Back to previous post: The life and times of young Porco Bruno

Forward to next post: “How To Steal an Election”

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

## April 10, 2006

Posted by Teresa at 09:09 AM *

vacuum/plenum
magister/minister
map/maze
interpolation/extrapolation
minuscule/majuscule
grass/forb
nimiety/paucity
contango/backwardation

Teresa, iirc some years ago you told me that (at least in terms of politics) fundamentalists never forgive. If I got it right and you still think it's true, what do you think might happen if Bush's fundamentalist supporters conclude it's his fault that they haven't gotten much of what they want?

The context for our conversation was that Pat Robertson running for President.

#2 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 09:34 AM:

Nancy: I can see it. I can't see him winning, though.

The Kwisatz Haderach couldn't see him winning...there are some futures even he won't examine.

#3 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 09:37 AM:

I even have a slogan: Almost As Good As Ross Perot

What happened to Open Thread 63? Or is there a joke I'm missing here?

#5 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 09:58 AM:

speaking of presidential campaigns....

Senator Joe Biden was on Real Time with Bill Maher last night. Bill asked if he's running for president in '08 and Joe said "yes" without any hemming and hawing. During some of Bill's round-table discussions, Biden answered some questions in a way that reassured me that, yes, there are some intelligent people left in D.C.

#6 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 10:01 AM:

oh, and re the open thread quiz:
I'm going to guess "definition/explanation".
Did I win?

Excuse me, guys--the Robertson campaign was back in the 80s, though I thought that conversation with Teresa was somewhat more recent than that.

Here's Robertson's campaign rant.

Senator Biden is without a doubt a master of the art of looking "intelligent" on talk shows.

#9 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 10:20 AM:

I sense a distiction being implied between "looking intelligent" and, say, "being intelligent". oh, to have my hopes dashed so soon after having them lifted ever so slightly. And on a monday morning too. sigh.

#10 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 10:33 AM:

monocot/dicot (now eucot) is the superset of the grass/forb pairing. It was one of the first formal scientific distinctions I learned. It is still one of the ways I parse the world (or that part of the world that photosynthesises and flowers).

sophophene/sophopheme?
My Greek is rusty: sophos + phenos, seem, vs phemi, say?

#11 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 10:35 AM:

The second half of the previous comment was meant to refer to opinions of Senator Biden.

Teresa: re. your "knitted chain" Particle, a much easier technique (with, IMO, indistinguishable results) may be found in Irene From Petersens's book, Great Wire Jewelery. Also, for a wonderful in-depth look at the fused loop technique, I can heartily endorse Jean Reist Stark's Classical Loop-in-Loop Chains.

#13 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 11:21 AM:

sorry, abi, I'm a little dense, and round-about jabs at Biden don't quite register. What exactly is the issue with Biden? I read through the wikipedia article, and I'll guess it was that he voted for the Iraq war. yes? no?

Oct 2002 senate vote Vote is 77 for, 23 against. Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. Biden votes in favor.

July 2003 senate vote After March invasion, Senate has unanimous vote (97-0) saying the US should "remain engaged in Iraq in order to ensure a peaceful, stable, unified Iraq with a representative government". 3 abstaintions: Graham (D-FL), Lieberman (D-CT), and Miller (D-GA).

#14 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 11:35 AM:

Homoousian/homoiousian?

#15 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 11:38 AM:

Ha! The Centrifugal Hamster has made Cute Overload, and rightfully so. I must have watched that about a half-dozen times...

#16 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 11:42 AM:

I thought it was a Monty Python reference:

Posted by Teresa at 09:09 AM * 9 comments

There is no Open thread 63.

sacred/profane
exterior/interior
egalitarian/servile

Er, 63. Igor can too count. Just not in order.

Nancy, all my life I've been watching Republican voters get used and abused and then come back for more. Most of 'em still think the Republicans are the champions of the little guy, and the party of moral integrity and fiscal responsibility -- all evidence to the contrary. Some days I think their willingness to believe whatever they're told, as long as it's presented in certain style, is their defining characteristic. It makes me want to give them all bumper stickers that say MY BUTTONS ARE EASILY PUSHED -- AND I VOTE!

The hardcore fundies are something else again. I'm going to distinguish here between fundamentalism as a religious belief, which I'm not talking about just now, and the right-wing political forces that are rooted in the fundamentalist community.

There are leftist fundies. You knew that, right?

Anyway. The far-right-wing fundie tendency is heavily into the politics of power and resentment. Feeling like they haven't gotten all they deserve is pretty much their state of nature. It's the briar patch where they were raised.

Talking now about their leaders and activists: it's not like Bush has betrayed their innocent idealistic belief in him. Those people will back whoever they think will give them power. Here's a funny thing: It's clear that Gore is a genuinely religious man, whereas if George Bush wasn't constantly telling people he's a Christian, nobody would ever mistake him for one. Yet the proponents of Loud Religion backed Bush, because they figured he'd give them quid pro quo for doing it. They didn't get as much as they expected, but that's no surprise.

It's useful to remember that the Loud Religion faction isn't all that big. They regularly claim to have bazillions of adherents, speak for most religious believers in the U.S., and in general wield a lot of clout -- but they don't. Think chihuahua, barking. They make noise and bring pressure to bear, all the while working to consolidate real-world power. They have some. They want more.

Will they publicly express their disappointment with Bush? I very much doubt it. They may be heavily into resentment, but they're not going to make a big fuss about feeling slighted because that would make them look weak. Again, this isn't about religion; it's about power. They'll do most of their growling in private.

You read da skiffy stuff. Here's a worldbuilding detail: did you know that you can buy flashy jewelry featuring genuine Widow's Mite coins in heavy gold settings? It's just the thing for Katherine Harris.

Oh, I want Rick Santorum for president. Slogan: Even dumber than W.

#20 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 12:00 PM:

Widow's Mite earrings. Whoah.

Then again, I still have a charm bracelet somewhere with a mustard seed encased in glass (or maybe it's lucite).

Also, happy birthday to Mr. Ford!

Greg, it's just cool antonym pairs. I'm fond of them.

Now you've got me wondering what the antonyms are for definition and explanation.

#22 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 12:05 PM:

explanation/briefing by Scott McClellan

#23 ::: Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 12:07 PM:

Did you guys see this? http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/4847424.stm

Anonymous blog (Baghdad Burning) made into book and that book in turn short (or long? there's apparently some confusion) listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize.

I'd HEARD of that blog before, but this was the first time I started reading it a bit. Pretty interesting--though I'm sure most of you have been following it for some time already ;P

#24 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 12:11 PM:

Greg -- My problem with Biden is that he's the Senator from MBNA. He pushed for the new bankruptcy law which was a total give-away to the banking industry.

#25 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 12:16 PM:

TNH: "Loud Religion". Great term and it describes them so well.

#26 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 12:25 PM:

TNH: You're bang on (OK, that's always true, but still).

But the real power is the people being manipulated, IMHO.
The fundie/Repub/Red State constituency consists of uneducated white people with feelings of inferiority towards the "educated liberal elite" who are giving their taxes to black welfare recipients and useless scientists researching the sex life of insects and Piss Christ artists and long-haired hippies who protest our young men defending our freedom. This worldview is totally coherent and (did I mention these people aren't too educated) actual news doesn't really impinge on it much. It's a folklore thing, really. You can see the same thing in the peasantry anywhere in the world, and just because we're America doesn't mean we don't have a real live peasantry with real live folklore, albeit with a shorter pedigree than you're used to thinking about.

What I see a lot is people who make fun of this worldview thinking that it's just an act (and by the power people who play the role to get that power, of course, it *is* just an act) -- but it's important to understand that the actual community believes this stuff. Just like they believe in creationism, and angels, and chiropracty, and hell, a hundred other things which all go into the same bucket: "They aren't as smart as they think they are; I'm a worthwhile person, too."

Anyway, this small-town/rural community largely doesn't really get what democracy is. (Trust me, I'm working from life experience here.) That's why they don't see why torture (of "known" evildoers) is a problem, or why it's a problem when the (perceived) good guys steal an election. As long as the end is a good one, you see, the process doesn't matter, that's the view. We all know who the good guys are, right? (They're coming from a very monolithic society -- these assumptions generally work for a small town, but they break down quickly when you don't know everybody involved, i.e. on any larger scale, like towns of 30,000 or more, and even in those towns, everybody who "counts" knows each other, so it kind of still works, with a lot more corruption.)

The key is that the Republicans have brilliantly understood how this works and have brilliantly insinuated themselves into the script. Small-town folks think the Republicans are small-town folks, just like them, who are fighting the city slicker educated Democratic elite. It's a really powerful story, and that power allows it incredible ability to fly in the face of manifest facts.

It's my studied opinion that city people generally don't really understand what it's like to grow up where everybody knows everybody else. City people understand the importance of codified law in a way that small-town or rural people don't, always. (Now, if you ask these same people how they'd feel if they were outsiders, without the protection of their community, you can make some headway explaining why a system of laws is more important than they might think.)

And since Democrats -- or rather, the people Democrats hire to help them lose elections -- don't really grok this reality, they lose. Repeatedly. And they lose, not in the cities, but in the disproportionately represented rural areas, because it's an effective strategy on the Republicans' part. Democrats as individuals show signs of understanding this, and of course the actual rural Democrats always did. What's needed is for the jerk consultants to be fired forthwith, and replaced by somebody who isn't an idiot *trying* to lose. (Apparently.) (Yes, I mean Bob Shrum.)

My two bits. Not too coherent, now I read back over it, but eh. It's morning, sort of.

Abi, Jon Singer once temporarily curdled my brain by referring to a seedling he had as "tricotyledonous." That word wrenched the world out of shape for a while. It turned out, when I asked him, that he'd merely meant the seedling was now far enough along that it had three leaves. Foo.

I'm surprised no one's ever used "tricotyledonous" in a science fiction story. Not everyone will get it, but the ones who do will have that same moment of disorientation. Some may even have the afterclap: monocot, dicot, knitting.

Elise, Widow's Mite earrings could be cool. Except for weird rarities, which of course can sell for all kinds of money, the coins themselves retail for $3-$50, depending on how nice the specimen and the dealer are. The uncleaned ones, which are less expensive, are usually a nice shade of green, and being irregularly shaped would take well to wire wrapping.

I cherish the story of Katherine Harris conflating the Widow's Mite and the Pearl of Great Price, and applying both to her run for office.

Talk about your Widow's Mite, said the blogger with no knack for rhyming --

Happy Birthday Mike Ford,
Happy Birthday Mike Ford,
Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday,
Happy Birthday Mike Ford.

Katherine Harris is a fine example of your basic, old-fashioned 'Christian' hypocrite.

#30 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 12:45 PM:

Any backstory to the Centrifugal Hamster?

Does he do that on a regular basis, for fun?

* * *

No shittin': There was once a breed of dogs employed by restaurants to run in big wheels to turn spits.

#31 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 12:58 PM:

definition/declaration
explanation/obfuscation

#32 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 01:03 PM:

I am looking to change web hosts and am considering between BlueHost and HostGator. Comments about those two hosts are welcomed.

(Comments saying "I really like X other host" are not sought, unless X other host is so good that you and at least ten other people have given up your most prized possession to X other host in gratitude.)

TNH: and I see that the loop-in-loop artist sells Stark's book on her other site...

#34 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 01:08 PM:

Michael -- I'm trying really really hard to work my head around to an understanding of your post that doesn't have it boiling down to "all those rural hicks are just plain stupid," and failing miserably.

#35 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 01:20 PM:

Is there a photo or drawing of the loop-in-loop jewelry production process that gives a better idea of how it is "knitted" together? Thinking about it has nearly made my head explode.

#36 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 01:23 PM:

it's just cool antonym pairs. I'm fond of them.

Ah. I was feeling a bit of a breeze going over my head. Now I can take my hat off. thanks.

I feel the urge to post a cool antonym pair, but my brain just isn't up to it this morning.

#37 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 01:27 PM:

I considered a reply to Michael's post, but I'm spent.

Kate: I took a look @ BlueHost when I was looking for a host, and had problems with their terms of service - too general for my tastes. For instance, being owned & operated by an observant Mormon, they won't host any 'adult' sites. Okay, not a problem for you (unless you're being very, very subtle with your site ;-) ), right?

Well... yes and no. They also won't host anyone who links to any sites that are considered adult in nature. Well, since I was looking to host a horror-themed website that has been known to link to sites with, say, gothic erotica, that might be a wee bit of a problem. We also occasionally indulge in some political ranting, which has in the past involved freedom of speech issues - such as when the Justice Department came after the Suicide Girls. Linking to Suicide Girls would also constitute a violation of their Terms of Service.

Most hosts spell out their Terms in excruciating legalese - BlueHost doesn't, which surprisingly enough made me a little antsy. The CEO says that they don't actively go looking for violations of the ToS, and I don't doubt that - our site could probably have been hosted with them without incident. For your purposes, it looks like they'll be fine - just be aware that your content and your links could be subject to the 'community standards' of Utah.

As with anything, YMMV...

#39 ::: Dan R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 01:30 PM:

tying Michaels comments to the antonym theme yeilds

Springfield/Shelbyville

#40 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 01:31 PM:

open thread non-sequitor that has nothing to do with Kate Nepveu's recent post, because if this were a reply, she would qualify it an an unwelcomed reply:

I really like my Site5 webhost company.

#41 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 01:33 PM:

Debra --

Context counts. So does extelligence, and the amount of it to which you have access.

The everybody-known farming village a very effective -- it persists! -- social mechanism for that context, and it deals with the usual range of vicissitudes and disasters well; it does not scale to big cosmopolitan cities or post-industrial economies and really desperately needs replacing even in the rural context, because it's leading to the folks hewing to it getting abused.

The best comparison I can come up with off the top of my head is the abuse of the clan structure in the clearances, or possibly by Farmer George's use of highland regiments; an awful lot of instances of the little guy stayed loyal in the face of the direct, obvious betrayal of their leaders.

This is very obvious right now in the way the current US administration is abusing the army; it's just as obvious in the way agricultural product distribution is done.

So, no, the individuals aren't stupid, on the whole, but their social system can't handle enough complexity to protect them from the mechanisms being used to abuse them.

#42 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 01:35 PM:

Check out Webhostingtalk.com--it's a huge forum for discussing webhosts.

#43 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 01:43 PM:

For a moment I thought the mysterious words at the top were correct spellings of commonly misspelled words -- vaccuum, miniscule. Couldn't figure out a misspelling for "grass," though.

Stefan Jones: There was once a breed of dogs employed by restaurants to run in big wheels to turn spits.

Waiting . . .

Well??? What's the name of these dogs, and where are they now?

#45 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 01:50 PM:

When I access this site with IE (I'm at work, and I have no other options), when I open any of the threads, all the links for all the comments turn up as visited links.

In Firefox or Safari (meaning: at home) I can click on a specific comment link to mark how far I've read for the next visit. This appears to be impossible in IE.

Or is it? Is there some way I can change my settings here to mark my place? Because I tried to find a way to change it and came up with bupkiss.

Michael, after the last presidential election I recall seeing a map that depicted, nationwide, how the electorate in each county voted. Urban areas across the country (and even in red states) tended to vote Democratic, while rural counties were often Republican in their majority. You've very well defined one set of rural voters, but it seems to me that the oligarchs of many small communities tend to be Republicans and relatively well educated and informed. They're not necessarily ignorant fundies. My experience is that their values are typically those traditional to the GOP -- small gov't and low taxes perhaps being the foremost. Their kids tend to be educated and informed, too -- and often head to cities for college and better job opportunies. In essence, there's a brain drain (IMHO) from the sticks to the bricks, the implications of which I suspect are revealed in the Electoral College.

#47 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 02:07 PM:

Certaiunly, as an ex-farmer, I would say that farmers have a different concept of business honesty to the corporations, and I wonder if it comes from a lot of agricultural business being between approximate equals. It's only in the last twenty years that the local businesses, the machinery dealers and the grain merchants, started to turn into larger operations.

One of the local grain merchants went out of that business and survives selling horse feed.

Hindsight is wonderful. I should have quit farming years ago. From what I've seen, and from what my family knows of people, your almost need to be a crook to survive.

#48 ::: Lloyd Burchill ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 02:15 PM:

DaveL: I struck out on a Google image search for "loop-in-loop" (at least in terms of showing technique). The site I always fall back on for jewelery questions is here...

You start by squooshing the fused links into ovoids. Form a base for your chain by soldering 2 or 3 of these ovoid links across one another - 2 links into a cross at 90°, 3 links into a 6-armed 'cross' at 60°, and so on. (Fewer links results in a 'squarer' looking chain, but it'll be easier to make.)

Fold the arms of your 'cross' up into prongs. Squoosh more links into ovoids and squeeze them through the tops of the 'prongs' (they're still loops, remember?) in a regular pattern: A:B:A:B for the 4-armed cross, A:B:C:A:B:C for the 6-armed 'cross'. Fold these links up into prongs as you go, and squeeze subsequent links into them. This makes a looser chain. For a tighter (and much trickier) 'weave', do 2 links at a time: A:A:B:B:A:A:B:B or A:A:B:B:C:C:A:A:B:B:C:C. Stop when you've made a chain that's about 1/3 the length you want. Draw the chain through a hardwood drawplate to compress the links and stretch out the chain.

I promise, it isn't as confusing as I might have made it sound, but it is tricky and it can be tedious - winding and cutting all those jump rings can take quite a while. Also, fusing all those jump rings into links takes a lot of practice; last time I tried, I wound up with about a 3:4:3 ratio of melted silver granules, weak or unfused links, and completely fused links. All in all, I prefer an approach more like knitting or crochet than using individual links.

#50 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 02:26 PM:

protected static: wheee, thanks. I'd read BlueHost's TOS but skimmed right over the no-linking to adult material--it's in the same bullet as not hosting it, I just saw "No pornographic or adult content" and moved right on.

I rather doubt it'll be a problem as well, but I crossed another host (LunarPages) off my list for a TOS I didn't like [*], so.

[*] "You agree not to make any inappropriate communication to any Newsgroup, Mailing List, Chat Facility, or other Internet Forum."

Thanks again.

#51 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 02:29 PM:

Perhaps:

explanation/bullshit

or

explanation/rationalization

#52 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 02:31 PM:

"What's the name of these dogs, and where are they now?"

Skipping over obvious joke about Spitz . . .

Pictures of turnspit dogs resemble weiner dogs more than anything else. They just kind of died out. (This from The Lost History of the Canine Race.)

Oh, look: Whiskey the turnspit dog.

Google for "turnspit dog" to see a lot more.

Also: Sears, Roebuck used to sell treadmills so you could put your dog to work running farm equipment.

#53 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 02:41 PM:

teresa: Thank you. Do note that this is in fact the Lang/Ford Joint Birthday Celebration, so save a glass of whatever you're celebrating with for the Ansible editor. The day also belongs to Joe Pulitzer, Bad Vlad Ulyanov, and Omar Sharif. (We were all supposed to be in "Lawrence of Arabia," but David Lean said something about "Super Panavision's not that by-our-lady wide," and the rest is history.)

Laurence: spit-turning dogs go a long way back -- about as long as spit-roasted meat in indoor hearths does. At the time, there wasn't a particular breed selected for it, though I suspect a short-haired dog with a long attention span was desirable. (A really big manor-house fireplace would need more power, and had spit-boys for the purpose; you can watch Tony Robinson enduring the process in The Worst Jobs in History.)

#54 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 02:42 PM:

Having grown up in small towns, I can see some of what Michael is getting at--there's always been a certain amount of resentment of, and resistence to, what we used to call the "city slickers" before we started being made fun of for using the term. Partly this is because a lot of the financial exploiters that screwed people over in a big way came from outside the community--buying mineral and timber rights, or large banks that bought out the small local bank and promptly demanded repayment of all loans, and so on. Partly it's because plenty of do-good reformers who have come in and tried to change things (never mind whether they needed changing or not--sometimes they did, and every so often, sometimes, they didn't), making the locals feel that they had been judged inferior and somehow lacking because they needed help--whether they'd asked for it or not, whether they felt like they needed help or not. (This is why so many don't like Hillary Clinton--this is as much, or more, the sore point she vibrates on as the uppity woman frame.)

Small towns are also very good, in most cases, at enforcing conformity--you either knuckle under, and learn to at least pretend to fit in, or you get out, or--what happens next depends on how far you're straying from the fold, really. The song "The Harper Valley PTA" had something to do with reality, at the time it was written (it's worth noting that people who are part of the culture can get away with making fun of it that way, even when outsiders can't). Coping with, let alone embracing differnce and diversity, can seem pretty strange--and uncomfortable.

There's also a certain level of naivety (which, as we all know, is not the same as stupidity) about how things work when they aren't like the world you're used to. A good many of these people, carefully handled, can work out the logic of why and even how things would be different if they are encouraged to think about it carefully. The Democratic party has typically done a lousy job of this lately, and the Republicans clearly have no interest in doing so.

I was talking with my mother a few days ago, and she started reminiscing about the 1932 election. Her home county in Missouri was traditionally Republican (a heritage of the Civil War)--it's a rural county, just south of the Missouri River. In 1932, it went overwhelmingly for Roosevelt; her father was one of the people who went out and campaigned for him. At that point, the Democratic party was still thought of as the party of Rum, Romanism (the Catholic Irish), and Rebellion in those parts and it's a symptom of how far things had gone that these people were willing to make that jump. They didn't do it because clever political consultants sold them on the idea--they did it because they were desperate. Many people still retained a good opinion of Herbert Hoover personally--they just didn't think he could fix things, for one reason or another.

I am not sure how to go about encouraging these people to think in new and different directions from the ones they are used to--I do know that the consultants the Democrats have used haven't been very good at it. It will probably take what it took in 1932--they'll have to be desperate enough to try something new. Whether that will be a Republican who can market himself as not-Bush, or better than Bush, or if a Democrat who can crack the code will get through (John Edwards is good at this, so is Gore when he can manage to kick the pundits and consultants to the curb). It's one reason the spinmeisters are working full-time even now; even if they aren't spinning for Bush, they can't afford to let these people be exposed to fresh air, daylight and enough peace and quiet that they could start thinking for themselves and work out some answers--because the answers might not be in Rupert Murdoch et al.'s best interests.

Rural people can come up with some pretty radical solutions to problems when they aren't blinded to the possibilities--utility cooperatives, credit unions and cooperative stores have as much to do with late 19th century farmers' issues with Big Money as they do with smart urban organizers. It's getting them to see things in a way other than what their are accustomed to that is the problem--and one side is very determined not to let that happen.

#55 ::: G. Jules ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 02:45 PM:

I think Michael's getting at an aspect of something I've been trying to wrap my head around for a long time now, something I've been having a hard time describing.

(Context: I grew up in a town of 420. I now live in a major city, but spend a great deal of time travelling, including trips to rural areas and lots of red states.)

Not being an outsider -- growing up as someone who belongs in a small community -- gives you certain protections. It's not a matter of being uneducated; it's a matter of not seeing the need to develop, say, external support systems that kick in when an extended family or church support system cannot. If you've always had your church or your family as a support network, it's harder to grasp that some people don't have access to that, and that the government program you don't want to fund may well be the only thing they have going for them.

(Yes, blue states contribute more to programs like these than they take out -- I know that. But that's not the perception.)

Similarly, there's a security to be found in obscurity. People who live in NYC have a completely different perspective on terrorism than people who live in, say, rural Indiana. Someone who lives in rural Indiana is much less likely to have been immediately impacted by terrorism, and is therefore less likely to have a context to place it in. I would argue that they experience the fear of terrorism in a different way. People like to point to the red state/blue state divide on opinions about terrorism, but I suspect there's more going on there than the red state/blue state thing.

One of the more frightening coversations I've ever heard was one I eavesdropped on in a Thai restaurant in rural Texas right before the 2004 election. The best bit was when one of the women explained that she was voting for Bush because the terrorists already knew that Bush would be upset if they attacked, whereas the terrorists really couldn't be sure about Kerry. Therefore, if Kerry was elected, the terrorists would be forced to attack again to find out how Kerry would react to it.

(No, really. I couldn't make that up.)

Thanks, Stefan.

And thanks, John, who posted while I was posting.

Happy birthday to the Lang/Fords!

#58 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 02:54 PM:

I should have quit farming years ago.

Good grief. May I ask what sort of operation you run? I grew up on a 400 acre beef/hog/corn/hay farm. (long long time ago)

It's only in the last twenty years that the local businesses, the machinery dealers and the grain merchants, started to turn into larger operations.

And farms too. Thousand acre spreads are getting more and more common. The cost of equipment is so high that you need to have a lot more land to make the sort of profit to make the paymetns to John Deere. A combine, which is only one piece of equipment needed to grow crops, was selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars back when I got off the farm. Then you need a couple of tractors, wagons, elevators/augers, planters, plows, cultivators.... corporate farms are becoming more common place just because the numbers don't make sense any other way.

#59 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 02:55 PM:

Rural people can come up with some pretty radical solutions to problems when they aren't blinded to the possibilities--utility cooperatives, credit unions and cooperative stores have as much to do with late 19th century farmers' issues with Big Money as they do with smart urban organizers.
There's a scaling issue - see e.g. Ronald Coase - Saul Alinksy say and city people did much the same thing see also e.g. The Hyde Park Coop or the Harvard and Yale Coop for intellectuals in the city acting likewise.
"Community Organizing" was pioneered in Chicago's old stockyards neighborhood by the soberly realistic, unabashedly radical Saul Alinsky, Neighborhoods can do things cities can't. One of the things Saul Alinsky did was empower the back of the yards to do what they wanted not what others thought they should want. It wasn't always what Saul Alinsky thought folks really oughta want. Of course the back of the yards may have had more in common with agriculture than with industry in the day?

grass/forb->
graze/browse?

#60 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 02:56 PM:

My current studies have filled my brain with a thousand pairs of relatively uninteresting antonym pairs (distal/proximal, origin/insertion...) so instead I offer a few favorite medical terms:

Lover's fracture: a fracture of the calcaneus or heel bone, as might be caused by jumping out a 2nd story window

Saturday Night Arm: paralysis of the arm caused by damage to the axillary nerve, as might be caused by passing out in a straight chair with your arm draped over the back, and remaining in that position till morning

Jumping Frenchmen of Maine: an abnormally strong startle reflex common among the Acadians of Maine--I swear to you I am not making this up)

Koro: a culturally-influenced belief that one's penis is retracting into one's body, with fatal results. (Koro is the Southeast Asian name; the same notion is found in China and some parts of Africa. See "penis panic" at Wikipedia.)

#61 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 03:03 PM:

it's a matter of not seeing the need to develop, say, external support systems that kick in when an extended family or church support system cannot.

There were no homeless poeple in the small farm town where I grew up. People were poor, but no one was living under a bridge anywhere. Then again, the cost of living was *way* lower than in a city, so living on minimum wage, you could still probably buy a run down house out in the countryside somewhere. But it does give folks a different perspective on what is needed. Someone who probably would go homeless in a big city would be taken in by family. But in the big city, not everyone has four generations of family within a 15 mile radius to get help from.

Now, the interesting debate would be to put some big city folks and some small town folks in teh same room and ahve them figure out which way is right.

#62 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 03:05 PM:

Lila - you forgot SOCMOB, which is apparently the leading cause of gunshot and knife wounds. (Standing On Corner, Minding Own Business)

#63 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 03:07 PM:

Plenum...ah, I remember when I first realized that Bertrand Russell could be wrong. He claimed that there could be cyclic motion in a plenum. Not so, of course: the friction would be infinite.

#64 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 03:07 PM:

"Saturday Night Arm"

I've heard this referred to as "Drunkard's palsy."

#65 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 03:08 PM:

Lila,

There's also carsonogenous monocular nyctalopia, night-blindness in one eye caused by watching (originally) The Late Show while lying on one's side with one's head half embedded in a pillow. As an earlier host of that show said, "I kid you not"; I first saw this described in the NEJM sometime in the early 70's.

#66 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 03:21 PM:

Michael's point above is well taken and illuminates a lot about how, for example, Hawaiian politics works. Except that we're mostly not white, and mostly not Republican (although, like the old Southern Democrats, many Hawai'i Democrats these days are Republican in all but the name). But even though we're a state of a million-plus people, sometimes it sure feels like a small town here, where it's 2400 miles over the water from the next big city.

Oh, and about the antonyms. I always liked the words which have diametrically opposed definitions, making them their own antonyms:

decimate/decimate
cleave/cleave

etc.

Michael, I come from a place where everyone who mattered knew everyone else who mattered, or at least knew where they fit into the general map of people who mattered. It left me with a profound respect for codified law.

I remember one junior high school assembly when the kid giving the prayer -- we did that back then -- finished by crossing herself. A scattering of kids in the audience crossed themselves as well. Immediately, a murmur went up from the startled Mormon majority: What? I was startled too, for a few seconds, but then I felt embarrassed and stupid. I'd known perfectly well that some of the kids at school were gentiles, but somehow I'd been assuming that prayers would be Mormon. It was a weird moment. I was suddenly aware of this little thing in my head that was saying, But it's ours!: our town, our school, our turf. There are plenty of people back home for whom that's still true.

A few years ago, I was poking around on the web and found sites devoted to denouncing corruption in the Mesa city government. They breathlessly revealed that the city is dominated by good ol' boys, most of whom belong to a much-intermarried clique of old Mormon families. "Well, no kidding," I said to Patrick. "How long did it take them to figure that out?"

Patrick dryly pointed out that the smallish Mormon town I'd grown up in has since ballooned into a large metropolitan area, bigger than both St. Louis and Pittsburgh: real money, real power, real corruption.

And here's what impartial, codified law is for: saving Randy Bailey's brake shop, which the City of Mesa tried to take under eminent domain so it could hand the parcel over to insider Ken Lenhart and his buddies for a private commercial development. That didn't work, though it took some doing to stop it.

People who don't respect democratic institutions suffer from a failure of imagination. They don't understand that the trouble with stepping outside the law is that they're not the only ones who've ever thought of doing it, and that some of the people who've been at it longer than they have are real professionals. It's a tribute to our civil society that they can achieve that state of being comfortably dumb, but I surely do wish they'd pass up the luxury, once in a while.

#68 ::: John Aspinall ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 03:35 PM:

sessile/motile

#69 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 03:51 PM:

Ah, yes, there would be that. In the decades that I've been following the news and gossip in my old home town, not once was there any sort of the mass corruption of power for those in public office. First of all, there just wan't that much money that a shyster would find worth their trouble. I recall at one point the the mayor of our town also happened to be the guy who owned the local diner/greasy spoon, the mayor position being a part time job. But no gossip ever muttered a moment where someone was using their position to grease some wheels and get some kickbacks. Stuff like that would get your car vandalized beyond recognition. Which I suppose is the strength of small town politics. It's generally transparent adn no one can get away with anything without everyone else knowing. It isn't because folks in small towns are better, but that the gossip system is ruthless and there are no secrets.

Of course that's painting with a broad brush. individual results may vary.

#70 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 03:53 PM:

Greg,

I was merely referring to the previous comments, about someone who seems intelligent verses someone who says intelligent things. I have no personal opinion in the matter, because I am not much exposed to American politicians on chat shows.

Teresa,

They are cool antonyms. I'll join Eric and add:
inflammable/inflammable
and, in Dutch, with spoken emphasis indicated,
VOORkomen (occur)/voorKOmen (prevent)

fidelio,

Small towns are also very good, in most cases, at enforcing conformity--you either knuckle under, and learn to at least pretend to fit in, or you get out, or--what happens next depends on how far you're straying from the fold, really....Coping with, let alone embracing differnce and diversity, can seem pretty strange--and uncomfortable.

Yes and no. The tiny town (pop 2337) where I spent some of my childhood had some pretty strange characters, and they were tolerated even when they were unspeakably obnoxious. (Well, up to the point of attempted murder, when the civic patience became a bit strained.) There is space made for fools and madmen in intact communities, in a way that does not happen in the city.

#71 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 04:00 PM:

My favorite antonym: "irrotational."

carsonogenous monocular nyctalopia: I've gotten this. Usual process:
Finish the book.
Turn off the light.
Think I've gone blind in one eye.
Remember the thought process from LAST time this happened.

#72 ::: Kayjay ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 04:03 PM:

Well, apparently the conservatives even need instructions on how to be rude visitors:

"How to Handle an Open Thread on Liberal Blogs"

#73 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 04:03 PM:

ravel/ravel

#74 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 04:09 PM:

Easter is coming. For the past several years, I have been fascinated by pysanky and have tried my hand at it with varying degrees of success. This year I am ambitious and would like to attempt to tesselate an egg with an Escheresque design. Does anyone know where I might find designs, or pointers on how to wrap an Escher tesselation around a 3D object like an egg?

#75 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 04:17 PM:

Re: the toleration of eccentrics by small towns (as long as they're OUR eccentrics)--Tony Hillerman's essay "The Education of Cletus Xywanda" from The Great Taos Bank Robbery is a nice example ("In New York I do not think they would let that man pretend to be a policeman."). The title essay is also a great illustration of the flow of information in a small town ("The police are approximately the last to know.").

#76 ::: Gigi Rose ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 04:21 PM:

leftist fundies
Are those like hard core UU vegans who live in nonair-conditioned houses and ride their bicycles everywhere?
Anyway
The only reason I'm commenting here is to say Happy Birthday to Mike Ford (because I forgot to send him a card, and I know he reads all of this blog.) So Happy Birthday Mike!

#77 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 04:24 PM:

Lila:

Womb fury (17th century medical ailment) makes a nice analogue (perhaps even an antonym pair!) to penis panic.

I'm just sayin'.

#78 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 04:24 PM:

autological/heterological

#79 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 04:28 PM:

Sarah,

"womb fury" more or less = "hysteria"? ("womb sickness" in Greek)

#80 ::: Andy ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 04:37 PM:

cleave/cleave

#81 ::: Joe J ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 04:38 PM:

Oriental/Occidental

#82 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 04:47 PM:

This week's NYT Magazine had a story about small towns/farms in North Dakota. It discusses, among other things, the consolidation of quarter-section farms into several-section farms for various reasons, both demographic and economic.

#83 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 05:03 PM:

Greg, 230 acres of arable land in Lincolnshire, rented from a family who sold the land to the local big farmer, whose father and father-in-law were two of the biggest crooks in the local Black Market during WW2.

Produce prices dropped, costs increased, and there wasn't the land available to expand. Then I fell off a combine harvester and broke my leg.

Currently, it seems you need about a thousand acres to support one man, and land prices in the UK means that would cost about GBP 2.5 million.

While I was winding up the business, still with my leg in plaster, I had a phone call from the Estate Agent, who has left work early for a long weekend, and was calling me on a mobile phone while driving to her holiday cottage in Devon. She charged her full hourly rate for the call, which she bills in 20-minute units.

I hope she was going for a dirty weekend and picked up one of the more persistent venereal diseases.

#84 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 05:04 PM:

In reading the "How to Handle an Open Thread on Liberal Blogs" link, I also followed the How To Be A Good Christian Wife Link.

Point #2 was my personal favorite, but they're all pretty good.

#85 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 05:07 PM:

Kayjay, yes, they do, dmb sns f btchs that they are. But I think Jim jeered at them pretty effectively, not that they'll notice.

Yes indeed, happy 49th birthday to John M. Ford!

#87 ::: Joe J ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 05:19 PM:

I'm trying to figure out if the "Blogging Points" blog is meant to be ironic or what. It seems so over-the-top that I wonder if it's not just a joke on conservative blogs.

Case in point, the Bush quote at the top of the page: “Our nation must come together to unite.” That's a real absurd Bushism. Of course, for things to unite they must come together. That's like saying we must inhale to breathe. And considering the content of the blog, unity seems to be the last thing that the writer is interested in achieving.

Though, it is just crazy enough to be real, as frightening as that may be.

#88 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 05:28 PM:

Joe J wrote:

I'm trying to figure out if the "Blogging Points" blog is meant to be ironic or what.

Yeah, I was wondering about that myself.

Also, it occurs to me that my previous post might be taken in the wrong spirit if you don't know anything about my wife

#89 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 05:38 PM:

I'm putting my money on "satire" because while the Pharisees want their wives to behave that way they're too canny to say it out loud.

#90 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 05:46 PM:

Scott H, you're her husband? Wow, I'm impressed. Tell her I said "Jai Ma, jagatambe je je Ma," would you?

And I think the "How to be a good Christian wife" post makes it clear that the whole blog is satirical.

Happy Birthday, Mike! And many, many more.

#91 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 05:51 PM:

I'm trying to figure out if the "Blogging Points" blog is meant to be ironic or what.

I found my answer to that one here: last line, item 1, on how to be a good christian wife:

"ALWAYS serve fresh orange juice. Only whores use frozen."

I mean... come on. I laughed out loud.

No apologies if it turns out to be satire. Where's the art in writing something that's indistinguishable from a lackluster lower-tier right-wing weblog?

#93 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 06:00 PM:

With reference to 'incorporating [...] knitting', here are some of the most beautiful knitted animals that I've ever seen: http://www.fadeeva.com/animals.html

#94 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 06:03 PM:

Where's the art in writing something that's indistinguishable from a lackluster lower-tier right-wing weblog?

Well, but... in my mind it is distinguishable. But hell, I could be wrong. It just seems like the kind of satire you get from somebody who is really good at adopting a particular character, to me. Somebody who has that character in his/her blood.

#95 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 06:03 PM:

I can't tell if BloggingPoints is satire or not.

If it isn't, it's ood.

If it is I can't decide if I think it swell (a la JC General) or ham-handed and inept (which is the lot of most satire. JC is ham-handed, but enough over the top that it plays well).

TK

#96 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 06:36 PM:

Happy birthday Mike, from all of us in my household. (100% of us happen to be fans.)

Michael, I have every respect for your ear, but what's the use of satire that makes no especial point, and will be undetectable to the great majority of its readers?

#98 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 07:05 PM:

Michael, I have every respect for your ear, but what's the use of satire that makes no especial point, and will be undetectable to the great majority of its readers?

My ear is more or less tuned to writing that is meant to be performed. There are always great spaces left between the words when you are writing for performance. Those spaces are left for the performers to find their characters in, of course, and if you are writing for performers and not leaving those spaces, the actual work, when performed, is going to be dull and wordy. The flip side of that, of course, is that when you are just reading "performance writing" on the page, the exact intention of the writer is a good deal harder to pin down.

Now, I'm not saying the writing in question is some sort of "performance piece", but I think my innate response when I encounter stuff like it is to imagine it being performed. And when I do that, it seems abundantly obvious to me that it's a goof. Probably written by somebody who grew up with these sorts of characters and has their voices, as I said before, in his or her blood. I really have no doubt whatsoever that this writer actually heard somebody say once: "Only whores serve frozen orange juice."

But as you will have noted, I'm bringing a lot to that table. Everybody does the same, of course. Bring something to that table, I mean. My covered dish happens to be Playwright Ears au Gratin. Like I said, I could be wrong, but that's the way I hear it.

My guess is that this writer is probably a born playwright. Whether he or she knows that yet is a question I can't answer.

#99 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 07:19 PM:

Completely unconnected to the rest of the thread - I have just posted my first "PA are bad news. Run away. Here is where to go to find out why not to sign the contract. Here is where to go for advice if you have already signed the contract." (Referencing "Follow the money" amongst other sources.)

Now biting my nails wondering what sort of reaction I'm going to get...

#100 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 07:51 PM:

Loop-in-loop chain is wire work, you don't knit it. (I do have a friend who crochets in fine silver.) You don't usually make the links oval, and if you have any combination of four rings (3-in-one, two-in-two, etc.) you don't need to solder the rings, you have enough support already.

Protected static, there are loop-maker-and-cutter machines. Most of my friends who do maille use those.

#101 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 08:02 PM:

Where's the art in writing something that's indistinguishable from a lackluster lower-tier right-wing weblog?

Damn, that's more or less what I've been trying to say in successive posts on Open Thread 62. I guess there's a reason why you're an editor, Teresa. :)

#102 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 08:21 PM:

Marilee: Protected static, there are loop-maker-and-cutter machines. Most of my friends who do maille use those.

Typically, they're too big for jewelery-scale work. At least, that's always been my experience. And the ones that are scaled for jewelery work don't anticipate you making quite the quantity of rings that loop-in-loop requires.

I think in large part it depends on the gauge of wire being used. I cringed at your "you don't need to solder the rings" - until I remembered making a Byzantine chain w/ 16-ga. brass wire. Butted links are indeed fine in such a case.

When making 'woven' chain, you're using 22-ga. or 24-ga. wire; I'm not sure how well that'd stand up to the drawplate if it was only butted.

#103 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 08:26 PM:

I've been seeing 'maille' a lot lately; where did that come from, anyone know? It makes me teeth itch when applied to armor, but it just might be a specific term of art for jewelry making...

#104 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 08:50 PM:

Graydon, "maille" is French for, um, lots of things: rings in chainmail, stitches in knitting, holes in bobbin lace and fishing nets, and probably other sorts of things too. IYDMMA, why does it make your teeth itch?

#105 ::: Kate Yule ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 08:59 PM:

I'm repeatedly hearing newscasters refer to the proposed federal immigration legislation as "seeking to criminalize undocumented workers" or as "something that would criminalize people who are here illegally".

Isn't that redundant, verging on gibberish? There are lots of points to argue on the immigration question (though I think it's a massive distraction from Iraq and Bush's own self-criminalization) -- but surely we're all agreed that right now, being here as an illegal alien is, er, illegal?

#106 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 09:17 PM:

Kate Yule - It isn't so much whether being an illegal alien is, er, illegal, but rather the degree.

The GOP would like to make it a felony. Or at least the GOP leadership would like a certain subset of their base to believe that harsh criminal penalties for illegals are a core GOP position.

Personally, I believe that there's little stomach for this, since the House bill, as passed, would also make the farmers that hire them felons.

#107 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 09:18 PM:

Harry Connolly: The browser's looking at 'history' and seeing that you hit the thread at some time in the past. You can clear the history and have all the posts look brand new, but if you come back without clearing it first, they'll all look visited.

Eric Sadoyama: I'd suggest treating the egg as a distorted sphere, but I still don't know whether it would work for translation of a 2-d Escher to a solid. (I usually use watercolor for decorating blown eggs.)

And on the subject of farming and the cost of equipment: many farmers hire a contract harvest crew; that way they keep the expenses down and don't have to have people and equipment they don't usually need. The tractor (which runs in the high 5 figures, last I heard) is a different story: it's used fairly frequently, so they'll buy that, and the basic tools needed (a roll-over plow, a disk harrow, that sort of tool).

#108 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 09:35 PM:

Kate: Right now it's a civil violation. The new legislation would make it criminal. The effect of that would be to make a total bar to any future hope of legal entry.

TexAnne: It makes his teeth itch because english has a perfectly good word for maille, it's mail.

It irritates me too. Almost as much as those who pronounce cache as caché

#109 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 09:45 PM:

Well, I'm ok with caché as a pronunciation if you mean the social accolade transfer thingy; if you're talking about the 8MB caché on a hard drive, I'm going to go mildly cross-eyed.

And yes, the English word for armor made of little rings linked together is mail; it got borrowed from the common root back when people might well know what you meant by lorica hamata, for pity's sake, and then generalized to mean armor of all sorts in a lot of contexts. This pseudo-gothy extra syllable strikes me as a symptom of the same process that makes all the really sexy vampires Anciene Regime French for no really obvious reason.

#110 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 09:51 PM:

Actually it gets used to describe "cachés" of weapons, explosives, even foodstuffs.

People who don't mispronounce it when they refer to a RAM cache will give briefings were they use the wrong pronunciation.

Worse, they will try to correct me into making such a wrong pronunciation.

#111 ::: gaukler ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 09:54 PM:

Maille make my teeth itch, too. I suspect it is popular because of D and D, bad fantasy of all sorts, and because it can be found using a search engine. Searching for "mail" on an armour website or search engine finds lots of things that aren't linked armour
mark

#112 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 09:58 PM:

Happy birthday to John M. Ford and Colonel Potter....

#113 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 10:23 PM:

Well, I'm ok with caché as a pronunciation if you mean the social accolade transfer thingy

Which word is spelled "cachet."

Though the idea of designer CPUs with "two full meg of cachet" is something I'm surprised hasn't occurred to somebody in marketing. Maybe it has, but the geeks asked to come up with an implementation wiped all his personalware, put a "possession of four tons of pseudoephedrine" flag on his record, and then let events follow like virtual dominoes.

The immigration thing? The GOP is trying to drum up a big set of fake issues, in hopes that during the next national elections we'll all talk about those, instead of how badly the Republicans have screwed up. There's no way the Republicans, the party of cheap labor, are going to throw eleven million immigrant workers out of the country.

#115 ::: A. J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 10:32 PM:

A question, if any who knows would be so good as to answer it. I'm preparing a pseudonymous chapbook for a specific audience, and I've heard it said many times here and in other fora (usually, while the sins of Pblshmrca are being recounted -- and no, I don't know why I disemvowelled that, but I've read all the threads here on the topic and usually the word is de-searchified, so I will assume, sheeplike, that there must be a good reason for it) that a major problem with most non-professionally-printed books is that they're typeset badly.

I know about widows and orphans, single spaces after periods, and the use of real em dashes and smart quotes. What greater subtleties of the art of typesetting should I become aware of?

What sets apart a word-processing font from a typesetting font? I don't presently know the names of any good typesetting fonts, as such, and I'm wondering if anyone here would be willing to enlighten me.

Thanks for the help!

#116 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 10:34 PM:

But "maille" and "mail" aren't the same. Mail is made up of lots of little mailles. "Maille" is properly pronounced something like "Maya," only without the final "a," as in "Myyyyyy...this is getting complicated."

(And of course we all know that "Maille" is a particularly delicious moût-ardent de Dijon.)

#117 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 10:45 PM:

A combine, which is only one piece of equipment needed to grow crops, was selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars back when I got off the farm.

Dave -- does the UK not have hobo combines? I've read that in the US there are many people who follow the harvest north not by begging rides but on their specialized equipment, and make good money in doing so; I would have expected enough climate difference between, say, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire to make this worthwhile -- or are the crops too different?

TNH: Did More actually say the famous line (re laws and the devil) attributed to him in A Man for All Seasons, or is that as much the playwright's imagination as "It's 1183 and we're all barbarians!"? Seems to me that a lot of people need the Bolton text drilled into them.

Debra Doyle: are rural U.S. people closer to the participants in this blog, or to Milosevic partisans? I'll admit that's not an entirely fair comparison -- today's Globe has a story that South Dakota's citizens are rather less reactionary than the legislature apparently thought -- but there's some of the same credulity when presented with "The bad man over there wants to hurt you but I can protect you."

#118 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 11:19 PM:

Stefan Jones: No shittin': There was once a breed of dogs employed by restaurants to run in big wheels to turn spits.

'Coz if they did, it'd be a health violation.

--

Re: caché, I had a (truly abysmal) high school French teacher who would rant at this by proclaiming "Parkez cette Chevrolet coupé chez Pelham Bay Parkway!"

When I see Army guys on the TV saying "caché" I figure that they're just trying to show off and use a word they've never heard pronounced. Or perhaps it's become like "nook-you-ler". Shudder.

#119 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 11:50 PM:

A Very Happy Birthday to Mike Ford, from your co-celebrationist. (Coincidentally the reprint of The Dragon Waiting was high on my wish-list, but as I haven't opened presents yet, I don't know whether I achieved that synchronicity.)

#120 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 11:54 PM:

I know about widows and orphans, single spaces after periods, and the use of real em dashes and smart quotes. What greater subtleties of the art of typesetting should I become aware of?

I would recommend picking up a copy of Robert Bringhurst's The Elements of Typographic Style. It's a great pleasure to read, and your best one-volume guide to the subject.

What sets apart a word-processing font from a typesetting font?

A font suitable for typesetting has a lot more glyphs, including text figures and real small caps.

#121 ::: Electric Landlady ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2006, 11:54 PM:

"Parkez cette Chevrolet coupé chez Pelham Bay Parkway!"

Nothing wrong with that. At my last job you would occasionally hear "Checkez le bug fucké!" out of the developers. Only in Montreal.

I ranted about the cache/caché/cachet thing not too long ago. I'm seeing "caché" as a typo for "cachet" more and more, and it drives me nuts. Also "latté" for "latte" which is just wrong and bad on so many levels.

#122 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 12:24 AM:

Electric Landlady: I didn't use the accent as a typo, I did it to point out that the Army mispronounces the word.

And it drives me up the wall. I've beaten it into the heads of a few of my fellows, but it is becoming either jargon, or a term of art.

Ghleahhhh!

#123 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 01:19 AM:

Curse you, Yog. :-) After looking up the "Follow the money" post,I went and read through the whole of the comments thread, and found a new toy to displace my Amazon rankings addiction. I really didn't need to learn how to phone Ingram's computer and get a statement of how many copies they've shipped of my book...

#124 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 01:23 AM:

Produce prices dropped, costs increased, and there wasn't the land available to expand.

Dave, my dad had to sell off all the equipment and livestock. He did manage to keep the land, but with nothing to farm it with, he eneded up renting it out.

Then I fell off a combine harvester and broke my leg.

ouch, that can be a long fall. I've fallen down hay chutes, had bales fall on me, nearly crushed by spooked cattle, kicked, thrown, and had some close calls with big iron and hydraulics, but never broke any bones. I have no idea how I managed that when I think of all the stuff that happened when I was growing up. I do have a number of scars that my wife has asked how I got and all I can say is "dunno, probably some time between 6 and 16."

#125 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 01:26 AM:

it seems you need about a thousand acres to support one man, and land prices in the UK means that would cost about GBP 2.5 million.

yep, both sound about right for the US, too. In a hundred years (if not sooner), farm states like South Dakota will have all its farming land owned by a handful of corporations, and the rest will be suburbs and city.

#126 ::: Kate Yule ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 01:40 AM:

Terry K: Ah. Civil violation vs. criminal. OK, I can see that. Trying to find clarification on this point online ("Is it a crime to be here 'illegally'?") has been frustrating. Most sites will just refer to there being "limits" or "bans" on immigration, which doesn't answer the question, while more technical sites provide a DELUGE of forms/laws/procedures/visas/exceptions & on & on.

#127 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 02:21 AM:

Sigh. Land that can support a family off a thousand acres.

My sister and brother-in-law had to get off the latter's family farm (five generations, on his mother's side) four years ago when he contracted Ross River virus.

Nobody in either family was willing to work the property - for excellent reasons: it was grinding, killing hard work for practically no reward. It was clear that their children would sell the place in a heartbeat anyway. As for paying a manager to work it, ha, it is to laugh (but not very hard).Pay wages in, you know, actual money? In what Universe have you been living lately?

So they sold up and moved to what counts as a city here, and Francis spends his time fiddling with old engines in the back shed and volunteering for the local sea rescue, because it gets him out of the house, and he always liked boats. He doesn't do too well indoors, you see.

And that was 5540 acres in some of the best farming country in the Great Southern, the mixed farming region of the south-west. It wasn't big enough to be viable.

#128 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 02:43 AM:

5000 acres and it wasn't farmable? Where was this? The Great Southern is a what?

#129 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 03:09 AM:

P J Evans: I'd suggest treating the egg as a distorted sphere, but I still don't know whether it would work for translation of a 2-d Escher to a solid. (I usually use watercolor for decorating blown eggs.)

That sounds like a good idea. Thanks! I did a little googling and the following URLs seem to have promising ideas:

Now if I can just figure out how to tessellate an egg with alternating bunnies and chicks...

#130 ::: Jonathan Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 03:13 AM:

I can't find confirmation of this anywhere, but I believe the dogs that turn the spit were called "tournebroches" in French. There's an actual breed, whose English name just won't come when I call it.

#131 ::: Lois Aleta Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 03:23 AM:

progress/Congress

Terry Karney: but pronouncing it that way gives it that certain cachet.

And to change the topic: Teresa, a while back -- a year or so -- you mentioned a pattern for knitting scarves in a Moebius strip. I finally over my trepidations and got around to trying one, and it was a lot of fun! The circular needles get alarmingly twisted around, and only untwist when you're binding off. I just did a garter stitch, nothing fancy, though I used a fancy yarn (chenille, which was really soft to work with, and warm to wear). I really am thinking about doing some for Christmas presents.

#132 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 03:26 AM:

Greg, I didn't say it wasn't farmable. I said it wasn't big enough to be viable, by which I meant that it did not return a real income sufficient to pay a farmer to support a family.

If both my sister and her husband worked on it - him about 70 hours a week - and if she also worked part-time as a teacher in the local school, and if nothing went wrong, such as the aforementioned Ross River virus, they got by. If not, not.

And before anyone asks, Francis was as good a farmer as you could find. He was vitally concerned with the health, as well as the productivity, of his land, he was innovative and continually seeking to improve, not to mention how hard he worked for forty-odd years. He got top dollar for the farm when he sold it. The buyer paid a premium for what the prospectus rightly called "a very well-managed property".

The Great Southern is, roughly, the south-western corner of Western Australia, between the 20-inch and 40-inch isohyet. (The area between the 10 and 20-inch isohyet is considered "Wheatbelt"). The Great Southern is mixed farming country. It is going in two directions: amalgamation of family farms into very large agribusinesses, some of them co-operatives, many not; and some proliferation of hobby farms and specialised niche operations that only rarely pay their way. Most of the smaller towns are visibly dying. Young people, especially young women, are leaving. There's nothing for them.

It's what we pay for an almost completely unprotected agriculture. And by that I don't mean overseas free trade while engaging in clever tricks like heavily subsidising domestic production of corn so you can raise pigs cheap so you can sell pork overseas cheap cheap cheap, no protection here, oh dear me no, and I'm lookin' at you, Canada.

Oh, yes, and somebody's going to tell me about the AWB single-desk scandal about selling wheat to Iraq and kicking back part of the price to Saddam. Yep, it happened. Yep, it's a scandal. Yep, the Australian Minister for Trade and the Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister, the weasel-in-chief hisself the Dishonourable John Howard, are all of them going to get themselves covered in manure in the formal enquiry that's going on, because the Judge is a real judge and not a politician. But it's still a scandal. What it points to is that this furphy about a level playing field and free trade is just a furphy.

But if it's just a furphy, why is my brother-in-law - a man whom I deeply respect and very much like - eating his heart out on a suburban block?

#133 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 05:33 AM:

Our dog Liath is a Glen of Imaal terrier, a breed which has only come to the attention of show-dog breeders fairly recently and retains "antique" terrier features. Many web-pages describing the history of the breed state that they were used to turn spits and butter-churns using dog-wheels, but I don't know what the original source for this factoid is.

#134 ::: antukin ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 06:50 AM:

I've been reading jonathan carroll's blog and I'd like to start reading his books. they're not widely available here, so I'll have to order them, so I'll have to be selective. can anyone please give me suggestions on which book/s to begin with? chronological is always an option, but maybe those who have read the books have better ideas.

thanks :)

#135 ::: Jen Birren ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 06:50 AM:

"caché" for "cachet", "latté" for "latte"

I saw a café yesterday (not a caff, it was trying to be upmarket) called "Lé Joint". I didn't go in...

#136 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 08:40 AM:

Random query:

Does anyone here know much about the effects of keeping paper close to freshly plastered walls? I have a few in my house at the moment, and an art print that was hanging on one of them (plastered approximately one week ago) recently began showing slight wrinkles... on taking it down, the wrinkles have ceased showing up, but I'm a little worried about (a) how long it will be before I can put it back up safely, and (b) whether a similar effect will happen to the books I plan to place on a shelf on the next wall along. Anyone with any experience here?

#137 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 08:40 AM:

As long as we're talking about bad French that makes our teeth itch, how about the various misspellings of "voilà"? Starting with "wallah" and "viola." Last week I got an email in which the person triumphantly wrote, "And VEE-OH-LA, it's finished!"

#138 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 08:59 AM:

Yeah "viola" for "voila" is heenious.

#139 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 09:12 AM:

French to make me squirm

Served with "au jus" (I recall seeing a menu once which made me happy in the opposite way, "Served with jus, but it was so singular an event as to be memorable more than a decade later)

I know there are others, but it's early here and they escape recollection.

#140 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 09:29 AM:

Greg, I didn't say it wasn't farmable. I said it wasn't big enough to be viable,

Ah, got it. Thanks.

#141 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 09:33 AM:

Teresa: The immigration issue, for the Republicans has two functions:

(1) Bring out the base -- using the 'cultural vulnerability' argument to bring out the angry affluent white suburban vote -- to vote the Republicans back in in November. 2008 will have to take care of itself.

(2) To drive a wedge into the Democratic base by trying to alienate the mass of black voters from the (mostly) white liberals who are outraged by what is, after all, anti-Hispanic racism disguised as concern for natural security. Black Americans view immigration, particularly Hispanic immigration, with a great deal of suspicion and alienating them from the Democrats will provide something of a gain to the Republicans.

#142 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 11:33 AM:

A. J. Luxton, if you're designing your chapbook with desktop publishing software, you might consider visiting the Fontsite, which provides advice on typography and other DTP issues.

Perhaps the first issue you need to resolve (if you haven't done so already) is whether you want to draw attention to the meaning of your words, or instead to how the words look on the page. If you're focusing on the former, then you'll likely want your type and page layout to be as unobtrusive and readable as possible.

Also, if you're having the chapbook printed by a commercial company, be sure to ask them for their prepress requirements. These may influence your choice of software and other design-related decisions.

#143 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 12:50 PM:

Jules, I would say, based on my own very limited experience with plaster patching, that as long as the plaster is warm, it's still curing--that is, drying out. Once it's cool to the touch you should be OK. How long this takes will depend on the plaster mix and your local humidity.

You could also try putting a plain piece of paper on the wall every other day or so, and see what happens to it.

#144 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 02:12 PM:

For what it's worth, the "how to take over an open thread" piece at bloggingpoints looked like actual conservative writing to me, while the "how to be a Christian wife" looked like satire.

At what size does a small town stop being a single community?

#145 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 02:12 PM:

When making 'woven' chain, you're using 22-ga. or 24-ga. wire; I'm not sure how well that'd stand up to the drawplate if it was only butted.

[suddenly realizing that many jewelry terms sound... um... a mite racy] Wouldn't that be affected by whether the wire was hard, half-hard, or soft?

This page has patterns for many different weaves. They look non-soldered, to my eye, at least down to the "Not-Strictly-Maille Weaves" heading.

#146 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 02:43 PM:

Rats. I posted to the wrong thread before.

Happy Information Day!

#147 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 02:49 PM:

Lexica: yup, he says, exerting enough self-control to ignore the hardness-related double entendres, those look like they're all butted links - and they're almost all quite stout, ranging from 14 ga. down to 18 ga., maybe 20 ga. at the absolute smallest. The links are also of a fairly large internal diameter (ID). The technique to which TNH originally linked is more appropriate for the 2nd "not-strictly-maille" heading; they can be done with heavier gauges, but they won't be as fine. From the bit on making metal foxtail:

You'll use rings with seemingly-absurd proportions for this weave. Try 20 gauge 7/16" ID for starting out. 24 gauge 5/16" ID should also work, if you have tools small enough to form it. Onward...

I love the rubber o-ring foxtail chain on that page, btw. I think I see a weekend project there...

#148 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 02:56 PM:

The alt.syntax.tactical particle is long, but if there's one section of it that everyone should read, its the one at this URI reference in the article, i.e. the section labeled "The alt.syntax.tactical FAQ - Know your opponents".

There is a common misperception that Internet trolls are lone wolf operators. They're not. I suspect this misperception is the result of deliberate efforts to disinform. They're very social critters, and they work in teams. They go to great lengths to set up their own incentive systems for competition. This has been going on since the early days of Usenet, and it's never diminished with the introduction of newer group messaging tech. These people are motivated by a strong desire to shut other people up, just to prove they can do it.

They're not stupid. They're sociopathic. In some ways, they are like the opposite of our hosts and many of their regular readers. Where we love language and enjoy creative writing, they take the other path: they hate language and revel in the destruction they can produce with it. Seriously, you knew there were people like that, right?

#149 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 02:56 PM:

How about forte, as in "Beating people up is not my forte"? People WILL pronounce that forté, as if it were the Italian/musical term. Nope. It's an English word now, and it's pronounced fort. I think it's from French (which wouldn't pronounce the final e without an accent mark), but I speak without access to a dictionary.

#150 ::: Carl Caputo ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 03:14 PM:

antukin, I'd recommend Land of Laughs, which is chronologically first, represents Carroll's writing well, and is independent of the two loose sequences his other books mostly fall into. That said, my favorite of his works is Kissing the Beehive. It's the least supernaturally affected of his novels, making it somewhat less represenative, but I love it most.

I'm curious to see others' recommendations, though.

#151 ::: Ceri ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 04:08 PM:

Xopher -- My dictionary has the same pronunciation for forte in both the personal strength and the musical definitions, with both ending in an "ei" sound. I've never heard it pronounced "fort". (Though it's odd, as the derivation is apparently from the french "fort" which doesn't have a final é sound.) A local variation, maybe? The dictionary I'm using is the Canadian Oxford.

#152 ::: dave ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 04:17 PM:

Xopher:

How about forte, as in "Beating people up is not my forte"? People WILL pronounce that forté, as if it were the Italian/musical term. Nope. It's an English word now, and it's pronounced fort.

That's pretty ambiguous, though. It seems as it Fort-ay is a legitimate pronounciation. See:

#153 ::: dave ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 04:26 PM:

incidentally (as this is an open thread), whenever I post my domain name (dias poir.net), I get banned for questionable content. Was I offensive beyond being dsmvwld or am I just getting splashback from some larger block?

#154 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 04:33 PM:

Maybe someone thinks the "poir,n" part is trying to get away with saying "porn?"

#155 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 04:45 PM:

CHip, the large-scale grain-growing area in the UK is only a few hundred miles, north to south. Plus we have an essentially maritime climate, which means a harvest can be hit with rain. So, while there was some difference between north and south, when the weather is right everyone wants a combine harvester.

Add in the size of the machines and the structure of the English rural road network. Chesterton wasn't exaggerating much.

Field sizes come into it to. Around where I farmed, 40 acres was a big field, which is about two furlongs square (or 20 chains), but if everything went right you could be dealing with 160 tonnes of wheat, and most farms had to provide their own storage.

How much of that 160 tonnes of wheat only ever existed in the local pub, I sometimes wonder, but that was ther sort of yield level that was being claimed as both necessary and attainable.

So, 4000 tonnes of wheat per farm worker. How many loaves of bread does that make? I don't know for sure but I suspect 2000 loaves per tonne of wheat, costing 50 pence in the shops (which may be a little low) is going to mean that the housewives of Britain pay GBP 4 million to support one farmer. And over 90% of that money doesn't even pass through the farm accounts, even with the subsidies.

It doesn't help that we rented the land, and a mortgage on the whole farm never seemed to make long-term sense. Land prices in the UK tend to be driven by people who have what I understand is called better gearing. If you already own land, it can generate income (and provide security) which helps pay for the new land.

And sometimes I think that maybe I wasn't that good a farmer, maybe I wasn't willing to make a gamble. Maybe I should have cynically exploited the advantage I had of a long-term tenancy, bought the farm cheap, and then sold the land with vacant possession.

But that feels more like being a property speculator then being a farmer, somehow not quite honest.

Which leaves me wondering what would happen if you were the last real farmer in a district and the magical power of The Land was real. Can a corporation be a magical person as well as a person in law?

I have this image of a cross between The Archers, Oh My Goddess!, and Shrek waking up to find all the fairy-tale refugees in his swamp.

But I feel almost too bitter to do that sort of comedy.

#157 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 05:05 PM:

Cyberpunk Hornblower...

I shall merely observe that Mr. Midshipman Easy is out of copyright.

#158 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 05:21 PM:

Quoth Graydon:
I've been seeing 'maille' a lot lately; where did that come from, anyone know? It makes me teeth itch when applied to armor, but it just might be a specific term of art for jewelry making...

Susan's Scale Of Craftsperson Pretentiousness:

"chainmail" - I just make the stuff, and I use the term everyone knows. Wanna buy some?

"mail" - I am well-educated, and I want to make sure everyone knows that. May I correct your usage?

"maille" - (1) I am an exotic person, heir to a mystical artistic tradition dating all the way back to Camelot and the ancient druids of Avalon. (2) I am no fool. Lots of people pay more money for things that look foreign and/or romantic and exotic. Wanna buy some?

(For the record: chainmail-maker since 1986. Wanna buy some?)

#159 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 05:33 PM:

(Though in the Great Long Ago of role-playing, I devised a suit of armor that was quite effective against bladed weapons, but messed the wearer up badly when struck by a blunt instrument. It was known, naturally, as Fourth Class Mail.)

#160 ::: Jonathan Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 06:10 PM:

On forte: The received pronunciation in Australia is two-syllabled. I'd always thought it came from the Italian/musical usage. I remember being surprised a couple of years ago when I heard Madeleine Albright (I think) on the radio repeatedly pronounce it as a one-syllable word. After initially thinking she must be an autodidact, I realised it must be another of those US-British Commonwealth differences

#161 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 06:53 PM:

Re PA: "This KoolAid tastes yummy, and I'm going to keep drinking it, and other people should drink it too." But a very sweet, nice, polite version of same. Could have been much worse, and the links are there for others to follow.

#162 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 07:08 PM:

protected static, most of my friends use this jump ringer. They seem to be happy with it.

Graydon, I think most of the people I know who say "maille" do so because either they think it's romantic, or they want to sound romantic.

Lexica, drawing a chain makes it harder, so every so often, you need to heat it up again so you can keep drawing it.

And I do sometimes "knit" chain, but I do it with a knitting knobby and usually put beads in, so I don't draw those.

#163 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 08:57 PM:

My understanding is that 'forte' should be one syllable, being French, but the mispronunciation seems to be taking over.

Real typographic fonts have lots of ligatures; that is, pairs of letters tied together as one character, including usually fi, fl, and ft (which the screen font just turned into ligatures). There are lots of others that can be found for those who are really interested in obscure information.

#164 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 11:08 PM:

Old usage: "forte'" means "loud", while "forte" means "strong" (i.e. the part of a sword blade near the hilt) or "strength". But that's being widely supplanted; the reservation phone# for UK hotel chain Trusthouse Forte was xxx 40 40 40.

#165 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 11:14 PM:

Marilee: I drool every time I see that tool... but I'm not in production mode, so I can't really justify the expense. Until then, I'm making do with mild steel rods and my jeweler's saw. They're okay for short runs, but larger projects get tedious quickly.

#166 ::: Mark DF ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 11:17 PM:

Ha! I've found one. Now to put my new fangled blogging skills to work...

Look at this nest of evil leeberials! Trash-talking our President whom Jesus has saved. If it wasn't for illegal workers, we'd still be starving in Oklahoma and such places cause everyone knows it's high wages and benefits that caused all that wind and dust. Wait a second...is that FRENCH!!!! You people know FRENCH!!! It's worse here than I thought. The high falutin' antynyms was bad enough, but right thinking people don't hold with French.

#167 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2006, 11:23 PM:

Mike:

Once upon a time, the Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory at Wright-Patterson AFB wanted to know what sort of stresses boxes that got sent through the US Post Office were subjected to. So, they instrumented up a box with accelerometers inside, and sent it through the mail. It arrived with all the accelerometers in it broken, the stressed put on the box exceeded the limits of the accelerometers.

They then took another box, and put in accelerometers with higher ratings... turned out there was a 9 gee drop going on in Chicago....

Source--some people at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, I think it was people at the Materials Lab Surface Science section who told me.

#168 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 12:12 AM:

RE: wheat:

in Utah, A total of 8.94 million bushels were produced from 176,000 planted acres in 1999, with a production value of about $23.2 million. An average yield of 52.6 bushels per acre was produced in 1999. Wheat prices peaked at$3.50 a bushel.

That works out to $184 an acre. whoo hoo. this study states that the production cost of wheat was$96. Which means a profit of around $90 an acre. (which explains why thousand acre farms are so common.) this says a modern combine can harvest 1000 bushels of wheat in an hour. (which works out to about 20 acres an hour) (therefore, a finite harvest period limits just how much one combine can effectively cover) The same site also says One bushel of wheat yields enough flour for 73 one-pound loaves of white bread. that each loaf of bread sold contains about five cents worth of wheat. and that one 60 pound bushel of wheat provides about 42 pounds of flour. Between 60 and 63 million acres of wheat are harvested each year in the United States, more than 100,000 square miles, an area 10 times the size of the state of Vermont, twice as big as all the New England States, or one-third the size of the state of Texas. #169 ::: Mark DF ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 12:23 AM: Subject change: I'm researching how to a) register a domain name and b) publish a website. And my eyes are spinning around in my head. All I want to do is have a multi-page author site with a blog. Any advice or can anyone direct me to a good site for very basic info for a newbie? (I checked out webhostingtalk.com but it's really not geared for someone with my rudimentary knowledge). Also, opinions please: Many webhosts offer free blog software. Is it better to go with a link to livejournal or eblogger? Will the possibility of traffic go up using those? Or is it irrelevant? Signed, Clueless in Cyberspace #170 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 12:47 AM: I registered my URL's through "godaddy" dot com. It was fairly cheap, and if you wanted spend some extra cash, you can get non-public contact information. (when you usually register, you are required to provide a physical mail address. Most people don't want the world knowing where they live, so they rent a PO box. anon registration means that a front is provided for you. I currently host my site on site5 dot com. pretty cheap. pretty flexible. I dont have a blog, though, but I'm pretty sure they offer tools to support a blog. #171 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 01:35 AM: Mark DF: going w/ one of the blogging solutions and the free hosting they provide (ie. blogger/blogspot dot com, livejournal dot com, or wordpress dot com) will have zero effect on traffic. So far, I'm pretty happy with dreamhost dot com for a project I've been working on. The price seems right, the bandwidth they provide is more than generous, their domain registration fee is pretty reasonable (they include one domain registration free when you sign up for one of their hosting plans), they support WordPress, and they toss in a bunch of other goodies if you aren't too faint of heart. A strike against them for a novice: their site management tools aren't quite as user-friendly as some other hosts. Another strike against them is that they don't anonymize your WHOIS/contact records like godaddy or some of the other registrars will. #172 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 01:40 AM: Dave: speaking as one who bakes, a 1lb. loaf of bread has a fair bit less than a lb. of flour, on average the total weight of the loaf is about half water (even after baking) so that ton of wheat is making not less than 4,000 loaves of flour (soft white bread, as made by factory bakeries tend to be more water than homemade). #173 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 02:36 AM: Paula, back before I got hired full-time as a letter carrier, I worked several temporary stints as a mail handler at the old main Postal Service building in Phoenix. Part of the job involved taking the unsorted parcels coming down the conveyor belts and tossing them appropriately into one or another of a large number of whelled canvas tubs set up by the conveyors. The difference in how to handle regular parcels and "Fragile" parcels was very simple: Regular parcels were tossed into the tubs overhand. Parcels marked "Fragile" were tossed underhand. #174 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 09:34 AM: It's been a while since this blog has seen something "Baby Got Back" related, so I figured I would share this acoustic folk (with banjo) cover version. I mean, I gotta share this stuff with somebody...it might as well be you. #175 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 11:37 AM: Bottle cap pincushions by my friend Jen, plus instructions on making them yourself. Cool. #176 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 11:58 AM: Gak! It's remarkably hard to catch up with an Open Thread right after reading "Blog". #177 ::: OG ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 12:18 PM: MarkDF: I've been a DreamHost customer for a little over a year and have been pleased so far. I'm currently moving a business site there after some serious account issues with one of the better-known hosting companies. Wordpress is a one-click install at DreamHost. Setting up email addresses isn't the most user friendly interface around, but it's workable. IMHO, one of the best things about them is that they include shell access even with the cheap plans. Even if you don't know what to do with a shell, it will make life so much easier if you need to get a techie friend to come in and help. There are some things that can only be done via the shell and no guarantee that the support staff will be able to do them for you. Something else to keep in mind is that the blogging hosts tend to limit what you can do to customize your site. Having your own space gives you much more flexibility there. Everyone who's been dealing with hosting companies for long will have one or two they happily recommend and several they'll tell you to stay away from, and the lists will all contradict each other. Good luck in your search for the right fit for you. #178 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 12:19 PM: As far as "Forte" (the part of the sword near the hilt) I don't have an intuitive feel for how to pronounce it. Attaque, parade*, riposte = French. Quarte, Sixte, Septime, Octave = Italian. Forte = ??? *pah-ROD. "Step back and parry", roughly. I grew up with "not my For-TAY". M-W.com says: usage In forte we have a word derived from French that in its "strong point" sense has no entirely satisfactory pronunciation. Usage writers have denigrated \'for-"tA\ and \'for-tE\ because they reflect the influence of the Italian-derived 2forte. Their recommended pronunciation \'fort\, however, does not exactly reflect French either: the French would write the word le fort and would rhyme it with English for. So you can take your choice, knowing that someone somewhere will dislike whichever variant you choose. All are standard, however. In British English \'fo-"tA\ and \'fot\ predominate; \'for-"tA\ and \for-'tA\ are probably the most frequent pronunciations in American English. On packages and G-forces: There was an issue at one of my jobs, before I got there. We were dealing with some QUITE delicate stuff [e-beam microlithography is like that] and they had to switch from "stick the accelerometers on the outside" to "put them on the inside". The story is that the packages were coming in with the .1 G and the 1 G accelerometers intact, but the 10G accelerometers triggered. . . Apparently truckers would pull the 10G accelerometers off, throw them on the floor, and replace them on the package. Pride. Heh. #179 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 01:29 PM: I just got this e-mail from Amazon. Fortunately, I wasn't drinking coffee at the time: Dear Amazon.com Customer, We've noticed that customers who have purchased Anansi Boys: A Novel (Alex Awards (Awards)) by Neil Gaiman also purchased books by Steven P. Erie. For this reason, you might like to know that Steven P. Erie's Beyond Chinatown: The Metropolitan Water District, Growth, And the Environment in Southern California will be released in paperback soon. You can pre-order your copy at a savings of 35% by following the link below. Now, I know Steve Erie, and he's a pleasant chap with a good sense of humour, but Neil Gaiman (whom I don't know) he isn't, and his work on California city politics, though groundbreaking, isn't as entertaining as Gaiman's œuvre. If this isn't a real-life example of the Lewis Carroll/Queen Victoria urban legend, I don't know what is. #180 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 01:52 PM: Fragano - That's a correlation engine at work. There used to be a free movie recommendation site that would let you profile yourself based how much you enjoyed a set of movies, and then it would return suggestions which you could rate if you had already seen them. The recommendations were kinda random, but still uncanny. I'm not sure how rich the analysis Amazon is doing really is. If they were smart, they could do things like recommend Le Creuset cookware to someone who bought, say, Mastering The Art of French Cooking, The Director's Cut of Blade Runner and the latest Sigur Ros CD - if the data supported it, but just expose the related item, the cookbook, in the recommendation. Perhaps you viewed the page for or bought Chinatown or Cadillac Desert? #181 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 02:13 PM: Via Warren Ellis: This "Something Awful" thread dishes out dirt on various White House . . . screamingly hilarious dirt. And Homeland Security buying and burying useless household crap to keep their budget numbers up. Is it real? No idea. But if it is bullshit, it is at the very least wonderfully entertaining bullshit. Like, Dick Cheney swigging Hydrogen Peroixide, and Tom Ridge being a freaky paranoid OCD sufferer. http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1845896 #182 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 02:48 PM: But that's being widely supplanted; the reservation phone# for UK hotel chain Trusthouse Forte was xxx 40 40 40. I've never heard "that not his forte" pronounced as anything other than "FOR-tay", and my impression is that it is standard in the UK. I also assumed it was derived from Italian or else direct from Latin, where it is the neuter form of the adjective meaning "strong", and therefore means "strong thing"/"strong point". In UK Latin pronunciation, then, the 'Italian' form would still be correct. The fact that the French word is generally spelled differently and pronounced differently makes me suspect that it's a spurious derivation, but I have no evidence for that. Trusthouse Forte is pronounced the 'Italian' way, as I understand it, because Sir Charles Forte pronounces his surname that way. He may be wrong, of course. But at least it isn't Trusthouse Bronte. #183 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 03:05 PM: Teresa, thank you for the Sandra Tsing Loh link. That was a very entertaining read. #184 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 03:15 PM: Regarding Sandra Tsing Loh's criticisms, it occurred to me that it has often been that way in literature throughout history: the upper class writing, to an audience of their peers, about things that are of interest only if one is at that same level of wealth and privilege. #185 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 04:14 PM: "Banded or splint mail" -- Everything I know about this I learned from Dungeons & Dragons. You forgot to include "plate mail"... #186 ::: rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 04:21 PM: Sorry to intrude, but O'Reilly Radar has a nice short bit on the demographics of fiction. Quote: The conclusions of the study include not just the type of fiction that appeals to each sex, but also that most men don't read fiction at all in their middle years -- despite being the official arbiters of quality via fiction prizes such as the Booker -- and the authors speculate whether there ought to be a revolution in publishing akin to the minivan revolution that happened when Detroit realized that women were the actual buyers of the family car. They are referencing something from the Sydney Morning Herald, on a study done by Lisa Jardine and Annie Watkins, from the University of London's Queen Mary College. #187 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 04:30 PM: As far as "Forte" (the part of the sword near the hilt) I don't have an intuitive feel for how to pronounce it. Attaque, parade*, riposte = French. Quarte, Sixte, Septime, Octave = Italian. Forte = ??? *pah-ROD. "Step back and parry", roughly. I grew up with "not my For-TAY". Me too, but I can't pronounce anything correctly; ever since I added Italian to my French and Spanish I've been hopelessly confused. I now think in ur-Romance and do things like pluralizing Spanish words Italian-style and pronouncing Italian words as if they were Spanish. (My French pronunciation was already so hopeless that it hasn't gotten much worse.) I can no longer count to ten in any single language and have created monstrosities like "mes due gatite". Italian is particularly awkward because it has either geographic or temporal variations that provide still more words for common terms. Fortunately I mostly just have to read and not actually write anything but my own notes (now featuring quadrilingual abbreviations and terminology!) I expect adding Portuguese will not improve the situation. #188 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 04:56 PM: Larry Brennan writes: If they were smart, they could do things like recommend Le Creuset cookware to someone who bought, say, Mastering The Art of French Cooking, The Director's Cut of Blade Runner and the latest Sigur Ros CD - if the data supported it, but just expose the related item, the cookbook, in the recommendation. They could also use that data for other purposes, like keeping Rutger Hauer out of work. #189 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 05:02 PM: The forte of the blade is almost certainly of French derivation, as the part further forward is the foible, and that's not italian. #190 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 05:15 PM: Larry B: I have to report that Steve Erie was amused by the correlation. I don't recall viewing the pages for either Chinatown or Cadillac Desert. I'm now intrigued: is there a high crossover between readers of Afro-Caribbean based fantasy and interest in how the City of Lost Angles grabbed half the water in California? Or between readers of Neil Gaiman and postgrad students in urban politics? #191 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 05:18 PM: Re: the Something Awful thread - having seen the "if we don't spend the budget they'll cut it next year" spending frenzy in a number of contexts, I'd be extremely surprised if something of the sort *wasn't* happening in Homeland Security. I think I'll trot over to Amazon and see if "Parkinson's Law" is currently in print... #192 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 05:46 PM: The forte of the blade is almost certainly of French derivation, as the part further forward is the foible, and that's not italian. Yes, you're right - at least, the OED says you are right. From their citations it seems that the word originally came in from fencing (and was spelled "Fort") - but by the time of their second citation (from Goldsmith) it had become "forte" and was being used metaphorically. I guess the answer is that it was Latinised and changed in spelling and pronunciation as a result. So my policy would be to pronounce it (and maybe spell it) "fort" in fencing, where it has a technical meaning; and to pronounce it "for-tay" on non-technical occasions. And basically to treat them as different words. The problem comes when using "fort and foible" as a non-technical phrase, although I think I'd go with the technical jargon. Of course I say this, but I'll probably just go back to using whatever forms I used before. #193 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 06:26 PM: Eric Sadoyama - ...the upper class writing, to an audience of their peers, about things that are of interest only if one is at that same level of wealth and privilege. [Light bulb hovers over head] Aha! Now I understand why I hated Washington Square so much. #194 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 08:11 PM: The Sandra Tsing Loh piece reminded me of my annoyance at an article comparing two books on the topic, which I read in today's Newsday: where are the fathers? Husbands are occasionally mentioned, as sources of income, or once in terms of shared chores, but never as people who might take care of their own children, or mind missing a baby's first steps. #195 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 08:24 PM: Re: the Something Awful thread - having seen the "if we don't spend the budget they'll cut it next year" spending frenzy The time I met this, it was at UCSB and the student government, having not quite run out of money before the end of the year, used the last of it to paint the school's bike paths blue. (It got the paths nicknamed 'blue meany bike paths'.) Not being there after that, I don't know what happened the next year. #196 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 10:08 PM: Since we've been anniversarizing literary lights recently, happy 90th birthday to Beverly Cleary, who propounds Drop Everything And Read, and who wrote books that interested children instead of fitting adult prescriptions for childrens' books. "Black Americans view immigration, particularly Hispanic immigration, with a great deal of suspicion and alienating them from the Democrats will provide something of a gain to the Republicans." Or maybe not. #198 ::: A. J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 11:51 PM: Thanks, Tim Walters, for the book rec. Book is being hunted. Looks like just the thing! Richard Anderson, thanks also: I'm still trying to pin font down a little better, though, as I know that for maximum readability in this sort of thing (being a chapbook of poetry) one wants something that looks rather like Times New Roman but is not... I'm sure the advanced studies will clarify the matter for me. #199 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2006, 11:57 PM: like keeping Rutger Hauer out of work. Fiery the angels fell. Deep thunder rode around their shores... burning with the fires of Orc. Ezra Pound, crazy uncle to modern life: No man can see his own end. The gods have not returned. "They have never left us. They have not returned." (Canto 113) #201 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2006, 01:10 AM: I'm still trying to pin font down a little better, though, as I know that for maximum readability in this sort of thing (being a chapbook of poetry) one wants something that looks rather like Times New Roman but is not... Not too far off, but TNR itself was designed to save space in newspaper columns, and is not particularly legible as text fonts go. It's also quite ugly, to my eye. It's also worth noting that font choice is only one of many factors affecting legibility; leading and line length are probably more important, if the font is at all reasonable. If you end up buying InDesign, you'll get Adobe Caslon Pro and Adobe Garamond Pro for free. Both are excellent fonts; Caslon is probably a little too bland for poetry. Garamond is the font the Harry Potter books are set in. If you don't want to spend any money at all, check out Gentium, a free open-source font. I haven't used it for anything yet, but the specimen book looks very good, and the font is designed not to need small caps or text figures, so it will be quite forgiving. Lastly, make sure you print any font you want to check out--what you see on screen isn't much help. #202 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2006, 07:07 AM: I'll point out this article which appeared in PracTeX, talking about critical editions of poems in LaTeX. You might want to have a look at LaTeX, and, if not, I hope that there'll be something useful in the above article for you. LaTeX is a markup language similar to HTML, which can output to PDF. The algorithims involved are amazing, (InDesign uses the justification algorithim from TeX, I think), it can output beautiful documents, everything is saved as plain text, so you have control over your documents, and it is Free. On the other hand, it can be arcane (overfull \hbox, anyone?), obscurantist, and you have to learn TeX to do anything particularly out of the ordinary. #203 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2006, 07:29 AM: One of the linguists over at Language Log discussed the pronunciation of forte late last year (in the context of complaining about yet another clueless "our language is going down the tubes" article in a newspaper): The longue duree is not our forte. It's difficult to know exactly how long English speakers have been conflating French-derived fort and Italian-derived forte (both from Latin fortis meaning "strong"), but it's safe to say it's not a new phenomenon. The Oxford English Dictionary shows that the spelling of the "strength" sense as forte rather than fort has been in use since the 18th century (probably simply an adoption of the feminine form of the French word at the expense of the masculine, akin to other Gallic borrowings like locale and morale). The two-syllable form evidently developed some time after that as a spelling pronunciation, but it has long been recognized as the primary pronunciation of the word in both American and British English. #204 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2006, 08:52 AM: Patrick: Maybe not, but that's not what I hear from my students or from people riding the bus here in Atlanta. There's a *lot* of anti-immigrant sentiment (specifically, anti-Hispanic sentiment). #206 ::: A. J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2006, 10:04 AM: Tim, it looks like I have a version of Garamond already on my computer. Whoopee! #207 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2006, 10:54 AM: A. J., you might want to visit the poetry section of your local bookstore and examine the fonts, leading, and placement of text on page used by different publishers. (A book's back matter, BTW, will sometimes include a colophon that lists typefaces used, paper stock, and so on.) If something looks good to your eye, try to figure out why, and then consider applying that principle to your work. Also, experiment--you'll gain insights on your preferred aesthetic. #208 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2006, 10:56 AM: Possibly good news, but be aware that Garamond is not a proprietary name, so it could be good, bad, or in-between, and may or may not look something like Claude Garamond's type. It's like having a dictionary called "Webster's". #209 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2006, 11:15 AM: Tim, my understanding is that the Merriam Company holds exclusive (domestic?) rights to publish "Webster's" dictionaries. Is there significant variation in quality btwn the types of dictionaries they put out? #210 ::: A. J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2006, 11:23 AM: Richard, I've been doing the near-at-hand version of that, which is to say looking at my favorite recent poetry books. I didn't know about the back matter thing, though. Good to know. #211 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2006, 11:52 AM: Tim, my understanding is that the Merriam Company holds exclusive (domestic?) rights to publish "Webster's" dictionaries. Nope. In the States, at least, anyone can do it, even people with scary clip art. #212 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2006, 12:05 PM: I second the recommendation of Garamond. StarOffice includes it, along with a number of other nice fonts (I can't say off hand if it came with v7 or v8). #213 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2006, 12:47 PM: The recent edition of the BBC radio 4 books programme Open Book talked about the Macmillian New Writing Scheme, which from its description in the programme sounded somewhat familiar to the hoary old self-publishing schemes Teresa demolishes with regular ease here. More info here, which includes a link to the latest broadcast. What do you think? #214 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2006, 01:43 PM: The information on what MacMillan are really doing is thin to the point of transparency. Apparently, you have to buy a book, or submit a novel, to find out. Which certainly sets the alarm bells ringing. I don't know what to make of it. They make claims, but you'd have to do more research to check on them. And while the company name is old, it's been bought by a company I know nothing about. But it's academic; I don't have a novel and, if they want money as well, they're out of luck. #215 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2006, 02:46 PM: The problem comes when using "fort and foible" as a non-technical phrase It's a lovely phrase. I've never heard it. Can you give an example of use? #216 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2006, 02:53 PM: A Special Meditation for Maundy Thursday. "For as in Adam all die. O the embarrassment." #217 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2006, 01:25 AM: manufactured/handmade Tesselated Easter eggs: see Ron Resch's stuff. There is a chapter about it in a book about computer graphics called Jim Blinn's Corner, Volume Two. This is in the sample chapter of the book that you can read on the Amazon website. #218 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2006, 10:11 AM: On the fort/forte thread: In The Mother Tongue (English and how it got that way), Bill Bryson explained why a word spelled colonel is pronounced kernel. Apparently, in the 1800s, Americans used both the French and Italian words for the military rank. And finally settled on the French spelling and the Italian pronounciation. [ I may be misremembering the original description... Wikipedia describes the British using the French spelling, but using the Spanish 'coronel' for the pronounciation. I'd check the book, but most of my library is in boxes...] #219 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2006, 12:21 PM: Teresa, I've heard of baroque pearls, but those are seriously baroque pearls! #220 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2006, 03:29 PM: It's a lovely phrase. I've never heard it. Can you give an example of use? Actually, I don't think I have ever used it. But the OED can give you an example: "1772 in Simes Milit. Guide 6: They would more easily discover the fort or foible of their respective commands." A brief Google for "forte and foible" brought up the wargaming example: "These four games ... all used the programmed instruction format which is both its forte and foible". I'm not sure about the grammar there, so maybe not the best example. As far as I can tell it's just a nicely alliterative alternative to "strength and weakness", and used mainly in military contexts. But I shall certainly try to use it more often. #221 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2006, 05:52 PM: The first link on the "No Mercy" particle made me think "How efficient; one picture suitable for both Cat Of The Day and Pet Of The Day." Then I clicked on the second link; ummm, maybe not. #222 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2006, 03:49 PM: If your nurses turn out to be both nuns and cats, you'd better hope The Doctor arrives on time. #223 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2006, 09:13 PM: Really odd earworm warning... Ok, having read one of Jane Yolen's How Do Dinosaurs... board books to my son at bedtime, I now have Maddy Prior singing "How Does a Dinosaur Clean up his Room" in my head, to the tune of "All Things are Quite Silent". Not just the words and tune together, mind you, but actually being sung in Maddy Prior's voice. I have no idea where my brain found the recording. It works scarily well, though she had to repeat the "No, a dinosaur doesn't. He does all his chores" line. Anyway, does anyone know a good way to scrub that bit of knowledge back out of my brain now? #224 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2006, 01:22 AM: "How Do Dinosaurs" For a split second, I read that as "How *to* do dinosaurs", which sounds, ehhhhhh . . . you know. #225 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2006, 04:58 AM: Stefan, We try to keep the s*d*my out of the children's books. They are actually excellent books - the rhythm of the language and the beautiful illustrations of dinosaurs in suburban (fairly American) households mean that they're still good on the 20th or 30th read. Some kids - my nephew, for instance, do get kinda freaked at the sight of a dinsaur in a bedroom. Apropos of nothing, for those of you who might have wondered: that really is David Hartwell's son Geoff in the sidebar ad, and he really is a pretty smoking guitar player. Check it out. (Noted because there are probably quite a few ML readers who remember Geoff from when he was a teenager, or even before.) #227 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2006, 11:15 AM: Fragano: my daughter attends college in Gainesville GA, which is a big chicken-industry town with a large and recently arrived Hispanic immigrant community, and she says the anti-Hispanic sentiment there is loud, violent, scary and unabashed. See for example: http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?pid=830 Chamblee, the bedroom community north of Atlanta mentioned in the story, is locally known as "Chambodia" by those bothered by its Asian immigrant population. My sister, who lives there, thinks that's funny. #228 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2006, 12:18 PM: Patrick -- thank you, thank you. I was wondering that very thing. It's scary. I remember when Geoff was born. #229 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2006, 03:59 PM: Norse Intelligent Design, explained simply: http://thepaincomics.com/weekly041229a.htm #230 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2006, 05:11 PM: Speaking of cosmology, look what I picked up at my local bookstore today! http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0812976568/sr=8-1/qid=1145221859/ref=pd_bbs_1/103-0087589-0079078?%5Fencoding=UTF8 #231 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2006, 06:14 PM: Lila: I've been noting growing anti-Hispanic sentiment in metro Atlanta (as the Hispanic population of some counties pushes 10 percent). I live only half a mile from the Chamblee city line, btw. It's as much, if not more, Hispanic than Asian. That isn't to say there aren't a lot of Asians here on the northeast side of Atlanta; Buford Highway in Chamblee and Doraville looks like a piece of Los Angeles dropped into north central Georgia -- signs in Korean,Chinese, Vietnamese and Spanish. #232 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2006, 07:35 PM: looks like a piece of Los Angeles dropped into north central Georgia -- signs in Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese and Spanish. On separate businesses or all on the same one? (There's a business in Chinatown in LA that does have signs in all of those, and IIRC also English and maybe Tagalog as well.) #233 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2006, 07:53 PM: Most years I buy, right after Easter, a pile of holiday candies. The stuff keeps fine, and I use it to make baskets for my nieces, leave out at work, and etc. I pulled last year's stuff from the shelf just now, a bit late to share. I'll be noshing on it myself, I guess.* Now, in addition to the candy, I rediscovered a box of Matzos. Just had one shmeared with margerine. Pretty good. Anyone have any ideas on what else I could do with these? Other than matzos balls, which sound too labor-intensive. * One of my co-workers does this too. He's SERIOUS about it. He buys whole boxes of Cadbury eggs and has a few a day while they last. He's in the hospital recuperating from a motorcycle accident; I may buy a batch for him and leave them in his cubicle as a surprise. #234 ::: jon singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2006, 01:05 AM: On April 10th, you mentioned that I melted your head once by telling you that I had a seedling that was tricotyledonous. You went on to say -- "It turned out, when I asked him, that he'd merely meant the seedling was now far enough along that it had three leaves. Foo." Uhhh, no. That's not a mistake I'm likely to make, and it's decidedly not what I meant; the item in question was something that should have been a dicot. While this apparently happens once in a while it is not at all common, and I thought it worthy of note. In any case, why on earth would I bother mentioning that I had a seedling that was old enough to have 3 leaves? I have at least a hundred seedlings right now, for example, and I'm too busy worrying about where I'm going to put them to bother counting their leaves. Cheers -- jon #235 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2006, 01:18 AM: Stefan - Matzoh Brei. #236 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2006, 01:26 AM: Patrick -- I was pretty certain I knew who Geoff Hartwell was -- what impressed me was that he seems to have gotten reviewed in Guitar Player. Yow! #237 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2006, 01:41 AM: I've used matzoh crumbs for breading before, and quite successfully. It's kind of like a cross between panko & saltine crumbs... #238 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2006, 06:44 AM: P.J. Evans: Mostly on separate businesses, though I've seen signs in Spanish and Vietnamese on some businesses, and a couple of billboards in Spanish, Vietnamese and Chinese. #239 ::: A. J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2006, 09:29 AM: Jon Singer, Teresa Nielsen Hayden: That happened to me once, with a bean plant! There was a reason for it. We had soaked the seeds for twenty-four hours and then irradiated them in a linear accelerator. (Eight dose groupings and a control, duly planted and measured daily.) One of the seeds in a middle dose group -- somewhere around, oh, 1000 rads? my memory of this is fading -- split into three, a tricot. When one's father is a physicist working in cancer treatment, one does well in science fairs. Not that there was any cheating. Measuring the leaf widths, heights, and root lengths of a hundred bean plants in soda cups is a tedious task. I was very glad when it was time to pull the plants up and press them for the album. (Did you know that if you give half-germinated seeds 100-200 rads, they're more likely to sprout than the control group? I don't know that this is useful information to anyone at all.) Anyway, definitely interesting to hear of this happening to someone else's plants. In other news, there is a women's clothing brand called Tricot. I always think of my poor little mutant bean plants when I see the label on someone's jacket. #240 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2006, 02:54 PM: The Perry Bible Fellowship has just been rocking lately. Last week's cartoon is a faithful take on Gorey's work: The Throbblefoot Aquarium #241 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2006, 04:11 PM: Knit your own nautiloid (coiled or straight): http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEspring06/PATTnautie.html On the shelf next to the furry lobster? #242 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2006, 07:53 PM: "I have a Space Mountain mind, eternally condemned to ride the teacups." My description of my life to a friend just minutes ago. Not that I've ever been to Disneyland/world/grotto/whatever. Feeling awfully depressed all of a sudden. #243 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2006, 08:04 PM: Dude. Count your blessings. You could be living an It's a small, small world life. #244 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2006, 09:55 PM: Ow ow ow, Stefan--next time rot-13 the earworm, huh? #245 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2006, 10:10 PM: Tex-Anne: V frpbaq gung. Vg jnf gur jbefg cneg bs ivfvgvat Qvfarlynaq. #246 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2006, 10:42 PM: More peeps fun! (someone on Pandagon linked it somewhere...) #247 ::: jon singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2006, 10:46 PM: In response to A. J. Luxton's comment of April 17th: Zott!! We have one coffee plant in the greenhouse right now that appears to be a tricot [if you've ever grown coffee from seed, you will understand why I say "appears to be"; screwiest-looking cotyledons I've ever observed], but I believe that's our only current example. OTOH, we don't have a linac. OTTH, access could maybe be arranged: I do know someone who works at a facility with a linac, and I know someone who is building himself a cyclotron, which would probably do about as well. I should, btw, have been more clear in my own statement: while I don't have time or energy to count the leaves on most seedlings, a tricot amid dicots stands out like a sore thumb. I have a proprietary interest in the possibility of Certain Particular Mutations, particularly in Rosa, but it's hard to say "put it here" to a relativistic electron or a molecule of some nasty mutagenic dye. One has to wonder, btw, why 200-300 rads would cause an increase in sprouting. That's truly wacko. D'you know whether anyone has ever followed up on it or observed the effect? (If you don't want to get into it here, please feel free to send email. My address is on almost all of my pages.) Cheers -- jon #248 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2006, 11:49 PM: Xopher, when I was 5 Space Mountain (or whatever iteration existed in 1961) caused me to have to be Removed from the auditorium. At the time it was a fairly tame 'trip to the moon ride," but the seats had movement and there was a projected central screen 'showing' that we were in a rocket to the moon. I came unglued. I am looking forward to visiting Disney during this year's worldcon, esp. the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. Haven't been since I was about 12 or 13 (first or second year of the Haunted Mansion). #249 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2006, 01:19 AM: The "Trip to the Moon," later the "Trip to Mars," was a seperate and very different ride. Space Mountain is a very violent roller coaster. #250 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2006, 10:45 AM: Actually, by current standards, Space Mountain is quite tame. At least the one in Anaheim is. I'll ride it, but not the Matterhorn or the mine-train one. "Star Tours" is actually more frightening, at least up to the ice-teroids, at which point I relax and enjoy the rest of the ride. #251 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2006, 10:58 AM: As a little kid, back when the original Disneyland was almost new (sigh), I loved the teacup ride. Then and now, I'm too wimpy for rollercoasters. #252 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2006, 12:34 PM: Just saw the "Remarkably good advice, actually" particle, and I'd have to disagree to some extent. while the advice may be useful for someone who is stuck in a bad situaiton that they can do nothing about (ex: being a progressive, intelligent thinker in the US after 6 years of Dubya with 2 more to go), I would hope that there is some underlying faith in the system that gives the person some peace. "this too shall pass" in a system that is permanently broken doesn't work. Bush would be replaced by yet another moron, and the cycle would repeat. But if the system shows itself to be self-correcting, for example Dubya's 30% approval rating, then "this too soon shall pass" is reality based, rather than simply wishful or hopeful thinking. The problem is applying "this too soon shall pass" in something like a physically abusive marriage when there is no objective reason to hold that belief. The victims often tell themselves something along those lines, but sometimes the healthy thing to do is leave before you end up dead. I would say it is a good mantra to remind yourself not to take individual events too seriously, but if a pattern starts emerging then an honest appraisal of whether it is actually ever going to pass is needed. #253 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2006, 01:57 PM: "This too shall pass" is also a difficult mantra to apply when someone you love has a chronic, incurable, progressively crippling disease. #254 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2006, 02:06 PM: I think this hasn't been mentioned before. Teresa and Patrick, you may be interested that researchers are coming up with new ways to play with your hamster. #255 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2006, 02:24 PM: Beauty, strength, youth, are flowers but fading seen; Duty, faith, love, are roots, and ever green. George Peele I had Duty Faith Love engraved on a Randall and sometimes used it as a running cadence. Some things don't pass. obs SF Who Fears the Devil where I first encountered those lines. #256 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2006, 02:35 PM: For those who didn't follow Eric's link, it's about a computer game in which your hamster gets to grow to gigantic size and chase you around (in virtuality, of course). At the end . . . well, let's just say it's more like "Doom" than "Animal Crossing." At last, proof of reincarnation. #257 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2006, 03:10 PM: Nice site on disaster preparedness: http://72hours.org/index.html Meant for San Franciscans, but pretty universably applicable. #258 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2006, 04:19 PM: Since this is an open thread - I've been listening to the Aubrey/Maturin novels. I just got to "Fortune of War," and I have a factual question. (Not any plot or series spoilers, I hope). Our heroes are off somewhere, and get involved in a game of cricket. Stephen has to go off and do something technical, and a messenger comes running for him, as it is his turn. He is told to just hang in there until it's someone else's turn. The other team has as good as won. Much discussion of the current number of runs and innings and other such things. Stephen reveals his ignorance of the game's terminology, and asks if it is true that the object is to destroy the wicket at the other end. On being told that it is, he catches the ball on his homemade bat and slams it into the wicket by Jack, knocking it to pieces. At that moment, another ship pulls into the harbor and the scene changes, never to be referenced again. Now, it seems to me that Stephen just won the game, but cricket is inpenetrable to me. Did he pull off a spectacular coup, or was he so clueless that he scored an own goal and cost the ship 100 pounds? Did the number of runs scored previously matter? He was on the same team as Jack, so why was Jack standing by a wicket? (Someone from the other team was pitching.) This isn't terribly important, but it's been niggling at me, so any information will be appreciated. #259 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2006, 04:38 PM: Juli, in cricket there are two runners, one of whom is the batsman. The ball is thrown at the batsman in front of one wicket, the batsman hits the ball, and both runners back and forth from one wicket to the other. The game isn't over til both teams have gone through their entire batting lineup. Each person on team A who is going to bat bats once. When the lineup is done, team B does the same. If the score is 10000 to 0 in favor of team A, and the maximum time period for the game is up before team B finishes batting, the game is a draw. I am going from memory; any corrections and clarifications would be appreciated. #260 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2006, 04:49 PM: Nancy C: As you describe it almost every cricket match would end in a draw! The objective is simply to get more runs than the other side, not to get the other side's batsmen all out. #261 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2006, 05:01 PM: Nancy, That's most of the way there. There are two batsmen and one bowler ("pitcher" analogue). Each batsman is defending a wicket, which is made up of three sticks stuck in the ground and two wee spindles (bails) balanced atop them. The bowler tries to smash the wickets in turn by throwing the ball at them. The batsmen use a flat bat to smack the ball away if they think it's going to hit the wicket, then run back and forth between the two wickets until the team in the field looks to be able to get the ball back to where they can smash one of them. There are more complex rules about the ball going over the boundary (like a home run in baseball). But, as Nancy says, the key thing is that the game isn't over until each batsman but the last has seen his wicket fall. So to finish the game Stephen has to get one more wicket to fall. The other batsman doesn't seem to be doing it, so he does it himself. The who wins/who loses thing is beyond me, because I've not read the book. But Steven merely advanced the inevitable, whatever that was, and did it entirely legally. (I had the same problem in Dorothy Sayers' Murder Must Advertise, where a key clue appears in a cricket match. It wasn't until I moved here and started following the game that I could read that scene with any comprehension.) #262 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2006, 05:03 PM: Juli: from your description, it sounds to me as though Stephen has just lost the game for his side (or at least put them at a further disadvantage). There are always two wickets [strictly speaking: two sets of stumps] on a cricket pitch, and a batsman guards each one: the bowling side alternates which end they bowl from. The joke, I guess, is that it is the objective of the bowling/fielding side to hit the wicket at the other end of the pitch. The objective of the batting side is to keep them both from being hit. The actual consequences in this case depend on whether or not Jack was out of his crease, of course... #263 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2006, 05:05 PM: Oops, abi posted while I wasn't looking. #264 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2006, 06:02 PM: OK - I'm stumped. Is that Fat Duck menu real? Almond fluid gel. Yum. Mango and Douglass Fir puree? Is that even edible? Is it served with a whipped PineSol garnish? I won't even discuss the dessert course. #265 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2006, 10:14 PM: completely unrelated open-thread vent: Just bought a video game for my PC and my hardware is so out of date I can't even boot it in lowest rest 640x800 mode. gotta buy a whole new system if I wanna play. DAMN IT! #266 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2006, 10:54 PM: Larry: the Fat Duck is quite real. You can read various things about it online (Googling will bring up several); Bruce Schneier's review is here (on page 36 of the .pdf) Greg: simply curious, what did you buy, and what sort of CPU/video do you have? My system, which is a couple of years old and wasn't cutting-edge then, can run some heavy hitters, including Oblivion, though not at anything like maximum settings. Civ IV can be admired at the top level, but it slows unacceptably unless turned down to Medium settings. (The box is an Athlon 2800 (32-bit) with Nvidia 6200 video.) The Fastest Video Card on the Planet (right now) costs about$600 without a computer underneath it, and if you are a Really Cool Guy you have two of them. (A good chunk of the price is half a gig of DDR3 memory.) Following the rule of thumb that your video hardware shouldn't cost more than your CPU, there isn't a single-chip CPU with big enough thumbs to drive such a rig. But I'll bet it plays Tetris at Warp 12.

#267 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2006, 11:48 PM:

Okay, but why would you want to play Tetris at warp 12?? It's hard enough on my antique 486 that runs at 100MHz (which I think makes it sublight)!

#268 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 12:07 AM:

Under modern rules, Jack would not be out, even if he were standing outside his ground (analogue: off his base) as no member of the fielding team had touched the ball when, hit by Stephen's stroke, it broke his wicket. This, however, may not have been the case in the early nineteenth century.

Cricket is simply enough scored: a run is scored each time the ball is hit and both runners run the length of the pitch and both make their ground before the ball is returned. Hitting the ball through the field boundary counts four runs. Hitting it over the field boundary without touching the ground counts six. If either runner's wicket (that is, the wicket towards which s/he is running) is broken by the ball before s/he makes his/her ground, that runner is out and no run is scored. The ball is then dead. There are no double-plays.

A team is all out when ten wickets fall, there being then no more runners to send in. Each team gets one innings in a single-innings match, two in a full match. The team that makes the most runs overall wins. It is perfectly ordinary for each team to score several hundred runs in an innings. Unlike baseball, generally, the higher the standard of the match, the more runs are scored.

#269 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 12:29 AM:

Larry, I'm with you. I read the menu today while at work and first my brain went, oooh, cool. Then it switched over to WTF is this? "Let's see how many weird combinations of foodstuffs can we put together."

And their 'normal' menu isn't that much different. I looked it up by just looking up 'the Fat duck" on Yahoo.com.

#270 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 06:40 AM:

And, sorry, Fragano, but a lot of cricket matches do in fact end in a draw for that very reason.

For simplicity, let's talk about a one-innings match between HMS Surprise and Rugby Old Boys.
HMS Surprise, who are batting first, go in for an innings (as in baseball), and bat until either a) they run out of time and it gets dark b) they have played for a certain pre-arranged number of overs (an over is six balls bowled/pitched; you might decide to limit the innings to 25 overs, for example) or c) they are all out.

Let's say they get all out after scoring 250 runs. Their score is 250 all out. If they scored 250 and then ran out of time or overs, their score might be, say, 250 for 7, because only seven people had gone out by the end of the innings. Clear?
Right. Now Rugby goes in. They have to beat 250 all out. Again, one of three things can happen. a) They reach 250 runs with only, say, 8 players out. Game over; draw stumps; Rugby wins.
b) They go all out for, say, 240 runs. Surprise wins.
c) They are at, say, 230 for 9 when the light goes or they run out of overs. Draw.

Note that c) applies even if Rugby have been absolutely abysmal and only scored 23 for 9. In this example, as long as they are not all out, they still haven't lost.

If Surprise had scored 250 for 9, then the same would apply; as soon as either Rugby scored 251 or the ninth Rugby batsman got out, the game would finish.

The match in "Murder Must Advertise" is a two-innings match, so each side goes in once before lunch and once after. Scores are carried over.
It's quite possible for such a match also to finish as a draw. For that matter, it's quite possible for a five-day Test match (international) to finish as a draw.

#271 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 06:55 AM:

Ajay: I'm not saying that cricket matches can't be drawn. I'm saying that cricket matches are won when one team has more runs than the other at the end of the match.

(Granted, I'm a terrible bowler, and my highest in an actual match was 2, but still, I do know a bit about the game.)

#272 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 07:46 AM:

It is true that the team with the most runs wins, but only if the match actually ends. A draw does not mean both sides have the same number of runs, it means the match didn't finish.

This is one reason the captain of a batting team with a good score on the board may declare the innings closed, to avoid time running out in the final innings and the match being drawn.

#273 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 08:14 AM:

Cricket, the game where spectators bring a book...

#274 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 08:40 AM:

Only if they don't know what's going on. Cricket, it is true, presents an air of calm, thoughtful, graceful gentility, but this is only the cover for a ferment of febrile scheming and the elevation of vulpine cunning into a social art. Rather like the British themselves, I've always thought.

#275 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 08:48 AM:

Actually, let me amend that. Cricket, the sport where the players bring a book...

But, yeah, if you know what is going on, the game can be very interesting. Especially when Australia lose. Especially.

#276 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 09:24 AM:

Dave: I suppose I could take that description as a compliment to my countrymen. Or alternatively I could take it as a deadly insult calling for considered, subtle and awful revenge. What with me being British (vulpine cunning and all), you'll never know which way it went...

Cricket is also the only game where you stop for tea. Though see 'Flashman's Lady' for cricket as it was once played - it hasn't always been flannelled fools at the wicket and cucumber sandwiches in the pavilion.

#277 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 10:09 AM:

I had the impression that Stephen had broken the rules by _carrying_ the ball, because he thought cricket was like hurley.

Anyway, here's the relevant paragraph:

***

A rapacious grin ran round the Cumberlands [the opposing team]: they moved much closer in, crouching, their huge crab-like hands spread wide. The Admiral held the ball to his nose for a long moment, fixing his adversary, and then delivered a lob that hummed as it flew. Stephen watched its course, danced out to take it as it touched the ground, checked its bounce, dribbled the ball towards the astonished coverpoint and running still he scooped it into the hollow of his hurly, raced on with twinkling steps to mid-off, there checked his run admist the stark silent amazement, flicked the ball into his hand, tossed it high, and with a screech drove it straight at Jack's wicket, shattering the near stump and sending its upper half in a long, graceful trajectory that reached the ground just as the first of La Fleche's guns, saluting the flag, echoed across the field.

***

I've kind of gotten to the point where I don't mind not knowing the rules of cricket, because it's kind of fun when good writers give you the *sense* of what's going on all the same--see, _Murder Must Advertise_ as referenced above.

#278 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 10:29 AM:

Food for thought on Islam from Dan Simmons here, in the form of a short story about a Time Traveller.

#279 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 10:45 AM:

Susan, we've seen that already and discussed it. I thought the page had been turned off?

#280 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 10:46 AM:

Premier Rodney MacDonald of Nova Scotia says here that a career in traditional music is good training for politics, and gives him something to fall back on in case the politics thing doesn't work out.

Quoth MacDonald, "I know what it's like to have to be entrepreneurial and not necessarily know where your next job is coming from," he said. "I've been on a few stages, and that's helped. I know how to put in the time to practise and be prepared. As a politician, if you're not prepared when you're going up on stage, you haven't done your homework and won't perform well."

Never thought of it that way before, but ya know, he's right.

#281 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 10:56 AM:

The most recent posting (4/13) on Anna Tambour's blog "Medlar Comfits" is about her fondness for cricketeers' lingo.

#282 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 11:02 AM:

Anytime I'm in the presence of a batch of people speaking an incomprehensible foreign language, I always figure that they must be talking about me.

So at the moment, I'm wondering: Am I supposed to be the ball, the bat, or the wicket?

Tracy: Politics as American Idol?

#283 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 11:10 AM:

Kate, from the paragraph you quote is is clear that Stephen had absolutely no idea how to play cricket, and imagined that he was scoring a goal as in hurling.

The bit about the Cumberlands moving in closer shows that they feel Stephen is a weak batsman, but their silent amazement is because his actions are as unexpected as tackling an opponent in golf.

#284 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 11:20 AM:

PHM: The "news" directory of Simmons' site got blown away - on purpose or accidentally, I obviously can't say. It looks like it was restored as of 16 April.

My guess is that Simmons wasn't expecting the furor over his 'story', and the traffic crushed his server.

#285 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 11:33 AM:

Almond fluid gel - at a guess, this is the EU's PC version of jelly made from almond milk. (Probably the other stuff is also PC-speak for something much more normal-sounding. I'd have to do some work.)

#286 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 12:22 PM:

Mine hosts,
The link to "Jim Morrow's top-10 witch-persecution books" doesn't work. I am rather curious about it, so I hope the link can be fixed.

Thanks.

#287 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 12:36 PM:

Bruce Arthurs: You are, in fact, all of them.

If the wild bowler thinks he bowls
Or the batsman thinks he's bowled
They know not, poor misguided souls,
They, too, shall perish unconsoled.
I am the batsman and the bat
I am the bowler and the ball,
The umpire, the pavilion cat,
The roller, pitch, the stumps and all.

#288 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 12:44 PM:

Susan, we've seen that already and discussed it. I thought the page had been turned off?

Can you give me a hint what thread I might find the discussion on? I've been reading rather inconsistently and completely missed it.

#289 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 01:07 PM:

Susan, the Dan Simmons' story discussion is part of the 466 comments on Open thread 62.
I was out of computer contact for a couple of weeks dealing with a medical emergency, which is still taking most of my energy & time, and can fully sympathise with trying to 'cover the waterfront' on Making Light with little time.

#290 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 01:21 PM:

Last I saw from Mr. Simmons the original story was down short term pending only an expansion and elaboration in the April News due any day now and perhaps up already?

#291 ::: Paul Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 01:45 PM:

I had the impression that Stephen had broken the rules by _carrying_ the ball, because he thought cricket was like hurley

Assuming 19th century cricket rules match modern ones, Stephen broke the rules when he checked the ball's bounce and then dribbled it: hitting the ball more than once in a single play is illegal unless, after the batsmen hits it the first time, the ball is heading for his stumps. The punishment for this is that Stephen is out, which would seem to achieve his aim of ending the match.

#292 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 01:55 PM:

Susan: Most of the second half of Open thread 62.

(I disagree strongly with almost everything Dan Simmons says via his story, but I didn't participate in that thread, though I read avidly and in some despair.)

#293 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 02:01 PM:

"tackling an opponent in golf."

I like that image. Duval, Els, Mickelsen and Singh all gang-tackling Tiger Woods circa 2001, when there was some discussion among sportswriters reaching the conclusion that no one else would ever win a tournament again.

#294 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 02:15 PM:

Under modern rules, Jack would not be out, even if he were standing outside his ground (analogue: off his base) as no member of the fielding team had touched the ball when, hit by Stephen's stroke, it broke his wicket.

You're right, Dave, I'd forgotten that part. It's lucky I haven't played cricket in a while.

As for bringing a book, cricket is actually so complicated that there is always something in the game to concentrate on, even if it's just filling out the 12 boxes on the scorecard every time a run (or a bye etc) is scored. It requires more concentration, I'd say, than baseball or golf, where the rules are simpler but as a result the possible game situations are fewer. YMMV, of course.

The trouble with cricket is that you really have to watch it twenty times or so before you can understand what is actually going on. I learned by watching test cricket on TV during the school holidays: six hours a day for five days, five times (or more) every summer! (This is sadly no longer possible when so many matches are only available on satellite TV.)

#296 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 07:27 PM:

Thanks to everyone who answered my question about Stephen and the cricket match. I figured the options were 1) Stephen is unexpectedly gifted and wins the match, salvaging the 100 pounds; or 2) Stephen is clueless, manages to forfeit a match already all but lost, and cements his positions in the eyes of the crew as an absolute idiot savant.

From the comments here, option 2 is the winner.

Someday, when I have free time, I intend to understand cricket. Someday.

#297 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 07:28 PM:

My friend Steve Hockensmith is giving away 3 free audiobook CDs on his blog, here. The book is Holmes on the Range from St. Martin's Minotaur. It's a fun old-timey western murder mystery about cowboys who are inspired to become detectives after reading a Sherlock Holmes adventure. You can read a short story featuring the characters on his site, too. Steve's been writing short stories for Ellery Queen and Hitchcock's for quite a while now - this is his first novel. If you like that sort of thing, have a peek.

#298 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 08:00 PM:

John M. Ford:

Greg: simply curious, what did you buy, and what sort of CPU/video do you have?

I bought a copy of "The Movies" by activision. It's a simulation game like "Rollercoaster Tycoon" except you're a movie producer. The one difference is that you're supposed to be able to make actual movies using the software.

It says it needs DirectX 9.0, which I'm pretty sure I have. but further reading says

"3D Hardware Accelerator Card required - 100% DirectX® 9.0c compatible 32MB Hardware T&L-capable video card and latest drivers*"

Their entire list of compatible video cards has all of 33 cards listed.

ATI™ Radeon® series (7000 or better).
7000, 7200, 7500
8500
9000, 9200, 9250, 9550, 9600, 9700, 9800
x300, x600, x700, x800, x850

NVIDIA® GeForce® series (GeForce 3 or better).
GeForce 3, 3 Ti
GeForce 4, MX, Ti
GeForce FX 5200, 5600, 5700, 5800, 5900, PCX 5300, 5750, 5950
GeForce 6200, 6600, 6800

I have a Rage 128 Pro Ultra. I tried installing DirectX 9.0c and "The Movies" starts up, shows me a splash screen and a progress bar, and when the progress bar is 100%, the program vanishes like it was never executed.

#299 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 09:15 PM:

Oh, and my board has a P4 @ 2.4ghz, and 1 gig of ram. That was cutting edge back when I bought it. I don't think I have any of the new, high speed Front Side Bus going on...

#300 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 09:54 PM:

Under modern rules, Jack would not be out, even if he were standing outside his ground (analogue: off his base) as no member of the fielding team had touched the ball when, hit by Stephen's stroke, it broke his wicket.

That's a point I hadn't known. Does cricket not have the equivalent of a foul tip? I know the wicket is a small enough target that this is unlikely, but I'd have thought that the batsman would be out if he were so clumsy as to connect with the ball but not keep it from breaking the wicket.

#301 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 10:00 PM:

Greg --

Rage 128 is an entire architecture -- not hardware, fundamental design -- generation prior to the oldest cards they're listing. (Two such generations prior to the X series GPUs.) Many of those cards are sufficiently obsolete as to no longer be available for sale; you won't find the seven thousand or eight thousand series ATI cards, frex. On the plus side, you could probably get a 9250 for twenty bucks if you can find one at all.

#302 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 10:33 PM:

Graydon,

Rage 128 is an entire architecture -- not hardware, fundamental design -- generation prior to the oldest cards they're listing

Well, that figures. A dollar short and a generation late. Story of my life... Maybe it's time I update my 8" floppydrive.

so, out of curiosity, and since I'm out of the loop, what would be the cutting-edge, kickingest-assest, money-is-no-object, video card for a PC these days?

And it would be nice if it is wildly compatible with most games and won't go out of date for at least, oh, say, the next 6 minutes?

I think it's time to fork my Linux hardware from my Windows software. My last couple of systems were dual boot, but that causes some problems with getting compatible hardware. I think my dual-boot system will become a dedicated, linux-only system soon, and I'll be getting a bleeding edge windows ssytem. Of course, there is the small matter of money....

#303 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2006, 10:53 PM:

Mary Dell: I like the idea, but I wish they hadn't stuck a nekkid chick on there. The possibilities for why are: I'm old; I'm a humorless feminazi; there's a joke I failed to get; or I've been living in the sticks for too long. Semioticians, start your engines!

#304 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 12:29 AM:

No, cricket doesn't have any equivalent of a foul tip. If the ball is hit in the air, the batsman can be caught out by any fielder, behind, in front, doesn't matter. He is also out for hitting the ball twice except, and only except, he may use his bat (not his hands) to prevent the ball from hitting his wicket if it looks as if it would, after he's hit it once. This, of course, is very rare. I hadn't thought of the fact that Stephen would be out on appeal for handling the ball and hitting it twice. Since he was last man in, the match would have ended there, with a loss to the Surprises.

#305 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 12:34 AM:

On a completely different tack, today is the fortieth anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan. Any Kiwi I meet doesn't pay for his drinks.

#306 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 02:06 AM:

What are the ethics and legalities surrounding the buying and selling of "Advanced Reader Copy" books? Especially before the official publication date?

I ask because I stumbled today across a (closed on April 10th) auction on ebay for an ARC of Thunderbird Falls by C.E. Murphy, which only started shipping in regular form from Amazon and other places yesterday (the 19th). (ebay auction here)

Now, assuming that ARCs are the legal property of the person in possession of them, I can't see how it could be illegal to resell them, any verbiage on the cover notwithstanding. (first sale doctrine applies even if there's no actual sale, so long as the copies were acquired lawfully to begin with)

However, the posts and legal advice I'm able to dredge up with my google fu seem to contradict that, though never with detailed arguments.

#307 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 02:26 AM:

I'd have thought that the batsman would be out if he were so clumsy as to connect with the ball but not keep it from breaking the wicket.

I don't think Dave answered this specifically: because, yes, the batsman is also out if he connects with the ball and it then hits the wicket. This is surprisingly common (as bowlers don't always bowl directly at the wicket), and is called "playing on" - as in playing the ball on to the stumps.

Most of the complications in cricket involve odd ways of getting yourself out. It sounds as though Stephen found a whole new approach which the laws hadn't anticipated.

#308 ::: Paul Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 07:05 AM:

I'd have thought that the batsman would be out if he were so clumsy as to connect with the ball but not keep it from breaking the wicket.

To add to candle's point, there's a difference between Stephen hitting the ball onto Jack's wicket, as happened in the game, and Stephen hitting the ball onto his own wicket. In the latter case, Stephen would be out.

Most of the complications in cricket involve odd ways of getting yourself out.

See Ways of Getting Out for a list. I think I've seen two or three of the rare ones; I've definitely never seen anyone "Timed out".

#309 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 08:42 AM:

Daniel: my SO gets a lot of ARCs, and sells them to used book stores--but only after the book has hit the stands officially. I think this is a reasonable compromise, but I've never actually looked at the legality of it.

#311 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 10:40 AM:

In other sports news, my mom heard an NPR story about a new development (wildly popular somewhere in Europe, I think) where the players alternate between chess and boxing! It wasn't April 1, so I guess this sucker's true.

#312 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 11:14 AM:

"Kiwi": slang for New Zealander. In the context of Dave's post, probably particularly meant to apply to NZ military and/or veterans.

Wikipedia has an entry for the Battle of Long Tan.

#313 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 11:17 AM:

Ah, local slang. That 'splains a lot...
Thanks, Bruce.

#314 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 11:20 AM:

Chessboxing is indeed a sport that's gotten popular (for some definitions of popular) in Eastern Europe; I think it started in Bulgaria. (World Chess Boxing Organization) Four minutes of chess playing, two minutes of boxing, repeat - the winner decided by checkmate or K.O., whichever comes first.

The NPR comedy quiz show "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" did feature a question about chessboxing a bit over a month ago, if I remember correctly. It was in their "stump the listener" bit where the three panelists each tell potential news stories on some topic, only one of which is true. (The person calling in must then guess which one was true) The topic was "newly invented sports", and chessboxing was the true story.

#315 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 11:22 AM:

Writers interested in "tie-in" fiction might want to check out the discussion that's started over at Jeff Mariotte's blog.

#316 ::: clew ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 12:44 PM:

TexAnne: badgerbag (source of shirt) is feminist, but very, extremely, nekkid-in-publicly, Third Wave. I think it plays differently in coastal California.

---

Vicki: I agree about the problem with Sandra Tsing Loh's analysis; I think she fell out of 'reasonable' completely when she criticized women whose careers are sacrificed to their husband's careers by explaining that military wives just suck it up for duty and family. But the husbands of the women Loh is criticizing are probably capitalist individualists; the husbands are let off on two double standards, professional and familial.
---

I hedge my 'forte' by pronouncing it 'forT', with enough emphasis on the T that there's a little ghost schwa.

#317 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 01:21 PM:

photos of what's on the Fat Duck menu

They look interesting, if a bit on the arty side.

#318 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 01:34 PM:

clew: thanks. Clearly I need to get out more. Nekkid chicks around here are not symbols of Third Wave feminist strength...

#319 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 01:38 PM:

Nekkid chicks
WOOOHOOO!

#320 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 04:35 PM:

Greg: Didn't you mean to post that over on "Blog"? [gd&r]

#321 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 05:33 PM:

P J Evans, thanks for finding those photos. It looks like a one-bite per very expensive plate restaurant. And there were a few things on the menu that had my stomach give a bit of a twitch. (I really don't like even the thought of eating snails, though I do eat other mollusks quite readily.)

#322 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 05:53 PM:

Paula Helm Murray: Well, it did say it was a tasting menu. I suspect that means that everything is one or two bites, and the meal part is because you get so many things to taste. The regular menu (a la carte) is probably more conventional quantities, and certainly more conventional dishes.

#323 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 07:25 PM:

PJ Evans - Those tasting menu pictures where pretty wild. I guess the three tiny cubes were the "Almond Fluid Gel".

I think I might enjoy the (alarmingly abstract) food more without the menu promising me Douglass Fir anything. Snails aren't a problem, only I prefer to be able to identify them.

#324 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 08:37 PM:

I've seen the Fat Duck recommended a few times, but never met anyone who's eaten there. My normal response to being shown the menu is to counter with St JOHN, which I've been (taken) to and can wholeheartedly recommend. The motto is 'Nose to Tail Eating', and it's the closest high-end place I've seen to the traditional British style of cookery that involves not wasting anything.

#325 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 09:23 PM:

Greg, and others: You might take a look at Wikipedia's Kiwi disambiguation page too.
I've noticed in other countries sometimes Kiwi fruit is abbreviated to just 'kiwi', which in reading can cause some strange mental missteps to us Oz 'n' Enzedders.
It's not long to Anzac Day, either; see Ghosts of the Great War, 2005, and here for a very quick idea of that.

#326 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 11:57 PM:

Kiwi are vicious things. I saw a DOC presentation which said that you can't keep two kiwi in a cage together; they fight, and one of them usually kills the other. Apparently, full grown kiwi can kill a cat, if the kiwi gets one or two good kicks in.

#327 ::: Valerie Emanuel ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2006, 06:57 AM:

You've heard of amoral--how about Arepublican?

as in;

Arepublicans know that Jesus is not on their speed dial.

Arepublicans are more interested in strengthening what the American flag stands for than pursuing the few citizens who burn it in protest.

Arepublicans are more concerned about the needs of impoverished living children than what transpires in a Planned Parenthood clinic.

Arepublicans are adverse to worshipping on Sunday and, then, deciding who to hit with a bunker buster bomb on Monday.

Arepublicans still believe that a Presidential leak should only occur in a bathroom.

Arepublicans can pronounce "nuclear."

From here

#328 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2006, 08:49 AM:

Just saw the "Tony Judt on Mearsheimer and Walt" particle. And I've always thought there was a extension to Godwin's Law:

As any conversation critical of Israel continues, the probability of someone being accused of being Anti-Semite approaches One.

It must be an interesting combination of being God's Chosen People mixed with an overly dramatic tendancy to point a finger and mention Hitler any time anything critical of Israel is said.

America has the same sort of thing going on, and I'm sure other countries do as well, that when an American criticizes the president there are always those ready at hand to point the finger and say stuff like "You must love terrorists to criticize our leader".

The one difference seems to be that in every other situation, such nationalistic drama queens only occur in their own country. I've not seen anything on a large scale that would indicate that were a Brit on the streets of London to criticize Bush, there wouldn't be another Londoner next to him saying he must love terrorists. The Israeli drama queens appear to be global.

And before anyone wishes to accuse me of anti-semitism, I have nothing against the Jewish religion, anymore than I have anything against any other religion. Every religion has inspired some folks to do good works. And every religion has been twisted by some folks to do bad things.

I just have issue with certain aspects of the modern state of Israel, how they relate with their neighbors, and how we relate with them. They appear to have no idea that any of their military actions towards palestinians in general may have had some part in creating the mess in the first place. That again is not an issue that Israeli's have a monopoly on. There are plenty of folk in the US who think that the problem with terrorism has nothing to do with Abu Graib and Gitmo, other than maybe we need to install more cells at Camp X-Ray. Not being able to see your own stupidity seems to be a common global issue.

#329 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2006, 11:45 AM:

I thought of posting this on the Central Europe Floods thread, but it seems a bit too frivolous(?) to go there. Did anyone else notice the news item about the pyramid found in Bosnia? (No, not a heap of bones from some massacre old or new.) Here's a link to an online report.

#330 ::: Laur[ence] Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2006, 12:37 PM:

Faren - that is cool. I only wish they had gone into detail about the "legends" associated with that hill.

#331 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2006, 09:48 PM:

Kier, that sounds more like cassowary than kiwi, but I may run off and check, if I can work out how.

#332 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2006, 08:47 AM:

Shameless political plug follows:

Congress is now pushing a law that would end the free and open Internet as we know it. Internet providers like AT&T and Verizon are lobbying Congress hard to gut Network Neutrality, the Internet's First Amendment. Net Neutrality prevents AT&T from choosing which websites open most easily for you based on which site pays AT&T more. So Amazon doesn't have to outbid Barnes & Noble for the right to work more properly on your computer.

Many members of Congress take campaign contributions from these companies, and they don't think the public are paying attention to this issue. Let's show them we care - please sign this petition today.

http://www.civic.moveon.org/save_the_internet/

#333 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2006, 08:55 AM:

by the way, I love the latest side particle "wikipedia faqk". Just about nails it for me. The bit about experts is perfect. In a system designed to work by majority vote, and one expert who actually spent their careers studying a subject is reverted and outvoted by a mob of knuckleheads with political motives, the result is crap.

Being solution oriented, it's a conundrum, and I haven't figured out any particular way to solve the entire problem. However, I'm pretty sure that one change could solve a lot of problems: Get rid of anonymous accounts. folks could still contribute by IP address without creating an account, but anyone who creates an account, must use their real name, rather than calling themselves something like Wookie123.

#334 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2006, 11:11 AM:

The question would be, how much verification is Wikipedia willing and able to do. My Wikipedia login is my real name, but they didn't ask me to prove that I'm really named Vicki Rosenzweig.

#335 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2006, 01:48 PM:

I just think of Wikipedian hyper-loyalists as being in the same line as RMS et al. Completely insane, quasi-religous, but helpful sometimes. Best to treat with caution.

You'll notice the same sort of screeds emanating from both groups, and the same fanaticism.
(I don't mean that all Wikipedia contributors are crazy, or that all Free software developers are either. But many of the high profile ones are.)

Have you noticed that the truth isn't mentioned widely at Wikipedia?

I'm sure Wikipedians' aren't generally disrespectful of the truth, (well, most of them), but it is slightly odd to have a encyclopedia that isn't that keen on the truth.

Kiwi and cassowary are related, are they not?

#336 ::: Christina Schulman ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2006, 03:09 PM:

I believe the comedian in the "Gobble, Gobble" particle is Frank Caliendo. Here's his Wikipedia argument.

#337 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2006, 01:13 AM:

The Lori Jareo discussion has inspired me to finally post this picture, as further caution to writers that too much candy is bad for you.

#338 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2006, 11:29 AM:

The question would be, how much verification is Wikipedia willing and able to do. My Wikipedia login is my real name, but they didn't ask me to prove that I'm really named Vicki Rosenzweig.

Hm, that could probably be easily solved by confirming with a credit card number. I know there are transactions that you can do that don't actually charge the person money. They could just confirm that the name on the credit card matches the name of the account. If the person doesn't have a credit card, then you might have to pay for two postage stamps or something, but in the end, I think confirmation is a solvable problem.

#339 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2006, 12:15 PM:

But, then Wikipedia has people's credit card numbers, their names, their political opinions, et cetera, all on a database somewhere. At the risk of tin-foil hattery, I don't like that idea.

I think Wikipedia has hit that wall: Pick one of good, cheap, quick. They've gone for quick and cheap. Long term, they could turn out to have good, cheap, and slow, but for the time being, good is a long way off, if it is even on the road map.

#340 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2006, 12:48 PM:

Teresa, the paper lantern photos are probably from the Toro-Nagashi stage of an Obon celebration.

#341 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2006, 01:18 PM:

"Something involving paper lanterns" seems to be a Hiroshima anniversary. The mention of "2003.8.6" is a clue.

#342 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2006, 02:39 PM:

O-bon is a Japanese celebration of the dead, during a period where the spirits are believed to be visiting and invisibly around us. It's generally a joyous occasion for remembering and celebrating our connection with our dead relatives - a lot like what I hear the Mexican Day of the Dead is like. The paper lanterns floating down the river or out to sea represent the spirits returning to the land of the dead, at the end of the celebration.

O-bon is still a big deal in Hawaii; even some non-Japanese and non-Buddhists join in the celebrations, especially the big Bon dances.

#343 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2006, 03:28 PM:

Clifford Royston: Do they dance around Bon fires?

#344 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2006, 05:41 PM:

For some reason, the Google page autotranslation tool ignores the caption at the top of the lantern page, but a cut'n'paste directly into their Japanese-to-English function yields the slightly garbled "Before the atomic bomb dome, the various light wax keeps flowing. The light of the becoming deep and also the ロウソク of twilight increasing, the just a little ハデ it became the photograph. Riding the flow and wind of the good tide, way thinking the repose of souls it carries to the distance, far."

(I think the first cluster of katakana above transliterates to "rousuku" (candle) and the second cluster to "hade" or "fade" (??).)

#345 ::: Emily H. ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2006, 07:04 PM:

Off-the-cuff translation:

Colored lanterns float in front of the atomic bomb dome. The bright candle lights against the darkness of twilight make for a gaudy picture. May they float on the wind and tides to eternal rest.

#346 ::: John M. Ford observes unusually idiotic spam ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2006, 07:29 PM:

I'm sure he's really a Doctor, too. Probably with a degree in Journalism.

#347 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2006, 10:08 PM:

Wikipedia has people's credit card numbers, their names, their political opinions, et cetera, all on a database somewhere

I don't think all the info needs to be stored, other than the user name. The CC# simply needs to be processed to verify, then can be forgotten...

#348 ::: Charles Dodgson ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2006, 11:27 PM:

More on the lantern festivals here, from a Hawaiian elementary school of all places. (Funny what Google will dredge up). Boston's Forest Hills cemetery holds its own version of the festival annually. If you're tempted to go, show up early to explore while the sun's out --- scattered about between the tombs is a sculpture collection that many museums would envy. But I digress...

#349 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2006, 11:47 PM:

You're right; Wikipedia could just forget all the credit card numbers after receiving them. You still have to trust Wikipedia in this scenario, of course.

But moving towards a policy of real names, even just for the higher ups' would be a Good Thing for Wikipedia.

#350 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2006, 12:59 AM:

"Something involving paper lanterns" seems to be a Hiroshima anniversary. The mention of "2003.8.6" is a clue.

As is the appearance of "hiroshima" in the URL, I would have said.

#351 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2006, 09:25 AM:

"The Myth of Air Power" in the sidebar is well-written, as well it should be, since it is a lightly frosted version of John Keegan's view from his book "The Second World War."

It also manages to miss a few cases where strategic air power did work, most notably the destruction of Peenemunde, which delayed the deployment of the V-weapons by Germany for nearly a year.

The interesting thing is that he neglects to highlight one of the major arguments in his favor, which is that the method by which Germany continued to have higher and higher production in spite of strategic bombing was wide dispersal of all sorts of industrial production. This is precisely what the Iranians are trying to do.

Keegan also makes a fairly convincing argument that submarine warfare was a much more successful "strategic" weapon. The US brought Japan to the point of starvation, both in terms of food and raw materials, by sinking its merchant fleet, and had Germany had more U-boats or better ones sooner they might have done the same to Britain. (According to Keegan, rationing in Britain actually improved the general health, because the working class got more and better food than they had before the war. It wasn't exciting food, but it was better from a nutritional sense.)

Any relevance to other situations where vital materials are brought long distances by ship to supply countries deficient in those resources is left as an exercise.

#352 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2006, 09:32 AM:

Re: Something involving Paper Lanterns, in Particles.

This is the Hiroshima Toro Nagashi tradition; you can see the Hiroshima dome clearly in the first photo. The lanterns are part of the buddhist O-Bon ceremony, to help the departed find their way to the other side.

#353 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2006, 11:18 AM:

Air Power, in way it was employed in WW2, was something of a war of industry.

Even Douhet doesn't seem to have argued for it being quick. WW1 had several instance of armies suffering a collapse of morale -- for instance, the French in 1917 -- and Douhet seems to have seen air power as a way of bypassing the deadlock of trench warfare to break the morale of the enemy nation. That fed into a lot of class politics.

So now we have "Shock and Awe", built on a whole sea of disproved illisions, with a little of the military thinking behind such things as Blitxkrieg: the truth that acting faster than the enemy can react is a good thing.

But you still have to finish the job. You have to put the boot in properly, not run away and claim victory. And Air Power isn't noticebly faster at doing that. "Shock and Awe" isn't so different from terrorism in how it's supposed to work.

#354 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2006, 01:57 PM:

But moving towards a policy of real names, even just for the higher ups' would be a Good Thing for Wikipedia.

especially for the 'higher ups'. Some of the worst offenders on wikipedia that I ran into were anonymous administrators...

#355 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2006, 05:51 PM:

I'm in the process of scanning and uploading my father's memorabilia from his time flying a photo-reconnaissance P-38 in World War II, at http://web.mac.com/bbaugh/iWeb/hal-p38/Welcome.html. I've been thinking and talking idly about this for years. Now he's got brain cancer and the time's run out, and it is to my very, very great relief that I've been able to show him the work so far - it rouses his attention and enthusiasm in a way few things do now.

Check it out, if you like such things.

#356 ::: Barry Ragin ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2006, 06:57 PM:

this is a total stab in the dark, but are there any Making Light readers in the Raleigh-Durham area who might be going to the Samuel Delany - John Kessel panel discussion at Duke U. on Sunday?

Could you drop me an email if you are?

#357 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2006, 07:05 PM:

From the Particle:

Men about to play a financial game were shown images of sexy women or lingerie.

Ah yes, Hentai Monopoly, the DVD Edition. The game where choosing the dog playing piece says more about you than perhaps your friends wanted to know.

#358 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2006, 07:48 PM:

The folks who produce MAKE Magazine have announced CRAFT magazine, which I think would appeal to many here:

http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive/2006/04/craft_coming_this_fall.html

#359 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2006, 10:14 PM:

Barry, I sure wish I could be there. I respect John Kessel deeply.

Mr. Ford, I'm soooooo glad I'm reading this at home. (tee hee hee))

#360 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2006, 12:38 AM:

Today is Anzac Day.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris, although his knighthood (baronetcy?) was a late and unwilling gesture, died in bed full of years, a fate unachieved by most of the young airmen under his command between 1942 and 1945. Some 58000 of them didn't get to die in bed at all, at any age.

He achieved, if that is the word, the actual levelling of most of the larger German cities. It became his only purpose. If their cities burned to the ground, and the Germans had no homes and no factories, then obviously they would stop fighting. They didn't. If anything, they fought and worked harder and better.

Harris is to be mainly held responsible for convincing his chiefs that this would work. He bulldozed his way past Portal, who was unwilling to check him, apparently because that's not what chaps do to other chaps, and anyway Harris was passionate and bellicose and nasty if crossed. But the General Staff, the Imperial War Council, the British Cabinet and the Prime Minister himself bear the responsibility for allowing themselves to be convinced, in the face of daunting evidence to the contrary, that Bomber Command and the 8th US Air Force, could largely win the war by themselves.

Because of that, the Atlantic Gap was closed in late 1943, not a year earlier, and thousands of US, Canadian and British merchant sailors lost their lives unnecessarily. Millions of tons of vital war material went to the bottom of the Atlantic, because the long range aircraft that would have kept the U-boats submerged and hunted were bombing Germany. Allied tanks were powered with whatever engines the bombers didn't need, which meant that they were underpowered, underarmoured and undergunned. Their crews had to make up in courage and numbers for German superior quality, and the result was heavy and unnecessary casualties.

Worse, Harris was indifferent to casualties even among his own aircrews to an extent that reminds one of where he learned his bloody-mindedness - in the Great War. He simply binned Freeman Dyson's analysis showing that crews would have a much greater chance of escaping shot-down aircraft if the hatches were two inches larger all around, and that the casualty rate would be lower if the forward and dorsal gun turrets were eliminated, reducing the aircrew, and allowing streamlining so that the bombers could fly higher and faster.

Harris levelled Dresden for no military purpose, taking pains especially to target helpless civilians with fire. So he did, which by any civilised measure makes him a war criminal. I suppose it is a peculiarity of my own personality, and an admission of guilt, that I'd have put him against a wall for his military high crimes and misdemeanours first.

#361 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2006, 05:41 AM:

Dave, I'm no defender of the morality of area bombing, but a couple of points:
First of all, I don't think that aero engines and tank engines were fungible. Rolls-Royce made the engines for the bombers. Nuffield and General Motors made the engines for the tanks. No question that German tanks were superior, but I don't think that had anything to do with Bomber Command.
The first Liberators produced went to Coastal Command for the Battle of the Atlantic, in March 1941. So it wasn't the case that the bombing campaign deprived Coastal Command of aircraft. The Gap was a product of limited range, not of limited numbers.
Furthermore, your numbers don't add up: the Battle of the Atlantic was won by mid-1943, while the bomber war peaked in 1944-5.

It's also worth considering that there was more to the bomber war than killing civilians. I can think of a couple of outstanding effects: cutting off Germany's fuel supplies by hitting refineries and oil fields, and drawing the fighter groups back to the Reich to give the Allies air superiority over the battlefields in France.

#362 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2006, 07:07 AM:

The outputs might be fungible; the inputs might not have been. I don't know the exact figures, but every ounce of metal going to aeroplanes didn't go to tanks. It is possible that it was factories that were the bottleneck, and that it was impossible for Nuffield to have made more engines than they were doing.

As for the British PM of the time; well. Gallipoli, as we remember today. And Norway. And Italy.

(And an early example of Godwin's Law's broad applicability: Socialist Britain only possible with a Gestapo.')

#363 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2006, 07:17 AM:

Engines were fungible with minor alterations. A version of the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, four of which were required to power the Lancaster bomber, was later used in the Cromwell tank, the only British armoured vehicle to come within a bull's roar of matching the German Panther. It was available, in very limited numbers, from July 1944. Harris fought diversion of those resources every inch of the way. Of course earlier American tanks were also powered by what were originally aircraft engines. There were problems, certainly, but a very little engineering expertise would have solved them.

Aircraft designed and built as long-range heavy bombers could easily have been slightly converted to long-range maritime purposes, and if enough of them had been, would have been able to provide daylight air patrols around convoys, making it impossible for U-boats to pace them on the surface and attack, as they usually did, at night. Harris did his utmost to prevent this, and he largely succeeded. To do it, he fudged figures, distorted facts and doctored photographs - and this was known by late 1942. At that stage, he should have been removed in disgrace, at least.

He was using a thousand bombers for a raid by mid-1942. These aircraft would have won the Battle of the Atlantic by the summer of that year. Instead, the worst losses of all occurred in May, 1943 - and they were completely unnecessary. Thousands of men paid with their lives for Harris's obsession and the unwillingness of his chiefs to call him on it. Worse, supplies were sent to the bottom that might have shortened the war by six months or more, saving millions more.

I wasn't joking when I said I'd have shot him.

#364 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2006, 08:29 AM:

Oh, and effects of strategic bombing. There were some. Possibly the oil strategy might have had some effect, although the Ploesti raids were shockingly expensive for no measurable result. But the main stricture on German production throughout the war was always the naval blockade and, from 1943, territorial losses in the east. As has been said already, German war production peaked in November 1944, was still above its 1942 figures in February 1945, declining in direct proportion to the area controlled by the Reich.

The Schweinfurt ball-bearing raids had no measurable effect. Busting the dams had only transient ones, but that raid's targets actually were worth the resources used, because those were relatively small. The Danube waterway mine-laying raids were probably more effective. Attempts to destroy marshalling yards and railways were generally ineffective - a few hundred labourers with shovels could usually repair the damage in a few days. Strafing locomotives was better, but you didn't need or want heavy bombers for that job.

The point is that Harris was actually opposed to those ideas. He didn't know from strategic resources or production bottlenecks or critical materials or transport nexuses. He was killing Germans, and that was all he knew or cared to know. He could kill the most by reducing German cities to rubble, so that was what he did.

Using these resources, principally (as I should have said above) the very finest, fittest, best-educated, most intelligent brave young men that the democracies could recruit, was a vicious, profligate, bone-headed, criminal waste.

#365 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2006, 08:40 AM:

Dave: I didn't know about the Cromwell. Very interesting. Having had another look at the history over lunch, I see that you are also right on the patrol plane issue.
I would say, though, that the price of air superiority over the Western Front (and, at times, over the Eastern Front) would have to be very high not to be worth paying. If the only thing that Bomber Command did was draw away most of the German air defences, that is still a war-winning result.

#366 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2006, 10:10 AM:

Despite the debate about some points, it sounds as though the "vicious, profligate, bone-headed, criminal waste" Dave describes is true enough -- and regrettably timeless. Some generals are always bone-headed, and now (alas) we've got Rummie.

#367 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2006, 10:39 AM:

Dave, I don't question your telling of the history of Harris in WW2. And I agree that given a war to win and a set of finite resources to do that with, there are strategies better than others to achieve that goal. But it almost feels to me like there is an underlying assumption that there is such a thing as a purely good and fair war and Harris failed to follow it. The older I get, the more I get the impression that if you pull back the curtain of any "great" war, and look at the events going on backstage, you'll find it is nothing but a meat grinder, meaningless, amoral, savage, and cruel.

If there is any myth that has caused more human suffering than the fairy tale that is the "good and fair war", I am at a loss to name it. Harris may have been a fool of a commander, but even if you had gotten rid of Harris and had someone else in his command, you would still have a war that was a meat grinder, meaningless, amoral, savage, and cruel; the only difference being it may have been more efficient at achieving it's goals.

And yes, I'm in a foul mood today....

#368 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2006, 10:56 AM:

Yes, German war production peaked in '44, but I have to wonder how much higher it might've been if there had been no strategic bombing campaign. Were the beneftis of strategic bombing during WWII truly less than the costs incurred?

Which isn't to justify, of course, Harris's perspective on strategic bombing....

#369 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2006, 11:41 AM:

Greg: Agreed and passed by acclamation. No question of morality, justice or right obtrudes here. The only question is pragmatic: what deployment of resources would most quickly secure the defeat of Germany?

Tallyrand said, I forget in what connection: "It was worse than a crime; it was a blunder."

Worse than a crime. Dead set.

Richard Anderson: Good question. Nobody knows, but no doubt it would be higher. How much Allied production went into the difference? A lot more, I think.

#370 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2006, 11:54 AM:

Except that phrases such as this, "Worse, Harris was indifferent to casualties even among his own aircrews to an extent that reminds one of where he learned his bloody-mindedness - in the Great War.", point in a direction that would suggest Harris's replacement would not be indifferent. The thing about non-fictional war is that even good people get killed for no good reason and commanders further up the chain have to be "indifferent" to that to some extent. It is a meat grinder, after all, and while mythical war has good people dying only to show the evilness of the other side, had the allied commanders been the best possible, you'd still have lots of fathers, brothers, and sons dying in the mud, and their commanders would have to be "indifferent" to that to the extent that they would still order the next wave into the breach the next day. And even the best commanders would have a "bloody-mindedness" to the extent that they would be seeking to kill as many poeple on the other side as possible, knowing that some of their own would die doing it.

and the morning hasn't gotten any better, so I'm still in a foul mood, so maybe I should just drop it...

#371 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2006, 12:25 PM:

Of course military commanders must be prepared to ignore casualties where these are necessary to the end in view. True, but every good commander does everything that he possibly can to reduce his casualties while retaining the aim of defeating the enemy. Harris had the means to reduce the casualties in Bomber Command while not compromising the end, and he did not use them. For this he stands culpable, which is all I'm saying.

#372 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2006, 12:35 PM:

Congratulations to Patrick for his Locus Award nomination for Best Editor.

Other Making Light regulars in the list include Charles Stross (Best Novel, Accelerando) and Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple(Best Young Adult Book, Pay the Piper).

Congrats, everyone!

#373 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2006, 04:00 PM:

The US brought Japan to the point of starvation, both in terms of food and raw materials, by sinking its merchant fleet, and had Germany had more U-boats or better ones sooner they might have done the same to Britain.

I'm told that the submarine war brought Britain to within 30 days of having to drop out of the war.

What changed was the hunter-killer groups (an escort carrier with DDs or DEs) deployed in late February '43. By May '43 the U-boats had lost a quarter of their operational strength.

Even with modern aircraft the GIUK Gap was a tricky place for ASW well into the 1980s (when I was doing it in my own small way).

#375 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2006, 05:45 PM:

Re the Batman sound cards Particle: I saw those a while back, and resized and cleaned them for use as Livejournal usericons (or any other site that uses avatars; these are resized to 100-pixel dimension limits, for LJ). Feel free to take any or all of them, but please don't hotlink. Thanks.

#376 ::: Kate Yule ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2006, 09:01 PM:

re pink/blue particle, or, What Color is Your Gender: I've read something attributing the switch to an extremely popular museum exhibit/tour involving Gainsborough's Blue Boy. Can't find anything online to back this up, though, except that when BB was sold to that American chap Huntington in 1921 or 1922, Brits did come to see it by the tens of thousands before it left for the wilds of California.

#377 ::: P J Evans sees comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 12:19 PM:

purebred spam?

#378 ::: Dan Hoey says it's comment spam too ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 12:45 PM:

Dem spammer puppycat/dogkittens are zombies. I wonder if they can find me some purebred thin dogs. With braaaaains.

spam spam spam

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.