop, race horse, accounts department, arms production, research centre, team coach, football team, dog food, coffee cup, cookie jar.... I could go on.

Jeremy Wheeler July 25, 2012, 4:48am

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By all means ignore my comments. No doubt others will be happy to read them and decide for themselves whether I am right in calling you out on some of the absurd and untrue things you say.

Jeremy Wheeler July 25, 2012, 10:43am

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I'm not sure why you presume that I don't know the constitution and laws of my own country. Scottish law and English law are two separate legal systems (and always have been) and Northern Ireland has been a separate jurisdiction since 1921 (the year of Irish partition). A police officer from England and Wales has no powers in Scotland or in Northern Ireland, nor do police officers from those countries have powers in England and Wales

The Scottish and Northern Irish parliaments can legislate on matters including: agriculture, fisheries and forestry, economic development, education, environment, food standards, health, home affairs, local government, sport and the arts, transport, training, tourism, research and statistics, and social work. The Scottish Parliament can also legislate on Scots law, and has the ability to alter income tax in Scotland by up to 3 pence in the pound.

The United kingdom consists of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Other persons with notional British citizenship (but not necessarily all of the benefits of British membership of the EU) include citizens of the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey (Crown Dependencies). Citizens of the Falkland Islands and 13 other British Overseas Territories have British Overseas Territories Citizenship.

As for where British people live - well, just about everywhere in the world.

Jeremy Wheeler August 1, 2012, 7:07am

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Re-reading your rather confused comments I see that you have made some other errors, the most obvious of which are:

1. "There are also millions of British People (and proud of it) who live in Northern Ireland."
Millions? Hard to see how in a country with a population of 1.8 million.

2. "most the British people in Northern Ireland had ancestors who emigrated there from Scotland long ago"
Most? About 40% of the population are Catholics and highly unlikely to be descendents of the Protestant Scots who settled in Ireland.

3. "the acts of the the British House of Commons are the Supreme Law of the Land"
There is no such thing as an 'act of the British House of Commons'. Statutory laws are Acts of one of the Parliaments of the United Kingdom or the Welsh Assembly. In addition much of the law of each of the countries in the UK is derived from common law and not from Acts of Parliament. As an example, there is no Act of Parliament making murder an offence, nevertheless it is an offence at comon law.

Jeremy Wheeler August 1, 2012, 6:32pm

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Not that it should matter, but since you ask, I received my law degree from London Metropolitan University.

I think you are a bit confused about how the English legal system works and, I would imagine, have no idea how Scottish law works. I realise that anyone with access to the internet thinks they can become an expert without going to the trouble of actually studying a subject but if you are going to make such odd assertions perhaps it would help if you were to declare your sources and authorities.

In English law we don't talk about 'supreme law' in the way you seem to be suggesting. If what you mean is that parliament is sovereign then that is true, to a point. In practice, though, parliament has bound itself to the higher authority of European law and the European Convention on Human Rights. The constitution is based, however, on the notion that parliament cannot bind its successors so, strictly, it would be possible for parliament to change that (though unlikely to happen).

I don't know what your understanding of the Constitution of the United Kingdom is. It is certainly very different from that of the US. We have no Constitutional court and laws cannot be declared unconstitutional.

Murder and manslaughter are not defined by statute in English law though it is true that various statutes exist that affect prosecutions and punishment for those offences. Even statute law, though, is subject to development by judges as courts interpret the law. That is why we have a system of precedent.

There are huge areas of civil law that are not codified at all by statute; most tort laws, for example.

I'm happy to carry on this debate but, as I mentioned elsewhere, you don't strengthen your argument by being abusive.

Jeremy Wheeler August 2, 2012, 8:26am

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D A Wood, the word "latest" means "the most recent". The word "late" has quite a number of definitions, including recent. Why are you cherry-picking your definitions? In any case, in no way could "latest" mean, er, "most recently deceased"? Or, er, "deadest"?

porsche July 18, 2012, 7:38am

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To EnglishKnight:
Wood, when you speak to a man " Hey, babe, what's the latest?", the expression would be ambiguity, nathless.

Your're missing something again, and not asking questions when you should asking.

1. To many in North America, the word "babe" can be used in very informal speech to address either a male of a female. Keep that in mind.
Also, have you ever heard the expression, "A babe in the woods", for example?
This "babe" can be a man, a woman, or a child.

2. Still in infomal speech, this has been with us for decades: for a man to address either a child or a woman (usually younger than himself) as "babe". Women have called a child "babe" since the time of Middle English, or earlier.

3. Still in infomal speech, this has been with us for not so many decades: for a woman to address a man, especially one whom she is atttacted to, as "babe". For example, she might say, "Babe, I am really turned on by your beard and moustache!" (How would you like to get this every week?) "Babe, I think your muscles are really hot!"

4. Some grown men have had the nickname "Babe" for quite some time, especially during the 1920s and 30s. I don't know how far back this usage might go back earlier than that. The same goes for some women who had the nickname "Babe", too.

As for my way of using precise words, this has been influenced by my mother and by the authors Carl Sagan, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Martin Gardner, James White, a writer from Northern Ireland, and by the authors of several engineering textbooks that I have studied.

In the case of the latter, many times I can't remember their names, but I can remember the names of the universities, etc., where they worked, For example; Illinois, Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan, Arizona, Southern California, Washington State, and the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Don't let me deceive you by omission. I was also stuck with some poorly-written and poorly chosen textbooks in both undergradaute school and graduate school. Then when I became an engineering professor myself, I went through a lot of effort to find textbooks that would be good for my students.
Sometimes there was the ensuing problem of trying to get the Department Head to agree with me! That could be a difficult one.


D. A. Wood July 18, 2012, 2:23pm

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You really shuld check your facts. William Joyce (Lord Haw Haw) was not an Canadian. He was, in fact, an American citizen who falsely obtained a British passport. Here is the opening of the judgment of the House of Lords in his appeal against conviction:

"He was born in the United States in 1906, the son of a naturalised American citizen and thereby became himself a natural-born American citizen. At the age of three he was brought to Ireland and stayed there until about 1921 when he came to England, where he resided until 1939. On July 4, 1933, he made application for a British passport, describing himself as a British subject by birth having been born in Galway, and was granted the passport as such British subject by birth, for a period of five years. On Sept. 24, 1938, he applied for, and was granted, a renewal of that passport for a further period of one year. On Aug. 4, 1939, he made a further application for the further renewal for one year of that passport, and the passport was again renewed to expire on July 1, 1940. On both occasions he described himself as a British subject who had not lost that national status. The purpose of the last renewal was stated to be for "holiday purposes." At some date after Aug. 24, 1939, he left England and travelled to Germany where he remained throughout the war. On his arrest in Germany in 1945, a document was found in his possession showing that he had been engaged by the German Broadcasting Corporation as from Sept. 18, 1939, as an editor, speaker and announcer of news in English."

Jeremy Wheeler August 10, 2012, 4:48am

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I didn't say that his father's nationality was relevant. I merely quoted their Lordships in the House of Lords appeal. I suspect that they are all dead now so it won't be possible for you to take the matter up with them.

I notice that you have once again resorted to personal abuse: a common sign of a weak argument.

Jeremy Wheeler August 10, 2012, 6:34am

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Just so WW. I tried to inject a little humour (correct spelling) and civility when I replied to a D A Wood post, but it fell on deaf ears: all I got for my effort were ramblings involving sulfur (sic) and aluminum (sic again - in fact I'm quite sick of DAW). Ah well, c'est la vie.
Cheers, les.

Les R August 10, 2012, 3:36pm

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D A Wood
It's ensure not insure: something/person is insured, and you ensure that something occurs - usually by your own, independent action. Must pay attention to detail.

Les R August 11, 2012, 12:46am

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Perhaps D A Wood might try grasping the difference between disinterested and uninterested - although perhaps it might be too subtle!

Les R August 11, 2012, 12:49am

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On "thus" versus "thusly": although for many people the longer form is unnecessary, and its use seems to have originated as a kind of joke, many people do use it without irony. My question is this: does DA Wood think it is an exception to his own rules about preferring the shorter of two choices? As he said on another thread: "Once again, we see the case of a longer word taking the place of a shorter word that does make sense and is unambiguous.
As Dr. McCoy said to Commander Spock, "Where is the logic in that?"

Personally, I cannot see the reason for overlooking the question of "efficient" vs. "inefficient". Why should someone going back to dig in the 14trh century when RIGHT NOW we should know which one is efficient and which is inefficient?

It is seen that in American English, we do have a stronger trend toward efficient expressions than inefficient ones, though I am impatient and I do not see it happening rapidly enough."

If he is impatient for the spread of more efficient forms then surely he should promote "thus"...

Jeremy Wheeler August 11, 2012, 2:38am

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Another DA Wood line: "People have laughed at me..."

Surely not!

Jeremy Wheeler August 11, 2012, 2:41am

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Oh indeed, Jeremy, shurely they "have"!

Why do we actually bother continuing this dialogue with D A Wood, as he's clearly on some sort of - flawed - ego trip?
Cheers, Les (London)

Les R August 11, 2012, 2:47am

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Sorry I gave the wrong reference for Merriam-Webster. It should have been:

@Jeremy Wheeler - not to mention UK parliament rather than British parliament, that saves a whole eight letters, so that must make it much better English. It's funny how this efficiency lark only seems to apply to certain words, but not to arguments or sticking to the point.

Warsaw Will August 11, 2012, 2:56am

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Hi Jasper/Jeremy,
D A Wood: what do we make of him, as he's clearly not here to have sensible, and perhaps humourous (remember I am English!), repartee about the English language?
It's pretty sad when someone feels the need to come over as superior, and more knowledgeable with regard to grasping the finer nuances of "proper" English, when in fact they are not: I suspect DAW has nothing better to do all day than expand his - apparent - encyclopedic knowledge of all subjects, even if he fails, often to understand his points of reference.
Still, it keeps us amused - even if he is, as you say, an irritating prick.
I actually enjoy banter, especially when it concerns different takes on our language by folk from other "English" speaking countries - as long as it's good-humoured and a little thought-provoking: unfortunately DAW meets none of these requirements.
Cheers, Les.

Les R August 11, 2012, 12:36pm

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Typo - spot the missing comma, or is there one too many in paragraph one?

Les R August 11, 2012, 12:38pm

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I think I'm having - dare I say it - a senior moment, as I forgot to mention Warsaw Will in my last post. He too has been a long-term tolerator of DAW.

Les R August 11, 2012, 12:42pm

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DAW is one of those internet users whose watchword is, "You might have a PhD but I have read an article on Wikipedia." He seems harmless enough, though a tad irritating at times. I can't, I have to say, take him very seriously but he does provide me with entertainment when I am trying to avoid doing something more important...

Jeremy Wheeler August 11, 2012, 8:47pm

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Hurray for Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, I say. An excellent book. I do find disputes about US versus British English tiresome. As said above, good for the Americans. Many so-called Americanisms complained of by Brits aren't (gotten is a good example) and some spelling differences could have gone either way in British English (tire/tyre, for example: The Times used the former well into the 1920s) and words such as humor and other 'ou' words merely follow a pattern in British English anyway (we have dropped the 'u' in such words as governour and emperour).

Jeremy Wheeler August 13, 2012, 12:00pm

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Wood, I thought you had been scared by the question sir..:). No, nothing there, but if you want to keep your privacy, it is perfectly fine. When I started learning English in highschool in China, I was unhappy to see the differings of English. To me, English has only been from England ( even now, I still insist on this). Just follow the beautiful Queen :).

EnglishKnight1 July 24, 2012, 5:36pm

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I personally think Jeremy is a heavily scientific person.

EnglishKnight1 July 24, 2012, 5:41pm

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(Oh, please note that on this very page there is reference to "oldest" and "latest" comments...)

Jeremy Wheeler July 25, 2012, 4:41am

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D. A. Wood, all I said was that nouns can be used as adjectives. I prefer American English over U. S. English.

Jasper July 25, 2012, 8:54am

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Clearly you don't know the difference between Great Britain and the United Kindom.

Jeremy Wheeler July 28, 2012, 7:52am

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Also, there is no such thing as 'British Law'. We do have English law (which is the law of England and Wales), Scottish law (the law of Scotland) and Northern Irish law (the law of Northern Ireland), and then there are other independent jurisdiction in our other territories

Jeremy Wheeler July 28, 2012, 7:56am

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The term "the late" meaning "the recently deceased" can't be given the "-est" ending, so "the latest" can't possibly have any connotation of death.

bubbha July 31, 2012, 10:18pm

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To me, it is unbelievable that someone does not know that "most" means "more than 50 percent". Where do you get your fantasies?
Today, I ate most of my breakfast, I went on a bus ride across most of town, I went shopping, and I spent most of my money.

I am not destitute because I spent about 55 percent of it, and not 85 or 95 percent of it.
Are there some British people who have the fantasy that "most" means 85 percent or more? That would be bad.

D. A. Wood August 2, 2012, 7:50am

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Sure, Wood, I think I understand what you are trying to convey. But in greetings, people still love to say " What is the latest?", isn't it good enough to just express the meaning of recent?

EnglishKnight1 July 18, 2012, 12:02am

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"latest" means "the most recent" must be strictly British English, Australian, etc. -- because we never talk like that in North America.
Why not use an unambiguous term that is understood everywhere, such as "newest"? You suggested "most recent", and that is also a good one.

Precision of expression! What a good concept! It is always far better than vagueness.

D. A. Wood July 18, 2012, 8:38am

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There is also a lot of difference between the language of casual conversation and the more formal and precise language that should be used in government documents - incl. agency's newsletters; general newspapers; news magazines; textbooks; television newscasts, etc.

I used the word "should" (in the subjunctive mood) because so many writers and speakers have forgotten all about the various levels of formality in the language.

"Hey, babe, what's the latest?" would be very informal speech, and not always understood very well.


D. A. Wood July 18, 2012, 9:00am

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Wood, when you speak to a man " Hey, babe, what's the latest?", the expression would be ambiguity, nathless, if you are a girl, judging on your eagerness to exactitude of words, you should be a girl..

EnglishKnight1 July 18, 2012, 1:20pm

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D A Wood Flogging? Would you include Enron or Sub-Prime perpetrators, Jimmy Swaggart or perhaps even drunken ex-presidents who do not know how to spell nuclear? Your punctuation and presentation leave a bit to be desired, too. If you wish to use words or phrases to be offensive, at least spell them correctly - begone is just that, not be gone. Oh I forgot, you might be American, in which case feel free to bastardise English. Webster and you - what a language-busting team you would be. Best wishes, Les (UK - with no commas).

Les R August 9, 2012, 10:18am

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Oh, suppose that Parliament passed a law that re-established slavery in the U.K.?
So, you are saying that there is no way that the Supreme Court could declare that to be an illegal law?

Suppose that Parliament passed a law that banned all alcholic beverages in the U.K. Then, there is no way that the courts or the Supreme court could declare that to be an illegal law?

I am also claiming that the U.K. can tell the rest of Europe to "Go to Hell" at any time and then abrogate the treaties between the U.K. and Europe. That is what a soverign country can do. For an example, New Zealand abrogated a treaty between itself, Australia, and the U.S. that was called ANZUS. Hence, ANZUS is dead except as a bilateral, mutual-defense

"Murder and manslaughter are not defined by statute in English law though it is true that various statutes exist that affect prosecutions and punishment for those offences."

Furthermore, you need to know that if Parliament did not appropriate any money for prisons, the feeding of prisoners, etc., then the courts could not send anyone to prison, Hence, murder and manslaughter would become offenses without any punishment - except perhaps by fines. Then could Parliament make it illegal to fine anyone for homocide?

In effect then, Parliament would have removed homicide as a crime from common law, and likewise for robbery, theft, assault, etc.

Then from what you have told me, there isn't a way that the Supreme Court could declare that to be an illegal law. Could the monarch do so?

Barring these, it looks to me like Parliament could cancel out the effect of any criminal laws by refusing to pay for any punishments.

In the United States, Congress could hypothetically do exactly the same thing on the Federal level -- because nothing gets done unless Congress pays for it.

Here, we have states that have a lot of authority, including the power to collect taxes and spend money. The same applies to the provinces of Canada, and the states of Mexico. In contrast, the U.K. doesn't have any states or provinces.

Furthermore, Scoland has a parliament, but that was established with the consent of the British Parliament and the monarch, and I am assuming that they can cancel out the powers of the Scottish Parliament at any time. That seems to be obvious to me. What it the Scottish Parliament declared independence, but the British parliament did not want to grant that. I think that the British Parliament ought to immediately cancel all of the powers of the Scottish Parliament and disband it.

D. A. Wood August 9, 2012, 1:57pm

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I read an interesting piece of Australian history from the 1930s. A lot of people petitioned the legislature of Western Australia to hold a referendum about leaving the Commonwealth of Australia and thence becoming a Dominion of the British Empire again. That referendum has held, and nearly 70% of the Western Australians voted in favor of it. Then the legislature sent a delegtion to London to discuss the matter with the British Parliament.

After listening to what the Western Australians had to say, and thinking about it, the British decided that this was a matter for the Commonwealth of Australia and that they wouldn't even listen to it anymore in London. Hence, the Western Australians were sent home empty handed.

Furthermore, the Australian Paliament in Canberra would not consider it at all because the Representatives and Senators from New South Wales,Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, and Victoria were all against letting Western Australia go. It was unthinkable. It was just like California's trying to leave the United States. Very few or none of the other states would even consider it.

So, Western Australia was stuck in the Commonwealth, and nothing happened.
Furthermore, back in the 1930s and earlier, Western Australia was the poorest of the six states, so why did the people want to leave? I haven't figured this one out, yet.

Also, starting back in about the 1970s or so, Western Australia had an economic boom, especially in mining. That state has rich deposits of iron ore, aluminum ore, and other minerals - and furthermore, agriculture in the southwestern part has grown a lot. (Note that most of northern and eastern Western Australia is covered by deserts. There are even wild camels that grow there. These are the descendents of camels that were taken there back in the 1800s as beasts of burden.

Perth, Western Australia, has become a very large, prosperous city, too. Among other things, it has a good seaport on the Indian Ocean, it has a railroad that connects it to eastern Australia, and it has an intenational airport with good routes to southern Asia, Africa, and Europe. Perth is probably fourth in population in Australia, following Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.

D. A. Wood August 9, 2012, 2:26pm

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Indeed Ms Wood, only an greatly intellectual woman can produce such a quality in wording.

EnglishKnight1 July 19, 2012, 11:39pm

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More about Australia. I once read an article that said that back in the 1960s and in earlier decades the Defense Establishment in Australia was dominated by the Army.

To me, that was a very curious thing because Australia:
1. Does not have any land boundaries with any other country, hence it does not face the prospect of invasions by its neighbors (such as France, Germany, Greece, Hungary - incl. Austria-Hungary, Poland, and Russia have for many centuries).
2. Australia has oceans all around it, so it seems that a strong navy would be essential.
3. The Australain Aborigines have seldom given the white people much trouble

Then I read recently about the fact that Western Australia wanted to leave the Commonwealth during the 1930s. Is it likely that the Australian Parliament built up it Army just in case a state like Western Australia, South Australia, or Queensland decided to declare a rebellion and try to leave the Commonwealth? Then Australia might need a good army to put down the rebellion? Could Australia have developed "George Washington II" or "Robert E. Lee II" in one of those states to lead the rebellion? Maybe West Australia and South Australia might decided to declare a rebellion together? These are strange ideas, and I don't know anything about them in reality. What did the Australian Army have in its contingency plans? .

I had heard that the Australian dominions had sent troops to South Africa to fight the Boers. Just watch the movie about Breaker Morant and read books about it.
Also, Australia sent troops to Turkey, Palestine, and France to fight during WW I,
Then came WW II, when Australia built up a large army to fight against the Japanese, espanded it navy, BUT in a critical move, it expanded the Royal Australian Air Force to more than 60 squadrons of warplanes -- but that was melted down to about 12 squadrons by the end of 1946. Australia also did not have much of an air force during the Korean War.

Anyway, sometime during the 1950s, the Royal Australian Navy acquired two aircraft carriers from the British. Then came other warships, including three guided-missile destroyers that were built in the United States. (In Michigan, believe it or not.)

However, the RAAF got a lot of F - 86 Sabre fighter planes, including some manufactured in Australia. Next came several squadrons of Mirage fighters from France, plus "Canberra" bombers from England. (Some of these flew and fought in Vietnam.) Then came 24 F - 111C fighter bombers from the United States and a good number of P - 3 Orion patrol planes from the United States.

Australia needed several squadrons of air-defense fighters, so it bought F - 18C Hornets from the United States, just as Canada, Spain, and Finland did. By about 2008, the F - 111s were getting really worn out, so the RAAF replaced those by F - 18E Super Hornets, a significantly larger and more powerful fighter-bomber.

The Aussie's big transport planes are all American-made C - 130 Hercules and C - 17 Globemaster III planes, too.

All of the larger surface warships of the RAN carry antisubmarine helicopters, and those are all American SH - 63 Seahawks. There are also Seahawks that are land-based. (They are also fantastic for air-sea-rescue.) In any case, when they fly warplanes in the Australian services, they are American onces.

Australia is also buying American M1A1 tanks, but an Australian shipyard is building sophisticated multipurpose warships there now.One is under construction, and the other two are planned to be finished by sometime in 2017.

An interesting combination is that one C - 17 transport can carry one M1A1 tank - a tank that weighs about 65 tons.
They only ways to airlift an M1A1: in a C - 17 or in a C - 5 Galaxy, and only the U.s. Air Force has any C - 5s.

D. A. Wood August 9, 2012, 3:15pm

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But fighting for great precision of words is such a meaning thing.

EnglishKnight1 July 19, 2012, 11:41pm

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Oh, flogging: ENRON Corp, executives, sub-prime perpetrators, Jimmy Swaggart, former president GWB, and Senators from Kentucky get to stand at the front of the LONG darned line for floggings.

I have read that the last public flogging in the U.S. was carried out in Delaware in about 1947. The last public hanging was in Kentucky, probably in the 40s or 50s. The county sheriff was a woman, and she pulled the trap, too.

In both of these cases, I was surpised by the locations, my best guesses beforehand would have been as follows: Kansas, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah,or Wyoming. Western states like that just have the reputation of being "rough-and-ready" and a little lawless.


D. A. Wood August 9, 2012, 3:28pm

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To: English Knight 1
You clearly have no idea who any of these writers were: Carl Sagan, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Martin Gardner, and James White, and probably not Sir Winston Churchill or Bertrand Russell, either.
I will give you a clue: Churchill and Russell were both winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature, and back when that meant something.

During the past 20 years or so, the Nobel committee that chooses the winners has gotten into the habit of selecting OBSCURE writers who wrote in obsure dialects about obscure subjects, and that has lead to immense criticism of the committee from six different continents and resignations from the committee itself in protest.

It has been a long time since that committee has made a practice of honoring the well-known and influential writers from Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Latin America, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States: e.g. Kipling, Shaw, Churchill, Russell, Eliot, Mistral (two of them), Satre, Thomas Mann, Hesse, Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn, Hemmingway, Sinclair Lewis, Faulkner, Steinbeck, and Isaac Singer.

This is true: to be influential, a writer has to be widely read.

Obviously, I have not read much writing in French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, or Japanese because I don't read those languages, but we can assume that the big writers in those languages were influential where those languages are used. Also, there are some Russian writers who have been very influential in translations worldwide.

Most of my reading has been of works that were originally written in English or translated from French - especially the works of Jules Verne.

D. A. Wood July 20, 2012, 3:40am

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American and proud of it !
American spellings and proud of them: aluminum, analyze, be gone, favor, gotten, harbor, math, neighbor, parlor, vapor....

By the way, the AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY is spelled exactly thusly.

U,K, with commas? How dreadful.

I was irritated by an Australian publication that wrote "Pearl Harbour".

It is simple courtesy to spell things the way they are where they really are, such as I never would write these in a published article:
Sidney, Australia, Queen's Land, Melburne, Aukland, Middleborough, East Yorkshire, Newsouthwales.

We do have some places in the U,S, with unusual spellings, such as Indian Harbour Beach, Florida. I do go for simple spellings, such as Climax, Colorado.

By the way, New London, Connectict, is located along the Thames River in the eastern part of that state, and London, Ontario, is located along the Thames River in the southwestern part of that province.
But the way, this Thames River probably drains into a lake that you have never heard of. It drains into Lake St, Clair, and that is a much smaller lake that lies between Lake Huron and Lake Erie.
The St. Clair River flows out of Lake Huron and then into Lake St. Clair.
Then after just a few days in that lake, the water drains into the Detroit River, and thence between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, and then into Lake Erie.

D. A. Wood August 9, 2012, 3:56pm

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"But fighting for great precision of words is such a meaning thing."

1. Are you trying to say "meaningful",
2. or are you trying to be ironic and intend "demeaning" or "mean-spirited"?

I disagree whole-heartedly with the second.

D. A. Wood July 20, 2012, 3:44am

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There is a highway tunnel underneath the Detroit River that connects Windsor, Ontario, with Detroit Michigan. That tunnel has an unusual distinction. It is the:
only highway tunnel in the world,
that goes underneath a river,
and connects two different countries.
Rather amazing:

There are several railroad tunnels that connect Canada with the USA, underneath rivers, especially between Ontario and Michigan.
There is a highway tunnel that connects France with Italy, but it runs under dry land.
There are highway tunnels under the Hudson River that connect New York with New Jersey, but these are in the same country.

D. A. Wood August 9, 2012, 4:09pm

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So, are you telling me that the people who live on Sark and some of the other Channel Islands are NOT British? Even if their soverign is Queen Elizabeth II ?

("Sark" is one of my favorite place names because of an S.F. novel by Isaac Asimov that is set mostly on a planet named "Sark".)

"As for where British people live - well, just about everywhere in the world."

My view of it is that for all practical purposes, the British people reside in just one (shrunken) hemisphere. This is largely because all of the former British possessions on the Pacific Ocean have either been granted their indepenence or turned loose (in a few cases). These include Hong Kong, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the Gilbert Islands, Christmas Atoll, Malaysia (see Borneo), etc.

In addition, there is nothing left in South America or Central America anymore, except for the Falkland Islands. In addition, everything that I can think of in the Caribbean Sea is independent now, e.g. Jamaica, Granada, Trinidad & Tobago, Is there some tiny island left there under the rule of Parliament?

It is hard to think of any British possessions in or on the Indian Ocean, anymore, but I do remember Diego Garcia right in the middle of the ocean.
In the Mediterannean Sea, there is some soverign British territory on Cyprus, and all of Gibraltar. However, Malta has been independent for a long time.

Hence, there are inhabited British Isles scattered in the Atlantic Ocean, but as far as I know, none north of Scapa Flow, Scotland, or south of the Falklands Recall that South Georgia Island is unhabited except for temporary visitors. (Meteorologists, etc.)

Notice that the Government of the United States does NOT recognize any claims by any country to land in Antarctica. Nor does the United States make any claims of its own to Antarctica, but it reserves the right to do so if this ever becomes necessary in the future. (Note that large parts of Antarctica were first seen either by the crews of U.S. Navy ships or by American aviators. A large part of the antarctic coast is named Wilkes Land because it was discovered by Capt. Wilkes of the U.S. Navy.)

Therefore outside of the Britsh Isles and the Channel Islands, there are inhabited British places in the Atlantic such as Ascension Island, Bermuda, the Falkland Islands, and St. Helena.

Also note that if there is some island somewhere that has 40 or fewer people living on it, I am just going to call that island "negligible".

D. A. Wood August 9, 2012, 4:55pm

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Wood, it was a typo indeed, I am regretful for it, because one of my fingers was injured at work, so I easily made a mistake. Nevertheless, nowadays,you could even locate grammatical mistakes in an influential government leader's speeches. But remarkably, you detected so well. Reading your written piece can be so pleasant too,sorry but I have to promise it,especially it has been from an well-educated woman with multiple talents.To mind you, I am really reading Churchill and enjoy immensely his wording.

EnglishKnight1 July 20, 2012, 4:49pm

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But it could be dangerous to assume I don't really know Bertrand Russell, I even know he was a great philosopher who criticised Nietsche so fervently. And I love the way he mentioned love while Nietsche could have seen through as Russell.

EnglishKnight1 July 20, 2012, 4:58pm

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EnglishKnight1 July 20, 2012, 5:00pm

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Oh, I am sorry to hear. English Knight 1, that you have had a have had an injured hand / finger, and that has upset your typing & writing. Hence I am reckoning that you meant "meaningful".
In my case, I am in my mid-50s, but I have had some persistent problems with my right wrist (from time to time) because of too much writing and typing in graduate school; while at work as an engineer; and while teaching scores of different courses in electronics engineering and in mathematics.Toss in a good bit if tennis playing (years ago) and bicycle riding, and my wrist has just been getting worn out.
An orthopedic surgeon, a wrist specialist, has told me that the treatment for my wrist would iinvolve complicated surgery, but I have decided to put that off indefinitely and just to take some medication for it.

I am not teaching now, so I don't have students' papers to grade, diagrams to draw on the chalkboard for my students, and documents to type for handing out in class. This saves a lot of wear and tear.

D. A. Wood July 20, 2012, 7:15pm

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I will kind you about my first name. It is "Dale", and in the United States, Dale is mostly a man's name, but some women have it, too. When I was a graduate school in mathematics, I was invited to a Christmas party at a professor's house, and I met an attractive woman who had already earned her M.A. in math -- from the same school in Missouri. In the U.S., the name "Dale" is most popular in the Midwestern States, and even though my family is from the South, while my father was in the Army in 1954 - 55 (in South Korea) he had a close friend who was from Chicago. Aha, the Midwest. Hence that was the source of my name. Years later, I had a professor in Atlanta, Georgia, whose name was Dale C. Ray, but Dr. Ray's home state was Michigan - right in the Midwest.

Since then, I have read that "Dale" is a rather popular name in faraway Australia, too, but as we know, lots of these cultural things in Australia, Canada, the United States, and New Zealand have their common roots in England and Scotland.
For another example, there are more or less important cities and towns in Scotland, New York State, and Western Australia named "Albany". One Albany is the capital city of New York Also, there are there are towns in Scotland and Florida, and on the South Island of New Zealand named "Dunedin".
There are two cities named Newcastle in England, and several different towns in the United States named either Newcastle or New Castle, with the most well-known one being New Castle, Delaware. Then, there is Newcastle, New South Wales, which is probably the seventh largest city in Australia. There is even a warship in the Australian Navy named the HMAS NEWCASTLE, and one of the few "motorways" in Australia connects Sydney with Newcastle. Newcastle, NSW, has long been a center of coal mining in Australia, just as Newcastle in northeastern England has been for much longer.

D. A. Wood July 20, 2012, 7:47pm

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But see? the language of English is really so beautiful, especially with grammar, I still remember challenging my English teachers at class when in highschool in China, and by living in Australia for six years, I have been benefited more.

EnglishKnight1 July 20, 2012, 8:08pm

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Most Chinese people can not speak English well, I don't know why. I guess it is because of the boring teaching in China or for overseas Chinese, they are not outreaching. I think they should face the problem and change.

EnglishKnight1 July 20, 2012, 8:11pm

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Yes, I am saying that the Supreme Court (formerly the House of Lords) cannot strike down laws for unconstitutionality. When the Human Rights Act was introduced it included a section allowing courts to declare a law incompatible with it. The legislators did not go so far as to allow courts to strike down laws. From:

"Jack Straw [then Home Secretary] emphasised from the outset that higher courts “could make a Declaration [of Incompatibility] that, subsequently, Ministers propose and Parliament accepts, should not be accepted..."

Re Sark: The people of the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey (The Channel Islands) and the Isle of Man, are British citizens, as I said above. They do not have all the rights of British citizenship in relation to te european Union, though. The UK Accession Treaty specifically states British citizens who are connected with the Channel Islands and Isle of Man (i.e. considered "Channel Islanders and Manxmen") do not have the right to live in other European Union countries (except the Republic of Ireland, through the long-established Common Travel Area) unless they have connections through descent or residence in the United Kingdom.

You ask: "Even if their soverign is Queen Elizabeth II ?" Having Her Majesty as sovereign doess not automatically confer British citizenship. If it did citizens of the following countries, all of which have her as monarch, would be British citizens: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Papua New Guinea, St Christopher and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Tuvalu, Barbados, Grenada, Solomon Islands, St Lucia and The Bahamas.

There are 14 British overseas territories, which are: British Indian Ocean Territory, Gibraltar, Bermuda, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory, St Helena and its dependencies (Ascension and Tristan da Cunha), Montserrat, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Anguilla, the Pitcairn Group of Islands, and the Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus.

You say: "there is nothing left in South America or Central America anymore". NB Belize is in Central America.

Jeremy Wheeler August 9, 2012, 7:36pm

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Of course, since I have earned my M.A. in mathematics, I think of Bertrand Russell as being mostly a mathematician. (He moved into philosophy later on in his life.)
Russell and another man named Alfred North Whitehead worked together for more that an decade in writing a HUGE series of books through which they hoped to place mathematics on a secure logical foundation with no possibility of contradiction or vagueness whatever. This turned out to be a VERY deep work of mathematics and logic, but after all those years, they decided that they had set about on an impossible task -- and Russell came to this conclusion first. Of course, the reasoning is very deep, but Russell created a parallel explanation that can be written in ordinary English. It is in the form of a small story (a piece of fiction):

There is a village in England where nobody comes or goes to it. None of the men of the village wear beards, either, and the village is so small that it has only one barber. Here are the rules concerning shaving. Every man either:
1. Shaves himself regularly (no beards!). (Note that in general, nobody can get a shave from a woman, his sister, his mother, his brother, his father, etc. Also, the barber is not a woman.)
2. Or he goes to the barber and pays to get his shaves.
3. But not both.
Question: Who shaves the barber?

Difficulty: If the barber shaves himself, then he his getting a shave from the barber, too, and this is not allowed. Also, If the barber gets a shave from the barber, then he his shaving himself, too, and this is not allowed.
Believe it or not, there is a deep contradiction here when this is translated into a more general mathematical problem.

Some jokers have taken the problem as Russell first expressed it, and they said that they could solve the problem if the barber was a woman (!).Hence, the barber never needs a shave. However, I rephrased it a little bit to give it the form that Russell intended to begin with: the barber is not a woman, and nobody gets a shave from a woman. Delilah does not live here.

D. A. Wood July 20, 2012, 8:20pm

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You need to check again. Belize has been an independent country for a long time now, just as Guyana and Trinidad have been. I also said to exclude all independent countries - e.g. Canada.

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands do not count since they are uninhabited. I told you why to exclude Antarctica. In fact I said to exclude all places with a permanent population less than 40.
Most of those islands in the British Indian Ocean Territory are uninhabited or nearly so. Remember that the whole subject was about BRITISH PEOPLE.

I would hate to have you for my attorney, and I would NOT put up with it, because YOU DO NOT LISTEN.
In addition, you habitually make statements that are besides the point. I think that you should be very careful about writing about things like that. Whatever the legal association over there is, you could get into trouble with it if it ever finds out. .

When I said" Even if their sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II" it was clear that I was talking about places that are close to Great Britain.

Stating that the inhabitants of the Channel Islands are not British is an exercise in hair-splitting, up with which I shall not put.
We also do not care if they do not have the right to reside in Switzerland or Spain. That is completely besides the point.

If people who live on the Channel Islands or the Isle of Mann commits high treason against the British Government, such acts will surely be punished severely, one way or another. One way or another. In 1945, the British Government tried, convicted, and hanged a man for high treason. The big problem was that he was not a British subject, but rather a Canadian.

It he was accused of collaborating with the Nazis, he should have been extradited to Canada and then put on trial there.


D. A. Wood August 9, 2012, 8:20pm

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Oh, well, English Knght 1, I did leave one possibility open for you -- an unreal possibility, but I left it there in a humorously.
Maybe I am my father's daughter, and he and my mother named me for Dad's male Army buddy in South Korea, after all.
Then, when I met the other female Dale at my professor's house, she was so lovely (with a great pair of legs below her skirt, and this is true) that I had a "lesbian rush" on the other Dale and I wanted to "take her to bed".

Oh, well, the other Dale and I said "hi" and that was all, and I was a married man back then, anyway. My wife was there with me, too, because she had met practically none of my colleagues from the university before.

On earlier occasions, I had the chance to meet women named "Della", "Daylene", etc., but I think that this was the first time for meeting a female Dale.

D. A. Wood July 20, 2012, 8:38pm

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Re Canada and treason. I think you need to look up the difference bwtween British citizen and British subject.

Jeremy Wheeler August 9, 2012, 9:29pm

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Once again, Jeremy, you make comments that are beside the point.

Just read up on the characrter called "Lord Haw Haw" who made hundreds of propaganda broadcasts to Britain for Nazi Germany. Granted, that was definitely not a good thing, and it smacks of criminal activity - I understand this.

Howver, Haw Haw had the passport and all of the other documents of a Canadian citizen, and via the Statute of Westminister, Canada was already an independent, self-governing country with the privileges of carrying out its own internal and external affairs, such as in issuing biirth certificates and passports. Canada already had its own foreign embassies, with the very first one being established in Washington, D.C.

Canada had the right to declare war or not to declare war, and in this case, the Canadian Parliament did not declare war on Nazi Germany until September 10, 1939, If the Canada Canadian government had decided to wait longer - or not to declare war at all - then it could have. Actually, the Province of Quebec was very much against declaring war - even though Hitler was makling war against France.

Then a compromise was reached on September 10th. Quebec went along with the declaration of war with the understanding that conscripts would not be sent overseas, except to Newfoundland. All of the Canadians who were sent overseas to fight had to be volunteers (Army or Air Force, and the Navy stayed in the Western Atlantic).
This situation remained in effect until the second half of 1944, when there were a large number of casualties in France, and the Canadian Parliament agreed that conscripts would be sent overseas to replace them in France & Belgium.

Back to Lord Haw Haw. The British government captured, tried, convicted, and hanged him in the second half of 1945. This all happened despite the fact that Haw Haw had a Canadian passport and the British Government didn't have any jurisdiction over him. Haw Haw should have been extradited to Canada and put on trial there.

Here in the United States, we are very careful about jurisdiction. Our Constitution says that someone who is charged with a Federal crime, MUST be tried in a Federal court in the same area of the same state where the crime alledgedly was committed.
For example, if someone is charged with a Federal crime that was allegedly committed in New Jersey, our Attorney General cannot "shop around" for a favorable court in Texas or anywhere else. That trial must be held in New Jersey.

By doing so, the defendent does not have to travel to a faraway court he has ready access to witnesses and evidence in his defense; and he can get a local attorney of his choice -- and one whom is easy for him to visit and talk to.

Haw Haw couldn't have done worse by being tried in Canada -- at least he might not have been executed. Rather than that, he might have been convicted in Canada and then sent to prison for 30 years. He might have become eligible for parole at some time. He could have filed appeals in Canadian courts, and he MIGHT have had his sentence reduced.

In England he was rapidly hanged by the neck until he was dead, dead, dead, and then there was no possibility for him to file for appeals, was there?


D. A. Wood August 10, 2012, 4:07am

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* can demonstrate

EnglishKnight1 July 20, 2012, 9:00pm

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The American author Isaac Asimov, who was a biochemist, visited a large gathering at which someone presented one verse of a song that he had written to be sung to the tune of the song "Home on the Range." That verse went something like this:
"Oh, give me a clone, a clone of my own..."

Asimov was quite inspired by this one, and as usual, he had sheets of paper and a pen in his pocket. He got these out, and he quicky wrote four more verses PLUS a new chorus. This chorus went something like this:
"Clone, clone, clone of my own,
With a Y changed to an X chromosone..."

LOL, Asimov's wacky new verses and chorus were about creating a female clone of himself and then engaging in debauchery with his clone!
Recall that all men have XY sex chromosones, and women have XX chromosomes. Thus, it you change a Y to an X, you change an XY to an XX and you get a female!

Asimov died on April 5, 1992, so we have just commemorated the 20th anniversary of his passing away. I still miss him so much. Between his hundreds of books of fiction AND nonfiction, I estimate that I have read nearly 250 of them.

D. A. Wood July 20, 2012, 9:01pm

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Dates of Independence from the U.K. for selected places in the Americas:
BELIZE rather recenlty celebrated the 31st anniversary of its independece on Sept. 21, 1981

Guyana - Independent on May 26, 1966
Guyana became a republic on Feb. 23, 1970. This means that Guyana stopped being a monarchy.
The Bahamas - Independent on July 10, 1973
Grenada - Independent on Feb. 7, 1974
Belize - Independent on Sept. 21, 1981

The United States - Declared Independence in July 4, 1776
Surrender of the British Army at Yorktown, Virginia - October 19, 1781
Independence recognized by the Treaty of Paris of 1783

D. A. Wood August 10, 2012, 4:31am

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Well, sir, you have been talking to the right person, I do have biochemistry background, and I am so happy with being XY.

EnglishKnight1 July 20, 2012, 9:07pm

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And I think women especially White women is a heavenly gift to us.

EnglishKnight1 July 20, 2012, 9:13pm

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Jeremy, you have a way of making things EVEN WORSE when you ought to be silent.
For the British to execute an American is EVEN WORSE than executing a Canadian.
Why didn't you just shut up about it?
"William Joyce" was his name, and he was actually hanged on January 3. 1946.

"He was born in the United States in 1906, the son of a naturalised American citizen and thereby became himself a natural-born American citizen."

The fact that Joyce was the son of an American citizen was irrelevant in his case, and if you are who you claim you are (the graduate of a law school), you should know what is relevant and what is irrelevant. Also, as much interaction as goes one between the United States and the United Kingdom, you should know the bare bones of what our Consitution says. Issues about immigration, naturalization, and citzenship come up regularly between British people and the Federal Government of the United States.

The fact that Joyce was born in New York City in the United States is the important issue, and it matters not an iota what the citizenships of his parents were.

I am assuming that I am refreshing your memory about the first sentence of our 14th Amendment -- but on the other hand, the probability is high that you don't know anything about it because you have never read it:

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

Joyce was born in New York City, and he was subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, hence he was a native-born American citizen.

People who were born here but NOT subject to the jurisdiction of the United States include the following:

1. Children of the staffs of foreign embassies and consulates in the U.S. Their parents are guests here who are not subject to American jurisdiction. The U.S. had more diplomats here than any other country does, and especially since the headquarters of the United Nations is in New York City.

2. Likewise, children of foreign military personnel who are serving here. You might be surprised at how many there are, but we have foreign students at West Point, the Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy, the Coast Guard academy, the several training colleges of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force, and dozens of other schools for enlisted men. Also, there are scores of members of the Canadian Forces who serve on the staff of NORAD, which has its headquarters in Colorado. For example, the Deputy Commander of NORAD is always a Canadian officer, and he brings Canadians here to assist him, along with the Americans on his staff.

3. The United States is the home of many other important organizations such as the Interntional Monetary Fund, the Organization of American States, and INTELSAT. Those organizations have staff members who come here from dozens of foreign countries. Once again, their children, born here, are not under the jurisdiction of the United States so they do not get automatic citizenship here by birth.

In any case, you should have at least a nodding acquaintance with these important things in our Consitution that have to do with international relations. You do not, and therefore I have decided that you are a phony. There are hundreds of thousands of other phonies like you who make up wild tales about their backgrounds, and it is oftern easy to see right though them.

I could claim to be a graduate of the Royal Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Australia -- but that would not be true. I might be able to flim-flam people for a while.
In truth, all of my education has been in the United States, and I have never studied anywhere else. I have never resided anywhere else.
I have been to school in lot of different places, often working part-time and studying part-time, and sometimes transfering some credits from one university to another to get a degree. Oh, well, I have studied in three Southern states, plus in Missouri, plus in California.
If I said that I had studied in Great Britain, Canada, Germany, Greece, Australia, Russia, or Japan, I would be lying - but I don't do that.
I have had the privilege of studying under professors who came here frro China,
Greece, India, Pakistan, and Russia -- in addition to dozens of Americans, but that is a different story.

D. A. Wood August 10, 2012, 6:07am

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To: English Knight 1
You ought to read about the Austrian mathematician Kurt Goedel and his works. There are good articles about these on the Internet. Goedel lived at the same time as Russell and Whitehead, but he was a little younger, hence he was their successor in some ways. Back during the mid-1930s, Goedel proved this remarkable theorem:

In any system of axiomtic logic large enough to contain arithmetic, there are theorems that ARE TRUE, but there is not any way to prove them.

As for false statements, those can be dealt with because all we have to do is to find a counterexample to a false theorem.

The first actual example of one of the true but unprovable theorems (an important one) was not found until the American mathematician Paul Cohen did so in 1963. It is a remarkable statement in mathematical set theory.

Both Goedel and Albert Einstein were fortunate enough to be able to escape from Naziism during the 1930s, and they both went to the (new) Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, where they remained for the rest of their lives.They became close friends in Princeton, and they spent many, many hours together.

Einstein was lucky in that he was working temporarily at Cal Tech (Pasadena, California) when Hitler took power in 1933, and Einstein never returned to Germany or Switzerland to live. Goedel had a few more years in Europe because he was an Austrian, and the Nazis did not take over Austria until 1938.

Among the other greats who have spent time at the Institute for Advanced Study have been John von Neumann, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Andrew Wiles, the English mathematician who recently proved Fermat's Last Theorem and several other important results in mathematics.


D. A. Wood July 20, 2012, 9:30pm

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A fab American singer (from California) named "Weird Al" Yankovic has specialized for decades in making "spoofs" of songs, especially the pop songs of the time.
There was a song, orginally from the 1950s or 60s, called "I Think We're Alone Now," by there was a hot remake of it by "Tiffany" back in about 1987. Weird Al spoofed this one with one called "I THINK I'M A CLONE NOW." Cloning was also a hot topic back in the 1980s. At least, Weird Al's clone was a man.
You ought to listen to this one - find it on YouTube.

Another completely remarkable song of his was set to the tune of "Lola", but it was called "Yoda" and it told practically the whole story of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, such as wilh lyrics like these:
"Luke, stay away from the Darker Side,
And if your thoughts lead you astray,
Let The Force be your guide.
Oh, my Yoda,
Yo, yo, yo, Yoda. Yoda!"

Watch out for a spoof of a song by Michael Jackson which is called FAT,
and it appears in Weird Al's album EVEN WORSE.

Then there are the songs that I think are completely American in taste, such as
"My Balogna", "I Love Rocky Road", and "Another One Rides the Bus".


D. A. Wood July 20, 2012, 9:56pm

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Oh, Chinese vs. English.
There are some HUGE differences between the spoken languages that make it very difficult for Chinese people in learning English.

1. About 95 percent of Chinese words have only one syllable, and the remainder have only two syllables.The way that Chinese supports a large vocabulary is called "tone" (you can look this up) in that some syllables are given a "rising tone", some a "falliing tone", some "rising then falling", and some "falling then rising".
In Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Celtic, Arabic, etc., we just have hundreds of thosands of words with two or more syllables. How about some words in German, Finnish, or Russian with 10 syllables in them? Completely different from Chinese.

Spoken Japanese and Korean are also very different spoken languages from all kinds of Chinese, with thousands and thousands of polysyllabic words.

2. Chinese does not have ANY conjugation of verbs like all of the Western languages do. No past tense, present tense, future tense, present perfect tense, singular verbs, plural verbs, 1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person, and no moods: indicative, interrogatory, imperative, subjunctive mood, and no modal auxiliaries. Chinese has thousands of different adverbs for all of this, which is completely different from the way that we do it in Western languages.

3. Chinese does not have any masculine, feminine, or neuter pronouns.
Have you ever heard a Chinese person, a learner of English, struggle with { he, she, it }? I surely have.

4. We have nearly gotten rid of it in English, but Chinese does not have any declension (or inflection) of adjectives the way that they do in Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Norwegian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, etc.

I was quite amused to read some years ago that the French Academy was still having a heated discussion about whether the word should be "la microchip" or "le microchip" !! LOL, how amusing to an E.E.

In German, the gender of a noun depends strongly on how it ends:
"der Computer" (masculine) because words ending in "er" are usually masculine.
So are "der Lehrer" = the teacher and "der Fernseher" = the television

"das Flugzeug" (airplane, neuter) because words ending ine "zeug" are neuter. The same rule applies for "chen", "lein", and all infinitives, such as "das Fliegen".

All past participles that end in "ung" are feminine.

Words adopted from French that end in "eur" are masculine, too, such as "der Ingeneueur" = the engineer.


D. A. Wood July 20, 2012, 10:46pm

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Wood, the comparison between Chinese and English is well thought, and some aspects are new to me too.

I have a question, with math, how much have we revealed the Universe? I used to think math is the most efficient to interpret the Universe, but how much?

Einstein was lucky and America has her courtesy to attract the most brilliant minds, most of the best classmates in my grade have been in America now, attending Stanford, Harvard. Surely, few are in Oxford and Cambridge. The American age still lasts.

EnglishKnight1 July 20, 2012, 11:31pm

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Typo - of course I spell my name with a capital "L"!

Les R August 10, 2012, 3:36pm

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The problems with English learning for Chinese people are the boring and inaccurate curriculums and their shyness to speak, a cultural thing and a system obstacle.

EnglishKnight1 July 20, 2012, 11:36pm

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What you have mentioned about German and French are interesting. I need to look up more.

EnglishKnight1 July 20, 2012, 11:38pm

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There is a more significant difference between Chinese (and some other Oriental languages) and the Western ones. When it came to learning how to do the different verb tenses in German -- present, present perfect, future, past, past perfect -- at least I knew all about these tenses in English. There are a lot of similarities in how these are formed, too, and in English we SHOULD do it all on automatic pilot.

In contrast, in Chinese the verbs do not have any tenses, hence for a native speaker of Chinese, the whole concept is a NEW and STRANGE one that they have never heard of. Conjugating verbs in English, French, German, etc., is something that they have to learn from scratch. (The Latin phrase is "ex nihilio" = "from nothing".) It is really, really difficult to do.

Likewise, when it comes to masculine, feminine, neuter, and (maybe) plural pronous, that has to be learned "ex nihilio" by a Chinese person who is studying a foreign language. This is hard to do.

To give another kind of an analogy, let's go to mathematics. It is like taking a person who knows about the integers and fractions, but they do not know anything about the real numbers such as irrational numbers and trancendental numbers. These are hard concepts.
Likewise, there was a time when the concept of a negative number was really strange and foreign to everyone. For example, the ancient Greeks, Romans, and the people of Medieval times didn't know anything about them.

When negative numbers were finally invented and accepted during the Renaissance, it is rather surprising that it took "only" 100 to 150 years before the square roots of negative numbers were accepted by many mathematicians. On the other hand, so of them never accepted these numbers until they died.
As an electrical engineer and a mathematician, I use them all the time.They are amazing and useful things. I have taken entire courses that had to do with the results you get with the square roots of negative numbers.

D. A. Wood July 21, 2012, 5:10am

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"And who are these so-called 'lazy dog writers' who confuse England with English etc, Can you provide any examples."

I am sorry that you didn't get the gist of what I was writing. That was "We're doomed. It is coming inevitably." Lazy writers will inevitably start writing stuff like "England cars", and "England music", just as they already write these:
"Mexico drug cartel", "Australia wool", "Canada government", "Cuba refugees", "Denmark ham", "Hungary people", "India famine", "Iraq unrest", "Korea army", "Peru radicals", "Spain rain", "Syria massacre". "Turkey troops", and "Venezuela president".

Is it possible that such balderdash is unique to the United States? I doubt it because I read a lot from the Internet, and I get loads of articles from around the world, It becomes clear that hundreds of articles were written by people whose native language was not English. Furthermore, the editors at companies like the Associated Press and Reuters are too lazy to edit the articles into American English even when they plan to publish them in the United States.

I have written to the Associated Press several times with this comment,
"You are an American Company, aren't you? With its headquarters in the United States, right? Then insure that your articles are in American English."
Also, not "Peru radicals." The Shining Path is PERUVIAN radicals.


D. A. Wood August 10, 2012, 7:20pm

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Furthermore, the Associated Press has its headquarters in New York City.
I do not want articles that are written in Kenyan English, New Zealand English, Irish English, Hoing Kong English, South African English, etc.

If I wanted to read artricles in South African English, I would switch on the Internet and read newspapers from Cape Town and Johannesburg.

D. A. Wood August 10, 2012, 7:26pm

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Very interesting, so do you have any email address we can keep discussing on these topics? Thanks.

EnglishKnight1 July 21, 2012, 6:16pm

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When you quote something, YOU are responsible for what it says:
"I didn't say that his father's nationality was relevant. I merely quoted their Lordships in the House of Lords appeal. I suspect that they are all dead now so it won't be possible for you to take the matter up with them."

By quoting things without comment or corrrection, you are endorsing them and agreeing with them,

Why is it that you have your way of trying to weasel yourself out of nearly everything that you write or do?
You don't want to take responsibility for anything.

D. A. Wood August 10, 2012, 7:35pm

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"Well I've never heard anybody use 'chose' for 'chosen',"

@Warsaw Will
Then you may count yourself as fortunate. Just say a prayer of thanksgiving.

I certainly have heard it, and I didn't like it. Just because you haven't heard it is no reason to question the fact that I have.


D. A. Wood August 10, 2012, 7:41pm

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@Warsaw Will
To say that you use a nouns as a adjecive is self-contradictory.
That cannot be done. A noun is a noun and an adjective is an adjective.
The process is more complcated than you imagine, and it is a step by step process. That process can take decades.
1. Start with a noun - for example "glass".
2. Convert noun into an adjective.
3. Use the adjective as an adjective, for example "glass house".

Confucius said, "Man who lives in glass house ...."
We can now see the sequence of parts of speech:
noun, relative pronoun, verb, preposition, adjective, noun...

Language has step-by-step processes in it just like mathematics does.
People have laughed at me about this idea, and they claimed that language and mathematics didn't have anything to do with each other.

Actually, I say that if you have idea A and idea B, it is far better to just assume that A and B are connected to one another in SOME way until this is proven otherwise --
rather than rejecteding the notion of any connection out of hand.
You can learn a lot more but using the first method.
D.A.W. .

D. A. Wood August 10, 2012, 8:00pm

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D. A. Wood,

You're not being specific nor are you being germane. I feel that you just like to hear yourself ramble on and on and on and on until you've droned out anyone who thinks dissimilarly to you. When I had said nouns could be used as adjectives, I made no inclination that we should abandon adjectives for nouns.

I haven't responded on this page in awhile because I, to put it simply, was bored with your constant idiocy and contentious behavior but have kept tabs on this page, and honestly, you never stay cogent or germane to the subject. You avoid any direct references and answer where it suits you. And you are also using a form of the slippery slope fallacy with "lazy writers".

Jeremy Wheeler is right in that you go off spouting random facts that serves no other purpose than to pander and pamper your ego.

And thus is already an adverb so adding the "-ly" ending shows how stupid you really are.

Jasper August 10, 2012, 8:11pm

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There is a very simple solution foy you: if you don't want to learn anything new, then don't read it. Very simple - skip it and don't gripe about it. Analytical reasoning is beyong you.

I also proudly write American English, and "thusly" is quite a useful word here. If you don't like it, don't complain about it. Clearly, you are disinterested in learning anything about it.

If you are unwilling to learn anything about precise, step-by-step reasoning, then just skip over it and don't read about it.


D. A. Wood August 10, 2012, 8:35pm

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Correction: beyond

D. A. Wood August 10, 2012, 8:36pm

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@D.A.Wood - a few links about using nouns as adjectives for you, although I know you'll completely ignore them:

Warsaw Will August 11, 2012, 12:21am

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@D.A.W. 2. you haven't actually answered my question: the latest Star Trek movie or the newest Star Trek movie?

3. "As for those lazy dog writers who do this anyway, let's stamp them out like elephants." - sorry but I don't see how that means "Lazy writers will inevitably start writing ..."

4. I'm an English teacher, and most of the people who comment here have a pretty good understanding of language, so please spare us the patronising parts of speech lesson. We know what a noun is and we know what an adjective is (and what about 'select', by the way, you haven't answered that one either). And we also know what we mean when we say a noun is used, or functions as an adjective. I suggest you look at a grammar book (any one will do) before pontificating to us that it's more complicated than we believe.

You presumably deliberately chose a word - glass - that dictionaries list as both noun and adjective, and the same could be said for any materials. But what about Jeremy's list? - car door, clothes shop, race horse, accounts department, arms production, research centre, team coach, football team, dog food, coffee cup, cookie jar. - None of these classifying words are listed in dictionaries as adjectives, but they are all modifying the second noun and performing an adjectival role.

Warsaw Will August 11, 2012, 12:45am

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Wheeler, you have no idea what having a graduate degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology means, and another graduate dergree in mathematics from the University of Alabama at Huntsville means, and being a National Merit Finalist means, so I will not bother to explain.
I will say that being a Georgia Tech man means far more than being a supposed graduate of some little-known law school. We know how to get at problems at their roots, rather then merely expressing opinions about them.

Also, you never have asked me about my background.You just spout opinions.
At least one graduate of Georga Tech has been a pilot-astronaut on the Space Shuttle and then The Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
(The Administrator is the top-ranking person, there, with the most responsibilities.) That is the kind of graduates that Georgia Tech produces.

I do not exist in a vacuum. My father has a doctorate in education. My mother (rest her soul) had her master's degeee in education, in English & School Administration.. My sister is an M.D., a board-certified surgeon. My daughter has a bachelor's degree in chemistry & biology.

Don't make any wise-ass remarks about me.

D. A. Wood August 12, 2012, 7:56am

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If you don't like any of the pages that I submitted, such as this one and the one on Molotov Cocktails, there is a quite simple answer to that problem.
Do not read them! Do not write anything on them!

Best of all, do not complain about them! You remind me of the millions oif people in the U.S.A. who complain about TV programs. Sakes alive! It you do not like what is on the TV, just change channels.

On the Internet, there is something that is even better than that!
If you don't like what is on the line of thought, just create a different one of your own.
Just go for it.

D. A. Wood August 12, 2012, 8:16am

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My, DAW, you surely are from one of America's most gifted families - that, or you're full of bullshit: I suspect the latter.
You show your true level by starting your last post with "Wheeler": this is a forum about English usage - in all its variants, but you choose to open with rank rudeness.
You really are a pompous boor - do you know that?
Warsaw Will, Jasper, Jeremy Wheeler and I have got your measure - you're just a twat that we sometimes indulge. However, the novelty is wearing off now.
Sad that a grown man behaves the way you choose to.

Les R August 12, 2012, 8:22am

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You people of the British Isles forget so easily that if you hadn't had a HUGE (and I mean HUGE) amount of help from the Americans and the Canadians, you would still have jack-booted Nazis marching your streets every day and living in Buckingham Palace?
Then you want to make rude remarks about the so-called "boorish" Americans who saved your A$$es from Nazi domination?

That's a huge difference between the Canadians and the Europeans.
When we help the Canadians, the Canadians say "thank you" and then they do everything that they can to help us.This has happened countless times between Canadians and Americans, and we are genuine neighbors in North America.

On the other hand, most of the British and French looks for any opportunity to show us their butts and stick out their tongues at us.

D. A. Wood August 12, 2012, 10:04am

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"Ensure" is never used in American English.
It is considered to be one of those British peculiarities, just like the Brit. Eng. words "flat", "boot", "bonnet", "gearbox", and "Cheerio!"

D. A. Wood August 12, 2012, 10:14am

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How many hundreds of dictionaries have you read?

D. A. Wood August 12, 2012, 10:17am

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I use ensure and I'm an American. And I like the sound of fiat; however, I haven't had the pleasure of using it too much. Also, if you had looked at Warsaw Will's link and scroll down, you would have found that nouns act "pre-head modifiers". Although not an adjective, they fall in the category adjectives (and adverbs, amongst others) are in. May I ask what's the British peculiarity of "boot"?

Jasper August 12, 2012, 10:41am

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Oh dear, Jasper, what are we to do with DAW?
It's mildly amusing to see him get his knickers in a twist, but the worrying part - perhaps even for his family - is that he sincerely believes the ill-reasoned twaddle that he comes out with. Do you have any laws - stateside - like part of our Mental Health Act i.e. sectioning? This enables sane people to require those with suspect sanity to be looked after for their own good. Actually, thinking about it, DAW might possibly already be in some sort of institution, as he has an awful lot of spare time on his hands - he must be, else how would have the time to collate his unending ramblings about inconsequa (freshly coined by me), which bores us rigid.
Peculiar British boots? Haven't a clue, I'm afraid. Cheers, Les.

Les R August 12, 2012, 11:17am

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Oh dear DAW, do you have nothing better than to bring out that old chestnut again.
For clarification:
We never had Nazi jack-boots marching down our streets - we kept them out: yes, before your rather late intervention (as was the case in the 1914-18 conflict).
You never joined the fight against fascism and the Axis for any sort of altruistic reasons - purely for self advancement - when your own interests were threatened, and a desire to show that you were capable of taking on the Third Reich.
Europe paid handsomely for your help - just as we paid handsomely in terms of human flesh for the right to be free of Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito.
Oh, I see, Pearl Harbour had nothing to do with it, when your nose was put out of joint? My American friends would be ashamed of a character like you purporting to represent them.
Basically you're just a clown with an over-inflated idea of self-importance - which endears you to no one.
Very sad.

Les R August 12, 2012, 11:29am

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Typo - missed out the "enti" in inconsequentia.

Les R August 12, 2012, 11:30am

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There's an old story about the captains of a US Navy ship and a Royal Navy ship arguing. "If it wasn't for us," says the American captain, "you'd all be speaking German." Quite possibly," says the British captain, "but then, if it wasn't for us, you'd all be speaking Spanish."

I know that some Americans are a bit sensitive about being late for the two world wars: perhaps that's why they seem so determined to start the third...

Jeremy Wheeler August 12, 2012, 12:41pm

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DA Wood, you say:
"Wheeler, you have no idea what having a graduate degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology means, and another graduate dergree in mathematics from the University of Alabama at Huntsville means, and being a National Merit Finalist means, so I will not bother to explain."

Perhaps you could help me, then. I do know of a DA Wood who has degrees from Auburn, Georgia Tech, and the University of Alabama. He used to be with the Department of Technology at Northern Illinois University. He has published a number of papers on various subjects: Is that you?

Jeremy Wheeler August 12, 2012, 12:52pm

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@Les R
flat - apartment. Boot and bonnet are both to do with cars, boot - trunk, bonnet - hood.

But surprisingly he may have a point about 'ensure'. It's not a Briticism, but the insistence on differentiating between insure and ensure does seem to be British. MWDEU quotes Websters Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary - "Ensure, insure, assure are interchangeable in many contexts where they indicate the making certain or inevitable of an outcome ..."

Just thought I'd make a language point before this turns into the History Channel. A propos, ironically, I've just been listening to an episode of the BBC comedy series Steptoe and Son. On a visit to the the battlefields of Flanders, old man Steptoe meets an American who asks him if his medals are from the '17-'18 war, and later says 'We
saved you in the First World War and in the '42-'45 war.

The episode is on YouTube at and the section in question is at 20.00. The French get involved as well. All the stupid old prejudices come out, but in a rather funnier way than the conversation above.

Warsaw Will August 13, 2012, 6:38am

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Yes     No