[Ads-l] ADS-L Digest - 24 Mar 2016 to 25 Mar 2016 (#2016-86)

Brian Hitchcock brianhi at SKECHERS.COM
Tue Mar 29 18:49:46 UTC 2016

All I meant is that an eighth of X is exactly X/8, that is, 0.125 * X.    Not just more-or-less X/8.
Yes, you might divide X unequally into eight parts, but they won't all be "an eighth" of X.  

In ordinary daily use (as in regard to, say, cutting a pie), the pieces are indeed considered eighths.   
But in a scientific context, when the very thing in question is exactly how many genes make up a "hypothetical minimal genome", precision matters.


As for "hopefully", I meant to commend the use of it as a direct adverb, referring to the subject of the sentence being hopeful (rather than to the speaker of the sentence being hopeful, as is apparently the more common usage these days).

    Hopefully: adv. 	1. In a hopeful manner
			2. Usage Problem It is to be hoped:   
			"Marriage is a coming together for better or worse, hopefully enduring" (William O. Douglas)
				- American Heritage Dictionary, fourth edition

This is the "usage problem" I was taught in high school. Apparently it is no longer a "problem", but simply common usage.
From: Wilson Gray [mailto:hwgray at gmail.com] 
Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 12:35 AM
To: Brian Hitchcock
Subject: Re: ADS-L Digest - 24 Mar 2016 to 25 Mar 2016 (#2016-86)

In my freshman year, 1955-55, I took Bio 1012 and College Math 101 at what was then termed a "junior college." I have no idea what you're talking about.

Further deponent sayeth not.
once-standard usage of "hopefully"

I had no idea that _hopefully_ had ever been accepted as "standard" by prescriptivists. I Personally use it because I want to, without noticing or caring whether others use it. I have perhaps a decade of life left and I just don't give a fuck about shit like that.  

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

On Mon, Mar 28, 2016 at 2:50 PM, Brian Hitchcock <brianhi at skechers.com> wrote:

"Based on a variety of data, including these knockouts, the group devised what they called, hopefully, a Hypothetical Minimum Genome (HMG) of 471 genes. It turned out to be no such thing. Dr Venter’s method of synthesising bacterial genomes divides them into eighths, each of which is constructed separately before they are all stitched together."

What I wonder is how many genes are in these "eighths" of 471 genes? By my calculation it's  58.875   —  which leads me to wonder whether  the "minimum number" might be a non-integer.  Now that would be news! Either that, or else one or more of the "eighths" were of a different size than the others (for example, seven with 59 genes and one with 58 genes would add up to 471.) Where I come from, that's not divided in eighths; it's divided approximately into eighths.

Maybe the synthesized genomes do not add up to 471 genes, but the article seems (to me) to imply that they do. If they contain  471 genes apiece, then when "stitched together" they would contain 3768 genes. In any case, I am inclined to describe each separate synthesised (sic) genome as a
"part" or a "segment".

(Note the now-rare but once-standard usage of "hopefully".)

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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