So, you think you know what you're talking about, eh? I used to, but I started looking things up and found that often I didn't. I started keeping a list for myself and on occasion have used it as sort of a party game. Give this list a look and see how well you do.

Have I made any mistakes? Do you have some additions? Let me know.

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What exactly are:
  • archeology
  • anthropology
  • paleontology

Archeology - study of historic/prehistoric people and cultures through analysis of their artifacts, monuments, etc. - Indiana Jones was an archeologist.

Anthropology - the science that deals with the origins and customs of humankind. - Margaret Mead was an anthropologist.

Paleontology (paleo) (ontology) - the science of the forms of life existing in former geological periods. i.e. Cro Magnum, Neanderthal, etc. - Richard Leaky and his family are paleontologists.

What is Bastinado?
  • a musical tempo?
  • a type of pasta sauce?
  • a painter from the Renaissance?
  • or something else?
It is a form of punishment involving the beating of a person's feet with a stick. Ouch.
My fellow Americans... differentiate:
  • England
  • Great Britain
  • United Kingdom

Great Britain - the island comprising England, Scotland and Wales.

United Kingdom - Great Britain plus Northern Ireland.

What's the difference between:
  • assume and
  • presume?

You presume when the facts are not in yet.

When you assume the facts are in but not yet evaluated.

What are the differences among (not between):
  • tantalizing
  • scintillating
  • titillating

Tantalizing = taunting or teasing (from Tantalus)

Scintillating = glimmering

Titillating = stimulating/arousing

Providence vs. Provenance


Provence vs. Province

Providence - care and guidance (by god and/or nature) - care in providing for the future.

Provenance - the place of origin such as of art.

Provence - a region of Southeastern France.

Province - an administrative unit/region of a country. (as in Provincial) .
Aren't these the same thing?
  • ass,
  • jackass,
  • donkey,
  • burro and
  • mule

Starting with the ass as the unique animal... a donkey is a domesticated ass while a burro is a small donkey and the jackass is male donkey.

A mule is the result of the cross breeding of a male donkey and female horse. Being an inter-species breed it is sterile.

What about:
  • cougar,
  • puma and
  • mountain lion

Cougar, puma and mountain lion are names for the same animal. They are tawny in color and exist in north/south America.

What about other big cats?

There are many differences but some are:

Leopards have spots and exist in Asia/Africa.

Panthers are black leopards. They exist in South Asia and are loosely cougar/jaguar.

Tigers have stripes and exist in Asia.

Cheetahs are spotted and, in fact in the Hindi language, cheetah means "spotted one." They exist in Africa and Southwestern Asia. The cheetah is the only big cat with claws that are not completely retractable.

Jaguars also have spots and exist in tropical America. Also thought of as new-world leopards.

Lions live in Africa and South Asia.

Hurricane vs. typhoon vs. cyclone?
Basically the same. A hurricane is cyclonic storm with winds over 73 mph.

A typhoon is hurricane occurring in western Pacific and China Seas.
Monkey vs. ape?

Monkey = primates excluding humans and anthropoid apes.

Anthropoid = resembling human.
Anthropoid ape = ape's without tails including gorilla, chimp, orangutan or gibbon.

Ape = tail-less (or short tailed monkey). So note that a chimp is an ape, not a monkey.

Dale, glen, vale and valley?

Dale = literary: a valley.

Vale = literary: a valley.

Glen = small narrow secluded valley.

Jail vs. prison?

Jail = where you're held awaiting trial or for minor offenses.

Prison = where you're held when you are actually convicted of a crime, i.e. when you are a convict.

Hay vs. Straw?

Hay is grass (or alfalfa) which is cut and dried to be used as animal feed.

Straw is the leftover stalks of threshed grain. It is used as bedding (and food) for animals, but also for weaving or braiding, as into baskets, mats, etc.

So, what is threshing, you ask? Well, cereal plants (aka grain) contain seeds or "grains" within a husk or a stem. Threshing is the whacking of that stem to knock the seeds out of it. What you have left is "straw" much like soda straws.

Neurosis vs. psychosis?

Although the terms are general (obsessive compulsive disorder is a type of neurosis while schizophrenia is a type of psychosis) here are a few distinctions between neurosis vs. psychosis:

(note: these are paraphrased from various sources - this is not a clinical definition)

Neurosis: Avoidance behavior.
Psychosis: Severe personality disorganization.

Neurosis: Main symptom is anxiety.
Psychosis: Main symptoms are hallucinations and delusions.

Neurosis: Some awareness of the problem.
Psychosis: Poor awareness/understanding.

Neurosis: Outpatient treatment.
Psychosis: Medication or inpatient treatment.

Libel vs. Slander?
Libel is written defamation while slander is spoken.
Ensure vs. Assure vs. Insure?
To ensure is to make sure something happens (or does not happen). To assure is a matter of informing or promising that something will or will not happen. To insure is to (agree to) compensate one for something if it does happen.
Cement vs. concrete?
Cement is a mixture containing ground limestone and clay. Concrete is cement with a filler, such as sand and gravel. Concrete is stronger than cement.

OK, one for the computer folks...

What are the differences among hubs, switches, bridges and routers? After all they mostly look the same don't they?

Hub = device for connecting computers and communication equipment together such they all have equal access to the part of the network they are connected to. Only one connected device may be transmitting at any given time - they all share the same bandwidth.

Switch = similar to a hub but the connections between sender and receiver are dedicated during the transmission. Therefore, for example, the machine on port 1 can transmit to the machine on port 2 while the machine on port 3 is transmitting to the machine on port 4.

Bridge = similar to hubs and switches but is meant to connect two or more different network segments together. Only transmitted data that is bound for another segment is actually forwarded to that segment. Also, this routing is learned by keeping track of the source IP address and associating it (in internal filtering tables) with the port that it came from. Initially received packets are sent everywhere but as the internal table becomes populated packets are transmitted only where needed.

Router = similar to the above but with manual configuration and the ability to be configured such that all sorts of additional controls can be put in place. This allows for different network topologies and the creation of firewall functionality.


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