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ASK MR. KNOW IT ALL: Pointed question demands sharp answer

on July 06, 2014 1:50 AM

Question: I was watching a detective show on TV with an older, wiser detective and his assistant, who is much younger and impatient. They are investigating a murder. The young man has many theories that he shares; the older man calms his thoughts and tells his partner to be aware of someone’s razor. What kind of razor do you suppose he meant? — M.J., Palm Springs, Fla.

Answer: I’m sure he was talking about Occam’s razor. The principle states that one should not make more assumptions than the minimum needed. Occam’s razor helps us to “shave off” those extra concepts; by doing so, you created a model that is much easier to deal with, thus, taking less of a chance of introducing inconsistencies, ambiguities and redundancies.

The concept is named after William of Ockham, who was born in the village of Ockham in Surrey, England, about 1287. He was the most influential philosopher of the 14th century and a controversial theologian.

LET’S LEARN ENGLISH: In the U.K., they say “candy floss”; in America, we say “cotton candy.” In the U.K., they say “Alsatian”; in America, we say “German shepherd.”

DID YOU KNOW? William Hurt turned down the role of Dr. Alan Grant in “Jurassic Park” (1993); the part went to Sam Neill.

Question: I was watching “Antiques Roadshow,” and one of the items brought in was a chain that was worn around the waist with other chains and objects hanging on it. I don’t recall what it was called, but now I’m curious. — B.L.K., Waco, Texas

Answer: It’s called a “chatelaine.” A chatelaine is a decorative belt with a series of chains suspended from it. Each chain is mounted with a household item such as scissors, thimble, watch or key, among many possibilities.

There is also a chatelaine bag, which is a bag suspended from a waistband by cord or chain. The bag was popular during the 19th century.

The dictionary also defines chatelaine as “the mistress of a household or of a large establishment.”

DID YOU KNOW? Cate Blanchett was considered for the role of Clarice Starling in “Hannibal” (2001). The part eventually went to Julianne Moore.

Question: What’s up with Jason? He’s into murdering people for sure. Does he have a last name? Obviously I have never seen a movie with him, but his name and masked image is popular. — V.G.L., Woburn, Mass.

Answer: Jason Voorhees is a fictional character from the “Friday the 13th” movie series. He first appeared in “Friday the 13th” (1980). Jason was born deformed. His mother, Pamela Voorhees, lived and worked as a cook at Camp Crystal Lake. As a child, Jason was constantly bullied. In 1957, he attempted to swim in the lake, but drowned instead.

Two years later, two camp counselors were murdered and the camp was plagued with problems such as poisoned water and unexplained fires. So far there have been 12 films in the “Friday the 13th” movie franchise.

The town of Voorhees, N.J., inspired Jason’s last name.

Originally, Jason’s name was to be Josh. After deciding that it sounded too nice, it was changed to Jason.

SUPER TRIVIA: Filming of the movie is at a Boy Scout camp near Blairstown, N.J. The camp still serves as an active Boy Scout camp.


Question: What is an Apgar score? — F.T., Burlington, Vermont

Answer: An Apgar score is the very first test given to a newborn — it is a measure of the physical condition of an infant. The score is determined by adding points for heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, response stimulation and skin coloration. A score of 10 represents the best possible condition. The Apgar score was developed in 1952 by an anesthesiologist named Virginia Apgar, and is also referred to as an acronym for Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity and Respiration.

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