Tuesday Turnip

David K. Israel

In case you're not familiar with the Turnip, it's a whimsical Google search, wherein I type a random phrase and we see what kind of interesting pages "turn-up." As always with this feature, the _floss is not responsible for accuracy. If you know one of the below statements/links to be untrue, by all means, let the world know in the comments below.

Today I typed in "largely assumed that" unearthing the following:

Turnip #1 In 1844, John Neely Bryan convinced J. P. Dumas to survey and lay out a 0.5 square miles section of blocks and streets near present downtown [Dallas]. The establishment was named Dallas, and though it is largely assumed that it was named after the then Vice President George Mifflin Dallas, there are at least six theories as to the origin of the name: Named after George Mifflin Dallas; Named after George Mifflin Dallas's brother Alexander James Dallas, a U.S. Navy commodore who was stationed in the Gulf of Mexico; Named after George and sailor Alexander's father, Alexander James Dallas, who was the United States Secretary of the Treasury around the end of the War of 1812; Named in a town-naming contest in 1842; Named after the friend of founder John Neely Bryan's son, who later stated that his father had said he had named the town "after my friend Dallas" (a person whose identity is not certain). Named after Joseph Dallas, who settled near Dallas in 1843[2]

Turnip #2 Christopher Storrs presents a fresh new appraisal of the reasons for the survival of Spain and its European and overseas empire under the last Spanish Habsburg, Carlos II (1665-1700). Hitherto it has been largely assumed that in the 'Age of Louis XIV' Spain collapsed as a military, naval and imperial power, and only retained its empire because states which had hitherto opposed Spanish hegemony came to Carlos's aid. However, this view seriously underestimates the efforts of Carlos II"¦

Turnip #3 Controversy about the origin of human beings continues to rage even today, nearly 150 years after the publication of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species. School districts have attempted, with varying degrees of legal success, to force teachers to teach students that the Darwinian, evolutionary explanation for the origin of life is just one of many theories. Advocates of the "creationism" perspective (and to some degree, the newer "intelligent design" perspective) continue to argue that the biblical story of creation -- in which God created humans in their present form on the sixth day of creation -- is as viable and as valid as the evolutionary perspective. Scientists largely assume that the argument should be over and that the evolutionary explanation is so well established by scientific evidence that there is no longer any room for debate.

Turnip #4 Today, it’s widely accepted as a fact that information technology is deeply embedded in almost everything we do in higher education. We just have to think back to the last time our computer broke down, our network connection stopped working, or our web browser crashed to understand how important IT has become to our work and study lives. We use IT for most of our communications, depend on it for much of our instruction and research, and use it every day for essential business processes such as hiring staff, recruiting/registering/grading students, collecting fees, and myriad other essential tasks. Simply put, information technology has become a critical strategic resource for our work in higher education. In addition, we largely assume that much of our IT resources (e.g., e-mail and networking) will operate as a utility, with the same reliability as our electricity and telephones.

Turnip #5 Still, despite its lack of scientific status, space scientists largely assume that biological evolution over time leads to increased intelligence. This belief that the evolution of life is aimed toward enhancing rational intelligence is rife among astrobiologists; and intelligence provides the criterion for measuring evolutionary advance. Of course, one could imagine a different criterion. For example, one could imagine a criterion such as altruistic love. We would then rank terrestrial as well as extraterrestrial civilizations according to their lovingness. But, alas, no one I can find in this discussion appeals to anything other than intelligence. So, intelligence is what we’ll speculate on here.

Turnip #6 Solar power is, therefore, a reliable energy source. How effective it is is a matter of debate, but one should largely assume that much – if not all – of the world’s demand for energy can be satisfied by our most powerful celestial friend.