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Profile: Brian Hitchcock
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User Name: Brian Hitchcock
Forum Rank: Newbie
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Joined: Monday, August 30, 2010
Last Visit: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 2:25:59 PM
Number of Posts: 18
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  Last 10 Posts
Topic: cornucopia
Posted: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 2:25:58 PM
A simpler definition would be "extreme abundance".

I like the closing phrase of the poster posted by reinsallas: "Without Cyclones or Buzzards". Actually, there were (and still are a few) California Condors in California, which, along with vultures, hawks and other raptors, could broadly be considered "buzzards" in the parlance of midwestern US farmers. But at least most of California does not experience "Blizzards"!

By the way, I highly recommend www.cornucopia.org as an information resource regarding what's happening to our "abundant" food supply these days.
Topic: wretch
Posted: Monday, January 13, 2014 3:54:28 PM
Did you mean "walked in the flames"?
Topic: extenuation
Posted: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 1:52:05 PM
Daemon wrote:
extenuation
(noun) To act in such a way as to cause an offense to seem less serious.


The definition given is for the verb 'extenuate', not for the noun 'extenuation'.
Topic: head-to-head
Posted: Friday, November 11, 2011 2:56:53 PM
I agree wholeheartedly with LeonAzul. In the intrapersonal context, the connotation is definitely one of confrontation; it evokes such images as two billy goats going at it "head-to-head"; i.e. ramming one another with their heads.

There is another meaning, in the argot of printers:
Pages that are printed "duplex" (i.e., printed on both sides) in portrait orientation (longest side vertical) can be printed one of two ways:
"HEAD-TO-HEAD" (backside is printed "right side up", and printout if bound is bound at the SIDE, so that you turn the pages about the vertical axis, as in a normal book), OR
"HEAD-TO-TOE" (backside is printed "upside down"; such printout is typically bound at the TOP so that you MUST turn the pages about the horizontal "top" axis, as in a steno pad or traditional insurance policies.)

So "head-to-head" is equivalent to "flip on long edge" and "head-to-toe" is equivalent to "flip on short edge".
Topic: doubts with plurals
Posted: Thursday, November 3, 2011 4:59:56 PM
kiki54 wrote:
Can someone explain me when can we use "persons" instead of "people" ?


It's not just that "people" is more general and "persons" more specific, although that is part of the distinction.

"Persons" is also more formal than "people". One place where "persons" is commonly used is in legal documents.

When referring to ethnicities, as another poster cited, one can speak of "a people" or "the peoples of Africa". In these usages, "people" is actually singular, and is used exactly as one would use "culture".

Also, if you are describing an incicent, and you are unsure whether a single person, or more, were involved: You would write, for instance, "the person or persons responsible"; you would never write "the person or people responsible". I'm not sure why; maybe it's just for parallelism / alliteration.
Topic: diskette
Posted: Thursday, November 3, 2011 4:39:50 PM
A floppy disk could, theoretically, be of any size. The term "diskette" refers to a relatively small disk (the diminutive "diskette", necessarily implies that LARGER floppy disks existed previously. Few people have seen larger ones, but I know that for some time, some DEC computers used floppy disks that were about 8" in diameter.)

The term "diskette" was first applied to the 5-1/4" size, wherein the disk was floppy, and the "jacket" was flexible. The smaller, 3-1/2" form factor (which I believe was first used by the Apple MAC, then, in a different read/write format, by the IBM PS/2 series computers, and subsequently adopted by all PC manufacturers) eventually supplanted the 5-1/4" size.) But the 3-1/2" size were not often called floppy disks, even though the disk itself was just as floppy as the earlier 5-1/4" ones, because the case was made of relatively rigid plastic, and included a this protective metal sleeve that hid the floppy disk when not in use. Thus the user could not see that the disk was floppy.

Anecdote: During the time when both the 5-1/4" and 3-1/2" types were in common use, many computers were equipped with a drive for each type, and I sometimes heard naive PC users mistakenly refer to these apparently rigid 3-1/2" diskettes as "hard" disks, and the 3-1/2" drive as a "hard drive", not realizing that their computer's actual hard drive (if it had one) was hidden inside the computer!

Successive generations of the read/write standards involved drives whose heads could read and write narrower, more closely spaced "tracks"; this repeatedly doubled the "density" of data on the disk, I remember disk capacity going from 360k, to 720k, then to 1.44MB, leading to such terms as "double density" and "quad density".

There were some attempts at smaller form factors (micro disks?), but these never caught on with the general public, as the 3-1/2" shirt-pocket-size turned out to be the most ergonomic.
Topic: adduce
Posted: Thursday, October 13, 2011 2:19:55 PM
The definition given is not correct, and is not consistent with the example. If ADDUCE meant to advance evidence FOR [a thesis/argument/conclusion], as the definition states, it would take as its object the ARGUMENT, and one would say "he adduced his argument [with xxxx]", the same as one would use, say, "supported". But this is not how "adduce" is used, even in the example. No, the word means "to bring forth AS evidence [for an argument]". The thing that is adduced is the FACT, not the CONCLUSION being supported.

Furthermore, the example given, "there is no evidence to adduce", is redundant pleonasm, akin to the abhorrent phrasing "obviates the need for". But clearly, the author of the quotation is prone to grandiloquence and pleonasm, as well as weak syntactic ties; in this citation alone, he says more than is necessary in two other places, and less than is necessary in another, to wit:
1. "whether or not" (rather than "whether"); 2. "the man himself" (rather than "the man", "he himself", or simply "he") 3. "none to say" (apparently meaning "no person", but having as a referent only "evidence"!)
to Better to say "there is nothing to adduce..."
Topic: Pass or overtake? When driving a car/bike/walking etc?
Posted: Monday, August 29, 2011 8:26:10 PM
Regarding 'in/on' and 'by' relative to 'car', 'bus', 'train', 'walk':

IN the car, OUT of the car: "I went for a ride IN my car." "Get IN the car." "Get OUT of my car!"

ON the bus, OFF the bus. "I got ON the bus" "I spent two hours ON the bus" "I got OFF the bus at Main Street"

ON the train, OFF the train." "I got ON the train at 7am" "I got OFF the train at the next station"

You can go [somewhere] BY car, BY train, BY tram, or you can get there BY walking. You could go ON a walk, or go FOR a walk. But you do not go somewhere "BY walk".

Topic: half-baked
Posted: Monday, August 29, 2011 4:47:56 PM
The definition completely misses the essence of the derivation: a half-baked idea or scheme MIGHT be crazy or foolish, but "half-baked" doesn't just mean foolish or crazy [or crackpot, or off-the-wall]; it refers specifically to an idea that is not fully or carefully thought out, as the Dustin Hoffman / Graduate quote deftly elucidates.

By way of contrast, a "half-assed" idea might be fully thought out and still be quite asinine.
Topic: divest
Posted: Monday, August 1, 2011 3:45:01 PM
"Divest" is often used in a financial sense, as the opposite of "invest". It was especially common in the days of the boycott of the apartheid regime in South Africa, when many companies and organizations were pressured to "divest" themselves of their South African investments.