Dostoyevsky pessimality

Pareto optimality is the economic condition in which it is not possible to make anyone better off without making at least one person worse off. By the same token, I introduce the term "Dostoevsky pessimality" for the condition in which everyone is so badly off that it is not possible to make anyone worse off without making at least one person better off.

The English horn (cor anglais in French) is an alto oboe with two bends in the sound pipe (unlike the ordinary oboe, which is straight). It is supposed that its name was originally cor anglé, the bent horn, and was changed in French by folk etymology, which was then translated into English. There is no documentary proof of this, however. The name of the oboe is also interesting. It is Italian in origin, and came into English in the usual way, by copying the spelling and applying an English pronunciation /owbow/ to it; the French version was hautbois, which was at the time /o:bwe/, very like the Italian pron. (English took up "hautboy" for a while but eventually abandoned the word.)

When building a house, a single foundation is a Good Thing. The world is round, though, and the universe is a hypersurface whose circumference is everywhere and its center nowhere. If two walk together, and one should fall, the other may lift him up. Or consider Escher's "Drawing Hands". Or even more simply: ☯.

Two are one, life and death, lying Like lovers together in kemmer Like hands joined together the end and the Way. --Ursula K. Le Guin, "Tormer's Lay"

"I published a response arguing that Higginbotham was entirely wrong about the facts, and he replied indignantly ... that I was completely wrong about him being wrong, and naturally I believe that he is completely wrong about me being wrong about him being wrong. (These things tend to drag on; in future work, Higginbotham will argue that my eyes are too close together, and I will argue that, on the contrary, his head is too round.)" --Geoffrey Pullum (citations omitted)

Within the appropriate range of mechanical forces, steel is far more elastic than rubber. The difference between a finger-tight nut (on a bolt) and a wrench-tightened one is precisely the elastic takeup of the metal, which is why you never make a ceramic nut (e.g. on a toilet seat) more than finger-tight: it will crack instead of deforming elastically.

Hideous Headline: CLUB FIGHT BLOCKS RAIL RIVER TUBE PLAN. This unpacks to "A dispute in a (political) club is preventing a plan for building a railroad tunnel under the river from coming to fruition."

"It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds." --William Ellery Channing

If you have any European ancestors at all, you are descended from Charlemagne. He lived about 40 generations ago, and is known to have living descendants, so his line has not died out. A person with European ancestry has about 239 ~~ 1012 theoretical male ancestors from his time. However, the male European population was only about 15 million, so there is a great deal of convergence. So , the probability that any one of those 240 possible male ancestors is not Charlemagne is about 1 - 1/1.5E8, or .0.999999933. But the probability that all of them are not Charlemagne is vanishingly small: 0.999999933239, or about 1E-15000.

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