Why We Must Check Our Sources: A Cautionary Tale

Ever since the fourth season of the television show Sherlock concluded, with no cliffhanger traditional of the program, but instead a far more chilling one: a heartwarming closing sequence which engendered the prospect of no further seasons — this author has waited for the announcement of a fifth season. When a trailer finally arrived, she watched it with great excitement.

She noticed, as you may have if you watched it, that the trailer contained scenes she had seen before. She did not realize, however, what this meant until later.

Later, she sought out the wonderful video again, with the intent of watching it for clues about the fifth season, and of racking her brains to find her mental file on Sebastian Moran, for the name sounded definitely familiar.

However, this time she realized that the video had been posted by a “Beautifullytragic6” — not the YouTube account of Sherlock itself or one of the BBC.

She looked further, into the description, and found the fatal word:


This is why we must check our sources.

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Can you miniaturize a constant?

In an episode of Doctor Who (“Let’s Kill Hitler”), there was this robo-person run by tiny people inside it. Two of the main characters were miniaturized and put inside. This led to an interesting discussion, which I approximately reproduce below.

Ravi mama: If there are that many people imprisoned, doesn’t that make the giant robot really massive?  I mean, I don’t think they have fewer atoms, right?  How could you do it with fewer atoms?
Me: The atoms are miniaturized.
R: Well, wouldn’t you run into Planck’s constant?
Me: Planck’s constant gets miniaturized.
R: Well, that’s not what “constant” means.

Me: But in the reference frame of the robot-person, Planck’s constant is the same as it is in the outside reference frame. So it’s constant.

If you think of any more arguments, I suggest you utilize the below “Leave a Reply” function.

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Squeeze an Orange or Squeeze the Earth? – Association for India’s Development

Put down your cup of store-bought “100% fresh” labeled orange juice and pay undivided attention! Do you know where your juice came from?

Gee, I dunno, you might say, didn’t some cheerful advertising person cut a home-grown orange in half and squeeze it lovingly into a glass jar?

Um, no. Sreshta Appalabattula has the real story. Over to you, Sreshta.

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Sherlock 007 Clue

Lots of reviews are comparing the latest episode of Sherlock (The Six Thatchers) to James Bond films. Was this premeditated? There is a clue in the episode that suggests so. No one else seems to have found it yet. Here it is.




Right before the swimming pool fight scene, when Sherlock appears behind the glass door, four numbers (and a colon) appear on screen.

19:00. This is a time — 7 PM.

Now, the digits appeared on the screen from right to left. What is 7:00 from right to left?

Or look at it another way. The digits appeared in the order “00”  and the time came next: 7 P.M.

Either way: 007!

James Bond!

Now there are two possibilities here. Either a) the makers of Sherlock slipped this in as a reference to the James Bond-iness of The Six Thatchers, or b) this is a coincidence.

But, according to Sherlock Holmes, there is no such thing as coincidence.

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Never even dogcatcher

President-elect! ‘Twill be

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Double ballots at Homestead-Wakefield! No!


Author with pantsuit.

Today on the corner outside the polling place we held a rally for Hillary Clinton.  Sera Matteo-Boring came to the rally and told us the following:

She’d gone to cast her vote around 7:20 AM at Homestead-Wakefield Elementary School.  She filled out the front side of her ballot and flipped it over.

The back side was already filled.

She went to ask for a new ballot.  While she was getting her new ballot, she heard someone else saying that they had been given two ballots, and that they were being honest and giving back the second one.

That’s two voting irregularities at one polling place, in just the small amount of time during which one voter was there.

Election officials — please make sure to give the voters ONE BALLOT ONLY!  And let them fill it out THEMSELVES!  What is the point of tampering with the ballots?

Voters — Make sure you fill out your ballot, not someone else!  And if the election officials give you more than one ballot, loudly give it back like the person in Homestead-Wakefield did, and report the problem.  The Maryland Democratic Party has a Voter Empowerment Hotline for reporting voting issues at 1-888-678-VOTE (8683).

Disability Rights Maryland has its own hotlines for disability-related voting issues at:
800-233-7201 ext: 2492
TTY: 410-235-5387
Email: voting@disabilityrightsmd.org

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland also has a voting issues hotline at 410-889-8555.

Remember, if you are a Maryland voter, you have the right:

  • to vote by provisional ballot if for any reason you are not able to vote on the regular voting machines.
  • to vote without showing identification unless you are a first-time voter who did not show ID when you registered.
  • to assistance at the polls if you have a physical disability or an inability to read the English language.
  • to Vote-By-Mail for any reason.
  • to take time off from work to vote.
  • to vote on the regular voting machines if you are in line at your polling place by 8:00 p.m.
  • to have your polling place open promptly at 7:00 a.m.
  • to vote without being approached or solicited within 100 feet of your polling place.

(Source for voters’ Bill of Rights: http://www.washingtoncountymddems.org/bill_of_rights.php)

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Does it involve getting up?

“Does it involve getting up?”

This is one of our many Family Jokes.

“I guess I should do X….”
“Then do it.”
“But it involves getting up!”

But it’s not just a joke.  A lot of times, X gets delayed — just because it involves getting up.

It’s like static and kinetic friction in physics.  It’s usually harder to overcome static friction and get an object to start moving than it is to overcome kinetic friction and keep the object moving at a constant velocity.  It’s easy enough to take a bath, but it’s hard to stop what you’re doing, get up, find a towel, and start taking a bath.

But there’s one X that can’t be delayed — voting.  If you delay voting long enough, boom.  November eighth is over, and you haven’t cast your vote.

I mean, come on!  If you have a vote, use it!  It’s important!  And you even get to fill in little ovals on a ballot!

If you can’t get to the polls, you might be able to get a ride.

If you haven’t made up your mind about whom to vote for/against, keep thinking.  And think about the local races too, not just the presidential contest.

Finally, a soliloquy:

To vote or not to vote
That is the question
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to ignore
The jeers and scandals of outrageous Donald
Or to use sense against a sea of untruths,
And by opposing end them? To stay home: to opt out;
Or to vote Green! … and hope to end
Our consciousness of the thousand crazy shocks
That politics generates, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To boycott, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that oblivion what nightmares may come
The morning after Inauguration Day
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes us vote for the lesser calamity
For who would bear the ties to
Big Oil, Big Ag, Big Banks
The threat of despised war, the law’s delay,
The insolence of Wall Street and the spurns
That progressives of the neoliberals take,
When they themselves might their quietus make
With a write-in? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after Election Day,
The undiscover’d apocalypse from whose grip
No democracy returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make pragmatists of us all;
And thus the native hue of idealism
Is channeled o’er by cold clear thought
And enterprises of great pith and moment
In small steps achieve the name of action.

Affordable Health!  Tuition-free College!
Living Wages, Growing Jobs, Cleaner Energy!
Family Leave, Infrastructure, Immigration
Gun Control, Reproductive Rights,
Supreme Court Justice!
Reversal of Citizens United!

To vote or not to vote
There is no question.

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Blood of Olympus quote

I made yet another picture-quote!  This is fun!  Maybe I’ll make some more!

From The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

Quoted from The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan.


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Salt to the Sea quote II


– Florian Beck, Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys.  Photo from http://www.renegadetribune.com/between-fire-and-ice-the-story-of-the-wilhelm-gustloff/.

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