Cross-disciplinary  academic progress in vagueness has recently been augmented  with a paper from Prof. PhDr. Jarmila Tárnyiková CSc. at Palacký University, in Olomouc, Czech Republic.

The professor has authored one of the very few papers to examine and compare English and Czech Non-numerical Vague Quantifiers (also known as Vague Non-numerical Quantifiers – VnQs).
Some examples from the paper :

• Piles of
• Oodles of
• Mountains of
• A Smidgen of
• A Dash of
• A Pinch of

First off, an apology for my relatively long absence from Science 2.0. Life in academia is crazy. Do I need to say any more?

One of the things I've been doing lately is drawing political cartoons and comics to convey messages about science.

It got me thinking, how well do cartoons convey scientific messages? How do they compare in power and effectiveness to text?

For reference, here are several cartoon posts I've done on my blog and I included one at the top of this post on the future of the clinical stem cell field if it becomes too deregulated:

“…there is no authoritative definition of the sense of humor, and it is also not yet clear what ‘laughing at oneself’ is, or if it even actually occurs in people’s everyday behavior.”

Dr. Timothy Elbert Wise  is not only a joint-program leader of both the Popular Music and Recording and Popular Musicology degrees at the University of Salford, UK, but is also one of the world’s foremost authorities on the history and physiology of yodeling. 

He has published a number of scholarly papers on the subject, (full publications list here). Take for example Yodel Species: A Typology of Falsetto Effects in Popular Music Vocal Styles (published in the journal Radial Musicology, Volume 2, 2007)
Martin A. Schwartz is Professor of Microbiology and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia. The professor draws attention to the importance of stupidity in scientific research in his recent article for Seismological Research Letters – January/February 2011; v. 82; no. 1; p. 3-4. Entitled :
Professor Shigeru Watanabe, presently Project Leader for Keio University’s Centre for Advanced Research on Logic and Sensibility has extended the study of avian art appreciation with his participation in a project probing pictorial preferences of Padda oryzivora – a.k.a. the Java Sparrow.  The birds used in the study were all complete artistic novices – enabling the following question to be experimentally tested : Do Java sparrows naturally prefer Cubism, Impressionism or traditional Japanese-style artworks?
What are the functions of smiling, specifically, the functions of smiling in relation to laughter? Dr. Markku Haakana [pictured here, not smiling], from the Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies, at the University of Helsinki, Finland, explains:

“(i) Smiling can be used as a pre-laughing device: laughing together can be entered step-wise, and smiling is a common device for paving the way to the laughter. (ii) Smiling can be used as a response to laughter in the previous turn.”

It seems that the first US patent for an internal-combustion powered ‘Pogo’ stick was issued to inventor R.J. Mays back in 1950. The jumping machine was intended to run on gasoline, and, according its creator was “…highly efficient and amusing in operation.” It’s not altogether clear whether May’s power-stick ever went into production, but a similar(ish) device, which was granted a US patent ten years later, did. According its inventor Mr. G.
The Signal Analysis and Interpretation Laboratory (SAIL) has attempted construction of a ‘Synthetic Laughter Generator’ – which could be of use as a responder to their ‘Automatic Sarcasm Recognizer’ previously described.