I seem to hear things like this a lot. Someone might say, “I was going to the ATM machine but I forgot my PIN number.

As common as this is it doesn’t make sense. When we use letters to represent words in an acronym such as ATM we really are using a shorthand method of saying “Automatic Teller Machine”. Also the acronym PIN means “Personal Identification Number”.

That means a person who said, “I’m going to the ATM machine but I forgot my PIN number.” really is saying “I’m going to the automatic teller machine machine but I forgot my personal identification number number.”

Why would a person want to say “machine machine” or “number number”? It's another one of life’s mysteries I probably won’t live long enough to figure out. Oh well, I really don’t care care. It doesn’t make any difference to me me.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
February 22, 2007



It’s almost impossible to pick up a newspaper without reading that scientists have agreed on something. Sometimes it’s, “Most scientist agree” or even “More than 90% of the scientists agree” about whatever it is the writer want you to agree with.

It happened again this morning when our morning paper proclaimed, “Scientists generally agree that no research has suggested a direct human danger from drinking milk or eating meat produced by clones and their offspring.” In this case scientists generally agree.

In case you haven’t noticed, it really doesn’t make any difference what scientists believe or think. Remember back in the 15 hundreds? Of course you do. That’s when Galileo was ridiculed for his theories. After all, agreed most scientists, the sun does go around the world. They could see it start its orbit every morning and end it every evening. All scientists agreed. All but one and he was “That Galileo nut.” He was even renounced by the church for his goofy views. But, of course, he was right and every grade-school child now knows the sun does not rotate around the earth.

The big cause going on now concerns global warming. I suggest you prick up your ears when you hear, “Most scientists agree …”. It might be true and again, it might not. Look for your own information and draw your own conclusion. At least look to the back of the book or the bottom of the page to check the source of this kind of statement. For example, when I peeked at a copy of Al Gore’s book, “An Inconvenient Truth” I did that just because I wondered where the figures were coming from. I never found out because there are no citations noting the source of any figures stated in that book. I saw none. Not one.

I’m not saying the global warming premise isn’t valid; I just tire of hearing opinions generalized by some vague quote about “All scientists …” or “All anything else …” for that matter.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
February 16, 2007



I had a minor surprise this morning. I visited our local post office and found they were acting as an agent to distribute and collect various forms.I paused a few minutes and filled out the IM1-2 form, which is the formal application to be considered the father of Anna Nicloe Smith’s baby. There was a rather lengthy paragraph explaining that since there are so many applicants it might be some time before I hear anything official. I don’t mind and think my application is just as valid as some, probably most, others.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
February 15, 2007



Someone once observed that the ability to anticipate future happenings based on actions we take now is a sign of maturity. Lately I’ve noticed several Letters to the Editor calling for the resignation or impeachment of President Bush. While I feel these suggestions have a certain amount of merit I can’t help wondering if these people have given any thought as to who would replace George W. Bush. Do they think would Dick Chaney be an improvement?

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
February 1, 2007