Category Archives: Social Commentary


So I was looking at this map of how people pronounce things in the US, and I noticed that very few of them showed any distinct regional differences. The most striking of the few that do are what people call sweetened carbonated beverages, that thing you drink water from, and what you call Halloween eve. Bubbler people seem to reside mostly in Wisconsin, and Devil’s Night seems to be a mostly Wolverine thing. I also notice that while they ask what people call drive-through liquor stores, they don’t ask about liquor stores in general. An appellation that’s apparently unique to Michigan (I didn’t realize this until others pointed it out to me, having grown up with it) was “party store.”

Most of them just showed that the distribution of people who called them different things was pretty evenly distributed (that is if 80% called it one and 20% another, that would be as true in the deep south as in New England).

I wonder to what degree mass media and migration has been wiping out regional dialects? How different would these maps have looked a hundred years ago?


The new Battlestar Galactica (not the old one) has won a Peabody Award, a well-deserved first for the Sci Fi Channel.

I think this is a good sign of the mainstreaming of this important genre of literature, for too long ghettoized, when it’s becoming more and more relevant to the technological future rapidly closing in.

No Surprise To Me

Other studies (one in New Jersey, I believe) have shown this as well. HOV lanes increase traffic congestion. This carpool lane thing was always more about social engineering than it was about improving traffic flow.

This is also no shocker:

A report released last year also shows that the most common form of HOV lane, where general and restricted traffic is not separated by a physical barrier, causes a fifty percent increase in accidents.

Car pool lanes with no barriers are nuts, and single-lane carpool lanes are pointless, because one slowpoke can hold up everyone behind. Get rid of them all. Now.