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Posted: 19 February 2014 05:42 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I remember an old joke about a drowning hippie shouting “Like help!” which is about as far from a simile as you can get. I think it was also in the 1960s’ Scooby Doo cartoons a lot uttered by the doper with permanent munchies - “Like wow, Scoob!”
Nowadays we hear “So he’s like, Dude! and I’m like, Whatever and he’s like, Chillax and I’m like, Deal with it”.
Would you say it started with people struggling to find a word (It’s like, y’know, sort of surreal) and then became a redundancy as in the hippie joke? When did the latter sense emerge? Hippies, beatniks, earlier?

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Posted: 19 February 2014 06:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Oxford English Dictionary says:

The form in “So he’s like, Dude” dates at least from 1982. Frank Zappa lyrics, “ She’s like Oh my God.”

The other form, in “Like wow, Scoob” dates at least from 1778

7. dial. and vulgar. Used parenthetically to qualify a preceding statement: = ‘as it were’, ‘so to speak’. Also, colloq. (orig. U.S.), as a meaningless interjection or expletive.

1778 F. Burney Evelina II. xxiii. 222 Father grew quite uneasy, like, for fear of his Lordship’s taking offence.

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Posted: 19 February 2014 07:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Shaggy was inspired by Maynard, the beatnik, on the Dobie Gillis show, so his use of “like” is already a throwback to the 50’s in the Scooby Doo 70’s. I haven’t heard anyone use like in the way you describe for years. It was replaced by “all.” She was all “whatever” and I was all “exactly.” I haven’t really listened for whatever is current.

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Posted: 19 February 2014 11:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Apropos:

http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2010/01/hitchens-like-201001

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Posted: 18 April 2014 11:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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The kid who pissed in that reservoir is like all over the old teen vernacular which sounds a bit dated even to me but clearly can’t be unless Portland is some kind of teen-slang backwater which is impossible now with the internet (but who cares?):

“I was like, ‘Dudes I have to p*** so bad,’” Swonger said. “So I just went over to the wall [of the reservoir]. I leaned up against the wall and p***** on it. Right there on the wall, dude. I don’t know else how to describe it.”

The teenager dismissed officials decision to discard the water as “f****** retard” and asked “like, how can they do that?”

“How can they be like, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna flush all that water,’” he added. “Dude, I’ve seen dead birds in there. During the summer time I’ve see hella dead animals in there. Like dead squirrels and shit. I mean, really, dude?

Literally “dead squirrels and shit”?

Sweet use of retard I hadn’t heard before. Mate, where did I leave my automobile?

Not from the Guardian.

[ Edited: 18 April 2014 11:30 AM by venomousbede ]
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Posted: 19 April 2014 07:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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When did The Independent start censoring such words with asterisks? I am as aghast as I am disappointed. It never used to do this.

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Posted: 19 April 2014 08:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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It’s possible that the asterisks were present in the press release or wherever else the Indy got the story from. I assume it wouldn’t be proper for them to make assumptions about what words the asterisks represented and replace them.

BTW, I showed this story to my father, a retired water treatment engineer of some eminence. His reaction was to suspect that the Portland authorities needed to empty the reservoir anyway for some reason that they didn’t necessarily want to admit to, and this gave them an excuse, with a useful bit of “don’t mess with your public water supply” publicity as a bonus. He confirmed that as urine is sterile and contains no significant concentrations of toxins it’s quite safe to drink in immensely greater concentrations than this kid’s caper would have created, and there no imaginable health hazard could have been caused thereby

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Posted: 19 April 2014 10:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Yeah, not only is urine safe to drink, but even pouring that amount of highly toxic material into that large a reservoir would pose no risk. It would be diluted to homeopathic levels (i.e., any given glass of water would not likely contain a single molecule of the toxic substance). The city officials are either guilty of gross malfeasance in handling city funds, or they’ve got some other reason for draining the reservoir and this just provides an excuse.

(All the bio-warfare scenarios where someone poisons a city water supply are just ludicrous. A single building, yes. A city, no.)

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Posted: 19 April 2014 12:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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He confirmed that as urine is sterile and contains no significant concentrations of toxins it’s quite safe to drink in immensely greater concentrations than this kid’s caper would have created, and there no imaginable health hazard could have been caused thereby

Witness millions of swimming pools the world over, from time immemorial.  But that’s not the point, is it. Nobody does it in plain sight, from the edge of the pool. You let one disgusting little creep get away with pissing in your reservoir, and thousands of them’ll be doing it for a lark, in no time.  I think the city fathers were dead right --- except they should have charged the kid (and his parents) for the lost water.

(Edit) BTW: call me stodgy old curmudgeon if you like, but I’m afraid I find a serious discussion of “like” only marginally more entrancing than a serious discussion of “er”.

(does creditable imitation of a savage snort)

[ Edited: 19 April 2014 12:56 PM by lionello ]
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Posted: 19 April 2014 12:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Syntinen Laulu - 19 April 2014 08:48 AM

It’s possible that the asterisks were present in the press release or wherever else the Indy got the story from. I assume it wouldn’t be proper for them to make assumptions about what words the asterisks represented and replace them.

By George, I think you’ve got it. That makes a lot more sense than The Independent suddenly beginning to censor such mild words (or any words at all). The newspaper is restored to my good graces. (Although I still prefer The Guardian).

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Posted: 19 April 2014 04:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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It would be diluted to homeopathic levels (i.e., any given glass of water would not likely contain a single molecule of the toxic substance).

While I agree with you about the pointlessness of discarding the water, this is not even remotely correct.  If we assume just one gram of say, hydrogen cyanide, were mixed uniformly into 38 million gallons of water, an 8 ounce glass of the resulting mixture would contain about 37 trillion HCN molecules.  Yes, far less than a harmful dose, but vastly more than a single molecule.

BTW, 10 grams of polonium-210 into such a reservoir would result in drinking water that would give you an LD50 in 3 glassfuls.

[ Edited: 19 April 2014 05:03 PM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 19 April 2014 08:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Syntinen Laulu - 19 April 2014 08:48 AM

It’s possible that the asterisks were present in the press release or wherever else the Indy got the story from. I assume it wouldn’t be proper for them to make assumptions about what words the asterisks represented and replace them.

Whoever did it, it’s weird that they let “shit” and “retard” get by but not “piss”.

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Posted: 19 April 2014 10:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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While I agree with you about the pointlessness of discarding the water, this is not even remotely correct.  If we assume just one gram of say, hydrogen cyanide, were mixed uniformly into 38 million gallons of water, an 8 ounce glass of the resulting mixture would contain about 37 trillion HCN molecules.  Yes, far less than a harmful dose, but vastly more than a single molecule.

BTW, 10 grams of polonium-210 into such a reservoir would result in drinking water that would give you an LD50 in 3 glassfuls.

Stands up and doffs virtual hat to Dr. T, a scientist’s scientist who is always there to reminds us what’s what

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Posted: 20 April 2014 03:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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If we assume just one gram of say, hydrogen cyanide, were mixed uniformly into 38 million gallons of water, an 8 ounce glass of the resulting mixture would contain about 37 trillion HCN molecules.  Yes, far less than a harmful dose, but vastly more than a single molecule.

My calculations yield just shy of six trillion HCN molecules per liter. But your point is made. I’d forgotten how big Avogadro’s number really is.

BTW, 10 grams of polonium-210 into such a reservoir would result in drinking water that would give you an LD50 in 3 glassfuls.

Polonium-210 has an LD50 of 1 microgram. Mixing 10,000,000 micrograms into 143,846,000 liters (38 million gallons) yields 1 microgram per 14.3 liters. That’s a lot more than three glasses. But it’s true that it would be a major health concern, resulting in a large number of deaths. I was thinking of biological warfare scenarios, where the pathogens are a lot larger and fewer in number (compared to atoms).

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Posted: 20 April 2014 11:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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My calculations yield just shy of six trillion HCN molecules per liter.

Hmm.  38 million gallons = 144 million liters
Molecular weight of HCN = 27, so 1 gram = 1/27 of a mole = 6.02e23 ÷ 27 = 2.23e22 molecules of HCN.
2.23e22 molecules ÷ 1.44e8 L = 1.55e14 or 155 trillion molecules per liter, which is pretty consistent with my 37 trillion per glassful. I think you mangled a conversion somewhere.

Polonium-210 has an LD50 of 1 microgram.

I found a range of values online, but many sources gave 50 ng, which is what I based my calculation on.

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Posted: 21 April 2014 01:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Re Po 210: Both right in different ways regarding toxicity.  LD50 is usually quoted as the radiation dose (4.5Sv).  Not easy to calculate the actual exposure, even if ingested as it’s not certain how concentrated the levels may be in certain organs over time, so the “committed effective dose equivalent” is used. In simple terms i.e. one I can understand, this is the probable dose level to get a particular effect.  So for Po a straight calculated fatal dose (LD50 in radiation terms) is about 50ng, with an LD50 usually being approximated at < 1µg.

So for 70ng per litre, Dr. T is correct. But for LD50, Dave is correct.

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