That's Some Catch, That Catch-22

‘Catch-22’: A Paradox Turns 50 And Still Rings True

There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. [Bomber pilot] Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. … Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

One of my favorites, even if I didn’t “get” some of it the first time I read it back when I was a teenager.


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Reminiscent of my navy days; when the enlisted students would walk around outdoors they had an uncanny knack of separating themselves into individuals or small groups, and you would have to return their salutes as you/they walked by. They only called me “Sir” though, not “My Lord”.

Because Graham is on Holiday and Chun Yao's Dead

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Despite the fact that this is satire and thus includes some level of exaggeration, it does do a rather nice job of highlighting some of the frustration of science outreach. Not everything can be condensed down into an information mcnugget or two, and there are subjects where you really need a decent background in physics to understand what’s going on, even at a superficial level. That frustration comes to a head when you meet someone who thinks that advanced science should be understandable to them even without any background schooling, and those same folks seem to be the ones who hold you at fault when they don’t understand. (They also seem to conclude that it’s wrong if it doesn’t make sense to them, but that’s another level of frustration)

h/t to Schrödinger’s hat

And the Winner is… The Turboencabulator

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Several years ago, Rockwell International decided to get into the heavy duty transmission business. We were getting ready to tape our first introduction video, as a warm up, the professional narrator began what has become a legend within the trucking industry. This man should have won an academy for his stellar performance. Now remember this is strictly off the cuff, nothing is written down, this became the biggest talk in the industry, vs our new product which we were introducing. I think you will enjoy this once in a lifetime performance from this gentleman.

That there’s some awesome word salad, with a creamy low-calorie cryptojargon sauce. The Wikipedia writeup has a reasonable approximation of the transcript.

Update: more fun at

Planting the Flag

Denial Depot’s Jaws: A movie review looks at the movie from a denialist perspective.

Matt Hooper from the “Oceanographic Institute” turns up. No-one seems to have called him, he just kind of appears. I’ve heard that scientists can actually smell sources of funding from up to 50 kilometers away. Hooper takes one look at the body and arrogantly proclaims:
“It wasn’t an ‘accident,’ it wasn’t a boat propeller, or a coral reef, or Jack the Ripper. It was a shark.”

What alarmist nonsense! He just blew through all those equally good explanations. And as the local pointed out “nobody’s seen a shark”. So it’s unscientific for Hooper to assert there definitely is a shark. He’s hiding the uncertainty and doubt. Of course if he admitted there wasn’t a shark all his funding would dry up…

I just want to point out that as far as Jaws being a movie about denialism, I got there first.