an exercise in miscellany

Archive for August, 2013|Monthly archive page


In science & nature, words & phrases on August 17, 2013 at 2:22 pm

perihelionAll planets, comets and asteroids in our solar system have approximately elliptical (a kind of non-circular) orbits (any single revolution of a body around the sun is only approximately elliptical, because the phenomenon known as precession of the perihelion prevents the orbit from being a simple closed curve such as an ellipse). Thus, they all have a closest and a farthest point from the sun: a perihelion and an aphelion.

via Perihelion

Value of Life

In wild card, words & phrases on August 17, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Cost_Value_MatrixIn industrial nations, the justice system considers a human life “priceless”, thus making illegal any form of slavery; i.e., humans cannot be bought for any price. However, with a limited supply of resources or infrastructural capital (e.g. ambulances), or skill at hand, it is impossible to save every life, so some trade-off must be made. Also, this argumentation neglects the statistical context of the term. It is not commonly attached to lives of individuals or used to compare the value of one person’s life relative to another person’s. It is mainly used in circumstances of saving lives as opposed to taking lives or “producing” lives.

via Value of life 


In science & nature, wild card, words & phrases on August 17, 2013 at 2:08 pm

ZOTzot v.

1.  to strike or destroy, especially with lightning or other beam or jolt of energy.

2.  slang usage on the Internet, to remove, censor, or ban material or participants.

3.  the cartoon strip “B.C.” has used “zot” for years as the noise the aardvark makes when “zotting” an insect or similar critter.

via zot definition