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Subject: Why is April 20 different from other nights?
jastayme3    3/17/2008 12:52:59 AM
Well we all know that, but I almost goofed on it because of a calender quirk and thought it was next Saturday. Be that as it may, I wish Ezekiel, and Shirrush, and Battar, and all my friends and all my worthy rivals and all who are each by turns a happy Passover next month.
 
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battar    20-4-2007   3/17/2008 4:42:43 PM
Thanks, Jastayme.
Why is 20 april 2008 different than 20-april-2007?
I know the answer, but it is worth thinking about more closely.
For a more detailed answer, I recommend Stephen J Goulds' book "Questioning the millenium", which explains how we count the years and why we get it wrong.
 
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Nichevo       4/13/2008 10:58:58 PM
Hitler's birthday, y'know.  Ugh.  But OTOH he is ashes and wormfood and we are still having Seders.  So, HAAA-haa!

Well we all know that, but I almost goofed on it because of a calender quirk and thought it was next Saturday.
Be that as it may, I wish Ezekiel, and Shirrush, and Battar, and all my friends and all my worthy rivals and all who are each by turns a happy Passover next month.


 
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battar    The talking calender   4/14/2008 2:28:58 PM
Nichevo,
               I have shelves full of books on modern history, I have read about the hobbies and families of various world leaders but I do NOT memorize their birthdays. So how is it that you know who was born when? Do you have a calender in the bathroom marked with the birthdays of important (or influential) people? Or do you just have crossed wiring harnesses in the brain?
Do you remember your mother-in-laws' birthday as well?
 
Heres a short one off topic - what is the best way to remember your wifes' birthday?
Forget it - once.
 
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jastayme3       5/3/2008 1:04:07 PM

You know, that sounds like the sort of question that would be raised by a bright, budding intellectual kid who doesn't "get" tradition. I wonder if the Four Questions were originally invented by a father who had a younger son like that.

 
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battar    The engineer   5/4/2008 2:39:09 PM
Jastayme,
                    Read a few books on engineering and statistics and you will start thinking like an engineer about all the ordinary things in life. Most people see a packet of Diet Goo in the supermarket and think "ah, so it doesn't have sugar in it", an engineer thinks "so what did they put in it instead of sugar?".  Most people are impressed by a claim of 85% success, an engineer asks "what made the other 15% fail"?.  You see people posting opinions on forums, you ask what leads them to think this way?
 
An optimist says the glass is half full. A pessimist says the glass is half empty. An engineer says the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
 
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jastayme3       5/6/2008 2:58:13 AM

Jastayme,

                    Read a few books on engineering and statistics and you will start thinking like an engineer about all the ordinary things in life. Most people see a packet of Diet Goo in the supermarket and think "ah, so it doesn't have sugar in it", an engineer thinks "so what did they put in it instead of sugar?".  Most people are impressed by a claim of 85% success, an engineer asks "what made the other 15% fail"?.  You see people posting opinions on forums, you ask what leads them to think this way?

 

An optimist says the glass is half full. A pessimist says the glass is half empty. An engineer says the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

I used to sometimes think like an engineer about everything in life. Until I went on the web, found other people like that and
realized how obnoxious it sounded. There are more things in Heaven and Earth then are dreamt of in your enginnering.
And more ways to look at life then the analytical method.

What is different about these two phrases:

"Tis cold and tis windy at the harbor today"
and
"there is a temperature of 10 degrees fahrenheit combined with 20 degree wind chill at the maritime commercial facility today"

Which means of phrasing tells you more? That depends on what you are looking for. If you wish to make a weather report, the second would do. But if you wish to know what the experience is(and all things perceived are someone's experience) the first works better. Putting aside argument about religion(before we step into it), talent at the analytic method is not the whole of intelligence. Nor is intelligence the whole of self-worth. I have noticed to many people disdaining what is "non-engineer" to be amused by displays of such. Now I equally know from personal experience that it is easy to say the wrong thing accidently. But honestly, you sound like a frightful snob sometimes. And yes I know about the pot and the kettle so I will say that I can be snobby too. But in any case remember there are people in other fields as smart as you. "Read a few books on engineering and statistics", indeed!

But if you must know, I did not say that a kid with an "engineer's mind" was wrong to be like that. I was implying that he needs to be raised in the way suited for him and it sounds like the father who invented the Four  Questions had that in mind.

 
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Shirrush       5/6/2008 3:57:31 AM

I used to sometimes think like an engineer about everything in life. Until I went on the web, found other people like that and
realized how obnoxious it sounded. There are more things in Heaven and Earth then are dreamt of in your enginnering.
And more ways to look at life then the analytical method.

What is different about these two phrases:

"Tis cold and tis windy at the harbor today"
and
"there is a temperature of 10 degrees fahrenheit combined with 20 degree wind chill at the maritime commercial facility today"

Which means of phrasing tells you more? That depends on what you are looking for. If you wish to make a weather report, the second would do. But if you wish to know what the experience is(and all things perceived are someone's experience) the first works better. Putting aside argument about religion(before we step into it), talent at the analytic method is not the whole of intelligence. Nor is intelligence the whole of self-worth. I have noticed to many people disdaining what is "non-engineer" to be amused by displays of such. Now I equally know from personal experience that it is easy to say the wrong thing accidently. But honestly, you sound like a frightful snob sometimes. And yes I know about the pot and the kettle so I will say that I can be snobby too. But in any case remember there are people in other fields as smart as you. "Read a few books on engineering and statistics", indeed!

But if you must know, I did not say that a kid with an "engineer's mind" was wrong to be like that. I was implying that he needs to be raised in the way suited for him and it sounds like the father who invented the Four  Questions had that in mind.

Well put Jastayme! You're a scholar and a gentleman!
 
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jastayme3       5/6/2008 4:48:04 AM

Thank you

 
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jastayme3       5/6/2008 7:13:45 PM

 On the other hand, now that I think of it I can sort of see Battar's point of view. Presumably he took an obviously rhetorical
question, from an old ritual and decided to analyse it from a literal angle for the fun of it. I could imagine doing that myself.


 
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battar    Tis cold and windy   5/10/2008 4:01:15 PM
Jas,
        I could just as well say "It's B*&^%y freezing out there!"
There is often a definite advantage in providing accurate information, and if you don't people like me wonder what you are hiding and why. I take pleasure in looking for the angle that is not obvious, that other people don't see - ususally because they can't be bothered to look beyond the information that they need or is relevant. It's just a little mental exercise, like crossword puzzles. You can have great fun looking at adverts and finding the angle they don't want you to see. How many times have you seen a TV commercial that obviously cost 100 grand to produce but provides no information about the product/service? There is a reason for that, you know. Recently a major international company started an ad campaign promoting it's soft drink product with the claim that it doesn't contain preservatives. So of course I checked all the soft drinks on the supermaket shelves to see which ones did have preservatives. Guess what I found? Yes, I know thats called being cynical, I often stand accused of that crime. And yes, I get cynical about things which other people care about, like religion, but that is what satire is built on.
Of course the analytical method is not the only one, thats why the bookshops are filled with fiction and novels (I don't read them, the wife does), but one way of thinking comes more naturaly to me than the other, and it's often good for a laugh. I would never say "tis cold and windy at the harbour". You can if you like.  
 
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