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Posted in MIT

Saying “Use Common Sense” Doesn’t Make Sense

One often hears from people giving advice the phrase “Use common sense”. The idea of the phrase is that there are specific instructions that one is unable to more closely detail about approach under certain conditions but for which one can be expected through their experience or intuition to naturally apply the correct approach, even with explicit suggestions not given. Here, I closely examine the instruction “Use common sense” and analyze the purpose of the statement, and suggest that, chances are, the statement “Use common sense” is rarely helpful advice.

Consider the cases where the advisee possesses common sense or does not possess common sense, however one defines common sense, which, chances are, in a probably uncommon way. One who already has common sense will be using it anyway, since that’s the implication of common sense: it’s what people are expected to already know to do naturally. There’s no reason to tell them to need to use common sense; they’re already going to do it.

On the other hand, consider people who do not have common sense. In that case, the statement “Use common sense” does not elucidate anything to them. Without further specifying what common sense entails, and thus completely voiding the need to label such instructions “common sense”, one without common sense is in no way helped by being told to exercise it.

Reflecting on when the statement is actually made in the real world, it is typically stated to remind people who actually know better, when they are at a good chance to act recklessly, that they should remember to watch when the situation spirals out of hand. But if a person knows better, then they have the ability to evaluate risks and know when a situation allows for silliness and when it’s more serious and thus important for them to actually apply their common sense. Once again, those possessing common sense would already apply it without comment and those without would remain unable to apply common sense after being informed of its importance.

Yet it feels like making the statement is still sometimes helpful. What causes this? All that it could be now is that the statement serves the purpose of stating that after a certain amount of guidelines, a point is reached at which one can be fairly assured that intuition, whether already existent or to be gained, is likely to do them better than dogmatic instruction-following from here forward. But that is all that the statement “Use common sense” accomplishes, and that is much less than is typically thought to be contained in the often-stated big words “Use common sense”. The statement is really much less helpful and useful than is commonly thought.

Massachvsetts ____________ of ____________

1) First rule of Bexley: ______ cannot ______ ______ in the ______.

2) Second rule of pika: ______ in ______ is ______ ______.

3) First rule of Tetazoo: ______ is not a ______.

4) Archery, Fencing, Pistol and ______

5) 5538x ______

6) 32-123 32-______

7) LSC ______!

8) Lenz’s Law. ______.

9) No ______. No ______ comments. No ______. Zero tolerance for ______ and/or ______. Keep ______ ______ to a minimum.

10) 182 ______: halfway to ______

11a) No ______ on the ______ until November ______.

11b) No ______ on the ______ until November ______.

12) THERE’S ______ ______ HAVING ______ IN 26-100 RIGHT NOW

13) Wanted: ______ cat, ______ and ______

14) #smoke______worship______

15) Black, red, ______(, ______)

16) Two unsubscribes make a ______; two ______ make a Ron Paul.

17) Expires ______ ______, 1994

18) LAPLACE IS HERE ______ ______ IS ______

19) Brute force is the ______ ______ of the ______.

20) Why visit me? You’ve ______ ______ ______ already ______ ______ ______ ______ ______.

21) ASMA KAWSAR ______ ______

22) Richard ______: Knight of ______ (also ______ ______)

23) So this is the ______ of floor 2. This is the ______ on floor 3. Here’s the ______ on floor 4. This is the ______ on floor 5. Here’s the ______ of floor 6.

24a) Transparent ______

24) Actually, it’s Transparent ______.

25) Solicitors (______ ______) will be assumed to ______ ______ ______ and ______

26) Dropbox, Lost Socks, and Binder Full of ______

26d) ITYM ______

27) Kzinti are not permitted to ______ the ______.

28) What’s your favorite undergraduate dorm on campus? ______: it’s their ______ ______.

29) Dragon ______, Squid ______, Science ______

30) out of ______ and/or ______

31) There’s no ______ in Bonfire kitchen.

32) There’s no ______ ______, because ______ is imaginary.

33) 2.361: ______ and ______

34) A special thanks to Stu Schmill, Eric Lander, Noam Chomsky, ______ ______, and Tim the Beaver



This article mistakenly refers to an informal harassment complaint about recaptioned comics as a “______ ______ complaint,” and the subheading mistakenly says that the ______ ______ (______) investigated whether the magazine had committed ______ ______ violations. The ______ only discussed whether to continue funding the magazine. The article also incorrectly says that the ______ of ______ ______ (______) brought the complaint before the ______’s ______ ______ (______), when in fact ______, some of whose members are also part of the ______, acted unilaterally.

Additionally, ______ (not ______) council members objected to the current cycle’s preliminary allocation, and the ______ (not ______) allocations were delayed by about ______ weeks (not ______). The condition that ______ ______ representatives meet with ______ and the ______ ______ ______ was unrelated and applied two funding cycles ago (not during the current cycle). ______ ______ and ______ ______ ______ of the General Counsel (not ______ ______ ______), recommended against using this condition for future cycles. The May 2013 meeting between ______ and ______ ______, which was also unrelated to the harrassment complaint, took place before (not after) summer allocations were released. Cory Hernandez ’14 is the treasurer of the ______ and a ______ (not ______) Vice-Chair of ______.

The article also mistakenly refers to ______ ______, magazine editor ______ ______, and the ______ ______ as “______,” “______,” and the “______ ______,” respectively.

36) This is not a puzzle. It’s also NOT ______.

Posted in MIT

What does it mean to call someone a chick?

There exists this term, “dawg”, which I can only assume comes from “dog”, that certain groups of people call each other, or themselves, in that particular clique. This looks to be a self-derogatory remark, given the attitude humans can be seen to take towards animals in general (also, the history of what one means when they call another human a dog). But perhaps it is meant to reflect a friendship connection galvanized by loyalty. Given that people seem to be perfectly fine with calling themselves dawgs, I’ll just assume that groups of people who do have managed to make it a term of at least neutral connotation.

(I’m also waiting for someone to refer to a friend as a “dawge”. I guess that would be pronounced “dodge”.)

Another case of the referring to human beings by an animalistic reference occurs in the term “chick”. A trip to tells me that a lot of people, in their definitions, try to make it clear that “chick” is “not offensive” or “not meant to be offensive”.

Here’s a thing about the word “chick”, though: one doesn’t hear people calling themselves “chicks”. And when one considers what a chick is, one realizes that it is an infantile version of an animal that actually the human frequently consumes as food and very rarely refers to in a positive way otherwise. (Recall what it means to deem one “chicken”.) When this is the case, and in addition, unlike in the case of “dawg”, people seem to not use this term for themselves, there comes a need to question if one can actually safely deem the term “chick” “not offensive”. Even if it isn’t, it is worth at least questioning what the connotation of the term is, and why society has accepted it into mainstream vocabulary.