Science Is Funny

I am continuously amusing myself by taking serious scientific prose and reading it a whole new way.

“but the normal assumption does not hold for these data”

Lord, when does it ever?

Or the other day I was inspired to email someone I haven’t even met in person and ask how her “toroidal lipid ring” was. (Caveat: She is a regular on this blog, so it’s not like she’s a total stranger. I mean how many people can you ask about their toroidal lipid rings and have them find you funny rather than taking out a restraining order? You guys are a gift.)

Listen, you’re all tired about the silly ways I keep myself from going stir crazy in an Arctic January. So, the choice is yours. Ask me the grammar/copyediting/whatever questions that have been burning holes in your mind. Please. I’d like to think about something other than the windchill.

10 responses to “Science Is Funny

  1. Well, this is not a question and it is pretty dumb. May your frozen mind go…huh.

    The general consensus is that a toroidal lipid ring is related to one’s ‘arse’ and other body parts deemed unmentionable, but actually it has nothing to do with the body.
    Legend has it that I took a bath once; I’m a shower person, and the remnants which I left behind upon draining the tub were directly related to the term in use. Under normal circumstances it would have been a simple dirt and dead skin high water mark on the porcelain, but that day, the day the Tobleone’s factory exploded, the neighborhood kids all left toroidal lipid rings in there bathtubs.

  2. Okay, here’s a real, non-lipid-beringed question:

    Is there a standard dialogue bracket for text messages? Are there dialogue tag rules for this, yet?

    I’m writing a story in which two characters text each other constantly. So far, I’m using **Text of the text, LOL** and trying to make it clear who’s texting without using, “He said/texted/typed/etc.”

    But is there a standard way?

  3. I’m a pursed-lip stickler about many grammar rules, but I have to admit, the rules for semicolons, colons, and m-dashes are a mystery to me.

    What are your best explain-it-to-a-simpleton spiels?

  4. Anna, I know you think you were asking Indy, but I think you were asking me, so that I could give you the answers, and Indy could then lambast me with pleasure.

    With this in mind, I ‘ll answer your question about semicolons, rather brashly; let her lambast, berate and abuse me; then return the favour when finally, she tells you about colons and m-dashes.

    So, that was the first use of semi-colons: in a series which contains dependent clauses or other subordinate series making the simple comma too simple to flag the items in the primary series (did you see my colon? did you?).

    Another use of semi-colons (which I adore) is when you have two independent clauses (full sentences) which have a close relationship; you want to flag that relationship without using words.

    You see? The sky was blue; we could go on our picnic. Each one of those clauses could stand on their own, with a period after, but the semi-colon adds a certain je ne sais quoi and points out to the reader that there is a clear link between the two clauses.

    Semi-colons are easy to misuse; however, you can trust yourself to get it right. Did you see? did you see? I used one again! Mrs. Shields taught me that one in eighth grade, and I think of her every time I use a “however,” or a “therefore” (apparently, those are called conjunctive adverbs) to join to main clauses. You use a semi-colon before the conjunctive adverb, and a comma after.

    OK – go on Indy! Your turn. hit me! I’m ready.

    • Rosemary, the real answer to this is get the fuck off the Internet and write! But if you must know, I think the first comma is correctly placed, might I might put em dashes around “rather than write as you’d promised yourself.”

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