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February 11, 2008

RFC (Request For Clue)
Posted by Patrick at 09:19 AM *

We appear to have gotten over 7,000 visitors in the last day or so via StumbleUpon.com.

First, welcome, StumbleUpon users!

Second, can someone explain to this particular old person exactly what it is that got linked to, and where on the StumbleUpon site I can view the link? Despite being a fully-signed-up member of StumbleUpon, I’ve never been able to quite make sense of how it works, and although I’ve signed in and clicked around this morning, I can’t find whatever it was that sent all that traffic to Making Light. I suspect I need someone twenty or thirty years younger than me to explain it all.

Comments on RFC (Request For Clue):
#1 ::: John Scalzi ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:46 AM:

Your raw log files should have the specific URL at StumbleUpon that is directing traffic your way; you can follow it back from there (this is what I do when I get stumbled).

StumbleUpon is a bit weird. I get several thousand visits from there each month, and yet I'm not quite sure how it works, either. Its not as transparent as Digg or FARK, in terms of how it works. I suspect Underpants Gnomes are involved in some way.

#2 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:55 AM:

this particular old person

Not even 50 and Patrick thinks he's old.

#3 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 10:05 AM:

Serge: Old is relative. I get to talking shop with newer photographers... I'm old-ish.

And the kids today, who join the Army.

:)

#4 ::: Stephen Granade ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 10:11 AM:

To add to what Scalzi said, if you follow the whole referer url back (which will look like http://www.stumbleupon.com/refer.php?url=[your page]), you can see the reviews people have written about that particular page. Though in some cases it's like YouTube comments: you really don't want to see them.

#5 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 10:32 AM:

Serge @ 2 ... this particular morning, I sure feel old -creak- The cold gets into my bones...

#6 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 10:38 AM:

As far as I've been able to find, Making Light was recommended by OliviaB without mentioning any particular post.

#7 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 11:05 AM:

In fact, following Mr. Scalzi's advice (why didn't I think of that? Probably because there's still too much blood in my caffeine stream), I discover that the link appears to be to this post. At any rate, welcome to any StumbleUpon users who may be looking around the rest of the site.

#8 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 11:21 AM:

Terry Karney @ 3

And the kids today, who join the Army.

Hey, you damn kids, get off the parade field!

#9 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 11:27 AM:

You know you're getting physically (if not mentally) old when you realize that your manager was in kindergarten when you were entering the work force.

#10 ::: Graeme Williams ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 11:38 AM:

StumbleUpon is a recommendation engine. Users vote for web sites with a toolbar button and StumbleUpon groups users with similar interests based on their votes. If you're a user, it will recommend a site to you if one or more people similar to you have voted for it.

I don't think it uses gnomes, though. I was under the impression that this sort of algorithm always uses zombies.

#11 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 12:04 PM:

"If you're a user, it will recommend a site to you if one or more people similar to you have voted for it." So Patrick's not similar to people who like Making Light...?!

#12 ::: Heather ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 01:09 PM:

Neil Gaiman (the awesome author) linked your blog into his blog article, so you may have had quite a few hits from that.
Neat blog!
Heather

#13 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 01:24 PM:

Jules @11: But has Patrick been recommending articles on this site? For that matter, how many Stumblers frequent Making Light? (I quit using SU myself because it was kind of distracting.)

#14 ::: wyrdling ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 02:54 PM:

yes, it was probably the gaiman link. he said awesome things (which this blog wholeheartedly deserves.) and then of course stumbleupon helps things gain critical mass.

#15 ::: mds ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 03:06 PM:

StumbleUpons, Diggs, Twitters, IMs, RSSes... bah. Back in my day, we actually communicated with other human beings, via electronic mail and "comment threads" on "weblogs" back when "weblogs" were called "Usenet."

And yes, I purchased quotation mark offsets for the above.

#16 ::: S. E. ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 04:10 PM:

You can see your page here:

http://www.stumbleupon.com/url/nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/

#17 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 05:30 PM:

I wonder if the sun is in the constellation of StumbleApon? I have two never-quite-finished, unpublicised and never visited sites - a sudoko solver and a re-emvoweler - and they've *both* been StumbledApon in the last couple of weeks, and racked up a couple of hundred hits in a day.

I must remember this for the remote day when they're actually finished.

#18 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 05:41 PM:

A reemvoweler in the style of BabelFish could be fun.

#19 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 06:10 PM:

LMB MacAlister at #18 writes:

> A reemvoweler in the style of BabelFish could be fun.

I'm slow of clue today - what do you mean by 'in the style of babelfish'?

#20 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 06:23 PM:

LMB 18: You mean one that puts the same vowels in every word, or that puts the same vowels in the same sequence of consonants regardless of context? In any case, I assume you mean one that results in an incomprehensible mess.

Ooo, fun! I just thought of something even more annoying to trolls than disemvowelment. ROT-3 their vowels, counting 'y' (but not 'w', sorry Welsh people) as a vowel. So 'You people are all a bunch of liberal geeks' would come out as 'Iae puaplu oru oll o bench af lyburol guuks'.

Or if that's too legible, you could just shift all the vowels in the message one position to the right, wrapping at the end: 'Eyo pueplo era ell a banch uf lobirel gaeks'.

But both of those are non-lossy. Rats. I knew there was something wrong with my scheme!

#21 ::: mds ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 06:48 PM:

Xopher @ 20:

counting 'y' (but not 'w', sorry Welsh people) as a vowel.

Oh, now it's on, sais.

#22 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 07:30 PM:

Xopher @ 20 --

What's wrong with using 'w'? If it's good enough for Cymru and Argentina, shouldn't it be good enough for us? Besides, any language that gives Irish a run for its vowels has to be worth using. ;-)

mds @ 21-- beth sy'n bod arno fe?

#23 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 07:39 PM:

Xopher @20: Or if that's too legible, you could just shift all the vowels in the message one position to the right, wrapping at the end: 'Eyo pueplo era ell a banch uf lobirel gaeks'.

That has a certain appeal; might be a good faux foreign/alien speech. I'm not a linguist, but don't they talk about a 'vowel shift' that took place two or three hundred years ago? (Ok, I'm pretty sure that's not what they meant...) Shift the vowels in place?

  [left with wrap] 'Yua piupli eri ell e banch uf lobirel giiks'
[right with wrap] 'Yio paipla uri ull u bonch if lebarul gaaks'

If you want to make the text even harder to decipher than straight-up disemvoweling, how about replacing the vowels with spaces?

'Y p pl r ll b nch f l b r l g ks'
(a waste of space, I guess, in more ways than one).

#24 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 07:39 PM:

mds 21: Who you callin' "sais," Sassenach?

#25 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 08:03 PM:

Steve Taylor @ #19: Xopher has the idea, below. Not long before I posted that, I had followed the Do Not Feed the Troll link in the Particles to the Francophone blogger. Not reading or speaking French, I fed a few paragraphs into BabelFish to see what it said. Of course, BabelFish being BabelFish, afterward I still didn't know what it said.

#26 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 08:30 PM:

Ginger 22: To have ROT-3 on vowels work like ROT-13 on the whole (English) alphabet, I had to have an even number of vowel letters. I had to use one of 'y' and 'w' but not both to make this work, and since the language here is English, 'y' is much more likely to be used as a vowel.

And many of the vowel letters you see in Irish are being used as signs for palatalization, not as actual vowels. For example, my name in Irish is Críostóir; you can get its pronunciation close to right if you pronounce only the accented vowels, but actually the accent mark means they're lengthened. The first 'o' is an indicator that the 'st' cluster is "broad," that is, unpalatalized, and the second 'i' is an inticator that the final 'r' is "slender" (palatalized). Consonants next to an 'o' are broad, and next to an 'i' are slender, so you have to separate them out if you want to indicate something else.

Using following apostrophes to indicate palatalization and colons to indicate length, the full name would be pronounced /k'r'i:sto:r'/ ('i' as in English 'bit').

Rob 23: More cool stuff, but no, that's not what the GVS was. The GVS was a bizarre but perfectly regular change in the pronunciation of the vowels of English. Too complicated to explain in detail here, but one example: there were two words, one pronounced /bi:te/ ("bee-eeteh") and the other /bit/ ("bit"). First the long fortis vowel became a short but still fortis vowel followed by a glide: /biyte/, the final /e/ ("eh") was dropped: /biyt/, and then the /i/ ("ee") followed by glide /y/ mysteriously became /a/ (as in 'father'), leaving us with /bayt/, which is the modern pronunciation of the spelling 'bite'. 'Bit' didn't shift because the /i/ was not followed by a glide, so we have the curious phenomenon of "long" 'i'—neither long nor /i/, anymore, clearly being associated with a very dissimilar pronunciation /i/, in too many words to count.

This is, by the way, one of the major reasons English orthographic "reform" is such a harebrained idea.

#27 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 08:38 PM:

mds, #15: Wait, are you saying that Usenet is [gasp!] obsolete?

::Wanders back to alt.callahans for a much-needed drink::

#28 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 08:48 PM:

Xopher @ 26 -- when you put it that way, it sounds so reasonable. ;-) I think that 'y' is more recognizable as a vowel in English, therefore adding 'w' makes the cipher more indecipherable. So to speak. Perhaps if you randomly added a 'w' here and there following the ROT3?

#29 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 08:53 PM:

What's baffling me is that I can't remember what I did for a social life before the internet. I suspect I didn't have one...

#30 ::: mds ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 08:57 PM:

mds @ 21-- beth sy'n bod arno fe?

Albanwyr.

No, I kid, I kid. Um... [feverishly] Does dim byd yn bod arno fe. Mae fe yn iawn. Or something.

[Wheeze. I hope that wasn't complete gibberish. If this goes on any longer, I'm going to have to artfully steer the conversation to the Lord's Prayer.]

mds, #15: Wait, are you saying that Usenet is [gasp!] obsolete?

Oh, good lord, no. There's still no place better to argue about Iain M. Banks. (Oh please, no one start addressing me in Marain. I'm tapped out.)

#31 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 08:58 PM:

Thena 29: I spent a hell of a lot more money, let me tell you. And I spent a lot more time reading, but OTOH I also spent more time talking to stuffed animals, or the wall, depending.

#32 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:00 PM:

I read about the Scientology protest in London, linked to from Cherie Priest's Livejournal. And then I had to tell other people... except all the people who would understand why I told them are already in the computer. It's a culture shock.

#33 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:24 PM:

Xopher @ #26: 'Twould be site-specific, but maybe this would work better than ROT-3, which isn't very confusing. Store the deletions from the previous disemvoweling, then use them, in order, in the next. Rinse, repeat. Of course, the mechanics would be hell . . . .

#34 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:26 PM:

Let's see. I think I can babelfish this Welsh.

beth sy'n bod arno fe?

Is Beth's body in the Arno in irons?

Albanwyr.

That Albin's weird.

Does dim byd yn bod arno fe.

Did that stupid bird get herself thrown in the Arno in irons?

Mae fe yn iawn.

My iron makes me yawn.

#35 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:32 PM:

mds@30 -- well, you know way more Welsh than I do, and what little I learned was from The Grey King. ;-)
(Carefully does not ask what Marain is..)

Xopher @31 -- ROFLMAO.

#36 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:46 PM:

I only know how to say two things in Welsh: "polecats" (y ffwlbar) and "toasted cheese" (caws pob). I am probably spelling both of them wrong. I picked up the first one from The Grey King and the second from some story I forget in which a guy taught his pet bird to say "caws pob".

This is particularly embarrassing because I have a pretty good dose of Welsh ancestry (Wynns, Joneses and Blevinses).

#37 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:49 PM:

Lila @ 36 -- One of my professors in vet school was a Wynn-Jones. ;-)

#38 ::: mds ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 09:57 PM:

and what little I learned was from The Grey King. ;-)

I picked up the first one from The Grey King

Hey, The Grey King was my introduction to Welsh, too! What are the odds that we'd all pick up some Welsh from the same young-adult fantasy novel? Especially at this blog?

Marain is the language of the alien civilization called The Culture in a series of works by Iain M. Banks, Albanwyr science fiction author. (I figured you secretly wanted to know, Ginger.)

#39 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 10:11 PM:

mds @ 38 -- How is it that I've totally missed Iain Banks until now? I have added him to my reading list.

I'll leave the calculation of odds to those who are more math-enabled than I am. ;-)

#40 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 10:24 PM:

mds @ 38 -
Hey, The Grey King was my introduction to Welsh, too! What are the odds that we'd all pick up some Welsh from the same young-adult fantasy novel? Especially at this blog?

I'd say probably pretty good - it certainly was my first exposure to Welsh.

(A friend of mine describes the Welsh as "the people the Polynesians conned out of most of their vowels, so they had to make up their own with what they had left").

#41 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 10:33 PM:

I'm another one who first met Welsh in The Grey King. And then I ordered my parents to buy me a teach yourself Welsh book, and then I did not teach myself Welsh because the Teach Yourself series is insanely more complicated than it needs to be, and also because I had no attention span.

#42 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 10:56 PM:

LMB MacAlister at #25 writes:

> Steve Taylor @ #19: Xopher has the idea, below.

Gotcha. No - I was trying to do real re-emvowelment - restoring the original text. It's pretty ho-hum in the current iteration, but the next rewrite should be better...

#43 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 11:02 PM:

My in-laws live in Wales, my youngest BiL and SiL are actually bilingual and the only Welsh I know is gwili a brecwas (that's bed and breakfast). That said, despite going to school in Wales for 6 years or so, Graeme doesn't know much more than I do. Although he's much better at pronouncing things. I just pronounce them the way I think they ought to be pronounced. This doesn't actually work in Welsh.

#44 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2008, 11:56 PM:

mds@#30: I hope that wasn't complete gibberish.

Nid oedd hi'n nonsens o gwbl.

I read The Grey King when I'd already been living in Wales for a year or two - I'd been plunged straight into remedial Welsh lessons at the age of nine-and-three-quarters, and it was lovely to see Welsh scraps that touched on real, interesting topics.

(I blame my amateurish obsession with languages on learning Welsh and French at the same time as reading Tolkien for the first time.)

Xopher@#24: Says right here in my Handbook for Oppressed Peoples (37th Ed., 2007) that anyone not part of the oppressed ethnic group is automatically English. (Presumably, for US ethnic groups read 'Anglo'.)

#45 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 01:00 AM:

Vowels for Wales.

Note the lovely alternate interpretation of disemvowelling in the last line!

#46 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 02:08 AM:

Ginger @ 39

Oops, hold on one minute. Your future like or dislike of Banks is sensitively dependent on which book you read first. As you're a medical professional, you're probably not squeamish but also are not pleased by reading about violence, so best not start with Consider Phlebas or Use of Weapons. Keep them for later if you like what you see at first. I personally recommend Feersum Enjin, The Player of Games, or Excession as good places to start. As we've had this discussion at least 3 times in the last year, let's not start up again; Ginger, you can search for Banks in my view-all-by and find the threads where we talked about him.

#47 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 06:51 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 46: Here's where I shamefacedly confess to reading space opera and European history (1914-1944) and such..violins per se don't bother me. Saxon violins might be a problem though.

Thanks for the suggestions though; I realized I'd heard of Feersum Endjin and that might be a good place to start. (I think I must have confused him with Ian McDonald, and not bothered to look any closer.)

#48 ::: Neil in Chicago ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 10:04 AM:

Ginger @ 22 --

Don't 'wy' for me, Argentina.

#49 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 10:18 AM:

Neil in Chicago, @48: I don't mean to pry..but Wye not? Are you just being wry? Please reply..

;-)

#50 ::: John Aspinall ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 10:34 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 46: I'll point out pedantically that Ginger refers to Iain Banks, and you list Iain M. Banks' books. Since the two are one and the same person, this is only nitpicking, but it is a notable piece of Banksiana that he publishes his sci-fic with his middle initial and his lit-fic without.

My favorite Iain M. Banks: The Algebraist.

My favorite Iain Banks: The Crow Road.

#51 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 11:32 AM:

That has a certain appeal; might be a good faux foreign/alien speech.

Several years ago, a bunch of us on the Zompist BBoard came up with Pig Elvish, intended to look like Sindarin; it was even fairly non-lossy: take the first letter and move it to the end. If the word is three letters or fewer, append "en". If it's four or more, append a random vowel. Mark any final Es with a diaresis (or umlaut, if you insist), and add acute accents at will. Change all Ks to C.

So Xopher's sample comes out as "Oúyen eoplepi eraen lláen aen unchbë fóen iberalla eecsgë".

#52 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 12:05 PM:

Lee 45: Wow, I know all those people. In fact, I'm apprenticed to Aleksandra de Accipitre (or rather Críostóir Concheann (my SCA persona) is). I haven't been active in a long time, and she's moved to quite another part of the forest country.

Teresa has met her and "Robin" (her husband). It was years ago though.

#53 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 12:20 PM:

Carrie S @ 51:
"Oúyen eoplepi eraen lláen aen unchbë fóen iberalla eecsgë".

That's great! It's amusing, delightful and intellectual -- what a combination. I am so using this the next time I need a secret cipher (with appropriate references to the Zompist BBoard).

#54 ::: mds ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 03:34 PM:

Sam Kelly @ 44:

mds@#30: I hope that wasn't complete gibberish.

Nid oedd hi'n nonsens o gwbl.

That's a relief, thanks. Er, I mean, same to you, and the Welsh Cob you rode in on. :-)

(Who would have thought that it would be so hard to "fake it" with really rusty basic Welsh? Especially at this blog?)

#55 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 04:05 PM:

I now I want a weck on wye.

#56 ::: mds ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 04:29 PM:

I now I want a weck on wye.

(1) Hee.

(2) Hang on, that doesn't make sense. Weck is already the bread part.

(3) Gasp! Mr. Karney, are you from the Buffalo area?

#57 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 05:19 PM:

mds: I know the weck is is the bread, but the alliteration (and the Elmer Fudd sense of how it sounded, forced me to do it that way. What do the Welsh know of beef on weck?

And no, I am not from Buffalo.

Hee.

#58 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 05:49 PM:

Add me to the list of Grey King readers.

I'm afraid to go back and read them now. I've heard the result is somewhat disappointing.

Passing on the link for Vowels for Wales- I've got enough heralds hanging around who will get a kick out of it.

#59 ::: mds ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 07:56 PM:

Terry Karney @57:

What do the Welsh know of beef on weck?

Well, it does use the rare bits.

#60 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 08:16 PM:

Xopher, #52: What were you apprenticed in, IYDMMA? (I've been gafiated for a long time too. Lady Céline von Dumerand, du Royaume de Meridies, at your service.)

#61 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 08:27 PM:

mds: always with the stiltoned referrences, and the cheesy comebacks.

#62 ::: mds ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 09:03 PM:

mds: always with the stiltoned referrences, and the cheesy comebacks.

Indeed, Mr. Karney, it's a bad rabbit of mine, to take a joke and rennet into the ground.

#63 ::: Danny Yee ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 10:09 PM:

Interesting. I just discovered that my book review site has 7 reviews at stumbleupon, and that I've been getting a steady stream of referrals from it, nearly 100/day. Scattered to different pages, so never enough to show up in the daily logs.

I'm a bit bemused by the reviewer who reckons my selections are "heavily on the self improvement side", though!

#64 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2008, 10:15 PM:

Lee 60: Calligraphy.

#65 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 05:35 AM:

mds #30:
You rang?

Ginger #39:

Is it because you are west of the Atlantic where Banks has not had the distribution he deserves? Also, what Bruce Cohen (StM) #46 said.

Me, I'd recommend:

Iain Banks:
"The Crow Road"

Iain M. Banks:
Publication order (which would be "Consider Phlebas"), but "Player of Games" is an easier entry. I would not recommend "Feersum Endjin" first as it contains large tracts of phonetically spelt narrative & is not typical of the 'Culture' novels.

#66 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 09:05 AM:

Soon Lee@ 65:

I think it's more a case of not paying attention to the new books coming through. I don't spend a lot of time browsing the shelves in bookstores anymore, which is my own fault. ;-)

Thanks for your recommendations! I will keep this in mind as I trek to the local.

#67 ::: mds ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 11:49 AM:

Soon Lee @ 65:

mds #30:
You rang?

Noooooooo!

-- Sol-Earther* md Punster s dam Iowa
(and no, you're not getting the nine-bit binary version)

#68 ::: mds ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 11:52 AM:

Oops.

*"Sol-Terran" is cooler than "Sol-Earther", but does anyone really call the place Terra? Except when declaring war on it?

#69 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 01:02 PM:

There's Julia Ecklar's song "God Lives on Terra", for starters.

#70 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 01:25 PM:

I've always preferred Tellus, personally. Being a Tellurian is so much cooler than being a Terran.

#71 ::: mds ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2008, 01:51 PM:

I've always preferred Tellus, personally.

Unfortunately, "Tellus" always makes me think of the Lensman series, misogyny and all. (Please note that I avoided any obvious puns, despite the self-chosen portion of my Culture name above.)

And c'mon, Julia Ecklar or no, when's the last time you said "Where on Terra / Tellus did I put my keys?"

#72 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 09:43 AM:

In general, I find that North Americans who know any Welsh at all, or have the faintest clue about Welsh pronunciation, got it from The Grey King. I was telling my aunt about this in the summer, that people all over the world know how to pronounce Macynlleth because they've read a children's book, and she was absolutely flabberghasted.

You should use this power only for good.

Incidentally, you know how people flinch when they see "the n-word"? I flinched when I read "sais". When I was a kid, that was the knock-down no-holds-barred now we're seriously fighting word.

#73 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 09:51 AM:

Jo Walton #72: What's the polite Welsh word for Englishperson?

#74 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2008, 09:58 AM:

Jo Walton (72): I got my original (tiny) knowledge of Welsh from The Grey King, but a college class in Celtic Myth and Literature greatly improved my pronunciation.

#75 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 07:45 AM:

I'm not sure there is a polite Welsh word for Englishman....

heh.

Macynlleth... I had a really good burger there once. Of course, it could be because we were on our way back from Mount Snowdon and I was absolutely starving and it was the only place open. But still, it holds a fond place in my heart.

#76 ::: Jan Vaněk jr. ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2008, 05:04 PM:

If anybody is still interested in the original question (and haven't figured it out gor zirself):

#7 + #16 = stumbleupon.com/url/nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/009610.html - "RossTaben discovered this in Literature • 26 reviews since Feb 9, 2008 • tags literature, science-fiction, humor"

#77 ::: Fade Manley sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2010, 12:01 PM:

Spam spam spammity spam.

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