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Semi-:

A semicircle is smaller than a circle (that is, than a circle that's otherwise similar, which is to say that has the same radius). But what semiX is larger than the X itself?

loki13 (mail):
A semicolon. ;)
1.11.2009 3:14pm
John T. (mail):
A semifinal has twice as many teams as a final, so it's larger in one sense.
1.11.2009 3:16pm
Triet (mail) (www):
A "semi" is usually larger than a truck.
1.11.2009 3:18pm
trad and anon (mail):
Drat, loki13 beat me to it.
1.11.2009 3:18pm
Eric Jablow (mail):
A 'nary'?
1.11.2009 3:21pm
Adam Mossoff (mail):
A truck.
1.11.2009 3:26pm
EricH (mail):
Hmm, a semiannual event is twice as large (often) as an annual event.

Yeah, I'm not even close, am I?

Semi-trailer.
1.11.2009 3:30pm
DNL (mail):
I was also going to say a "nary". Dern.

Semiconductor?
1.11.2009 3:32pm
jab:
A semiconductor is LESS conductive that a pure conductor.
1.11.2009 3:34pm
Just John:
How about a semidwarf plant, which is a smaller-than-usual plant but still larger than a dwarf plant?
1.11.2009 3:35pm
Ari (mail) (www):
Semi-automatic weapons are usually more legal than automatic ones...
1.11.2009 3:44pm
Bored 3L:
My favorite part of this post? Professor Volokh gave us the answer in the title. Semi-: Brilliant, or possibly unplanned.
1.11.2009 3:48pm
Observer:
The Seminole are a larger group of people than the Nole.
1.11.2009 3:49pm
Donald Clarke (www):
At least in terms of historical impact, maybe Semiramis is bigger than Ramis.
1.11.2009 3:50pm
BABH:
OTOH, if the semicircle is similar to the circle in the sense of having the same area, then its perimeter will be 1.0254 times the perimeter of the circle!

[(2+pi*sqr(2))/2pi]
1.11.2009 3:51pm
TNeloms:
Semimicro: of, relating to, or dealing with quantities intermediate between those treated as micro and macro
1.11.2009 4:05pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Bored 3L: Fantastic! I deeply, deeply regret to say that it was entirely unplanned, but I'm delighted to see the accidental connection even if it was just accidental.
1.11.2009 4:12pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
A semiquaver has one more flag than a quaver.
1.11.2009 4:12pm
Sasha Volokh (mail) (www):
I see Donald Clarke beat me to Semiramis/Ramis.
1.11.2009 4:16pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
The Semites have always been more important and numerous than their Tes ancestors.
1.11.2009 4:21pm
Hoosier:
For a Notre Dame alumnus, this one is easy. If you've ever seen the football team, you know that 'semi-literates' are _much_ larger than 'literates.'

Why has it taken over an hour for someone to get the correct answer?
1.11.2009 4:23pm
Jmaie (mail):
Semi-detached houses accommodate multiple households?
1.11.2009 4:26pm
LM (mail):

A semicolon.

In that case I'll be saying "no" to that semicolonoscopy.
1.11.2009 4:35pm
TRE:
seminar, semiX, etc.
1.11.2009 4:35pm
roy:
A Semite is larger than a mite.
1.11.2009 4:39pm
dpruett (mail):
Uh guys - a semicircle is not even a circle, it is half of a circle.
1.11.2009 5:15pm
PersonFromPorlock:
dpruett:

Uh guys - a semicircle is not even a circle, it is half of a circle.

It's a legal fiction. And the dog does have five legs.
1.11.2009 5:28pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
dpruett: Of course, but what makes you think we don't know that?
1.11.2009 5:34pm
John A (mail):
Semiotic[s], being the philosophy of sign[s/age], is larger than an individual sign.

OTOH, "otic" is "pertaining to the ear" so why is semiotic not half an ear - or at least loss of hearing? Any medical types out there?
1.11.2009 5:39pm
Gaius Obvious (mail):
It would have to be something where the final object is smaller than the starting point. How about a sculpture? A semi-sculpture (a partly finished sculpture) is larger than a sculpture (the finished product). Of course, that's stretching things, 'cause I've never heard anyone use "semi-sculpture" as a real word.
1.11.2009 6:14pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
BABH: A semicircle has a greater perimeter than a circle with the same area, but a smaller perimeter than a circle wth the same radius.
1.11.2009 6:17pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Roy:

A Semite is larger than a mite.


But here X is 'te'
1.11.2009 6:23pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
I agree with John A though. Semiotics is the best answer I have seen thus far. Otics might be the study of ears, but semiotics would be the study of signals and resulting communication.
1.11.2009 6:24pm
man from mars:
Brilliant post.
1.11.2009 6:45pm
Curt Fischer:
BABH: Are you sure?

For a semicircle with radius r (and area 0.5*pi*r^2) to have the same area as a circle with radius R (and area pi*R^2), then r = R * sqrt(2).

The perimeter of the semicircle is pi*r + 2*r, and the perimeter of the circle is 2*pi*R. Equating the two and substituting in the value for r from above, I get that the ratio of the perimeters is:

(pi + 2) / (sqrt(2)*pi)

which is equal to 1.15 when I try to calculate it.

Of course, the perimeter of anything that has the same area as a circle had better be bigger than that of the circle. The circle is the shape that minimizes perimeter given a fixed area. (And the sphere is the shape that minimizes surface area for a given volume, etc.)
1.11.2009 6:52pm
Plastic:

But what semiX is larger than the X itself?

That's a nice trick question, since all words starting with "semi" will be larger than the word with "semi" removed by exactly 4 letters.
1.11.2009 7:21pm
Fub:
Since "semicolon" is the adjudicated answer (and a clever riddle it was), I'll fight the hypothetical just because I've had too much coffee:
A semicircle is smaller than a circle (that is, than a circle that's otherwise similar, which is to say that has the same radius).
Nope. A semicircle is exactly 1/2 of a circle. Hence a semicircle is half a circle that's otherwise congruent to a full circle. All circles are similar, at least in Euclidean space. "Semi-" has nothing to do with "similar".

Obviously all congruent circles are also similar, but similarity is an overinclusive description of the relationship between a semicircle and a circle of the same radius.

There! I think I've metabolized some of that devil's brew now.
1.11.2009 7:22pm
David Tomlin (mail):
<i>All circles are similar, at least in Euclidean space.</i>

I think all circles are similar in any space that is uniformly curved.
1.11.2009 9:26pm
man from mars:
I really wish the idiot commenters here would not feel it necessary to clutter up the threads with their non-responsive and pointless answers or attempts at humor (e.g. semiotics, semiannual, semi-anything, etc.). It happens on virtually every thread but this is about the simplest example.

I have said for a long time this board should be restricted to lawyers - hopefully passing the bar suggest some indication of having the ability to read and enough respect for others' time as not to feel compelled to write down every harebrained thought that enters your mind.

So please, if you are unable to read or think logically, DO NOT POST ON THIS MESSAGE BOARD. Same for non-lawyers. There are 500,000 non-legal blogs in the world, go there please.

The volokh riddle was brilliant, don't vandalize it.
1.11.2009 9:35pm
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb:

I have said for a long time this board should be restricted to lawyers - hopefully passing the bar suggest some indication of having the ability to read and enough respect for others' time as not to feel compelled to write down every harebrained thought that enters your mind.

We must not be hanging out with the same lawyers.
1.11.2009 9:46pm
man from mars:
A semisubmersible is usually larger than a submersible.

Two that almost work: seminude would be large than a nude (because of the extra clothing) but I could only find the word as an adjective. If anyone can find a noun usage of the term, it would qualify.

And (not convincingly) we might say that the class of semigroups is larger than the class of groups, as the former strictly contains the latter; so one could almost say semigroups "are" larger than groups (similarly as to semirings).

The problem with semiquaver is that the dictionaries I checked said a semiquaver was the sixteenth note itself, not the printed representation of that note. So I don't think semiquaver works.
1.11.2009 9:57pm
man from mars:
Actually I did find many usages of the term "seminude" as a noun using Google booksearch (search on "seminudes").

Thus, "seminude" does qualify as an answer. I think this is the only really valid alternative answer. So there.

Here are some representative examples. There is also one from the federal reporter I believe.

A 1905 copy of The Westminster Review is titled "The Nude in Art and Semi-Nude in Society" (albeit with a hyphen).

A Master Guid for Glamour Photography, page 34, mentions "Lingerie, Seminudes, and Nudity" (use Google book search).

Bernhardt Lieberman, Human Sexual Behavior, p. 177: "Pictures of seminudes and nudes..."

Ellen Laing, Selling Happiness, "2004, p. 213: "Some seminudes are placed..."


Temple Fielding, Fielding's Travel Guide to Europe, p. 531: "It stuns the customers with its ensemble of at least 50 dancers, showgirls, seminudes."
1.11.2009 10:06pm
Curt Fischer:

I really wish the idiot commenters here would not feel it necessary to clutter up the threads


...me too. (?)
1.11.2009 10:35pm
Hoosier:
So please, if you are unable to read or think logically, DO NOT POST ON THIS MESSAGE BOARD.

May I mambo dogface to the banana patch?
1.11.2009 10:44pm
David Warner:
I can't figure out if the man from mars is lampooning the classic stuffed shirt post or if he's serious, in which case he's lampooning himself.

As for the question, a moon semi-obscured by the Earth (Half Moon) would be larger than a moon fully obscured (New Moon). I suspect we haven't yet guessed what EV had in mind, however.
1.11.2009 11:30pm
Jeff Hall (www):
A semitrailer.
1.11.2009 11:47pm
theobromophile (www):
I think that the circle/semicircle/perimeter thing could be better phrased as: a semi-circle has a higher aspect ratio than that of a circle.

Semesters (measured in weeks or months or gallons of tears cried) are certainly larger than esters, which are measured in angstroms. :) But I don't think that EV was getting at that.
1.11.2009 11:52pm
man from mars:
David Warner writes,

As for the question, a moon semi-obscured by the Earth (Half Moon) would be larger than a moon fully obscured (New Moon). I suspect we haven't yet guessed what EV had in mind, however.


Warner, your response has nothing to do with Volokh's question, in the first place, and in the second place the answer to Volokh's riddle was already posted in the very first comment. So why did you post it?

Your comment is precisely the kind of time-wasting blog comment that is so infuriating. As I said, there are literally hundreds of thousands of blogs on which you can post your inane comments. Out of all those hundreds of thousands, why are you vandalizing this one? What possesses you to comment on posts without reading or understanding them? I am honestly curious as to what is going through your mind. If you are not a good reader, that is fine, but why post in that case? Why not go to any of zillions of other blog where sloppy readers congregate, including youtube and any of the newspaper blogs?
1.11.2009 11:56pm
man from mars:
Jeff Hall writes,

semitrailer


Isn't a semitrailer just a kind of trailer, formed therefrom by removing the front wheels? (Disclaimer: I am not really an expert).

So it is not a "semiX larger than an X" as was the requirement.

Thus, I believe only semicolon and seminude so far satisfy the question.
1.12.2009 12:25am
Eugene Volokh (www):
Man from Mars: I'm glad you like the riddle, but can you please be nicer to your fellow commenters? That would be a good practice on any post, even if you think the comments aren't up to your standards. But beyond that, this post is after all not the most serious of posts, and it seems to me quite reasonable that commenters might throw in a bit of levity. Plus if you really get "infuriat[ed]" by such comments, I think your infuriation threshold is set a bit too low.
1.12.2009 12:42am
Fub:
Hoosier wrote at 1.11.2009 10:44pm:
May I mambo dogface to the banana patch?
First you'll need to steal some underpants so you'll be a seminude. After that, just break on the second semiquaver and keep the cowbell syncopated.
1.12.2009 12:48am
man from mars:
I will try to be nicer.

For the record, I really do think my answer was the best one, as good - better in some respects even - than the original.

That's because there's inherent in the "semi" in "seminude" and augmentation, an enlarging of "nude X" to a size greater than it would otherwise be; but a semicolon could logically be styled, within the constraints of a particular font, not to be larger then its lexically constituent and corresponding colon.

(This thread is going to get this blog some good google hits I bet).
1.12.2009 2:33am
fortyninerdweet (mail):
I hate to mention it because he's been so bitchy assertive, but man from mars is generally correct about the trailers v. semitrailers bit. However, many - but not all - semitrailers these day are far too long to legally be used on highways as flat pull trailers - so maybe just partial credit? Loved the post.
1.12.2009 3:12am
Antinome (mail):
A semiprivate room is larger than a private one.
1.12.2009 3:28am
man from mars:
Semibluff comes close.

A semibluff is like a bluff, in that the bidder expects to be behind the caller - but such that the bidder believes that, even if called, he has a reasonable chance of hitting cards that make his the best hand.

The canonical and most common example of a semibluff in Texas Hold'e'm arises after the flop, when two of the flop's three cards are of the same suit as each of the cards held by the bidder. If one of the following two cards to be dealt has that suit, the bidder makes his flush and wins. For example, suppose the bidder holds 6 and 7 of diamonds, and the board is Ace of diamonds, King of diamonds, 3 of clubs. Suppose the bidder checks, and then the other player makes a strong bet indicating he has a King or Ace, say $50. The bidder might semibluff here by raising all-in for $500. This is a bluff in that the current strength of the bidder's hand does not support the all-in, and the bidder hopes the hand is not called. But if he is called, he has a good chance to win against even a very strong hand, like AK of spades, since all he needs is one more diamond.

Now, a semibluff is larger than a bluff in these two ways.

First, at least in standard cash games, the cash amount be on the semibluff is larger than that of the standard bluff, particularly on the flop. The check-raise all-in, for example, is a common semi-bluff but unusual for a bluff on the flop. On the flop, the far more common play is what is called a "continuation bet", a relatively small bluff that is made purely as a bluff to try and win against players who also have nothing.

Second, the expected value of the semibluff is greater than that of a bluff: if a bluff is called, the bidder always loses; if a semibluff is called, the bidder sometimes wins. (If the bid is not called, the value is the same, that of the pot).

Thus, whether "large" refers to size or to value, it makes sense to say that a semibluff is larger than a bluff.
1.12.2009 4:23am
man from mars:
Nicholson Baker coined the term "semi-colash" to denote a semicolon followed by a dash, in his essay on the history of punctuation. Except for the hyphenation (and I don't even have a clear memory if he did hyphenate it but I think he did) that would work.

Anyway, in conclusion, here are the contenders I have submitted:

semicolon
seminude
semibluff (strained)
semi-colash (not quite there yet, unless or until the hyphen is dropped)
semisubmersible
1.12.2009 4:44am
man from mars:
Oops, of course I didn't submit semicolon - that was the intended answer.
1.12.2009 4:45am
man from mars:
Oh, and for those of you who haven't read the Baker essay, a "colash" is a colon followed by a dash, which is why a semicolash would be larger than a colash.
1.12.2009 4:53am
Bruce_M (mail):
I'm not convinced that a semicolon is larger than a colon. If we're going by amount of ink used to make each, it wholly depends upon handwriting or font.
1.12.2009 6:07am
Hoosier:
Why not go to any of zillions of other blog where sloppy readers congregate, including youtube and any of the newspaper blogs?

It is infuriating that so many people on this blog waste our time with fictitious numbers.
1.12.2009 6:50am
Hoosier:
Fub

I think we all need more cowbell.


Re: Semi-trailer--Not to be overly technical, but . . .

I'm not sure that one works. Doesn't the "semi-" apply to the articulation, and not to the trailer? "Semi" is a shortening of the phrase "semi-articulated trailer."

It is actually a trailer. Not half of a trailer. And I can't think of what half of an "articulated" would look like, it being an adjective an all.
1.12.2009 6:57am
David Warner:
"the answer to Volokh's riddle was already posted in the very first comment"

And you kept reading because? I'm still not entirely convinced that you're not some sort of strange agent provocateur...
1.12.2009 7:31am
David Warner:
theo,

"a semi-circle has a higher aspect ratio than that of a circle."

Well, everything does, depending on how one defines aspect ratio. At least greater than or equal to.
1.12.2009 7:34am
Snaphappy:
Semi-precious is a categorization of stones that are by definition more common than precious stones and this group is thus "bigger" than the group of prescious stones.
1.12.2009 7:57am
man from mars:

Semi-precious is a categorization of stones that are by definition more common than precious stones and this group is thus "bigger" than the group of prescious stones.


I think this is a good idea. I have some minor technical quibbles however that cause me to have reservations about whether it fully answers the call of the question however, which is to find a semiX larger than an X.

First, it seems to me the original riddle implicitly required that the "semiX" be one word, because semiX is. It is true that "semiprecious" is one word, perhaps with a hyphen, but your post actually seems to argue that "semiprecious stones" and not just "semiprecious" is the answer, which would be two words.

And if you allow two-word phrases like "semi-precious stones" then almost anything works.

For example, you could say that there are more "semicircular half-moons" than "circular half-moons." Or more semiotic professors than otic professors. And so on. Thus, I think the puzzle implicitly only allows one-word answers.

I also was not quite clear, not being an expert on precious stones, on the exact meaning of the words you used.

Semi-precious is an adjective, right? When you write "semi-precious is a categorization of stones" that makes it sound to me like semi-precious is a noun. If it were a noun, your argument would be more forceful, since it would not need the stones as a second word; but I have always understood it to be an adjective.

So, for these reasons, although I think it almost works, I had a few technical issues with whether it truly qualifies.
1.12.2009 8:40am
A.C.:
"Semi-precious stones" works at another level. Those of us who actually wear the things can afford much bigger rocks in this category. I can't possibly buy a ruby that's half an inch across, but a garnet -- no prob.
1.12.2009 9:03am
Tony Tutins (mail):
The semitrailer is so called because it does not completely trail the tow vehicle; instead roughly half the weight of the st is borne directly by the truck tractor's wheels through the "fifth wheel" connection. Further, there are plenty of true trailers with only one axle, so the "remove the front wheels" derivation makes no sense (else the trailer would become a skid).

For tandem or triple "trailer" rigs, the second and third semitrailers become true trailers by use of converter dollies (an assembly of one or two axles surmounted by a fifth wheel, pulled from one of the forward trailers).
1.12.2009 11:01am
BobDoyle (mail):
Yeah, I agree Hoosier!

For instance I remember hearing on the radio a couple weeks back that 7 BRAZILLION troops were killed in training exercises by Brazil's army recently.

I mean really, a Brazillion? Geesh!
1.12.2009 12:04pm
bornyesterday (mail) (www):
a 'semiamatuer' is a person who retains amateur status but receives funding from a sponsor and/or prize money. so they are performing at a higher level of competition than an amateur, and are therefore 'greater'
1.12.2009 12:05pm
Hoosier:
BobDoyle

No joke, this is true: A colleague who attended U of Toronto for Medieval Studies was confused about the Catholic college at U of T. She had been told that it was run by "Basilian priests." Which she took to mean that there were just HUGE numbers of ordained clergy teaching there.

She is the Medievalist, by the way, who usually used the adjective "Papalist" when refering to the Vatican. I'm not sure that even Cromwell ever came up with that one.
1.12.2009 1:23pm
Wells (mail):
I don't know how long a "nar" is, but I doubt that anything is larger (or at least longer) than a seminar.
1.12.2009 1:26pm
Semper Why (mail):
I would think that a semisolid of a given mass would be "larger" (having more volume) than a regular solid. The molecules would, in most cases, expand out from each other.

I think. I'm not much good at phyzzix. :(
1.12.2009 2:06pm
Mt Lassen (mail):
Ummm...I respectfully reject the premise that a semi-circle is smaller than a circle. Small/large refer to length and area, both of which are definitive geometric parameters.

The "semi" prefix when applied to "circle", refers to SHAPE, rather than size.

For example, a circle with a radius of x would have an area of Πx² and a semi-circle with a radius of y would have an area of ½(Πy²).

If the radius of a circle was 10cm (area = 20approx. 314cm²) and the radius of a semi-circle was 20cm (area = approx. 628cm²), the "size", or area of the semi-circle would be in fact larger than the "size of the circle....

The "size" delta premise, as presented, is only true if the radius of the semi-circular shape results in an area (size) that is less than the compared circular shape. This limit was not applied to the premise, so the premise is faulty. Not all semi-circles are smaller than all circles.

Before I was a lousy attorney, I was a lousy engineer...
1.12.2009 2:33pm
old maltese:
I hope that we're late enough in this colloquy that it's safe to mention that half moons and new moons are not created by the shadow of the Earth (an eclipse).

A half moon simply happens when the angle from the Sun to the Moon to the Earth is 90 degrees (i.e., the Sun is shining on the Moon exactly sideways).

For a new moon, the angle is closer to (but less than) 180 degrees, so a new moon always is seen just after sundown.

Back on topic, thanks to those who explained the derivation of 'semi-trailer' -- always wondered.
1.12.2009 2:54pm
Dan Schmutter:
I hate to be so far down the comment thread, but I believe I have the definitive answer:


The 1974 film "Tough" starring Dion Gossett and Christopher Townes, ran only 1 hour 27 minutes.

http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1809371498/info

However, 1977 the film "Semi-Tough", starring Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson, ran longer, at 1 hour 47 minutes.

http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1800115726/info

Dan Schmutter
1.12.2009 3:03pm
TCO:
semicolon is less of a break than an actual colon just as a semiconductor is less of a conductor than a conductor.
1.12.2009 3:41pm
Fub:
TCO wrote at 1.12.2009 3:41pm:
semicolon is less of a break than an actual colon just as a semiconductor is less of a conductor than a conductor.
I'm shocked, utterly shocked, that this thread would deteriorate into an attack upon the late Arthur Fiedler.
1.12.2009 5:08pm
LM (mail):
Fub,

Now you're getting into "pseudo," not "semi."
1.12.2009 8:02pm
Hoosier:
Tony Tutins

Your description of "semis" seems correct to me, and is what I was saying as well. So what is your take on the linguistic question? Mine is that this was a good answer to EV's question. But I will defer to you, who are wise in the ways of overland freight.
1.12.2009 8:13pm
Jmaie (mail):
"Semi" does not modify "articulated." A semi-trailer has no front wheels. The front wheels are supplied by the pulling tractor as Tony described above.

Tractors attach to trailers at a single pivot point which allows the tractor-trailer combination to "articulate" when cornering.

Sorry, I couldn't think of anything funny to add. Hopefully Man From Mars will not chastise me unduly.
1.12.2009 10:37pm
man from mars:
Mt Lassen:

Ummm...I respectfully reject the premise that a semi-circle is smaller than a circle....This limit was not applied to the premise, so the premise is faulty. Not all semi-circles are smaller than all circles.

I concur with your conclusion that not all semicircles are smaller than all circles. Moreover, your mathematical proof of this fact, in which you compared the formulae for the areas of circles and of semicircles, and then proved mathematically that some semicircles must have a smaller area (and thus be smaller) than some circles was irrefutable.

Nevertheless, even assuming that some semicircles are larger than some circles, it seems natural and reasonable to me to say that a semicircle is smaller than a circle, because it's still smaller than the corresponding circle:- than the circle from which it derives. Similarly, one reasonably says a semicolon is larger than a colon because the colon associated to a semicolon is one from the same font, which is smaller; and one reasonably says a seminude is larger than a nude because the associated nude lacks clothes - even though some colons are larger than some semicolons;-and some seminudes are smaller than some nudes. Similarly, it makes sense to say "adults are larger than children" because, within a natural and similarly chosen set of these, we expect the mean and median size of the former to be much greater than that of the latter, even though some adults are smaller than some children (this was my argument that a semibluff is larger than a bluff).

Dan Schmutter
Re Semi-Tough: Clever.

bornyesterday

a 'semiamatuer' is a person who retains amateur status but receives funding from a sponsor and/or prize money. so they are performing at a higher level of competition than an amateur, and are therefore 'greater'


He might be greater in the sense of more skillful, but why would he be larger which is what the question asked?
1.12.2009 10:58pm
man from mars:
The semicolash should be especially familiar to readers of this blog because it is used quintessentially and repeatedly in Article III, Section 2, of the Constitution, specifying the Federal Judicial Power:


The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law
and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;— to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;—to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;—to Controversies to which the United States will be a party;—to Controversies between two or more States;—between a State and Citizens of another State;—between Citizens of different States,—between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
1.12.2009 11:09pm

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Comment Policy: We reserve the right to edit or delete comments, and in extreme cases to ban commenters, at our discretion. Comments must be relevant and civil (and, especially, free of name-calling). We think of comment threads like dinner parties at our homes. If you make the party unpleasant for us or for others, we'd rather you went elsewhere. We're happy to see a wide range of viewpoints, but we want all of them to be expressed as politely as possible.

We realize that such a comment policy can never be evenly enforced, because we can't possibly monitor every comment equally well. Hundreds of comments are posted every day here, and we don't read them all. Those we read, we read with different degrees of attention, and in different moods. We try to be fair, but we make no promises.

And remember, it's a big Internet. If you think we were mistaken in removing your post (or, in extreme cases, in removing you) -- or if you prefer a more free-for-all approach -- there are surely plenty of ways you can still get your views out.