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Jan 19, 2012

The Show Notes

Someone’s got a lot of time on their hands
Birthday conversation: Time Travel
Ask George 
     - Blue Men? from Ed
     - Catholic dating? from Dating Atheist
     - Son’s teacher? from Mike in Texas
     - Enjoying music? from Bret
     - Bumper defense? from Sarah
Two million downloads. Thanks!
Show close


Mentioned in the Show

The dessert!


IceHouse Concert Information

A facebook page for 21812!

Accommodations for the IceHouse Concert

Hotel Bethlehem

promo code: Geologic

A Gneiss Night Out
The IceHouse Geologic Concert

The Official 21812 Ticket Site


Geo's Music: stock up!

The catalog at iTunes

The catalog at CD Baby


Sign up for the mailing list: Write to Geo!

A reminder that the new portal to the Geologic Universe is at

Score more data from the Geologic Universe! Get George's Non-Coloring Book at Lulu, both as and E-BOOK and PRINT editions.

Check out Geo's wiki page thanks to Tim Farley.

Get your George HrApp here. Thanks to Gerry Orkin for the design and engineering.

Have a comment on the show, a Religious Moron tip, or a question for Ask George? Drop George a line and write to Geo's Mom, too!

Ms. Info sez, "Trifle is a misnomer, especially considering the masterpiece that Kiki and the Masetro made for my birthday!"

K in Seattle
over twelve years ago

@Mike Burrows

Actually, Mike, the command I posted has neither of the errors you suggest it has.

The first thing you're missing are the two backslashes... which is easy to do because they're not there! Look at your own post and you'll see that backslashes, and I suspect other crucial characters, have been stripped from it. It seems the forum system wasn't written to allow people to post code scraps. (Not that that should stop us.)

Substituting "-BACKSLASH-" every place where a backslash was desired in my original post, we get the command:

grep -Pio "-BACKSLASH-band-BACKSLASH-b" Moby_Dick_COMPLETE_TEXT.txt > Moby_Dick_Just_The_ANDs.txt

It will NOT match "thousand".

The second thing you're overlooking is the "-o" option on grep. This causes grep to output just the part of the line that matches, then continue searching from within that same line. It will NOT miss repeated "and"s on the same line.

Using as input a file containing only the following nonsense line...
And something and a thousand and grep command outputs a file that says...

The count of lines in the output is (in this case) an accurate count of the occurrences of "and".

I'd like to try your "sed" alternative. Sed one-liners are always a good kick in the head, and I like your idea of forcing each "and" onto a line of its own and then counting the number of said lines. Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, the forum comment system has mangled your example too, and I'm left guessing as to what your command actually says.

Mike Burrows
over twelve years ago

The command given by K-in-Seattle counts the number of lines on which "and" appears. So the two classes of errors this has are that it treats "thousand" as a match and lines containing more than one "and" are only counted once.

I hacked around that by inserting a carriage return after each whole word appearance of "and" thus:

sed -e "s/\/and\n/g" Desktop/moby-dick.txt | grep -ciw and

I think there are 6325 appearances of the word "and" in Moby Dick.

K in Seattle
over twelve years ago

"I wonder how many times the word 'AND' appears in Moby Dick."
-- GEO, Episode 248, 05:16

Starting with the plain text form of Moby Dick downloaded from Project Gutenberg (, and stripping all of the licensing text from the beginning and end of the document, I ran the command:

grep -Pio "\band\b" Moby_Dick_COMPLETE_TEXT.txt > Moby_Dick_Just_The_ANDs.txt

The result was a text file composed of 6430 'AND's.

This was just a quick-n-dirty job -- I DON'T have a lot of time on my hands -- and I can't vouch for the accuracy of this result. Does someone want to check my work?

Abraham Cottrill
over twelve years ago

Thanks for bringing up the curse. This is something I have struggled with and love. My degree has a minor in music. During college I played many of the guitar type instruments, the various clarinettes, piano, and pretty much anything else people would leave sitting around. (All of which was odd because i am partially tone deaf, and there are no rhythm genes in me, but practice makes possible).

Anyway. During college I realized I had to throw out much of what I thought was good music. It was all in the same key, it was just rehashing what had been done before, it had little variation. And like Brett, went through a period of feeling hopeless. My advice is to start listening to everything you have not heard before. I found myself one time really getting into a bluegrass album as it was expertly done. Look up names like "Robert Johnson" and "Jack white" and "shpongle" and "the cheiftens" heck listen to everything. And then start looking for the musicians musicians. Find out why some people rave about yes, rush, cockburn, and tom waits. Find out why people are still listening to blues and James brown. Get over any preconceived notions and listen to Gregorian chant and say is this worth listening to, along with cutting edge electronic music, and frank sinatra. What changed for me, is that i threw out the garbage music, and had to go looking on my own. I can't listen to radio anymore, as they regurgitate too often. On my sterio you are just as likely to hear Johnny Cash as you are Metallica, or Yes, or debussey or primus. When people ask me what I like, I cannot answer anymore, but i enjoy far more at a far deeper level.

Steve Andrew
over twelve years ago

About "someone's got a lot of time on their hands" - I've had that a few times as I spend a lot of free time drawing comic art. Nothing fancy or even very professional-looking, I just have fun doing it. That comment suggests that everybody has to be doing something useful every waking moment of their lives. Grrrr...

It reminds me of a similar comment I've heard and provokes a similar reaction from me. Whenever my lovely wife mentions to friends of hers that I often like to cook meals and do household tasks, they invariably say, "Ooo, you've got him well-trained!" They can't imagine that I just love my wife, recognise that she's an over-worked teacher and that I think it's just a nice thing to do. Nooooo, I have to be trained into doing stuff round the house!

Ah, rant over. Congratulations on the 2-mill downloads, Geo and a belated happy birthday to Ms Info!

No E Mahony
over twelve years ago

the bumpersticker question reminds me of that George Carlin joke when he talks about driving and he mentions his bumperstickers

"I found him I have Jesus in the trunk!"

No E Mahony
over twelve years ago

My dad would throw a fit whenever he was watching a movie that involves the millitary and they fuck up the uniforms...incorrect medals for the character's age/point in their millitary career and regiment...patches and all's kinda funny actually

whenever A Few Good Men comes on he always points out they fucked up Jack Nicolson's uniform

over twelve years ago

QUANTUM -friggin- LEAP!!!

over twelve years ago

Lovely show! I have a handful of comments.

1) Happy (Belated) Birthday, Ms. Information!

2) Congratulations on a shitload of downloads!

3) On the "freedom from religion" bumper sticker, it seems to me that there are two easy, short, straightforward things a person could say to explain it. "On a political level, it means I believe the First Amendment protects the rights of nonbelievers and believers equally. And on a personal level, it means I believe that reason trumps faith."

Or, failing that, you could just tell a person to look up the Freedom From Religion Foundation (

4) This is arguably trivial, but I feel that my brain has been immeasurably improved by the discovery of the phrase "the whole mishpuchah." I first heard you use it years ago, Geo, and only in listening to today's episode did I realize how deeply I've come to enjoy hearing that little word from time to time. I like the other occasional Yiddishisms, too, but for some reason "mishpuchah" stands out as a verbal tic that makes me feel like a happy hound that's been scratched behind the ears. I can't explain it, but I'm grateful for it.

over twelve years ago

With regard to the "a lot of time on your hands" bit, one of my favorite pre-emptive strikes against that comment happens to be Warren Apel's site, and specifically, his essay that postulates that David Hasselhoff is the Antichrist:

Also, with regard to the atheist bumper sticker, a good response would be "What do you think it means?" (Just as long as it's not presented in a standoffish manner)...

over twelve years ago

Was "Firefox" the Clint Eastwood movie you were looking for during Ask George?

quoted for prosperity
over twelve years ago

Date: Sun, 6 Nov 2011 23:58:19 -0800
From: Brian Dunning
Subject: Re: [Skeptalk] Podcasts which have jumped the evolvefish
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1

I'd just like to suggest that we all remember something we already know -- that all of these podcasters are doing all this work on their own time, and for your benefit. They're doing what they do best. Some of their best appeals to some listeners and some appeal to others. But it's all free, and it takes a massive change in lifestyle for all of them that affects their lives deeply. Think of a podcast you dislike, that is still in your genre -- you still owe him your applause and thanks.

Obviously, spoken from one in just such a position. ;-)

I've listened to Geo exactly three times, and did not hear the entire show either time. I got the idea. Didn't do anything for me personally, but I recognize what it is, and see that it's got massive value and potential. Geo is probably the sharpest and most talented frontman we have out there right now. I spend a few minutes every day thinking how we can better utilize his top-shelf talents. Add this to the fact that he's a genuine, nice, honest, man, and we're talking a winner.

over twelve years ago

Re: The atheist bumper sticker - I would say something along the lines that "I have not encountered anything in my lifetime that requires the existance of a god". No doubt they would then point out the majesty of the scenery or life in general, etc to prove their god exists. I would then inquire why they don't believe in Zeus, Thor, Mithra, etc then question why they don't apply the same logic to their god of choice.

over twelve years ago

I did the math, and, on average, a million downloads in a year means almost 20,000 downloads an episode. Not small potatoes. Conga-rats Geo and Donna on a major milestone! I'll have to mention this in the fancast.

over twelve years ago

Mike in Texas may want to visit the National Center for Science Education website (, where they have a lot of information about how to deal with this sort of thing. If the teacher is routinely abusing his position to proselytize, they'll have the best advice on how to handle it. But keep in mind Jessica Ahlquist's example -- you could open your son up to harassment, so choose your battles carefully.

over twelve years ago

The Quantum Leap theme song is the intellectual property of NBC Universal. Expect to be contacted by their legal department with a Cease & Desist letter.

Just kidding, I'm sure those few seconds constitute Fair Use, I've just been paranoid about these things for a while. I felt I had to comment here because I became teary-eyed when I heard it again after all these years. It was my favorite show when I was 11.

"...striving to put right what
once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap [Sam smiles and leaps] will be the leap home." [Sam finds himself in a sticky situation... ]

Sniff, somebody is chopping onions.

over twelve years ago

George, you are spot on about the time thing. I recently started a graduate study program in Parks Recreation and Tourism and a huge portion of this is Leisure. One huge concern in American society is that we are all becoming spectators rather than actors. The person with 'a lot of time on their hands' draws the derision of the football watching, cubicle sitter because they area actually, I believe, quietly resentful of their own lack of creativity or inventiveness. So much of what we say has more to tell about the speaker than who they are speaking about.

over twelve years ago


Somebody has a lot of time on their hands.

Ms. Information
over twelve years ago

Hey Kids—

Thanks for your concern, but please rest assured that we know about this at Geologic HQ. It's a LibSyn issue and we are working toward getting this resolved.

love, M.s Info

over twelve years ago

Unfortunately the rss is dead too. My app (doggCatcher) keeps saying: Server response error 404...

George, can you ask Mz Info to repost the episode?

over twelve years ago

Thanks for that information David

over twelve years ago

Just so you know, the direct download is broken as of 1:50 pm,central time. Nevertheless, I preemtively congratulate you on such a fine episode.