Quick. Read the sentence below.
“WITH GRATITUDE TO MY PARENTS, MOTHER TERESA AND THE POPE.”
Did you find anything wrong with the sentence construction? If you pressed N, you are a heretic killer, a serial-comma killer.
If you pressed Y, as William Strunk, E B White, and The Chicago Manual of Style suggest you do, welcome to the club of those who believe the sentence in its correct form should have read:
“WITH GRATITUDE TO MY PARENTS, MOTHER TERESA, AND THE POPE.”
That comma after Teresa is called the Oxford comma. For centuries, the English-speaking world has been split between the anally retentive who believe an extra comma should be inserted, and those who can’t spot the difference.
Read the exquisite post on The Laughorist: Let’s Stop Serial- Comma Killing Now
Scott Adams, the creator of the seriously smart Dilbert cartoon character and strip, has a fantastic blog, Dilbert.Blog. A couple of days ago, he answered dozens of questions from readers on cartooning and blogging.
Here are some of his illuminating responses on the latter.
Q. How do you decide about what you want to write in your blog every morning?
A. It’s whatever interests me that day. I have to be personally interested or it won’t come.
Q. Why do you do this blog day after day? Not that we don’t enjoy it, I just can’t see what you are getting out of it… day after day, smarmy retort after smarmy retort, the endless whining and moaning…etc. etc.
A. I enjoy it creatively. It’s nice to have no editor between me and you. And I’m not much affected by critics who are irrational or humorless.
Q. Why do you spend so much time on this blog? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy reading it, I just don’t see the value you derive from it compared to the time it takes.
A. It’s the best creative outlet I’ve ever had. It’s the first time I’ve ever written in my own unrestrained voice.
Q. How the hell do you come up with something interesting, witty, and funny to write about every single day? You’re like the bionic blogger! Seriously, do you have a backlog of posts, or do you actually write one a day?
A. I do one a day, usually. I just write what comes to mind.
Read the entire transcript: Answers to your questions
# Is 1782 to the power of 12 plus 1841 to the power of 12 equal to 1922 to the power of 12?
# What is the last digit when you calculate pi to 40,000 decimal places?
# What is so remarkable about the numbers, 3370318 and 2716057?
Seem like arcane questions. But, hang on, creators of the animated television serial The Simpsons are sneaking mathematical references like Fermat‘s theorem and the Bridges-of-Königsberg problem to “exaggerate both the mathematical illiteracy of the public and the nerdiness and self-aggrandizement of the mathematically gifted.”
Read the full story: Springfield Theory
Also visit: Math Trek, Simpsonmath