by Andy Denzler (but does it float)
“UFOs used to move a lot faster. Martin S. Kottmeyer asks why.” (TPM: The Philosophers’ Magazine)
A Renaissance of Wonder: My online friend, journalist Steve Silberman, returns to weblogging. As he explains, he was one of the first, at hotwired.com. I have always appreciated his incisive articles, especially those on neuroscience, for Wired, although I first became familiar with his name as a luminary in the Deadhead world. Now, he introduces his new smart science blog for PLoS.
New study suggests: “The implications for our current understanding of science are profound. If the laws of physics turn out to be merely local by-laws, it might be that whilst our observable part of the universe favours the existence of life and human beings, other far more distant regions may exist where different laws preclude the formation of life, at least as we know it.” (Science Daily via abby).
‘Sugary, carbonated drinks
have been the subject of some controversy lately, but there’s one soft-drink
dispute that’s not new at all—what do you call them? Check out Generic Names for Soft Drinks
for an intricate map of America’s answers.Designed by Matthew Campbell, a cartography student at East Central University, and based on hundreds of thousands of responses collected at popvssoda.com
, the map is a testament to the Internet’s ability to easily gather data over wide areas. It’s amazing how much information is packed into this chart—it’s clickable, color-coded and divided into individual counties, providing a high-resolution picture of a strangely potent cultural indicator. Surprisingly, the results seem to follow rough political boundaries—residents of mostly coastal, liberal areas like New England
and California prefer “soda,” while the Deep South
likes “coke” and the Midwest chooses “pop.” ‘ (Very Short List)
I don’t find the trends surprising, but I am curious about the anomalies. For instance, what are the ‘other’ terms (green on the map) that predominate in some counties, e.g. in the Southwest? Any New Mexico readers care to weigh in?
- Illusion of Diversity Among Soft Drinks – And Galco’s Soda Pop Stop (cehwiedel.com)
- The Mereology of Cola (bogost.com)
Ian Bogost: “…[We] southerners [get] a little tease for the act of calling any soft drink a “Coke” …I have a few responses. For one, we don’t call them “Cokes,” we call them “cokes.” I’m sure you can see the difference.For another, we have a different, more definitive name for the famous brand of cola made by my hometown soft drink company; it’s called a “Co-cola” (an elision, compare it to “Missippi” for “Mississippi”). Doesn’t it just roll off the tongue on a hot, humid day?
And for yet another thing, there’s a lovely lesson in mereology and rhetoric in the southern use of “coke.” I’d argue that “coke” is a figure of speech called a “merism,” in which a single thing is described by a set of its most conspicuous parts. One common example of merism is in Genesis: “the heavens and the earth” is a merism for the entire universe. Another is “flesh and bone” for the body. Some might argue that the substition of “coke” for “soda” is really synecdoche, but I disagree, and here’s why: in the south, where Coca-Cola is king, one and only one item is conspicuous when it comes to carbonated soft drinks, and that’s Coke….”
- Drink Up! The Stories Behind 11 Regional Soft Drinks (mentalfloss.com)