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June 11, 2017

Comments on Open Thread 218:
#1 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2017, 08:13 PM:

I'm going to have to read that article at some length. But for now I'm just going to kick off the new Open Thread so it's easy to find in the list of comments.

#2 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2017, 09:16 PM:

It's an interesting article. (I tend to think of English as what happens when a pidgen gets to be old and established.)

#3 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2017, 09:19 PM:

The word for what happens when a pidgen gets old and established is 'creole', but English is neither.

#4 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2017, 09:32 PM:

From the article, my new favorite synomym for 'definition' is 'saywhat'.

#5 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2017, 11:29 PM:

Interesting bit about there being no spelling bees for other languages.

I know that one of the hints that spelling bee competitors can ask is the origin of the word, and I've heard of serious spelling bee entrants do is study the root languages: German, French, etc.

#6 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 01:10 AM:

No spelling bees in other languages? Even, say, Irish Gaelic? (I honestly don't know here, and would be interested to. My impression from what I've seen of that language is that its spelling is even further from the speaking than is ours.)

#7 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 01:37 AM:

I'm still in the middle of re-reading the article, and the author is emphasizing the strangeness of "do." Polish has a word (czy) that takes on the interrogatory duties of "do." You can't use it the same way that you do in English when you answer, so maybe its the multiple duties that make "do" the linguistic outlier.

#8 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 01:49 AM:

And from near the end, "In Old English, however, ‘Ving-Thor was mad when he woke up’ would have been Wraþmod wæs Ving-Þórr/he áwæcnede. We can just about wrap our heads around this as ‘English’, but we’re clearly a lot further from Beowulf than today’s Reykjavikers are from Ving-Thor."

On the other hand, "Wrathful was Ving-Thor/When he awakened."

#9 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 01:52 AM:

Doug: I had much the same thought.

#10 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 02:30 AM:

David Goldfarb @6:

There may not be spelling bees per se in other languages, but there are dictation exercises. The Wikipedia article I link to there has information about French, Korean, and Chinese ones; Dutch schools do something similar as well. (There was a televised version, Het Groot Dictee Der Nederlandse Taal, but it was canceled this year for lack of viewing. A pity; it gave the Dutch something to complain about when the Belgians won, which was most years.)

Which is to say that, without disagreeing with the main thrust of the Aeon article, I note that it does fudge a few details.

#11 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 04:54 AM:

Doug @ #7:

I think it's specifically the double duty that's being pointed out.

#12 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 06:52 AM:

A counterargument from another linguist, who makes what seems to me several good arguments about errors or dubious arguments in McWhorter's essay (e.g., the supposed uniqueness of English among Indo-European languages in lacking grammatical gender), as well as some points of agreement.

Also, as to the absence of spelling competitions in other languages:

To my knowledge, national spelling competitions are organised in many countries, including Poland. I have finished runner-up in one of them, and I can testify it was tough going. Is Polish a normal language?

#13 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 08:18 AM:

Even, say, Irish Gaelic? (I honestly don't know here, and would be interested to. My impression from what I've seen of that language is that its spelling is even further from the speaking than is ours.)

It's not; you just don't know the rules. :)

Irish Gaelic has a quality in its consonants referred to as "broad vs slender". This is a variety of mutations that can be applied to what we as English speakers would refer to as the "normal" sound of the letter. For example, broad S is /s/, but slender S is /sh/. The way this is marked is by which vowels are adjacent to the consonant--sort of the way Russian Cyrillic does it (and often indicating the same thing, palatalization), but instead of changing the form of the vowel glyph, IG inserts a 'dummy' vowel that does nothing but indicate the pronunciation of the consonant. A, O, and U are broad, I and E are slender.

This is why actor Connery's first name is pronounced /ʃɔn/: the initial S is mutated to ʃ by the E, which is not pronounced, then the main vowel of the word is A, which is broad so it doesn't mutate the N. Usually the main vowel of any given syllable is helpfully indicated with an acute accent so you know which one is there to pronounce and which is there to mutate a consonant.

Gaelic spelling is actually a lot closer to the pronunciation than is English, but since it uses rules we don't it looks intimidating.

#14 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 09:02 AM:

Yep Irish is intimidating. Especially names, which are embarrassing to get wrong.

Aoife and Caoimhe are pronounced very similarly (eefə and queevə) but look very different to someone with an american english background.

(leaving apart all the spoken accents, where in some areas, th is pronounced as a hard t. So "I think three trees" would be "I tink tree trees")

#15 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 09:08 AM:

The linked article by John McWhorter is basically a condensation of some, though not all, of the arguments made in his 2009 book Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold Story of English. We were given a copy of this some years ago*, and from the title I assumed it was going to be another rehearsal of the standard whiggish tale of how the plucky English language uniquely hoovers up words from other languages all over the world etc etc. In fact, as McWhorter notes in both the book and the article, English is far from unique in its openness to this; English is unique, or at least odd, for other reasons.

I do recommend the book; it's an enjoyable and highly accessible run through some very solid stuff (his demolitions of prescriptivism are unfailingly fun), along with a bunch of highly entertaining speculations and slightly contrarian arguments. One gets the sense of McWhorter as an expert who enjoys his subject, who is comfortably familiar with the existing literature and consensus understandings, and who isn't reluctant to advocate for a eccentric hypothesis or two. Also, here's the second paragraph of chapter one:

German, Dutch, Swedish, and the gang are, by and large, variations on what happened to Proto-Germanic as it morphed along over three thousand years. They are ordinary rolls of the dice. English, however, is kinky. It has a predilection for dressing up like Welsh on lonely nights.
Pretty much got my interest right there.

--
* PS: I can't remember who gave it to us! If you're reading this, please remind me.

#16 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 09:41 AM:

Peter Erwin @ #12:

Hm, I have a slight quibble with "Swedish has morphed male and female into a second neuter", from the linked linguist blog. I would rather say that four grammatical genders are too many and the mostly-similar male and female genders have been essentially folded into the other neuter, based on the fact that Swedish was considered to have four grammatical genders in the 1970s but not in the 1990s. There are still some odd corners where you can see traces of the mostly-gone male gender, since adjectives (tend to) take -e rather than -a when referring to grammatically-male.

Of course, many Swedes really only think of grammatical genders as "N ord" and "T ord" (the determinate suffix for all utrum (the grammatical gender formerly known as "male, female and reale") words is "-en" and for neutrum words it's "-et").

#17 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 09:43 AM:

See also Empires of the Word which argues in some detail that a language is *not* "a dialect with an army and a navy". Instead, military dominance doesn't lead reliably to language spread. The advantage goes to languages which are easier for adults to learn.

#18 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 10:04 AM:

eric @ #14:

When I was young, I was told the tale of three Irishmen who were travelling around the countryside looking for work when they had a falling-out, with the result that Paddy went his own way while Mick and Dan continued on together.

The following day, Mick and Dan came upon a sign saying, WORK AVAILABLE - TREE FELLERS WANTED.

"Ah," said Mick, "what a pity it is that Paddy is no longer with us."

#19 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 10:21 AM:

@Stefan Jones no. 5: Indeed, I made it to the national bee twice by learning the spelling patterns of each language (as borrowed into English). Even if I'd never encountered the word before, I could puzzle it out using the etymology. It isn't a perfect system, though. I was something like six rounds from the championship the last time, but came a cropper over a word derived from (of course) French.

#20 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 10:21 AM:

Pointing back to Open Thread 217.

#21 ::: Greg Hullender ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 11:06 AM:

One should not take this too seriously.

I have a masters in linguistics, and I speak seven languages--four of them well enough to read novels. The author makes lots of false claims. People have already commented on spelling bees. I'll talk about prepositions at the ends of sentences.

The author claims that "normal languages" don't allow prepositions at the ends of sentences, but this simply shows his ignorance. German not only does so, it often requires it.

One can get around that by arguing that there's a difference between a real preposition (which introduces a phrase) and a "particle," which has the same spelling as a preposition but accompanies a verb. That "fixes" German, but it also "fixes" English, as follows.

The grammar rule becomes "don't end a clause with an unnecessary particle," where the test is to remove the word and see if the sentence still works. "I put my clothes [on]" clearly survives but "where is my car [at]" does not.

Anyway, after the comment about prepositions at the end of sentences, I quit reading. The author is an ignorant idiot, and his presence on Columbia's Linguistics faculty lowers my opinion of them.

#22 ::: odaiwai ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 11:27 AM:

Carrie S. #13"Usually the main vowel of any given syllable is helpfully indicated with an acute accent so you know which one is there to pronounce and which is there to mutate a consonant."

Unless the language has changed since I last studied it in school in Ireland (Fadó, fadó, troiche bliain ó shin), the way I learned it, an 'acute accent', (a Fada, as Gaeilge), lengthens the vowel sound. so that ó sounds like oh, á sounds like aw, é sounds like hey, í sounds like eeeee, etc.

Also, the name of the language is Irish. Gaelic is what Scottish people speak.

#23 ::: Jameson Quinn ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 11:44 AM:

I like the idea of "forstand", "underget", and "undergrasp", and I think neologisms should mine this vein more deeply. "Download" is a good start, but to be Frank we probably would have used "subscribe" for that if it weren't already taken.

#24 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 12:04 PM:

odaiwai: I'm certainly willing to believe that I am misremembering what I was taught; it's been a while.

#25 ::: Jameson Quinn ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 12:06 PM:

Taking advantage of the fresh open thread:

This blog is, of course, the birthplace of the E Pluribus Hugo voting method, so I think it's appropriate to give a quick update on my further work in voting methods. Respecting the rules, I'm not going to plug my organization (and none of the links below go to it), but I would like to mention a few proposals for political voting methods that I've refined in the last 6 months or so. So if you're not interested in voting method reform, feel free to skip the rest of this message; and if you do want to get into details of this stuff that you think would be threadjacking in this setting, you can go to the endfptp reddit or Slack channel.

The first is 3-2-1 voting, a single-winner voting method based on a 3-level rated ballot. That is to say, you rate each candidate "Good", "OK", or "Bad". Find the winner in 3 steps: semifinalists are the 3 most "good", finalists are the 2 least "bad", winner is the 1 more preferred. The third semifinalist can't be from the same party as both the other 2, and must have at least half the "good" ratings as the top semifinalist.

This method is designed to have simple but expressive ballots; and to minimize strategy, especially in cases where there are no more than 3 viable potential winners. In particular, it is as robust as possible across a variety of common 3-candidate scenarios, including "center squeeze" and "chicken dilemma". The method gives good outcomes and I think that minimizing strategy leads to a healthier debate.

For a proportional representation method, there's GOLD voting, based on a combination of districts and delegation. This method would be a low-risk replacement for FPTP in the US, UK, or Canada (especially British Columbia, which will probably actually institute a PR method in the near future).

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled programming.

#26 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 12:18 PM:

So, Language question, specifically UK/Irish usage vs American.

When you're on a 4 lane road, where is the inside lane?

In my American usage, the inside lane is the one towards the center, so it's the fast/passing/overtaking lane. In Irish usage, the inside lane is the one by the shoulder, towards the edge of the roadway. This led to comical issues with the driving lessons required for a license here. (let alone that I probably had been driving longer than my instructor had been alive)

Is this an Ireland/UK thing, or am I just interpreting this from logic and not language?

#27 ::: Kat Crighton ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 01:14 PM:

On the topic of linguistics: I'm really fond of breakdowns of internet-grammar. To pick one (out of many) to demonstrate the phenomenon, see this cumulatively authored post titled "Internet Abbreviations as Discourse Particles".

#28 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 01:24 PM:

Greg Hullender @21:

I think you may be being a bit unfair to McWhorter. It seems to me that he was referring to what's sometimes called "preposition stranding", not merely "ending a sentence with a particle". For what it's worth, the Wikipedia article (I know, I know, it's Wikipedia) mentions preposition stranding as a possibility in Dutch and some German dialects (but not standard German), and then argues that this is not the same thing as what is done with prefixes from separable German verbs, which is the analogy I think you're making.

In preposition stranding, there is usually a noun or noun phrase that the preposition could head -- e.g., "Which city is my car in?" --> "In which city is my car?". In your example sentence "I put my clothes on", there is no corresponding noun or noun phrase that "on" could attach to, because in this instance "on" is an adverb, not a preposition.

#29 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 01:25 PM:

eric @ 26:

Yes, the inside lane is the outside lane, and the outside lane is the inside lane.

Or, less flippantly, in the US the inside lane is the most central lane (possibly excepting the carpool lane), and the outside lane is the one closest to the shoulder. In England (and presumably the rest of the UK and Ireland) the inside lane is the one closest to the shoulder, and the outside lane is the most central lane.

This was one of the many things that made pursuing my California license interesting.

#30 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 01:41 PM:

English's various 'loans' from French could be confusing to those of us whose mother tongue was French while learning the language of Bugs Bunny... For example, 'figure' in French really refers only to someone's face, which could lead to perplexing sentences.

#31 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 02:01 PM:

Ingvar @11: Do you?

#32 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 02:35 PM:

#23 ::: Jameson Quinn

Uncleftish Beholding-- Poul Anderson shows what science would look like if all the words had Germanic roots.

Mostly about Uncleftish, but has a bit at the end with no Germanic roots.

#33 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 02:41 PM:

KeithS @29:

As an American, I find the American convention completely sensible (the outside lanes are outside the inside lanes), but I am bewildered by the logic of the UK convention.

I assume that the reverse is true for those who grew up with the UK convention, but there's a perfectly sensible explanation for it (to a native Brit)

Why are the lanes closest to the shoulder the "inside lanes", and the lanes closest to the middle the "outside lanes"?

#34 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 03:02 PM:

Doug @31, Do I see what you did there...?

#35 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 03:11 PM:

Outside lane: I would guess the British usage is linked with the idea of 'pulling out'. You start at the kerb, and you then move out from there into the wider reaches of the central lanes.

#36 ::: Em (Now Em, BA!) ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 03:15 PM:

I am in search of book recommendations for my (quite bright, avid reader) 10-year-old niece, C., who is appalled that school is closing soon and that the local library is difficult for her to get to. She doesn't like Harry Potter because it's scary and she doesn't like scary books, but she does like diaries along the lines of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. My own tastes in kids' and YA lit run towards things she'd find scary, and I'm having a hard time thinking of non-scary epistolary/diary fiction. Any suggestions?

#37 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 03:25 PM:

Em, would Wrede's Sorcery & Cecelia be too scary for her? I think it's a charming epistolary Regency fantasy story, but it DOES have an Evil Sorcerer. (Which is -- <spoiler alert!> -- thwarted by a couple of teenage girls...)

#38 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 03:55 PM:

Em@36: Ursula Vernon's Hamster Princess series?

#39 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 04:15 PM:

Paul A. @18 When I first heard that, the three men were Ole, Sven, and Lars - it's a Norwegian joke. But then, I live in Minnesota.

#40 ::: Sarah E. ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 04:46 PM:

Abi @ #10:

French is my only language apart from English, so this may be too small a sample, but I think the dictée is slightly different from the spelling bee in that it tests one's ability to cope with homophones, rather than with spellings that don't match the pronunciation.

#41 ::: Del Cotter ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 05:08 PM:

Don't you tell children not to run out into the road? Clearly the outermost part is the middle, or they couldn't run out to it!

Less flippantly, in multilane divided roads, the lanes over the division aren't part of the road under consideration at all: they are part of an alien universe, like Beszel/Ul Qoma. This is why I'm always uncomfortable thinking of a motorway as having "six" lanes, or the M25 as having "eight". To me they are roads with three, or four, lanes, roads that go in both directions.

#42 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 05:22 PM:

Re: Inside lanes

I wonder if UK nomenclature is considering roads as borders of the land around them, and thus the "inside" is the bit of the border closest to what it's enclosing.
Is the "pulling out from the kerb" phrasing more common than "merging into traffic"?

(I tend to think of traffic as analogous to water - outside lanes are the shore, the closer you get to opposing traffic, the deeper / farther inside you are going. Deep water can be dangerous!)


Peter Erwin @28 and Greg Hullender @21:
I would argue that "I put my clothes on" ends with an unspoken "my body" (or "the hanger, if you're finishing up the laundry). So formatting it like the car sentence, you could ask "On what did I put my clothes?"

#43 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 05:23 PM:

Patrick @15:

From the bits and pieces (and bits of videos) I've seen over the years from John McWhorter, I've almost always gotten the impression his head is screwed on straight and he knows his stuff. It's just odd that that particular article has so many dubious (or even outright wrong) things in it.

#44 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 05:54 PM:

My kids liked the Big Nate books, which were sort-of along the same lines as the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books.

#45 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 06:13 PM:

shadowsong @42:

If you want a less ambiguous example of "on" as an adverb, consider something like "We looked at the paintings for a while, and then we moved on."

#46 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 06:32 PM:

I've been trying to remember the SF book (or whatever) in which the government had a small army of contractors on call so that significant municipal damage from aliens/magic/etc. would be fixed overnight, leaving the general population believing that Nothing Had Happened Here. ID, please?

This is prompted by yet another Doctor Who episode in which everyone immediately forgets all about the alien invasion as soon as it's over, oblivious to the municipal damage, the people terrorized and/or killed, etc. If I'm remembering correctly, back in the day, yes, there were aliens out there and everyone knew it; that was what UNIT was for. Giant robot on the rampage? Call UNIT. All of the plants start moving quickly and murdering people? Call UNIT. I don't think there was any suggestion that people forgot about the messes afterwards.

#47 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 06:43 PM:

In fact, people remembering the messes became a definite plot point (in the Tennant era, particularly with all the Donna Noble story arcs).

#48 ::: Micah ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 07:45 PM:

As far as English being a historical oddity, I think we're right in the midst of a historical oddity that may or may not endure. That is, English as the language of programming.

Globally, everyone programs computers in English, often even not knowing the language. In some ways this is just another lingua franca, but in others it is unique. A standard lingua franca is almost tautological: It is easier to use that language for business because it is used for business by people that do business, therefore people use it for business. But that can change swiftly, because once businessmen stop using it, it stops being useful.

Programming has this weight of backwards compatibility and legacy systems behind it that adds a significant value to simply maintaining the current system. If you know what the word 'while' means, you know what it means in most every programming language out there. It may not involve many words, and those words are just symbols, but there is significant value in their not changing or diversifying.

Obviously, this has been going on for only a few decades, so it will likely just be a blip in the historical record, but I still think it's a rather distinctive situation.

#49 ::: Jameson Quinn ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 08:13 PM:

@48: Do you really think that it's more useful to me to be able to read or even run code from 25 years ago than it was to somebody from 1800 to be able to read what was written for a "global" audience in 1775?

#50 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 09:26 PM:

I would have said that "put on" is a phrasal verb, and that parts of a phrasal verb can sometimes be separated. (German does this with verbs that when they're together are written as a single word.)

#51 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 09:43 PM:

Jameson Quinn @49 - That would depend a lot on the details. There's a little software utility that I wrote roughly 25 years ago, initially for SCA heraldry stuff. I use it multiple times a day at work now for searching code -- it's like grep but allows many concurrent tests. About a year and a half ago, I found a bug in it, a bad assumption based on DOS's case-insensitivity for file names.

#52 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 10:11 PM:

I'm pretty sure that the "inside-outside" of American roads is inherited from track racing- horse or auto.

#53 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 10:25 PM:

David 6: It really isn't. Its orthography is complex, and there are some ambiguities, but you can always (or mayyybe "almost always") tell how a word is pronounced by how it's spelled. Less so in reverse, but more than English by a good way. (And different dialects pronounce the same spelling differently, but consistently within one dialect.)

Much of the confusion comes because the vowel letters are used both to represent sounds and to indicate palatalization (or lack thereof) of consonants.

For example, my name in Irish is Críostóir, pronounced roughly krihhstohhr. The real vowels are the ones with the fadas (long marks), which is just lucky, because both the vowels in the name are long; if they weren't you'd have a harder time figuring it out.

The kr cluster at the beginning is palatalized ("slender"), because it's next to an i (in this case an actual-vowel long í). The st in the middle is unpalatalized ("broad"); it's followed by an o vowel, which is broad. But here's the rub: you can't have a broad consonant next to a slender vowel, so the first o is put in to separate the st from the í. It's not pronounced as a vowel.

Similarly, the r at the end is slender, so a letter i (not pronounced) is present to indicate that, despite the fact that it follows the ó, which ordinarily is a broad vowel.

It's confusing to explain, but it really is quite systematic.

And now I see that the estimable Carrie S., at 13, has also explained this, and quite well, with my usual Stratificational reservations about "mutated" and such terms. And odaiwai is quite right that the fada (acute accent) is a long mark (indicating a real long vowel, not like the fake ones in English). While it only appears over vowel letters used as vowels, it's doesn't always appear over them.

David 50: I would have said that "put on" is a phrasal verb, and that parts of a phrasal verb can sometimes be separated.

You would be correct. The alleged impropriety of a preposition at the end of a sentence is pure nonsense, invented by the same jerks who made up the rule about splitting an infinitive.

#54 ::: Micah ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 10:42 PM:

@49: I don't think as many people in 1800 made a living specifically using another language to create products and tools that are fundamental to everyday life, where it was impossible to craft the tool without that language. This isn't just reading it, this is using pieces of the language to actually create the tools.

As for 25 years, Java's 22 years old, and that's most all Android apps, so you'd best be able to use those APIs. Linux is 26 years old, and that's a goodly chunk of web servers and basically all supercomputers. The BSDs are 40 years old, and that's another chunk of web servers. Then there's every command-line tool. They may take foreign-language input, but they're not made in those languages, they're made in English, and they're quite old.

Using the tools isn't English-only (mostly), but the tools themselves still are.

Again, perhaps just a blip and it will all get translated once English isn't on top in other regards. My point was that it was an odd way for a language to get used and spread, something different from other historical spreads of language. A different way in which English is odd.

#55 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2017, 11:07 PM:

Peter Erwin @12: McWhorter doesn't say English is unique because it lacks gender, or has spelling bees. Those are illustrative details, not central arguments.

Carrie @13, I too have experienced the sneaking Anglophone suspicion that Gaelic's spelled that way to mess with our heads. The only time I've ever made Ken MacLeod look genuinely affronted was when I asked whether all those letters were necessary, or whether some of them were just there for swank.

Patrick @15: The book was a Christmas present from Nina Lowry.

Nancy Lebovitz @17: The old, fully decked-out languages are good for identifying who's a member of the tribe by birth and upbringing, and who married in and will forever speak it with an accent. The stripped-down trader languages are good for improvised negotiations and for fast acquisition.

My theory, developed during many interesting discussions of linguistics with immigrant cab drivers, is that at this point English is actually two languages, Little English and Big English.

Little English is grammatically straightforward, drops articles and particles and other linguistic loose change, and barely recognizes the existence of past tense verbs, much less irregular ones.

Big English is one of my core professional skills. Appropriate occasions for the use of its subjunctive are determined by factual content of sentences in which it is used. There are no signals identifying its numerous phrasal verbs. Its system of prepositions was established by Congress via the Full Employment for Native Anglophone Copy Editors Act. And it has way too many words for everything.

Jenny Islander @19: You got further than I did.

The trouble with spelling French-derived words is that so many of them were brought in by people who hadn't been speaking French very long.

More tomorrow, all --

#56 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2017, 12:02 AM:

My favorite language for weirdness is Japanese. How many other languages are there where you can know how to write a person's name but not have a clue how to pronounce it, and vice versa? How many have an entirely separate character set for writing foreign words? (Or, historically, have separate writing systems used by men and women?)

#57 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2017, 12:40 AM:

Buddha Buck @ 33:

My speculation is that the British outside lane being closest to the center is either derived from being farthest away from the edge of the road, or because it makes more notional sense to overtake someone on the outside rather than the inside. That's just speculation, though.

In southern California, of course, one passes on any side one can get away with...

Em (Now Em, BA!) @ 36:

The James Herriot books. Some Jules Verne. Nurk: The Strange, Surprising Adventures of a (Somewhat) Brave Shrew by Ursula Vernon. Heck, anything by Respectable Children's Book Author™ Ursula Vernon. (Save the T. Kingfisher stuff or the prior to respectable children's book author Vernon for yourself.)

Also, congratulations!

#58 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2017, 01:12 AM:

I've been sitting on this for a couple of weeks, waiting for a new Open Thread.

Remember this discussion about whether/when there would be a mass shooting incident at a con? We very nearly had one at Phoenix Comic Con. This dude managed to walk into the con with a shotgun, 3 handguns (all of which were fully loaded), a lot of extra ammo, and assorted other weapons. He thought of himself as an avatar of The Punisher, and his intention was to kill "bad cops" and the actor who played the Green Power Ranger. He was caught because he couldn't resist posting pictures of his "targets" on social media, and someone who knew him tipped off the police.

He was arrested without incident; no shots were fired and no one was injured, despite his offering active resistance. In this case, I don't believe his race entered into the way the police approached it; he was inside a convention center full of people, and their highest priority had to be keeping anyone from getting hurt, which included preventing a panic, which would have happened if even one shot had been fired.

This happened Thursday afternoon, the first day of the con. The con organizers were given a choice: comply with some fairly draconian security rearrangements, or get shut down. They took choice A, not without some difficulties. Friday morning admission was a complete clusterfuck. By Saturday they had a better handle on things, partly because they were listening to people who pointed out problems and suggested solutions.

I don't see any way that this is not going to make a significant and permanent difference in the way major cons handle their security from this point forward. At the very least, there will have to be bag checks at all entrance points. There may have to be separate entrance points for cosplayers, because AFAICT this guy got past the entrance checkpoint by looking like a cosplayer, and then dodged the weapons-inspection tables altogether.

This is why we can't have nice things.


Getting back to the post topic, if you have any interest in languages at all you really need to read this fic from last year's Yuletide. Anthropomorphic languages from the earliest beginnings to the present -- with sex! And conjugations! The best part is the different voices for all the various languages. Long, but absolutely worth the time.

#59 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2017, 03:13 AM:

Doug @ #31:

I do, indeed. Don't I?

#60 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2017, 04:49 AM:

Nancy @17: My understanding of the old saying about a dialect with an army and a navy is that it’s not about language spread, but about classification: What gets called a dialect, and what gets considered a full-fledged language.

A better counter-argument would be pointing out that American and British English are still considered dialects, despite each nation having its own military.

#61 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2017, 06:38 AM:

36 @ Em (Now Em, BA!)

Looking at my kid's shelves, which contain Wimpy Kid (minus portions of covers and such):

-- The Hundred Mile an Hour Dog by Jeremy Strong

-- The Humphrey stories by Betty G Birney

-- The N story treehouse (n==13,26,39...78) by Andy Griffiths

-- Dick King Smith Lots of animal stories, like The Sheep-pig, Three Terrible Trins, and Mouse called Wolf.

-- The How to Train Your Dragon Series. Cressida Crowell. (Not like the movie. Still funny)

-- Wings of Fire, Tui T Sutherland (Dragons. A quest. We few, we happy few. Who act like cats)

-- Warrior Cats, Erin Hunter (honestly, this one sounds like Wings of Fire with more fur)

-- The Calvin and Hobbes Box set. (On reflection, getting this in to a house where there's a 7yr old with a stuffed tiger was... destiny I guess. Got this second hand, 10yr old was in the back seat and just chortling the whole way home. At least now they're not destroying my old paperbacks. )

Most of these are pitched somewhere that my almost 8yr old and my 10yr old will both read them.

And it almost goes without mentioning (here anyway), any kids stuff by Ursula Vernon. The 10yr old boy had a complete collection of Danny Dragonbreath a couple of years back (and he's still suspicious of potato salad), so I got him Harriet #1 for Christmas. He opened it, took one look and was like: Pink? Glittery?. I pointed at the author, and he said OK. He's now bought the next three with his kindle money. (Pink and Glittery and Princess was a good gateway drug for my niece though. )

#62 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2017, 10:51 AM:

57
In southern California, of course, one passes on any side one can get away with...

And that includes lanes clearly marked "right turn only". (Which I've seen several times, including, one afternoon, twice by the same guy. Who parked at the poll supply place just down the street from where I was living at the time, and as a result got a note stuck on his car.)

#63 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2017, 11:40 AM:

When I spent a week driving up and down Rt. 90 near Sacramento, CA, I was astonished. People were zooming along at terrifying speeds--but the moment I was visible on the on-ramp, they all drifted neatly to the left-hand lane, leaving the right one clear for me to merge into. The courtesy took my breath away.

#64 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2017, 12:00 PM:

I've lived in some big metro areas, and drivers there were often aggressive, and sometimes less than courteous. But it seems like every time a traffic light went out, the drivers instantly became civilized and would calmly treat it as a four-way stop. I guess the veneer of brutality sometimes came off.

#65 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2017, 01:17 PM:

Joel Polowin @46 This reminds me of both Charles Stross's Laundry novels and Larry Correia's Monster Hunter novels. In the Laundry books, the fixers are a government agency. In the Monster Hunter books, the fixers are a family owned business that often has to work with the government, to the dismay of both parties.

#66 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2017, 04:04 PM:

Off topic... Berkeley's Dark Carnival is closing.

#67 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2017, 06:09 PM:

Lee 58:

Geez, that's a terrifying story. It sounds like that was one missed connection away from a bloodbath.

#68 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2017, 08:11 PM:

albatross, #67: Pretty much. Also, according to one rumor I heard, the person who reported him was an ex-girlfriend. There are a lot of cops who would have brushed that off as "revenge attempt". OTOH, he was targeting cops, and that's much less likely to be ignored.

This all happened a couple of floors above where we were. All we knew about it was the PA announcements, and what I could find on Google.

#69 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2017, 12:48 AM:

Uh-oh. I'm an American, and I've never heard of an inside/outside lane when driving. Maybe vaguely in horse racing.

#70 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2017, 02:05 AM:

Re: 34, 59

ELIZA: Ooh! I do I do I dooo! Hey!


[makes Hamilaria sign]

#71 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2017, 08:27 AM:

Em #36: There's the "Dealing with Dragons" series by Patricia Wrede.

#72 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2017, 08:42 AM:

Micah #48: The thing is, in modern programming languages those "English" keywords like "while", "if/else/elseif", and so on, are just lexical tokens for an interpreter or compiler.

You could easily set up an IDE that would automatically translate them on load and save, thus presenting them in the user's own language. The big issue there would be code that came into the IDE with typos or such.

#73 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2017, 09:52 AM:

Dave Harmon @ 72:

Microsoft Excel's formula language is localized. If you're running it in, for example, German, all the formula keywords are in German, and the decimal point is as appropriate as well. I see programmers (even ones for whom English is not a first language) complain about this all the time because it messes with their innate sense of logic or clarity or something, but it's a boon for the vast majority of users who just want to get their spreadsheet done.

And speaking of language, I finally had time to read the article linked in the original post. I am unimpressed. Sure, English is weird, but I'm not sure it's really weirder than other languages. It's going to take more than a few carefully-picked sentences in old English and old Norse to convince me that English has changed significantly more over time than related Germanic languages. And complaining about English spelling versus pronunciation isn't going to hold any water when Spanish, often held up as a model of phonetic/phonemic correspondence, can be easily misspelled by native speakers. What about Chinese? Traditionally it doesn't have an alphabet at all!

We could talk about Finnish or Russian, which seem to have baroque systems of case and inflection. We could talk about Japanese, which encodes social standing and respect deeply into the language. There are languages where adjectives and nouns are grammatically more similar than different.

It's true I'm not a linguist, but, from my perspective as an interested layperson, all languages are equally weird — they simply express their weirdness in different ways. I'm open to being persuaded otherwise, but that article didn't do it for me.

#74 ::: Takamaru Misako ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2017, 10:02 AM:

As I understood it, with respect to cars,
"inside"
for the driver is the side that is inside the car, i.e. the left-hand side for a British car, where the driver sits on the right, and the right-hand side for a continental car where the driver sits on the left, and
"outside"
is the side that is outside the car, i.e. the right-hand side of a British car, and the left-hand side of a continental car.

Which makes sense, but possibly that idea is a post-hoc logic application.

Of course the whole idea falls to the ground when taking a car to an opposite-drive country, but even if that happens, it probably doesn't happen enough to change the language.

("Overtaking on the inside" being a particularly bad thing to do, apart from it being illegal, but it's very hard to see someone doing that to you, therefore dangerous. That is true even if you take your car to the wrong country.)

#75 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2017, 10:06 AM:

KeithS @ #73:

Hopefully it's saved in a tokenised format these days. It used to be a great anti-boon, since the various formula keywords were saved as text, which meant that if you ever needed to exchange Excel spreadsheets between "excel for language A" and "excel for language B", formulas (for sure) would stop working, since "=SUM(A1:B3)" is not the same as "=SUMMA(A1:B3)". Actually, I cannot recall if the Swedish l10n had "SUMMA" (noun) or "SUMMERA" (verb) as the command, which is why I preferred having an English version, where "SUM" is both noun AND verb.

If it's done properly now (as opposed to the mid-late 90s), I don't really care if you see the same keywords as I do, although I have a strong preference for the language of comments and language keywords to be the same language, or at least very closely related.

Dave Harmon @ #72:

I may possibly have released (for April 1st, one year or another) a partially localized "Vanlig Lisp" (all Common Lisp functions and macros starting with a letter in the range A-D, plus a few others (format, print , if and a few more) had been painstakingly translated to Swedish. The two I was most proud of were "CAR" and "CDR" being translated as "IAR" and "IDR" (going back to translating the machine instructions they were named for).

I probably should not re-do that work, because it would be silly. Fun, but silly.

#76 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2017, 10:40 AM:

Ingvar @75: I was curious so I went and looked. Evidently you first did it in April 2005, then brought it out again a year later. The site hosting the tarball thence linked has since changed hands, predictably. Which is a shame; it could have been fun to look at. Silly, but fun. :)

(Link is all in Swedish, natch.)

#77 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2017, 11:06 AM:

@Takamaru Misako,

My two cents, as a US driver, who speaks a Midwest dialect.

The "driver's side" of my car is on the left. (I've noticed that when indicating something on a car -- a parking-lot ding, or which tail-light is burned out, or which front tire is a little soft -- people here more typically say "driver's side" and "passenger side" than "left" and "right".)

The "outside lane" is the one on the right (closest to the shoulder; farthest from the median).

The "inside lane" is the one on the left (closest to the median; farthest from the shoulder). It's also called the "passing lane".

I was taught never to pass in the outside lane.

It's always made sense to me, because as you get farther and farther outside the highway, soon you leave it altogether....

#78 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2017, 11:43 AM:

estelendur @ #76:

The machine (and probably the disk) those lived on died in, um, April 2011 or 2012. I have yet to find the sufficiency of round tuits to complete dealing with the fallout (although some of the recovered code now lives on GitHub; and it's mainly only time-consuming, not difficult, to lovingly set function definitions and/or write macros, depending on if you're wrapping a function, or a macro).

#79 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2017, 11:55 AM:

me @ #78,
estelendur @ #76:

Whatever you do, don't try using Google Translate for that page. There's puns that depend on the tension between Swedish and English and the end result is surreal and almost incomprehensible (and I say that as someone who now vaguely recall the initial thread, having quickly read through it).

#80 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2017, 05:26 PM:

Is it possible for the news to get more depressing?

#81 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2017, 05:33 PM:

Fragano, #80: Sadly, the answer to that question is always "yes" -- and don't tempt fate!

#82 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2017, 08:24 PM:

They've found two more moons for Jupiter. The count is now 69, they think (there are a number for which they don't know the orbital parameters, yet).
http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Jupiter-69-new-moons-astronomy-space-discover-11220431.php

#83 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2017, 09:10 PM:

A fascinating discussion of some of the background for Nicoll's famous summary (and a confirmation of Piper's less-rude conclusion.) A nit: McWhorter says "And try naming another language where you have to slip do into sentences to negate or question something." In Latin, a leading "num" converts a declarative sentence into one expecting a positive answer, and "nonne" a negative (IIRC -- could be the reverse, as I did my last Latin test the morning RFK was shot). Although these words have no other meaning, unlike "do". Or you could just look at it as another particle-vs-order case; cf indirect objects, which either fall between verb and direct object or are preceded by "to".

abi@10: I remember dictation in both middle-school English and upper-level French; does Dutch have enough homophones to make it a contest?

Keith S @ 29: was that what Lennon was on about in "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey"?

Em @ 36: Diana Wynne Jones, if you can find her? (Dead 6 years, so I don't know what's still in print.) Tend to get a little darker toward the end and to end abruptly, but almost everything is good. (I was bored by Dalemark, and would not recommend Fire and Hemlock to someone who thinks Potter too scary.) She might not get the goals of Friesner's Temping Fate, but it's interesting, YA, and the only one I can think of that doesn't turn dark toward the end.

Lee @ 58: I don't see any way that this is not going to make a significant and permanent difference in the way major cons handle their security from this point forward. What are you defining as a major con? Locally, Arisia is pushing 4000; their code of conduct hasn't been updated, and they're so entangled with the public spaces of their hotel that bag-checking would be a nightmare. (Not to mention ironic, since one of their founding principles was tearing down the weapons ban that became general at SF conventions after several idiots.)

Takamaru @ 74: this sounds very logical; however, the issue is that usage disagrees with the logic -- and would disagree with almost any logic since UK and US usages are reversed. cf "table", which in the UK means to present for discussion and in the US means to remove from discussion. I vaguely recall "two nations separated by a common tongue" being attributed to Churchill; who remembers/finds someone else?

#84 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2017, 09:13 PM:

And on the lighter side: Taking his own path: The world's leading maze designer. I'm sure it has as much tsuris as any other job and more than many, but it sounds like serious fun.

#85 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2017, 09:17 PM:

CHip @ 83: One of my other siblings actually did take Latin in school, but Dorothy Sayers has, I think in Gaudy Night, something about "Num" expecting the answer No.

#86 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2017, 09:32 PM:

CHip -- my last Latin exam was a couple of years later, but I'm also the wrong one to ask.... Uncle Google agrees with D., though.

#87 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2017, 09:43 PM:

I seem to recall that "nonne" is close to "isn't it?" in English. But it's a long time since my Latin classes (I have a dictionary handy, though).

#88 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2017, 10:01 PM:

Anyone else getting an error 503 for File770.com?

#89 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2017, 10:09 PM:

88
Yes.
(It seems to go down this time of evening, fairly often.)

#90 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2017, 12:15 AM:

This day started out very depressing indeed, but:

Erdogan's goons are being charged for their rampage against demonstrators.

Congress got together and said no, the president isn't going to lift sanctions on Russia without a fight.

And the president is under investigation for obstruction of justice, and possibly money laundering.

#91 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2017, 12:24 AM:

Takamaru Misako #74:

Apropos language, it amused me the first time I was informed that overtaking on the 'inside' lane is also known by some as undertaking...

FYI, in New Zealand where I'm from, undertaking is not illegal. Visitors from the UK where undertaking is illegal, upon discovering this, were surprised.

#92 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2017, 01:17 AM:

Does anyone here have a subscription to the New Yorker, or otherwise have the ability to search their archives?

I was flipping through My Crowd, a collection of Charles Addams's cartoons, and the one on page 10 caught my eye. It shows a couple of sailors looking down from a ship at a nearly-submerged Statue of Liberty. Caption: "High tide, I see." I'm curious as to when it was published. The copyright info in the book is general; just that the cartoons were published between 1937 and 1969 (less a few years). Well before global warming was a thing.

#93 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2017, 01:37 AM:

AKICIML: What would a modern cook call this dish? First the original, from Simpson's Complete System of Cookery, where it is headed "Fondues":

Grate half a pound of Parmasan cheese; put a bit of butter in a stew-pan; when melted add a few spoonfuls of cream, put the cheese in while on the fire, and keep stirring it until it is melted, then take it off the fire; put a little pepper and salt, and a little ready made mustard, and the yolks of six eggs; beat it up well until it becomes like a thick cream, then beat up the whites of three eggs until they become quite firm; put them to the cheese. Stir all up together, then put it into the paper cases folded up for them; ten minutes will bake them. If for one fold the case up yourself; if for small ones there are moulds sold at the turners' for making paper cases.

And my attempt at a paraphrase:

Preheat oven to a temperature low enough not to burn paper. Have ready a single baking dish folded from heavy paper or some individually sized ones. Separate six eggs, keeping six yolks and three whites. [Would ceramic or glass ramekins be too thick? Could metal baking dishes be used?] Grate 8 oz. Parmesan cheese.

Melt a pat of butter in a saucepan, then add a few cooking spoonfuls of cream. Add the grated cheese and stir until melted. Take off heat. Season with salt, pepper, and prepared mustard. Add the egg yolks and beat until thick, then beat the egg whites until stiff and stir in. Bake 10 minutes.

#94 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2017, 03:09 AM:

Jenny Islander @ #93:

A cheese souffle? You probably want the thin walls of the paper to set the outside (well, the form-touching parts) quickly. Metal form would probably work, ceramic would probably make it cook predominantly from the top, then over-cook on the sides and possibly bottom afterwards. Some over-cooking is a possibility with a metal form as well. The paper should hold almost no heat once out of the oven.

#95 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2017, 03:13 AM:

Me @ #94:

If I had to name it in Swedish, I would name it "äggstanning med parmesan" (and according to Wikipedia, that would be "Eierstich (mit Parmesan)" in German and I simply cannot find an English translation that way).

Google Translate proposes "egg custard with parmesan" as a possible English translation.

#96 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2017, 06:23 AM:

Teresa @ 55:
Peter Erwin @12: McWhorter doesn't say English is unique because it lacks gender, or has spelling bees. Those are illustrative details, not central arguments.

I think the problem is that McWhorter's argument is basically nothing but illustrative details (plus historical explanations for some of them). It's basically "English is really weird. For example, A, B, C, and D. Oh, and here are historical explanations for C and D."

If he's wrong about some of these, and if the others are true but not all that unusual in a global or even European context, then you end up with two or three things that are (almost) unique to English, which I suspect translates to "English is really weird, like just about every other language." (More or less KeithS's argument @73).

(You have a point about spelling bees: that's a subsidiary example used to buttress his general argument that English spelling is uniquely weird. But if spelling bees aren't unique to English, it does undermine that point slightly. More generally, English can't hold a candle to the uniquely "weird" writing system of Chinese, or the uniquely "weird" composite system used by Japanese. One could also point to cases of single languages that have changed their writing systems entirely within the last century, like Turkish, or which are currently written in multiple scripts, like Serbo-Croatian. It's kind of hard to argue that English orthography is really that weird.)

#97 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2017, 06:51 AM:

Another problem with McWhorter's article (not specifically addressed in the counter-argument blog post by Piotr Gąsiorowski I linked to) is that he keeps shifting the grounds of comparison. The subtitle promises that the comparison is basically with all the world's languages ("... it really is weirder than pretty much any other language"), and he makes this comparison with the third-person-singular verb ending, with preposition stranding, and with "do", for example. Other times, English is weird just in comparison to other European languages, or to just Indo-European languages spoken in Europe,[*] or even just to "its nearest relatives."

Sometimes he'll start off discussing how unusual English is in some fashion, and then admit that it actually isn't that unusual in the worldwide context. E.g., after an extended discussion of the wonderful diversity of the English lexicon, he qualifies it with: "To be fair, mongrel vocabularies are hardly uncommon worldwide, but English’s hybridity is high on the scale compared with most European languages."

[*] Note how specific this is. English looks uniquely weird compared to IE languages spoken in Europe, because it lacks grammatical gender. But this avoids the comparison with non-European IE languages that lack gender (e.g., Afrikaans, Persian, Armenian, Bengali) and also with European-but-non-IE languages that lack gender (Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Gagauz, and I think all the Sami languages). Since between half and three-quarters of all languages lack grammatical gender, English is... really quite normal in that respect.

#98 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2017, 09:52 AM:

Joel Polowin @92: I can't find it in the New Yorker archives, as their search engine isn't designed for image searches, but this book by Iain Topliss mentions that Addams cartoon as having been drawn in the seventies.

#99 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2017, 10:13 AM:

Jenny @93

Ingvar is definitely right, it's a souffle. The division of yolks and whites, using the yolks to make a rich custard-like sauce, whipping the whites, and then re-mixing to have the whites provide lift is the definitional souffle technique.

My instinct is with a base that heavy and only three whites, it might wind up rather dense for our image of a souffle, but I suspect that souffles have gotten lighter and airier over time as a sort of culinary oneupmanship. Here's a relative using a more standard yolk/white ratio (and a(now?) standard bechamel base) for comparison http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/gruyere-and-parmesan-cheese-souffle-103223

#100 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2017, 10:50 AM:

Em @36: If she likes sci-fi at all, I would suggest selected HM Hoover books--probably out of print, but I suspect they're still easy to get.

Recommended titles:
The Delikon
The Rains of Eridan
The Lost Star
This Time of Darkness
Return to Earth
The Shepherd Moon
Orvis
Away Is a Strange Place to Be
Only Child

Most of these have female leads, and "Away" has a heroine of color. The rest of her work is also good, but would probably qualify as scary.

There's also Diane Duane's Young Wizards series, but that might also be too scary.

#101 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2017, 12:27 PM:

@nos. 94, 99: Thank you! I don't make souffles because I'm feeding growing children without a lot of time and I need leftovers, but now that you pointed it out, it's obvious.

And culinary one-upmanship is very likely how a recipe that was originally probably just scraps of cheese baked with eggs and so on as a nice tidbit became something like a chef's hat!

#102 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2017, 01:56 PM:

AKICIML:

Decades ago, when I was a teenager, I read a short story that was on the following theme: Tory politician turns up at an advertising agency and wants a subliminal message urging people to vote Tory. Several different slogans are tried out, and politician departs satisfied. Until the morning after election day, when he irately tries to get into advertising agency and can't. Inside agency, we see head of agency chortling to his AI (avant la lettre, okay) about the effectiveness of a simple "Vote AntiTory" message.

What was the story, in what collection, and by whom? My memory wants to say Arthur Sellings, because the book was my father's and he seems to have been a favorite of the old man's.

#103 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2017, 03:00 PM:

CHip, #83: I'll admit that I was thinking primarily about cons held in convention centers, which most of the traditional fan-run cons are not. But I also think it's a mistake for us to assume that it couldn't happen within our smaller community. The social brakes on this sort of behavior have been disintegrating since about 2008. Stonekettle Station has just posted an interesting essay about this.

#104 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2017, 05:45 PM:

Today is being celebrated as the official 50th birthday of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

There was ice cream for employees.

Happy to have been here for 39 of those years. Let's see what happens next...

#105 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2017, 06:12 PM:

The "High tide" Addams cartoon is found on page 185 of The World of Charles Addams. The index in back places its origin in 1970, for the book My Crowd. Most of the other cartoons have dates, indicating when they appeared in The New Yorker. It would seem, therefore, that the cartoon first appeared in the book, rather than in the magazine, and first published in 1970. From the style of the drawing, I'd expect it was drawn in 1968, probably around May. (We wish to announce that the writer of that last sentence has been sacked.)

#106 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2017, 08:02 PM:

Ingvar M @ #16:

Hm, I have a slight quibble with "Swedish has morphed male and female into a second neuter", from the linked linguist blog.
I'm not sure if it affects your quibble, but you misquote what Gąsiorowski says, which is 'Among the Scandinavian languages, Danish and Swedish have merged the feminine and masculine into one “common” (non-neuter) gender'.

#107 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2017, 09:38 PM:

Soon Lee @ 91: that's darkly ironic; I'm reminded of a Danish bumper sticker (reported in a general-medical journal in the early 1970s): "Pass by all means -- we can use your kidney."

Ingvar M. @ 95: the translator isn't accounting for usage; in US English "custard" may have yolks or whole eggs, but not whites whipped in (so far as I've seen) -- e.g., a flan (or something less rich but still not fluffy). My modest knowledge of UK English remembers "custard" as meaning a sweet thick sauce (egg-thickened?) poured over desserts (e.g., UK steamed puddings, as in the discussion here some threads ago about suet for puddings vs lard for pastry).

BSD @ 99: I like the idea of souffles growing competitively. The local SCA cooks' guild rules provided for the disciplining of any member who became more puffed-up (egotistically, not physically) than their pastry, some years before the tagline "size doesn't matter".

Lee @ 103: I'm not assuming ~non-commercial cons' attendees are different, just wondering whether you expected the cons to change before a crazy gets down to that level. I've been watching this a long while; I was just barely offsite for the SWAT team showing up at the 1980 Disclave (in response to costume weapons, not real ones) and saw people being idiots with steel both before and after. (I am sometimes bitterly amused that someone who I tried to get banned in 1982 for repeated very careless steel handling was finally banned from another con, over 30 years later -- for harassment.) I have this horrible vision of a discontented (or banned) attendee revenge-SWATting a convention....

#108 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2017, 11:33 PM:

I thought Hamilaria was some sort of pelagic microorganism. One featured in one of those engravings by Haeckel, maybe.
HLN: Area pontist notes an important anniversary.
Seattle's Fremont Bridge is 100 years old today. The low-slung double bascule span began public use this day in 1917, though the rituals were saved for the 4th of July. Area pontist is glad that Seattle finally has a centenarian movable bridge, like Portland and Tacoma. Take proper care of them and they will last a while.

#109 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2017, 11:53 PM:

File770 is back up.

#110 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2017, 12:01 AM:

Angiportus @108: I was stopped by that bridge being up today as I drove home from the staff meeting at the chiropractor's I work at. I had no idea it was a centenary stop! Thank you for letting me know.

#111 ::: Sten T ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2017, 02:21 AM:

Ingvar @ 75: Many years ago, I was involved in localizing a now outdated version of these formulas. The help files, with useful examples and tutorials, were also localized. They were not localized by the same person. Everyone assumed that someone else had checked that they used the same translations.

The tutorials turned out to be surprisingly unhelpful.

#112 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2017, 02:59 AM:

Tim May @ #106:

But that is exactly what I have a quibble with. That quote implies that there was a neutral gender, then masculine and feminine were merged to form another, going from three, to two.

But Swedish had two grammatical neutral genders (neutrum and reale), a masculine, and a feminine. So there was a transition from four, to two (neutrum and utrum).

#113 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2017, 03:35 AM:

There's a well-known virtual world provider whose documentation is written in English, and which sometimes seem to adopt a different name for something on every web-page. I have been messing around with CGI for a long time, and they manage to completely miss standard jargon terms for some of these things.

Some elements do make a sort of sense, one of the multiple non-standard words is a good gloss for the jargon, but they don't make a connection, and forget what they chose when the next web page appears.

#114 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2017, 06:08 AM:

Angiportus @ #108: Area pontist notes an important anniversary

At first glance, I misread that as "Area pointillist notes an important anniversary"...

#115 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2017, 11:34 AM:

Happy Bloomsday! Happy Juneteenth!

#116 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2017, 08:08 PM:

Kip W @105: Thank you for digging that up!

#117 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2017, 09:31 PM:

File770 reports that John Dalmas has died.

#118 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2017, 11:20 PM:

Speaking of Juneteenth, I just remembered it a couple of days ago because for some reason it isn't on the kind of calendar they sell at Wal-Mart. I would appreciate anyone's suggestions for a Juneteenth playlist, suitable for students ranging in age from early teens to early primary.

#119 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2017, 03:37 AM:

odaiwai @22: “Also, the name of the language is Irish. Gaelic is what Scottish people speak.” — ‘Gaelige’, ‘Gaelic’, and ‘Irish Gaelic’ are alternate names given in this article on the Irish language.

The corresponding disambiguation entry, Gaelic, does also include ‘Scots Gaelic’... but note the need for that preceding modifier, ‘Scots’ [i.e. Scottish].

CHip @83: “In Latin, a leading ‘num’ converts a declarative sentence into one expecting a positive answer, and ‘nonne’ a negative (IIRC -- could be the reverse...)” — The reverse.

‘Nonne’ expects a positive answer:
‘Nonne me amas?’ Surely you love me?

‘Num’ expects a negative answer:
‘Num me amas?’ Surely you don't love me?

The suffix ‘-ne’ is a simple question expecting either a yes or a no:
‘Amasne me?’ Do you love me?

— Raven | Y Gwir yn erbyn y Byd • An Fhírinne in aghaidh an tSaoil • Veritas contra Mundum | [the Bardic Motto]

#120 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2017, 04:01 AM:

Oh, and if we're being language fans (please let’s!), go take a look at the new poster for DC’s upcoming Black Panther movie, with T’Challa enthroned at home in Wakanda, angular characters enscribed on his throne resembling Ancient Berber (the ancestor of Tifinagh) or Ancient Sabaean/Yemeni/South-Arabian (befitting an idea that the Sabaeans were the Shebans, as in the Queen of Sheba).

I attempted a transcription here, and made other comments, but have had no luck at a translation. Anyone else want to take a try?

#121 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2017, 06:09 AM:

(P.S. & ObMakingLight: the Black Panther inscription and such ancestral scripts as the Ancient South Arabian musnad should always be found on topic or at least inoffensive for this site... as they are inherently devowelled....)

#123 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2017, 11:19 AM:

They call them “Flower” or “Snooky”; it is a simple task
To put a few letters together: like writing a report
Vowels here, consonants there, meaning somewhere else,
If anywhere. Silly, really. Brain the size of a planet:
Should be telling these water-based clods how to save their world,
But to-day we have naming of pigs.

#124 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2017, 01:01 PM:

Kip W <applause!>

#125 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2017, 01:51 PM:

Cassy B: ::grin:: Yes, I saw that! (It's frustrating that they have enough throughput to need help in naming. :( My local cavy rescue can probably relate.)

Kip W: Please accept this Internet.

#126 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2017, 02:17 PM:

Cool! I always wanted one of those!

Ooh! And an internet!

#127 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2017, 01:18 AM:

Stephen Furst (Vir on B5) dies at 63.

I'm so glad I got to talk with him at a con a few years ago. I told him that he was my favorite character on the show, and it was because of his character arc.

Damn.

#128 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2017, 05:01 AM:

Lee @127: For me it was more Vir’s character traits, notably that inside that eager but fumbling young puppy already shone the fundamental decency, wisdom, and capacity for ethical [I do not say “moral”, considering the mores his society gave him to follow] outrage... one just knew that would be so desperately needed where and when he was.

As a certain Inquisitor said of someone else, the right person at the right place at the right time.

That Vir’s arc took him where it did was... well, gravy, and also cake plus frosting and ice cream and cherries on top, and karma and justice and all those good things... but extraneous to the good of his traits. And one can heartily approve of his personal happy ending, yet wish a whole lot of other good people in the B5 universe received likewise.

#129 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2017, 12:08 PM:

Marcus Cole: "I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, 'wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them?' So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe."

#130 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2017, 12:46 PM:

Theophylact @ 115: According to Ethan Mordden's Anything Goes: A History of American Musical Theatre (if I haven't misread it again), the original Bloomsday (1902) was also the day that the first dramatization of The Wizard of Oz opened. Book and lyrics by Baum, music by Paul Tietjens, plot reworked to provided plenty of gags and cues for irrelevant songs (and to eliminate the Wicked Witch of the West). The detailed description sounds worse than the way US cinema reworked The Dark is Rising, but it suited the audiences of the time well enough to run on various stages (starting in Chicago) for seven years.

Jenny Islander @ 118: I'm partial to Grace Slick's "Rejoyce", but it is sufficiently explicit that I don't recommend it unrestrictedly for that age bracket -- parents could ignite over either the sex or the politics.

#131 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2017, 01:00 PM:

This is harrowing reading, and I strongly recommend it, by a firefighter who was at the Grenfell Tower fire.

#132 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2017, 01:16 PM:

AKICIML: Hardware folks, I'm being asked to find an appropriate PC for a coworker whose old one died (not before time; there's no such thing as a new PC with XP on it).

I have not kept up with PC evolution. She will mainly use it for word processing and spreadsheets. She picked one out, but it had a 1.8gz processor speed, which appears to be very slow these days (Amazon reviews, but they may have been from gamer AFAIK). OTOH, cost is certainly an issue (we're a small local charity).

I don't know enough about this to have a method of looking. Google isn't that helpful. Suggestions welcome.

#133 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2017, 01:37 PM:

Race Traitor Xopher @ 132:

I've been educating myself recently on what to look for hardware-wise, since I'm starting to think it's time for a new computer again.

Disclaimer: I know nothing about AMD processors any more.

For Intel processors, they have a bunch of different ones, but mostly you're going to be running into Core i3, i5, and i7 varieties. The i3 is low end, used in cheap laptops, netbooks, and tablets. The i7 is high-end, and suitable for serious number crunching. The i5 is in the middle, and probably what you want to be aiming for.

The first digit of the four-digit number that comes after the i-number tells you the generation of the chip. Intel's on the 7th generation now, but 6th generation chips are still in common use.

Also important is RAM and disk space. Minimum RAM for the sorts of tasks she's looking at is probably 8 GB, and minimum hard disk size is 256 GB. There are still machines with 128 GB, which can be enough, but can also start to get pinched depending on what else is installed.

For calibration purposes, my work machine has an Intel Core i5-4300U CPU running at 1.9 GHz, 8 GB RAM, and 256 GB hard disk. It's running Windows 7 because work. I mostly use it for word processing, spreadsheets, email, and web browsing, but it still has enough oomph to do CAD work and some 3D stuff. I doubt it would be great at playing today's A-list games, but that's not what it's for.

#134 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2017, 02:03 PM:

Race Traitor Xopher @ 132:

My general rule of thumb is that virtually any machine available is going to be sufficient for word processing and spreadsheets. Yes, 1.8 GHz is on the slow end today, but it's plenty fast for those applications.

If she's picked out a system that meets your budget, you can get that, or get the best system that meets your budget. I assume you are buying a pre-built system from someplace like Dell or Gateway, not building one from scratch.

If you are building one from scratch, check out something like The Tech Report's System Guide for May 2017 or similar for in-depth discussions of what's good at various price-points.

#135 ::: Race Traitor Xopher, grateful for help ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2017, 02:06 PM:

Yeah, not building one from scratch. Gods forbid.

Thanks, KeithS and Buddha! I think I have enough to be going on with.

#136 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2017, 02:16 PM:

Xopher, even low-end hardware today is pretty powerful. What you need, no argument, is DDR3 RAM and PCIe expansion slots. On-motherboard graphics is usually powerful enough for office software.

The CPU will have multiple cores, and should have a clock speed of over 2 GHz. 2 cores will give you one for the OS, one for the program, and I doubt it's worth more than 4.

4GB of RAM should be a minimum. I don't really expect you need more, but if there are spare RAM slots on the motherboard it's worth having the space.

Gigabit ethernet on the motherboard has been the default for years. No need to change anything, the speed is set automatically.

Hard drives: 1TB SATA is pretty much standard for new drives. You can get smaller, but the cost difference is slight.

USB Ports: USB3.0 is worth having for the speed, though USB2.0 still works.

It isn't critical for Windows machines, almost everything depends on DirectX, but I would want graphics hardware that supported OpenGL v2.0 or later. Call it a sanity check (And Linux compatibility the same). I also prefer nVidia. The SVGA connector is still pretty common, no big worries about re-using an existing LCD monitor.

I don't think I have picked anything grotesque. I know I see good office machines on eBay, second-hand servers and workstations, that would be fine, and at very low prices. Though one pitfall might be the RAM type and the expansion slots. "low-profile" can be awkward.

I expect people to get geeky about the trade-offs. I might be a bit wrong about the useful minimum. And I have been assembling my own PCs for a long time. So much has changed, and it can be surprising what hasn't.

(Small minor fact: an old 73GB drive can use 5 times more power than a current 1TB drive)

#137 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2017, 02:58 PM:

CHip @130
I was just looking at the sheet music for Tietjens's "Wizard of Oz," which I downloaded (free) from IMSLP.org, which also has Victor Herbert's score for "Little Nemo," complete with a color cover by Winsor McCay.

#138 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2017, 03:05 PM:

PNH @131
I agree. Painful as it is to read, someone has to listen.

#139 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2017, 03:57 PM:

Xopher @135:

Glad to help.

As a point of reference, the cheapest, lowest-line Dell machine I could easily find on their site almost meets Dave Bell's recommendations. It's got a dual core processor, 4GB ram, Win10, and a 500GB hard drive.

I feel Dave Bell only went with 1TB because it's not much more expensive, but its not necessary. I just checked the Mac I use at work and it's only a 500GB drive; I've used 1/3 of it over the past year, and I'm a developer.

Finding a cheap machine that meets the specs isn't hard. It's almost harder to find a machine that doesn't meet the specs.

#140 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2017, 04:15 PM:

AKICIML: I just discovered that Neil Gaiman appears as a character in Paul Cornell's novel The Severed Streets. Does anyone know if Cornell appears as a character in any of Gaimain's work?

#141 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2017, 04:56 PM:

Soon Lee (#91) Where I live, we don't talk about the inside lane and the outside lane (although I think that language appears in the drivers' handbook). We say "passing on the left" and "passing on the right". Used to be that passing on the right (we drive on the right) was Not Allowed, but then freeways became common and one could pass in any lane. I think passing on the right is still thought to be unmannerly. The whole "inside -- outside" discussion really confused me; I could think of reasons for each interpretation. Oh, and I think that passing on the right is legal so long as one's wheels remain on the paved portion of the road during the maneuver.

#142 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2017, 02:27 AM:

Bruce H.: No he doesn't, unless there's something that's very obscure.

I've never asked about it, but I assume that Cornell used Gaiman as a character with permission.

#143 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2017, 04:04 AM:

David Goldfarb @ #142:

If my memory is correct, that is explicitly stated in the afterword, yes.

#144 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2017, 05:46 AM:

Xopher @135

I think that over the last n years (n~=5) the biggest changes have been SSDs and lower power chips.

Processor power used to double every couple of years, now it's stretched dramatically. Ram used to double every few years, now it's only on the ultra high end. Drives went through a dramatic increase in capacity. But most of that tapered off when the phone revolution took over.

Personally, my priorities would be big enough SSD, enough RAM, and a decent LCD. I'd aim for a processor that's low enough power to do passive cooling, so there's one less fan to hear and have clog with dust. But that's kind of a stretch goal. I'd avoid spinning disks unless you _know_ you need tons of space. And even then, I'd be tempted by a larger SSD.

FWIW, I'm using a refurb Thinkpad T410 (2010) as my main dev machine, maxed out ram and a 512G ssd. The desktop is from 2009, the other laptop is a 2012 MBAir. Then again, all the new faster gear is in a data center, so I don't actually need anything terribly heavyweight here.

#145 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2017, 11:08 AM:

Kip W @ 137: synchronicity!

Xopher @ 132: (not before time; there's no such thing as a new PC with XP on it). which is a pity. I refused to be "upgraded" to W7 at work (4.4 years ago) and have an XP notebook (networking disabled) so I can still run my library database. I have no idea whether NESFA's systems will ever be upgraded.

A branch off this thread's theme: the BBC on Why British English is full of silly-sounding words

#146 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2017, 01:47 PM:

Xopher - Is this for a laptop or desktop? Especially with laptops, one concern is screen resolution (not only what's built in, but also what you can support externally. 1920x1080's a minimum reasonable choice for external these days.)
SSDs are a big win - if you need a lot of storage, then maybe a smaller SSD (e.g. 128GB) and a hard drive, though that's easier in desktops than in some laptops. RAM's the next big need - 8GB or more is worthwhile, especially as browsers get memory-hungry.
My work laptop CPU is fairly hefty, but the only times it needs more than two cores are when it's running some monitoring app the IT department installed that likes to burn all 8, or when I'm doing virtual machine stuff. Even my Raspberry Pi 3 almost never runs out of CPU (though that's partly because it runs out of RAM first.) (But if you did want to build a desktop machine yourself, it's about as easy as you'll find.)

#147 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2017, 03:13 PM:

CHip @145:

I am glad you specified that you have networking disabled.

For anyone who is unaware of why that would be a thing... IT Security Due Diligence Mode Engaged!

Now that XP is no longer supported, the number of known exploits for the OS just keeps increasing and none of them are ever going to be fixed. Avoid connecting an XP machine to the internet if at all possible.

#148 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2017, 08:17 PM:

Thanks again, everyone. We placed the order today.

#149 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2017, 09:36 PM:

What did you decide, Xopher?

#150 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2017, 10:00 AM:

Question for Agile practitioners...

Would having over-arching themes like "Fix all the things", "Zap all the bugs" and "Make all software perfect" be classed as "epic fantasy"?

#151 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2017, 11:17 AM:

Ingvar M @150:

I dunno, I think things like "The client is paying us to add new features, not fix old bugs" falls more into the category of "horror" not "epic fantasy".


#152 ::: odaiwai ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2017, 12:24 PM:

Raven @ http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/016593.html#4336070

— ‘Gaelige’, ‘Gaelic’, and ‘Irish Gaelic’ are alternate names given in this article on the Irish language.

The corresponding disambiguation entry, Gaelic, does also include ‘Scots Gaelic’... but note the need for that preceding modifier, ‘Scots’ [i.e. Scottish].

Wikipedia is not reflecting the usage I am familiar with in this instance. When I was growing up in Ireland, learning Irish in school from age 4 to age 18, we called the language "Irish" when speaking English. When speaking Irish, we would say: táimíd ag caint as Gaeilge. We would never say that we were speaking "Irish Gaelic", or "Gaelic", only Irish.

The Irish Constitution refers to the "Irish Language" in English, while the Irish language version calls the language Ós í an Ghaeilge an teanga náisiúnta is í an phríomhtheanga oifigiúil í.

#153 ::: odaiwai ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2017, 12:33 PM:

Yiu Ming is Ainm Dom a short movie about a foreigner learning Irish and assumptions about who speaks what language.

#154 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2017, 06:03 PM:

Carol 149: We went with one from NewEgg. ML won't let me link to it. It's faster than the one I was looking at before, with a bigger screen, otherwise comparable...except it's $50 cheaper.

NewEgg is a find! Lots of very cheap but perfectly serviceable stuff there.

#155 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2017, 07:07 PM:

PC or Mac? Desktop or laptop? Specs?

I'm afraid I may be in the market soon...

#156 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2017, 10:30 AM:

I have boughten lots of stuff from NewEgg through the years, and their service and prices have always been great.

I think they are a successor-company of the old Egghead computer store chain.

I bought my last laptop, a refurbished older model Lenovo, from Woot!, Amazon's liquidation site. Even a modest* laptop does everything I want from a computer. (I don't edit video or play high-end games.)

* Avoid "student grade" computers.

#157 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2017, 01:25 PM:

NewEgg has also made a reputation as being aggressive when it comes to patent trolls. Several times they've had conversations with patent trolls which have gone like so:

Troll: You are infringing on our bogus patent. Pay us licensing fees or we'll sue.
NewEgg: We aren't paying. We'll see you in court.
Troll: Uh, never mind.
NewEgg: No, we'll see you in court, challenging the validity of your patent.
Troll: Uh, we'll settle?
NewEgg: See you in court.
Judge: Bogus patent is bogus.
NewEgg: Can we get legal fees?
Troll: Please say no.
Judge: Yes.

My current "play" laptop (as opposed to the work-issued laptop I should be using for work stuff) was bought from NewEgg as a refurbished computer. It's a bit old in the tooth at this point, but it's working well.

#158 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2017, 04:29 PM:

Mary Kay Kare tweeted (and retweeted—I caught it on the second time) that Jordin is in the Cleveland Clinic for heart surgery. They will be in the city in a few days and will stay until well after the end of the month, when they will operate.

I probably don't need to tell most of you about Jordin—filker, punster, mad scientist (not only out there zapping mosquitoes with frickin lasers, but he and his team are even sexing them first… with frickin lasers), and a great guy to be around at conventions, especially when he's not punning. (I know: Jealousy is so ugly.) A quick look at his Wikipedia page will reveal other achievements that I am too technically unsophisticated to convey.

Mary Kay has indicated that good thoughts, prayers, emotional support, and the customary huge check (which she inexplicably forgot to mention) are all welcome.

Jordin's a fine lad, and Mary Kay says he is taking this better than she is, so don't hesitate to let her know that we wish him the best, if not more.

#159 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2017, 09:14 PM:

Carol 155: It was a Dell Optiplex 780 USFF All-in-One Computer System, Intel Core 2 Duo 3.0GHz, 4GB DDR3 Memory, 1TB Hard Drive, WiFi, DVD/CD-RW Optical Drive, Microsoft Windows 7 Professional

#160 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2017, 09:38 PM:

Fabulous, Xopher - thank you. If I suddenly need a replacement, that (or best approximation if that's unavailable) will fit the bill exactly.

#161 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2017, 09:49 PM:

People who are into game design:

Let's say your potential buyers could all see the previous path of an object in motion, or predict where it was going to go even if it were moving very slowly (so, look up at any light in the sky from any point on Earth and point to where it had risen and where it would set without pausing to think). Say furthermore that they could predict all plausible outcomes of any action they were about to take. What might their games look like? Would they all be chess masters or something?

#162 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2017, 01:47 AM:

odaiwai @152: The Irish Constitution refers to the ‘Irish Language’ in English....”

Article 8 has “Irish language” with lower-case L, so that phrase is a specification but not a “proper name” of the language.

The Irish Constitution also, in Article 1, refers to the “Irish nation” in English, which again is a specification but not a proper name — that being given as “Éire” and “Ireland”, both within the linked English text. (Then in Article 2 it repeats the phrase, this time capitalizing Nation... so should we now presume “Irish Nation” is the “proper name”?)

#163 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2017, 02:39 AM:

odaiwai #153. Lovely.

In the other direction, there's been news here in NZ about an Irish linguistics student, Aoife Finn, who has never been to New Zealand but accidentally came across te reo Māori and got seriously interested in it (eg)

#164 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2017, 03:06 AM:

Jenny Islander@151: What are your buyers NOT good at? Most games start with activities that are easy and natural, but a challenging one leads you into more difficult tasks. Consider Asteroids, where you start by tracking four rocks (we're good at trajectories), but end up dealing with thirty or so (bad at multitasking). Or Diplomacy, where there are only two or three possible outcomes for a given turn, but you have to figure out who's lying to you to know what will actually happen. It's how you get that "thirty seconds to learn, a lifetime to master!" thing.

#165 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2017, 03:22 AM:

Jenny Islander @ 161:

Probably not "straight path intercept". I could see a great line in various types of logic games (depending on how uncanny their foresight is).

It might, just might, be that something like Go would appeal, in that the game space is not only huge but also not (necessarily) acyclic.

It may also be, like in Player of Games that the preferred style of game has open information, hidden information, as well as randomness.

The closest human board game would probably be something like Stratego, where the other player doesn't know what your pieces are, until you reveal them, but that has no randomness, so imagine Stratego with a die roll and if you roll a specific number (1? 6? 3? doesn't matter) you get two moves before the other player moves. Injects sufficient uncertainty to make eth game taht much harder to predict, long term, but should in general never hurt the player who gets the double move, I think.

#166 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2017, 06:00 AM:

HuffPost article by a teen explaining how she isn't in the market for YA literature and discussing some perils for writers thereof.

#167 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2017, 07:06 AM:

re 150: I think of them more as squares on Buzzword Bingo.

#168 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2017, 09:28 AM:

C. Wingate @166: Good article. It really brought home to me that I don't have clear memories, any more, of being a teenager. I wonder how much of the things she points out would be better understood by YA writers if we had a less age-segregated society; most people don't spend a lot of time really getting to know teenagers unless they have one, or are some sort of teacher, I think.

#169 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2017, 11:31 AM:

Jenny Islander@161: "Say furthermore that they could predict all plausible outcomes of any action they were about to take. What might their games look like?"

Woohoo! Time for some game theory!

(Sorry. That was a twitter meme.)

In a sense, you're describing human beings. You can easily predict all plausible outcomes of a game action, and all possible responses by your opponent, all the way to the end of the game -- if you're playing tic-tac-toe. Any adult who knows the game knows that feeling. You might even remember the moment, as a child, when tic-tac-toe turned from a fascinating well of uncertainty into a bore.

Our response, as adult game designers, is to invent more complicated game boards. In chess or go, the possible outcomes for *one* move are easy to see, but the number of possible outcomes after N moves is exponentially larger. It quickly becomes too large for the (unassisted) human brain to see clearly.

But (with practice) you can see *roughly* where the game could go over N moves. You use tricks like focusing on important subsets of the board (watch the queen!), or rule-of-thumb estimates of how well you're doing (losing your queen is bad). This is difficult, and prone to surprises, and if your opponent sees just one important thing that you missed, you're in trouble.

This is the quality we call "fun". (For perfectly strategic, non-random games like chess and go.)

What's important here is that we, as designers, want an *appropriate* level of complexity for the board and pieces. Tic-tac-toe is too simple. But if the possible outcomes branch too fast, you can't see an interesting distance ahead or estimate anything useful. Then the game "feels too chaotic" (even though there are no random elements) and it's not fun.

So if the audience was superhuman at seeing outcomes, they'd invent games which were complex enough for them to enjoy. There are a lot of ways that could happen. Chess where you move two pieces simultaneously. Three-dimensional boards. Go where the stones are asymmetrical and orientation matters.

If the audience was literally omniscient, that's a different problem. Usual warnings about trying to write deities as characters apply.

#170 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2017, 11:44 AM:

Andrew 169: Some friends of mine played a variant with a 3-by-3 grid of tic-tac-toe boards. Each move on a given board determined the next board in play (mapping the board to the grid). Victory condition was board-level victory on three boards in a row. Adds a layer of strategy, because you can try to keep the other player away from a board where you're about to lose.

The fact that their kid eventually got bored with that, I think, shows what a true gamer family is like.

#171 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2017, 11:48 AM:

As Ingvar M says, there's also the design path of adding randomness and hidden information. These have the effect of bringing the "fog of uncertainty" closer -- game skill becomes less about thinking many moves into the future, and more about being able to react better to surprises in the moment.

(But again, since we are neither gods nor tic-tac-toe enthusiasts, this is a difference in degree and not in kind.)

Note that the opponent's mind is *sort of* hidden information, but not really. In a purely strategic game, both players are constantly peering into each other's minds using the age-old telepathic gimmick of "What would I do if I were him?" This is why tiny differences in estimative skill are crucial!

#172 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2017, 02:01 PM:

Looking for suggestions: To relieve stress, I set up a Twitter list just for cute animal pictures. So far I have Cute Emergency, Emergency Kittens, and The Scamperbeasts. What other feeds I should follow?

#173 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2017, 02:13 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 172

@HourlyKitten is also cute, and they credit their sources.

#174 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2017, 02:28 PM:

Jenny @161, et alia:

Even being able to predict plausible outcomes of any action doesn't necessarily lead to boring games.

For instance, take a game with an embedded "Prisoner's Dilemma". In a classic Prisoner's Dilemma, two players are simultaneously given the choice to cooperate or defect. Both cooperating is better for both players than both defecting, but defecting is better for any individual player. Even with full knowledge of the possible payouts it's hard to decide what the best strategy is.

#175 ::: I forgot my name ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2017, 02:58 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 172

@dog_rates is also very wonderful and sometimes laugh out loud funny.

#176 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2017, 03:26 PM:

Naomi Parkhurst (173)/I forgot my name (175):

Those both look good. Thanks!

#177 ::: David Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2017, 03:58 PM:

If you're following @dog_rates you also need to follow @EverythingGoats. The two have a low-grade twitter "war" that is really one of the greatest things on the internet. Plus, cute baby goats!

#178 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2017, 08:05 PM:

C Wingate @ 166: it sounds like there's a lot of lame YA out there. (Not that that's new; the Hardy Boys are ... massively contrived ...) OTOH, the writer may be more articulate (etc.) than many of her peers; would less-aware readers be more content with ~wordwooze? I wonder what the writer thinks of Judy Blume -- is she old-hat now? I guess one of the advantages of SF is that the author can set up an internally plausible situation, without having to mimic the current world; this means a younger person can be dumped in a Situation, or plausible have somewhat more responsibility (and not necessarily be believed immediately -- that sounds like especially bad writing).

#179 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2017, 07:28 AM:

I am not sure how relevant it all is, but when we're talking about teenagers, we should remember that times keep changing. A quick check came up with this outline of compulsory education ages in the UK.

In the 20th Century this started at age-13 and finished at age-16, and there was also a reduction of voting age from 21 to 18.

This affects the transition from being at school to having a job. That youth in some of the fiction of the inter-war era might be learning trade-specific skills, might be listened to warily, but wouldn't seen in the same way as today.

And then think about the whole idea of Boy Scouts, starting with what Baden-Powell wrote, and continuing with how they really did keep watch for spies and saboteurs in WW1.

I think there are reasons why it is hard to believe in the way the youngest teens might be used, but in the past there would have been far more ways in which a 15-year-old might have established a reputation amongst adults who knew him.

Arthur Ransome produced Swallows and Amazons and while some of the sequels are very unreal, We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea is a group of teenagers who plausibly know enough to cope with the situation. And some of the other stories are built around the belief problem.

The flaws and weakness in today's YA fiction were around then. I read enough of it, old books in the farmhouse acquired in auction job-lots by my grandfather.

#180 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2017, 11:18 AM:

HLN: Local man is frying an egg for breakfast and hears a popping sound. Local man realizes that the egg has basically exploded, sending most of the yolk onto the floor. Local man is unsure what caused the egg to explode, but fries a second egg anyway. This egg does not explode.

#181 ::: Guess ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2017, 11:34 AM:

There is a terrific youtube channel called The Metatron. The guy who does it is a limguist who speaks several languages including Italian, English, Greek, and Japanese. He teaches language in university. Most of the channel is history related to ancient medeivil (including japanese and chinese) military history. Its the kimd of history that fantasy fans would be interedted in.

He occassionally does videos on languages. He did one in respinse to another youtuber named Limdybeige when he talked about how much easier it us to use an english dictionary than a chinese one due to chinese characters.

He made an interesting point. Most languages dont have alphabets. They have characters that have rules involved in how they are created. Its a totally different concept. He said chinese is a tonal language. You dont look stuff up alphabetically its based on the rules of the lnguage. He said its not hard at all when you know the language.

His videos are very good.

It would be interesting to fimd out what the equivalent of a spelling bee is in a language that doesnr use an alphabet.

#182 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2017, 11:56 AM:

Guess, perhaps a writing bee? Someone says an obscure word and you have to write the ideogram for it? (Purely guessing; I have no idea.)

#183 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2017, 01:28 PM:

"Most" languages don't have alphabets? I suspect it depends on how you count (both languages and alphabets). I assume we're talking about languages that have been written, which is most (not all) these days.

Chinese, as has been discussed here before, is not one language, but many languages using the same writing system. Do you count it as one or many?

According to this page, 132 languages use the Roman alphabet. There are many more that use variations on it. Over 80 use the Arabic alphabet. Smaller groups use Hebrew or Devanagari.

I don't know; I'd have to count, and I don't have the energy at the moment. But due to European imperialism, ISTM that most of the languages that were first written in the 19th and 20th centuries would be alphabetic.

#185 ::: Sarah E ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2017, 05:36 PM:

Andrew Plotkin @ #171: In a purely strategic game, both players are constantly peering into each other's minds using the age-old telepathic gimmick of "What would I do if I were him?"

Side-tracking, but one of my favourite tropes is when the villain completely screws up by using this method, because the hero does *not* share their villainous personality traits.

#186 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2017, 08:55 PM:

Jaque, 184: I knew they were going to bring up infrasound at some point during that show. I have been reading about it for quite some time and I think that neither has it been fully proven nor fully disproven to affect human consciousness as claimed; I think some experiments could have been done more carefully, and there is just a lot more to find out about it. That bit in the middle with the old movie showing car accidents caused by it, I wish they'd told us where that was from.
Effect on nonhuman objects is certain--I recall screwing around with a synth one time and wondering how come the room was shaking, and when I looked at the woofer, I dialed the power back real fast...

#187 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2017, 10:06 PM:

@HourlyFox has some really cute foxes.

Foxes do happy really well: https://twitter.com/hourlyFox/status/878440055513243648

#188 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2017, 11:21 PM:

Stefan Jones (187): Oh, that's a good one! Thanks!

...I wonder how many other hourly[animal]s there are.

#189 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2017, 11:47 PM:

I wonder how many other hourly [animals there are.

Watch dogs?

#190 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2017, 02:30 AM:

One archaicish Asian timekeeping method assigned the 12 lunar zodiac critters to divide each day (starting at midnight iirc) into 12 ~2-hour segments-- can't recall offhand whether they applied seasonal dusk/dawn adjusted stments. The time sgments are usually simplified in translation to "the hour of the Rat/Ox/etc."

#191 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2017, 04:35 AM:

Race Traitor Xopher @183: “‘Most’ languages don't have alphabets? I suspect it depends on how you count (both languages and alphabets).”

Often, very very loosely, people apply the term “alphabet” to any written script... but some major such are technically not alphabets at all.

Chinese (or “CJK” because of the other users, Japanese and Korean) is ideographic rather than phonetic...

Like Hebrew, the Arabic writing system is (mostly, i.e. “impurely”) an abjad, a consonantal marking, though it does show a few vowels; Ancient South Arabian (Sabaean), Old Berber, and modern (Neo-)Tifinagh are full (i.e. fully consonantal) abjads.

Ethiopian’s Ge’ez script is basically Sabaean with vowel markings attached to represent C+V syllables (plus 24 of the original 29 consonant glyphs), making it an abugida or alphasyllabary...

In this respect it resembles Japanese’s Kana (katakana and hiragana, and their mutual predecessor man’yōgana), which is a C+V syllabary...

The Brahmic scripts seen across the Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia and parts of east Asia — including everything from Devanagari and Gujarati to Thai, Tibetan, and Balinese? See the table of values: ka, kha, ga, gha,... that’s an abugida table.

The Latin and Cyrillic alphabets, with each glyph having either a C or a V value, but no syllabic values (and Cyrillic pushes this bar with some vowel-glyphs we might consider diphthongs: Я ya, Е ye, Ё yo, Ю yu), begin to look like a minority if we stop focusing our attention only on European languages.

#192 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2017, 04:49 AM:

Oh, and Korea’s own Hangul is a story unto itself. What you could call the “atomic” elements are alphabetic, but it’s constructed syllabically (in “molecular” blocks) rather than sequentially. The North and South differ in how much they still use Hanja (Chinese characters, what the Japanese call kanji), perhaps for political reasons.

#193 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2017, 04:55 AM:

Ahh, correction, modern Neo-Tifinagh is fully alphabetic, with vowels.

#194 ::: Zack ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2017, 06:09 PM:

@183 The Soviet Union was very big on mass literacy in the middle of the 20th century, and while they did heavily promote Russian as the official common language, they also invented writing systems for a number of Central Asian languages that didn't already have them. These systems were based on Cyrillic, because the textbook printers already had type for that.

Oddly enough, one of these languages, Dungan, is a close relative of Mandarin.

#195 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2017, 06:24 PM:

Sarah E @185: Side-tracking, but one of my favourite tropes is when the villain completely screws up by using this method, because the hero does *not* share their villainous personality traits.

"See, if I were him, I'd march up to the gates with the Ring, claim it for my own, and issue a challenge to single combat using its power. Like that would ever happen." (When Sib Machat performs her song "Evil Eyeball", she makes much of the extremely rocky gritty harsh environment around the Dark Tower.)

#196 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2017, 09:29 AM:

Zack @194: “... they also invented writing systems for a number of Central Asian languages that didn’t already have them.”

Er, well, sort of. Mongolian, for instance, already had a writing system, having (during the reign of Genghis Khan) adopted a vertical script from Sogdian, which in fact the “Inner Mongolian” regions of China still use. The Mongolian People's Republic (aka “Outer Mongolia” to the Chinese) was more closely allied with the Soviets, which goes far to explain their adoption of a Cyrillic script plus added letters for the extra sounds. [In this post-Soviet era, the nation’s name is simply “Mongolia”.]

Genghis Khan's grandson Kublai Khan had a Tibetan advisor, Drogön Chögyal Phagpa, better remembered by the name of the script he devised, 'Phags-pa, for all the written languages within the Yuan dynasty. But the Ming dynasty supplanted that a century later, and the older Chinese script resumed use... for all ‘dialects’.

Is it generously promoting mass literacy when an empire’s script supplants local scripts, or is the empire going to promote specifically its own literature — its laws, orders, and propaganda?

#197 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2017, 10:07 AM:

... more @194: Dungan is written in Cyrillic in, for instance, Kazakhstan; well, so is the vast majority language, Kazakh... except: “On April 12, 2017, President Nazarbayev ordered the authorities to transcribe the Kazakh alphabet into Latin by the end of the year, thereby signalling the end of the Cyrillic alphabet as the official script for Kazakh.”

#198 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2017, 04:08 PM:

I think a lot of local languages' written forms were first created by Christian missionaries, who were generally going to use the Roman alphabet with some variations to capture the sounds in the language.

But the coolest story I know along these lines is of Sequoyah--as I understand it, he didn't know how to read in any language, but he understood that phonetic writing was *possible*, and that was enough for him to create a written form of the Cherokee language. (I think each letter is one syllable.) Written language is a technology like any other, and a smart person can figure out enough to reinvent it simply by knowing it exists and having a very basic idea how it works.

#199 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2017, 04:33 PM:

Michael I @180: Maybe it was the thermite? <g,d&r>

#200 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2017, 07:42 PM:

Mary Aileen@172 ...

(a) Thank you for reading my mind. I've been trying to get an epoxy finish to DTRT, and if I hadn't put so much time into it already, I'd throw the dratted thing out the window, even though it'd take out the window and frame in the process ...

(b) http://catsbeaversandducks.tumblr.com
(c) https://www.instagram.com/nyankichi5656/?hl=en

#201 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2017, 08:04 PM:

Xopher, #170: Does anyone else here remember Qubic? It was a 3D tic-tac-toe variation on a 4x4x4 grid, and the number of ways you could get 4 in a row to win was staggering. IIRC, there was still a way for the first player to win, but it wasn't nearly as automatic as in the 3x3 game.

My math-geeky friend and I took it one step further. We drew up and printed out sheets of paper with a representation of 4 Qubic boards on them, making up a 4x4x4x4 game. Any 4 levels in a straight line constituted a board, you played on all 10 boards at once, 4 in a row on any board was a win. That was challenging!

#202 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2017, 08:17 PM:

xeger (200):
(a) You're welcome.
(b) and (c) Thanks, but I'm looking specifically for Twitter feeds.

In addition to the ones suggested above, I found TheDailyOtter and TheCutestCorgis.

#203 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2017, 08:25 PM:

Raven 191: Well, yeah, if you define 'alphabet' narrowly enough, it's going to be a minority. Personally I think it's absurd not to include Hebrew in the alphabets just because it doesn't normally write vowels. But you do you.

I think you slightly misunderstand Cyrillic, though, at least as used in Russian. The so-called iotated letters are rising diphthongs only initially or postvocalically; the rest of the time they are a convention for spelling the palatalization of the preceeding consonant, which is the primary property; in other words, the conditioning goes from consonant to vowel, but is written as vowel to consonant.

Also, English usage of the Roman alphabet spells some falling diphthongs with single letters, or even, bizarrely, with an unpronounced indicator letter elsewhere in the word (and people claim IRISH uses vowels weirdly!). Examples include bane, bone, cape, cope, fight, night, bight, bite, and creosote.

Ibid., 192: King Sejong, the inventor of Hangul, is one of the greatest linguistic geniuses who ever lived, ranking IMO with Champollion and Jakob Grimm. He developed a writing system for Korean that not only perfectly maps onto the nature of the language, but based it on descriptive drawings of the articulation of the sounds in question. If he hadn't been king his work would probably have been lost.

albatross 198: I think a lot of local languages' written forms were first created by Christian missionaries, who were generally going to use the Roman alphabet with some variations to capture the sounds in the language.

Didn't work that way when Cyril and Methodius went to convert the Slavs. They used some Greek, some Hebrew, and made up a lot of peculiar letters to invent the Glagolitic alphabet. Later, others used more Greek letters directly (though some don't at all correspond to their pronunciation in Greek) and invented an alphabet that they named in honor of Cyril (I'm guessing that "Methodic" was too confusing a name). And there was much rejoicing, because writing Glagolitic is a huge pain in the ass.

#204 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2017, 09:16 PM:

201
We had that one! It was amusing. (The structure wasn't as stable as it should have been, IIRC.)

#205 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2017, 10:56 PM:

Lee, I still have a Qubic set around here in a box of games. It was inconvenient to carry around, but when I went to speech meets, it was quick enough to draw the grids on a chalkboard and play. Same with pen and paper. One of my favorite games was where my friend and I played in two colors of ink, drawing whatever we felt like each time. I telegraphed my victory on the penultimate move by depicting a 3x3 flat board with a win in the direction I was going for.

I also used my little magnetic chess set (I had two, one after the other—one of them was proudly labeled MACNETIC CHESS SET), which had flat disks for pieces, with the symbols for the pieces on top. When the original gold paint came off the raised lines, I re-emphasized them with Liquid Paper. Besides chess, it was also useful as a checkers set, and super convenient for 3-D tick tack toe (which I thought should be called tick tock tack toe, but nobody else seemed to agree).

#206 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2017, 01:37 AM:

Race Traitor Xopher @203: “Well, yeah, if you define ‘alphabet’ narrowly enough, it's going to be a minority.”

The very term ‘alphabet’ comes from the first two letters of the Greek script, which has separate glyphs for vowels (like alpha) and consonants (like beta); it refers to such scripts.

Likewise, the term ‘abjad’ comes from the mostly consonantal Arabic script’s first four letters (a b j d), and ‘abugida’ comes from four letters of the mostly syllabic Ethiopic Ge’ez script ('ä bu gi da), and those terms refer to those types of scripts.

In other words, ‘alphabet’ is not being singled out for narrow usage. If you want to convey ‘written phonetic script’ without imprecision, try using that term.

But perhaps the problem is that we define ‘abjad’ or ‘abugida’ too narrowly instead, and they (rather than ‘alphabet’) are by your same logic the “majority”.

#207 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2017, 02:34 AM:

... more @203: You may enjoy Featural writing system, which includes Hangul.

> “... writing Glagolitic is a huge pain in the ass.” — Oh, but it’s a beautiful script, and there are some beautiful fonts using it!

(I’m also fond of Old Church Slavonic script, quite aside from my mother’s family being Russian Orthodox and my foster grandmother having taken me to services in OCS; what a language, solely devoted to religion... when even Hebrew has a mundane history and usage.)

> “I think you slightly misunderstand Cyrillic, though, at least as used in Russian.”

Although English is now my primary language, it was my second. Russian was my first. I gave the “so-called iotated letters” in isolation, not combination, only for simplicity. (One of my favorite stories when explaining M/F family-name endings is how, when young and newly immigrated, my mother and her four sisters would all be introduced at parties — “Miss Zaroodnaya”, times five — then their brother Serge would be greeted as “Ah, and Mr. Zaroodnaya...” at which he would explode, “No, Zaroodny!” ... (Regarding Serge, see also historical footnote here.))

#208 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2017, 03:26 AM:

Is it time to talk about a gathering of light in Helsinki?

#209 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2017, 04:50 AM:

Doug @ #208:

It is not too early. It is also not too late (that would probably be after WorldCon 75). In the previous Open Thread, I believe, I mooted a similar query.

I suspect it might be useful to know to what extent there are bookable rooms and/or good meeting points, which I don't, as of now.

#210 ::: Pfusand ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2017, 09:15 AM:

We are all keeping in mind that the Roman, Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic scripts are all descendants of the Phoenician alphabet, right?

#211 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2017, 12:25 PM:

Kip W @205: little magnetic chess set

My dad had a little portable chess set, of the variety with the peg in the bottom of the piece that plugged into a hole in the board. The whole thing closed up was a little bigger than a case for eyeglasses.

The red queen was actually hand carved out of wood, because the original fell out of an open bomber door into the Pacific Ocean, sometime during WWII.

#212 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2017, 12:41 PM:

Speaking of gatherings of light, am I the only one here who's going to NASFIC instead of Helsinki?

#213 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2017, 08:47 PM:

Pfusand @210: “We are all keeping in mind that the Roman, Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic scripts are all descendants of the Phoenician alphabet, right?”

And we are all keeping in mind that humans and the assorted simians are all descendants of common ancestry, right? Nevertheless, evolution has differentiated them into species.

#214 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2017, 09:06 PM:

Raven 206: The very term ‘alphabet’ comes from the first two letters of the Greek script, which has separate glyphs for vowels (like alpha) and consonants (like beta); it refers to such scripts.

This is an example of the Etymological Fallacy. A word's etymology is not its meaning (look up 'malaria' and 'manufacture' if you don't believe me). The Greeks got their alphabet from the Phoenicians, who used all of the letters to write consonants.

I suppose there are lumpers and splitters even in graphology. All I know is, Hebrew's writing system is called an alphabet by linguists...or at least it was when I got my Linguistics degree.

Ibid., 207: ...my mother’s family being Russian Orthodox and my foster grandmother having taken me to services in OCS; what a language, solely devoted to religion... when even Hebrew has a mundane history and usage.

Well, now it does. It wasn't spoken as a primary language* for about 1700 years, and then was revived in the late 19th/early 20th centuries. It's the only language to have "come back from the dead" in this fashion, but that doesn't have to remain true. All we need to do is get a whole bunch of people of Slavic descent, or people who THINK they have Slavic descent, move to some country, buy up enough land that we can take over, and we can revive OCS!

I'd still recommend using Old Cyrillic for everyday writing. We can use Glagolitic for royal tombs and such. Still, need to start teaching our kids the language right away. Next time a small child is afraid of thunder, say "нє боитє сѧ!" instead of "geez, kid, it's just thunder."

One of my fellow Russian students (that is, она изучала русский язык) one-upped one of our TAs by invoking gender naming. Her name was Zaikowski, and the TA called her zai-KOV-ski. She said "oh, we say zuh-COW-ski," and the TA said "по русски zai-KOV-ski," to which my friend replied "по русски zai-KOV-ska-YA," and she was Зайковская from then on.

We had fun referring to Natasha (Boris' partner in crime) as a "nogoodnitsa," too.

Pfusand 210: Indeed.

*I assume you know OCS wasn't invented as a liturgical language, right?

#215 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2017, 09:24 PM:

Jacque, I have a carved wooden peg-type chess set as well, which a friend brought back from a visit to, um, gonna say The Philippines, back in the early 70s. My problem with such sets (lovely as they might be) is that you can't carry a came in progress. Now if they made them so the board was inside, and you could carefully fold it up with the pieces still set up, then you'd have something.

Chances are, when you would have seen me in Denver, I'd have had my little 'MACNETIC' set in my backpack, though I wasn't getting many games at that point. I rose to an awkward level, where I was enough better than the majority of regular joes and janes that games were too one-sided, and far enough below anyone who was really into the game that they were way too one-sided. Thinking of the guy in Boulder who kept telling me I was pretty good as he roundly did me in (and this was with him letting me take back about one in three moves, and telling me why). I tried the CSU chess club for a while, and even went to one tournament, which went as one may expect. ("Oh boy! I'm up against a sixth grader. … Oh no, he has his own clock. This bodes not well.")

#216 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 01:26 AM:

Race Traitor Xopher @214: “This is an example of the Etymological Fallacy.”

You’d have to misapply the context to call it a “fallacy”. At the relevant level, where distinctions are drawn between alphabets, abjads, and abugidas, I have accurately described, and linked above, why those terms were chosen.

> “The Greeks got their alphabet from the Phoenicians, who used all of the letters to write consonants.”

And if you look it up, what the Phoenicians used is an abjad. It is an alphabet only in the same broad sense that covers all other scripts in which “letters represent phonemes (basic significant sounds) of the spoken language” — while I am discussing the later sense: “... an ‘alphabet’ is a script that represents both vowels and consonants as letters equally. In this narrow sense of the word the first ‘true’ alphabet was the Greek alphabet....” (The link cites Peter T. Daniels (ed), The World's Writing Systems, Oxford University Press, 1996. ISBN 9780195079937)

> “All I know is, Hebrew’s writing system is called an alphabet by linguists....”

See the Wiki-article’s text body (“is an abjad script”) or the infobox (“Type: Impure abjad”). Again, the term ‘Hebrew alphabet’ fits only in the [older] broad sense.

Generally, between specialists and laymen, the specialists are the ones leaning to the more specific terms, the laymen to the broader and less specific.

> “I assume you know OCS wasn't invented as a liturgical language, right?”

Before that, it was the first Slavic literary language, specifically it was used in translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek ecclesiastical texts — does this not qualify as what I called it, “devoted to religion”?

#217 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 01:44 AM:

Before THAT, it was the language spoken by the Slavs in that region. For everyday use. It has no modern descendants, but is most closely related to Bulgarian. In any case, it became a liturgical language because the people who were spreading Christianity spoke it.

But little kids asked their mommies for more goat's milk in OCS before anyone dreamed of writing it or praying to Yahweh in it.

#218 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 01:51 AM:

The Hebrew school I went to taught me to call the Hebrew collection of letters the “aleph-beth.” I don’t know if that’s a classical term, or something modern.

#219 ::: anhweol ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 05:33 AM:

The alphabet/abjad/abugida distinction, while very useful in narrow technical discussions, is extremely modern - coined by Peter T. Daniels himself (see the work cited above). So it's probably not yet appropriate to insist on it as the only correct usage, though it may get there some day.

#220 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 07:38 AM:

Race Traitor Xopher @217: You’re engaging in anachronism, giving no cues whether humorously, seriously, or accidentally.

> “Before THAT, it [Old CHURCH Slavonic] was the language spoken by the Slavs in that region” — No, its predecessor (the dialect it was based upon) was. Else you might as well say you were your father and your grandfather.

Quote: “The 9th-century Byzantine missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius are credited with standardizing the language.... It is thought to have been based primarily on the dialect of the 9th century Byzantine Slavs living in the Province of Thessalonica (now in Greece).” [emphasis added]

> “But little kids asked their mommies for more goat's milk in OCS before anyone dreamed of writing it or praying to Yahweh in it.” — And ancient Classical-era Athenian little kids asked their mommies for milk in Modern Greek, right? Because any later tongue derived from an earlier tongue is therefore identical, and was spoken by the people who lived before it was even developed!

By the same token, the Beowulf poet gossiped to his mates in Modern English, Julius Caesar and Marc Antony both wooed Cleopatra in the snazziest Modern Italian, and Vercingetorix rallied his troops in the most persuasive Modern French.

How ridiculous.

#221 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 07:48 AM:

anhweol @219: Yes, *I* cited author, book, publisher, date (1996), and ISBN.

21 years ago may be “extremely modern” to you, but I think insisting that we should disregard all advances in scholarship of the last two decades (until “someday”) would not find favor in any field of study.

#222 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Gardener of Threads ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 08:14 AM:

Less heat, more light, please.

#223 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 08:46 AM:

Doug @ #208, me @ #209:

Thinking more about WorldCon 75, would people prefer Thursday, Friday, or perhaps even Saturday,. for a Gathering of Light?

I'm perfectly fine with arranging it, but will happily yield to someone who really wants to do the arranging.

#224 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 09:35 AM:

Not a gathering of light, but I will be seeing well-known fans Mary Kay Kare and Jordin Kare at the Klevelan Cleveland Clinic on Saturday, as I make my way to Michigan. Jordin will have had open-heart surgery and be out of Intensive Care (about which I imagine all the puns have already been made), according to the last schedule I heard.

Mary Kay has said he's taking it better than she is. I can sympathize, and in fact, I do and I will.

#225 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 10:09 AM:

Raven @ 191, 216.:

I think the problem is perhaps twofold:
1. Does it always make sense to re-orient non-specialist discussions to use the latest technical vocabularies?
and
2. Is this particular strict practice you advocate (e.g., it's incorrect to refer to Phoenician, Hebrew, and Arabic writing systems as "alphabets") actually widespread or even universal among academic specialists yet?

I note that this post from the CREWS (Contexts of and Relations between Early Writing Systems) Project describes a recent academic conference called "Understanding Relations Between Scripts II: Early Alphabets", and seem to have no problem referring to "the earliest probable alphabetic inscriptions from the Sinai peninsula or the Egyptian desert at Wadi el-Hol, through the Phoenician and Ugaritic alphabets of the Levant, to ancient Greece, Italy and Spain", even though, in the strict definition you're advocating, only the very last set are properly "alphabets".

You can see the conference schedule here; it includes titles like "The Ugaritic Alphabet/s: A Typological Revolution?", "Variation in alphabetic cuneiform: Rethinking the “Phoenician” inscription from Sarepta", and "Ancient Egypt and the earliest known stages of alphabetic writing".

All of this suggests to me that specialists in the field of studying alphabetic/abjad/abugida scripts haven't necessarily abjured the general use of "alphabet" and "alphabetic" to collectively refer to these writing systems.


Also, via the the same site: cuneiform (and Linear A and B, and so forth) biscuits.

#226 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 10:26 AM:

Raven @216:

I suspect a relevant question is "How technical was the YouTuber's use of "alphabet"? Popular-level texts are generally not terribly technical; if he doesn't use the terms "abjad" or "abugida" (both of which are new to me, as someone without formal linguistic training but who has an interest in popular-level linguistics) it's probably safe to assume he's using "alphabet" in the broader, less-technical sense. I would hope specialists would not assume that complete linguistic neophytes wouldn't be familiar with the terms enough to have your understanding of "alphabet". Using "abjad" is safe enough; non-linguists won't know the word, and will look it up. Using "alphabet" to mean something other than what most people think it means, without highlighting the distinction, is risky, since everyone knows a meaning of "alphabet", and won't know you're using it differently.

#227 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 10:36 AM:

Kip W @215: Chess: I got good enough to beat my dad once, and then lost interest. Especially since, anytime I tried playing against anyone else, I lost within a half-dozen moves.

I have since figured out that my skill/competitiveness ratio is such that games in general just don't interest me. Which is okay. There's plenty of other trouble to get into in this world.

Meanwhile, the discussion yesterday prompted me to track down a copy of the at-home chess set my dad had. My brother wound up with the family set, and that's always bothered me (obref DFD). Now all I need to do is find/make a proper board.

#228 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 10:41 AM:

Less heat, more light, eh? So let me try this again...

My parents were university biologists, my father a professor, their friends mostly faculty or researchers or the family thereof; I grew up amid academia. I was born the year Crick and Watson published their paper on the double-helix structure of DNA; my father died the year they got their Nobel (9 years later).

By some “lights”, that discovery, while very useful in narrow technical discussions, was extremely modern when made. So it was probably not yet appropriate to insist on it as the only correct usage, though it might get there some later day. (Presumably over 21 years later.)

Instead of which the information was seized upon immediately, and applied with great enthusiasm, to very effective results. Working with improved tools will do that.

As a teen, I spent a summer with my father’s successor in Washington DC as he worked on a research project in recombinant DNA, essentially boiling the strands (v-e-r-y carefully) just until they separated, then working on the single strands. That was still within the recommended at-least-21-year “blackout” for “extremely modern” ideas to be appropriate.

Where would DNA research, or DNA therapy, be right now, if that... that... less-than-fully-thought-out rule had actually been imposed on the sciences?

#229 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 11:01 AM:

Peter Erwin @225, lorax @226: You’re both asking how “technical” or “specialist” is this vocabulary (vs. “popular-level texts”).

Have you not clicked, or even hovered over, the links I've given on those topics above, to notice that they were to Wikipedia?

You do know who their target audience is, right?

#230 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 11:05 AM:

Raven @228: research project in recombinant DNA

But when do I get my pet sphynx? Huh? Huh?? I want it.

#231 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Gardener of Threads ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 11:21 AM:

Raven, your strawman is not adequately hiding your contempt for your fellow commenters. In particular, that scare quote around lights is...regrettable, but the entire tone of your comment is not that of someone seeking good conversation.

Leaving everything else aside, it's not actually going to cause the people you're addressing to listen to your argument for the precision of vocabulary you're advocating. And furthermore, I'm not prone to leaving everything else aside.

If you need to take a break from this conversation until you can be more constructive, please do. If you decide to continue it, please do so with more sugar and less vinegar.

Everyone else, my comment at 222 was not just aimed at Raven. I'm sure you can each consider in the privacy of your browser tab the extent to which it applies to you, and behave accordingly.

#232 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 11:25 AM:

Raven @228: You are coming across as very upset by the idea that it might be socially acceptable for laypeople (and the occasional linguist in a lay setting) to use the term 'alphabet' broadly and still be understood by their interlocutors for most intents and purposes. That's what I interpreted the word 'heat' to be referring to: the continued and vigorous insistence that we, in this place, employ academic precision in our fairly casual conversation. I, for one, would like to discuss interesting information and content, not phraseology.

#233 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 11:26 AM:

Jacque
I forgot to say that I like the story of how the Queen was lost — now that's what I call a valid excuse! I don't know where the family chess set has gone, come to think of it. Dad taught me how to play on it. (In 7th grade, I found that they had intramural chess. I was excited, and told Dad I wanted to join, and he actually got mad because I wasn't going out for some goddamn sport! And he taught me to play! Needless to say, I never went out for a team, opting for a largely sedentary lifestyle that will probably shorten my time on Earth. That'll show him. I didn't mind playing sports, but actually signing up for a team and having to make regular practices? Pfui.)

My daughter was in chess club for a while in grade school, but lost interest after a year or so. She stays interested in things that neither of her parents already do, I've noticed.

#234 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 11:26 AM:

Idumea @231: Oops, sorry! I was composing and didn't check for new comments.

#235 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 11:31 AM:

Raven @ 221:

My expertise is in a relatively new field: computer science. Computer science has a reputation for being very fast-paced, very broad, very dynamic. New ideas get promoted and developed all the time.

In 1994, a computer scientist/mathematician wrote a paper demonstrating the use of the category theory concept of a "monad" as a model of computation, especially one capable of hiding/packaging up non-functional features like IO, randomness, state, and so forth.

Certain small (but sometimes vocal) segments of the CS field have leapt on monads and category theory like excited hounds, absolutely certain that it provides a way out of several theoretical difficulties they are having. It is impossible to read about or work using the tools they are using without having to become conversant on categorical ideas like monads, monoids, applicatives, functors, and the like.

But the vast majority of working computer scientists and programmers don't care, or aren't as into monads and category theory. The terminology, the ideas involved, are not important to them and don't bring anything extra to the party.

Monads in computer science are older than the alphabet/abjad/abugida distinction is in linguistics. Despite the 23 years since they were introduced, they are not mainstream. Even in the relatively small realm of functional programming, monads are highlighted in just one language community, and haven't been adopted very much outside of that community.

21 years may seem a long time, but it isn't a very long time in academia for ideas to be accepted. Especially when, as the Wikipedia page on abjads you cited points out, experts don't like the terminology because it conflicts with pre-existing uses of the word for other technical meanings.

To quote from that wikipedia page:

The antagonism of abjad versus alphabet, as it was formulated by Daniels, has been rejected by other scholars because abjad is also used as a term not only for the Arabic numeral system but, which is most important in terms of historical grammatology, also as term for the alphabetic device (i.e. letter order) of ancient Northwest Semitic scripts in opposition to the 'south Arabian' order. This caused fatal effects on terminology in general and especially in (ancient) Semitic philology. Also, it suggests that consonantal alphabets, in opposition to for instance the Greek alphabet, were not yet true alphabets and not yet entirely complete, lacking something important to be a fully working script system. It has also been objected that, as a set of letters, an alphabet is not the mirror of what should be there in a language from a phonemic or even phonological point of view, rather, it is the data stock of what provides maximum efficiency with least effort from a semantic point of view.

That section cites the 2011 chapter by Reinhard G. Lehmann titled 27-30-22-26 -- How Many Letters Needs an Alphabet? The Case of Semitic, published in the book Writing Across Borders (ISBN 9789004215450). I am fortunate to work as a programmer in a research library, so I have access to that book electronically.

Lehmann addresses the point of terminology and definitions (rather snarkily, IMHO) with the passage "Of course, because [Halaḥama and Abgad] did not represent vowels, some would argue that they both are not true alphabets. Actually they really were. We will come back to this point again later." Lehmann even has a 5-page section of his 40-page chapter entitled "Abjad and Alphabeta -- The Daniels' distinction", where he discusses Daniels' terminology, and the historical problems with it. One problem that Lehmann discusses is the inherent graecocentrism in his proposal: Daniels' claims that the Greeks improved the previously deficient abjads to create the first 'true' alphabet. Lehmann instead claims that the users of Halaḥama and Abgad found the alphabets suited to their needs, where vowels were relatively unimportant and the root word retains its shape among lots of declensions; whereas Greek uses vowels more semantically, and so introduced symbols for them. Abgad isn't missing vowels, it isn't deficient as a writing system; it didn't need them. (in this respect, I feel it's similar to the adoption of Chinese writing by the Japanese: the Chinese writing system didn't match the needs of the Japanese language (no particles, no verb cases and tenses, etc), so it adopted kana to supplement the kanji. The Greeks needed vowels, so it added them to supplement the abgad-derived alphabets of its neighbors).

Obviously, even among experts in the direct field of ancient semitic linguistics there is strong disagreement on Daniels' distinctions.

You state in @229 to consider that your links are to Wikipedia, and consider the target audience. The problem with Wikipedia is that anyone can write on it, especially highly biased experts wanting to push their particular viewpoint. I don't think it helps your case in that you seem to have missed the paragraph on the abjad page about the terminology being "rejected by other scholars", and ignored the big notice on the top of the page about the article having poor citations even by Wikipedia standards.

#236 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 11:43 AM:

lorax @226: “Using ‘alphabet’ to mean something other than what most people think it means, without highlighting the distinction, is risky, since everyone knows a meaning of ‘alphabet’, and won't know you're using it differently.”

That just might could be why I took the time to spell out, in #191:

“Often, very very loosely, people apply the term ‘alphabet’ to any written script... but some major such are technically not alphabets at all.”

And I then separate out ideographic/logographic scripts, for instance.

Even the broad-but-not-quite-THAT-loose usage of ‘alphabet’ is for any phonemic script (as I noted in #216), and that still excludes syllabaries like Japan’s Kana.

So what is this “without highlighting the distinction”? I’m the one person in the debate who has consistently been defining the terms I use to make my distinctions clear... with links, for that matter.

#237 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 12:24 PM:

Speaking of links, how about one to the first law of holes?

#238 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 12:38 PM:

Setting aside for a moment the argument over terminology*, I am prompted by all this discussion to point to the absolute DELIGHT that is the Japanese method of writing.

I mean, you have the hiragana, which are a set of characters used to each represent specific syllables (except when they don't) for "native" words and grammatical bits of the language (except when they don't). The katakana, which are slightly different characters used to represent the same set of syllables (except for when they don't) for loan words (except when they don't). The kanji, which are borrowed roughly from the Chinese characters (except when they aren't) and used for similar words (except when they aren't) as the primary building blocks for nouns and adjectives and verbs and so forth (except when they aren't) with the hiragana hanging out nearby to do the grammatical bits those don't cover (among other things) (except when they don't). And then you also get the romaji, which are the Roman alphabet (which might not be an alphabet) and Arabic numerals (which I think are still numerals?) for numbering things (except when they don't) and words taken directly from languages using those letters (except when they don't, see katakana above) and...well.

I only took one year of instruction in Japanese, so my memory is a little hazy in places. And I certainly wasn't very good at it; oh, my pain with the morphology that went into counter suffixes being appended to various different numbers, to produce what looked like irregular numbers! (But weren't. Except when they were.) But I still remember my general delight at how messy and logical and inconsistent and thorough it was, as a system of writing. Especially compared to boring old English, where we happily shove everything we can into 26 letters, and people grumble over the occasional diacritic getting into the mix.


* I am having terrible flashbacks to the number of times someone has loudly pointed out in the grocery store that "organic" is a meaningless label on different types of food because it means "including carbon", which is a statement containing at least three true and three false things.

#239 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 12:38 PM:

Setting aside for a moment the argument over terminology*, I am prompted by all this discussion to point to the absolute DELIGHT that is the Japanese method of writing.

I mean, you have the hiragana, which are a set of characters used to each represent specific syllables (except when they don't) for "native" words and grammatical bits of the language (except when they don't). The katakana, which are slightly different characters used to represent the same set of syllables (except for when they don't) for loan words (except when they don't). The kanji, which are borrowed roughly from the Chinese characters (except when they aren't) and used for similar words (except when they aren't) as the primary building blocks for nouns and adjectives and verbs and so forth (except when they aren't) with the hiragana hanging out nearby to do the grammatical bits those don't cover (among other things) (except when they don't). And then you also get the romaji, which are the Roman alphabet (which might not be an alphabet) and Arabic numerals (which I think are still numerals?) for numbering things (except when they don't) and words taken directly from languages using those letters (except when they don't, see katakana above) and...well.

I only took one year of instruction in Japanese, so my memory is a little hazy in places. And I certainly wasn't very good at it; oh, my pain with the morphology that went into counter suffixes being appended to various different numbers, to produce what looked like irregular numbers! (But weren't. Except when they were.) But I still remember my general delight at how messy and logical and inconsistent and thorough it was, as a system of writing. Especially compared to boring old English, where we happily shove everything we can into 26 letters, and people grumble over the occasional diacritic getting into the mix.


* I am having terrible flashbacks to the number of times someone has loudly pointed out in the grocery store that "organic" is a meaningless label on different types of food because it means "including carbon", which is a statement containing at least three true and three false things.

#240 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 12:39 PM:

A double post! I think that's the first time I've done that. Or perhaps I've just forgotten the other time(s), lost to the mists of internet personal history.

#241 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 01:25 PM:

Idumea @231: We seem to be having semantic troubles. I don’t understand some of what you are writing, and your comments about what I wrote leave me wondering whether the converse has occurred.

> “your strawman...” — My what? The only referent I know for this term is ‘strawman argument’, arguing against an argument never originally given. I copied-and-pasted an actual argument, then fit it to the new context.

> “... is not adequately hiding your contempt for your fellow commenters.” — Ah. Plural, no less. So it’s not just one person? And I couldn’t want to correct the “less-than-fully-thought-out rule” without feeling contempt for its proponent, is that it? (No “hate the sin but love the sinner” allowed, eh?) Gosh, and to think I spent years using as my Usenet .sigfile the closing lines of Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s “LIES”: “Forgive no error you recognize; it will repeat itself, increase, and afterward our pupils will not forgive in us what we forgave.”

> “In particular, that scare quote around lights is...regrettable” — You mean I might get banned for making a pun? ... Here? ...

> “... the entire tone of your comment is not that of someone seeking good conversation.” — The entire tone of that particular comment is of someone asking readers to consider the effect of putting the proposed principle into actual practice, using a real-world situation I happened to know a bit about. How is that not a good conversation?

#242 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Gardener of Threads ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 01:40 PM:

Raven,

1. Setting up a stupid version of your opponents' arguments in order to mock them is a strawman, whether or not your parents were biologists.

2. I am supremely uninterested in what your sig file was elseweb; you will not treat your fellow conversationalists with contempt in this or any other conversation on Making Light, no matter how wrong they are. Among other things, as I said in one of those passages that you conveniently ignored, your approach is ineffective in actually convincing anyone of anything.

3. The fact that I did not catch the pun is a very good example of the effects of your tone on your readers' reaction to your prose.

4. If you can't figure out why contempt for any or all of your interlocutors is bad conversation (and indeed, bad pedagogy), I'd suggest you take a little time away to reset your attitude. If you come back into this conversation in the same fashion you have been, I will be happy to assist you in detaching for a day or so.

#243 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 01:45 PM:

Buddha Buck @235: “The problem with Wikipedia is that anyone can write on it, especially highly biased experts wanting to push their particular viewpoint.”

This can be a problem with Wikipedia; therein, however, specifically in crowdsourcing, is also the seed of a solution — as other editors are likely to notice such skewing very soon and revert it, and administrators will step in to stop “edit wars” if they occur.

In other words: see a specific actual problem? Fix it, or report it... then it will be short-lived.

#244 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 02:44 PM:

Idumea @242: “Setting up a stupid version of your opponents’ arguments in order to mock them is a strawman....”

Why, this is a strawman itself. I pointed to the flaws in what they actually did say. Then applying those same flaws to other (alternative-history) examples was only to light those flaws up more clearly, show what they were.

There is no NON-anachronistic version of claiming people spoke Old CHURCH Slavonic before Cyril and Methodius started working on it.

I didn’t set that up; I only offered some even more amped-up anachronisms in return, to magnify the absurdity that was already inherent. But the flaw was the same.

I’m done arguing. You’re taking simple correction as contempt, projecting I don’t know what other motives, and the assumption of bad faith stinks. Some other time.

#245 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Gardener of Threads ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 03:03 PM:

Raven,

Were I alone in reacting negatively, we would not be having this conversation. I'm here because the thread is going poorly.

It's notable that when I made a carefully general request to cool the conversation down, you're the one who stepped up argue. That in itself tells me a lot about how you're approaching this interaction. More than you intended it to, I suspect.

Honestly, I don't care about your inner emotional state; you can be calm as Surak himself or quite literally foaming at the mouth as long as your contributions to the discussion are respectful and constructive.

They weren't, alas. I look forward to you returning to your interesting self, perhaps when discussing something a little less personally fraught.

#246 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 05:01 PM:

My primary takeaway from all chess instruction has been that, to play chess at any level at all, one must be much, much, much more serious about it than I am willing to be. Actually, now that I think about it, that might be why there are some books I no longer read (or have no plans to read) after someone else got fannish in a particular way. Hm.

My secondary takeaway from middle-school intramural chess was a knight figure to use as a statue in my dollhouse. I spent weeks deciding whether or not it was okay, and was nervous the entire time about getting caught. I wasn't as nervous stealing chalk from the children's choir practice room at the local community college, for whatever reason, though that was also a sensory thing.

I find I'm a word game or backgammon person, generally. Backgammon has enough chance to be satisfying. Someday, I will permit myself bookbinding classes and make my own board, too, because I have a really pretty but poorly-made one from high school graduation.

#247 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 05:07 PM:

Fade Manley @238: Don't forget furigana! Hiragana symbols placed by kanji to show which pronunciation should be used.

I have great admiration for the Korean writing system - it's amazing what you can do when you're designing from scratch rather than repurposing something from thousands of years ago that's been constantly patched and adapted and revised over the years.

Regarding the larger conversation, the Wikipedia article on writing systems shows several different taxonomies used for classifying writing systems. The text of the article, however, divides them into logographic systems (where symbols represent whole words, syllabic systems, and segmental system. The segmental system category is titled "Alphabets", and the article for alphabet describes it as a category that includes true alphabets, abjads, and abugidas.

Most of the commenters here seem to be using "alphabet" the same way I do, to refer to the whole category of segmental writing systems, as opposed to reserving the term for "true alphabet" systems only.

Honestly I think this confusion is present in every subject that can be described by a taxonomy. If you say "vulpes", do you mean the entire genus commonly known as foxes, or are you specifically talking about "Vulpes vulpes", the red fox? Not to mention that the red fox was originally named Canis vulpes, and Vulpes was considered to be a sub-genus under Canis until the mid 1800s. Taxonomy is fascinating and contentious!

#248 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 05:14 PM:

Fade Manley @238:

::applause!::

a statement containing at least three true and three false things

Okay, I'll bite: "What are these things, three of each, of which you speak?"

#249 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 05:27 PM:

estelendur, #232: Hear, hear! The argument over jargon is causing me to skip past posts on a topic which might otherwise be of interest to me. [very snarky comment redacted]

#250 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 05:32 PM:

shadowsong @247: Furigana! I had been categorizing them as hiragana, but it is perhaps more accurate to say that they're a syllabic system using symbols identical to hiragana, since they're used for a specific purpose. (Except when they aren't.)

(Okay, maybe they always are, I don't honestly know enough to be sure, but there's a theme going!)

Jacque @248: Okay, I'll bite: "What are these things, three of each, of which you speak?"

...oh, gosh, now I need to reconstruct the list I'd made in my head, and I'm much less caffeinated now. Let me see which ones I can remember. The statement was:

"...that "organic" is a meaningless label on different types of food because it means "including carbon"..."

TRUE:

1) "organic" does, in certain contexts, mean "including carbon";
2) it can be a meaningless label on food, given the above definition, because the vast majority of items sold as food include carbon;
3) It can be a meaningless label on food, given the above context, when it's applied to food-like items that aren't even carbon-based (salt!);
4) it can be a meaningless label on food, even without the above definition of "carbon", because of poor regulation of its application and because of the rather vague sense in its public usage as to what it means in a precise manner.

FALSE:

1) No, "organic" has a broadly recognized popular meaning in terms of food labeling that has nothing to do with including carbon, and does not ONLY mean that;
2) Meaningless? No, thus its usage on food products can be meaningful in telling consumers that those food products have been handled in certain ways in their production, processing, growing, etc.;
3) this is often a governmentally regulated process* with actual concrete specifics, even if its resulting benefits may be controversial or uncertain;
4) even if it were not, the social connotations make it such that people are being told that buying certain types of food has certain social connotations, which they may or may not wish to participate in;
5) and thus the food labeling is necessary in order for them to be charged correctly for one bunch of bananas over the other at the register.

(* As a former friend of mine used to complain to me. They wished to sell a particular food product as "organic" because people would pay more for that, and then were upset about the rules they would be required to follow in order to do so legally.)

#251 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 06:05 PM:

I am reminded how unmarked it is that computers work most commonly in my native language.

I'm currently reviewing a PR for a software project that includes a bunch of code to enable 'complex' text layouts, while at the same time trying to figure out why this doesn't seem to affect rendering of Tibetan glyphs, at least on some platforms. It's really hard for me to QA the output of something where I can't look at it and tell if I'm even in the ballpark. (Though, unicode boxes, dotted circles, and unknown glyph, I can spot) I basically have to be comparing to a bitmap image of the same font, rendered correctly.

My computers, my code, my keyboard are all natively english. My Language. There are some affordances for 'weird' characters from those other languages which insist on accents and such, but they're fundamentally letters that are recognizable to an American. They're also a 3 key combination, at best.

Then you get to Arabic, which requires glyph substitution and bi-directional text. And Tibetan, which is single direction, but has it's own complex rules about what glyphs get combined into a single character, and where lines can break.

(There are other languages, but they haven't been raised as issues. Yet.)


#252 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 08:59 PM:

Fade Manley @238/9:

I mean, you have the hiragana, which are a set of characters used to each represent specific syllables (except when they don't) for "native" words and grammatical bits of the language (except when they don't). The katakana, which are slightly different characters used to represent the same set of syllables (except for when they don't) for loan words (except when they don't). The kanji, which are borrowed roughly from the Chinese characters (except when they aren't) and used for similar words (except when they aren't) as the primary building blocks for nouns and adjectives and verbs and so forth (except when they aren't) with the hiragana hanging out nearby to do the grammatical bits those don't cover (among other things) (except when they don't). And then you also get the romaji, which are the Roman alphabet (which might not be an alphabet) and Arabic numerals (which I think are still numerals?) for numbering things (except when they don't) and words taken directly from languages using those letters (except when they don't, see katakana above) and...well.

The Japanese approach to writing systems can be summed up as "if there are two ways to do something, do both."

After importing the Chinese writing system, did they use it to write Chinese, or Japanese? Both, thus the on (Japanesified pronunciation of Chinese word) and kun (native Japanese word) readings in modern Japanese.

Did they write Japanese words according to the meaning, or to the sound? Both, thus ateji, where the characters used to write a word have nothing to do with the meaning.

When simplifying the characters commonly used to write phonetically, did they use a simplified cursive form of the full character, or did they take take a piece of the character to stand for the full thing? Both, thus hiragana and katakana. For centuries, the angular, "masculine" katakana was the default for official writing, but in modern times, hiragana (previously dismissed as "women's writing") has taken over, and katakana is used almost exclusively for loanwords.

When they imported Arabic numerals, they didn't just replace the Chinese system (essentially writing the words of the numbers); they use both. Sometimes, both at once. For instance, the number 90,000 may be written as in the West, or in kanji as 九万, or with mixed characters as 9万, or in kanji (plus a stylized zero) with place value as 九〇〇〇〇.

oh, my pain with the morphology that went into counter suffixes being appended to various different numbers, to produce what looked like irregular numbers! (But weren't. Except when they were.)
Once again, doing things both ways, as the Chinese-derived ichi, ni, san, shi crashes headlong into the native hi, fu, mi, yo. Add in the way that numbers of things are Not The Same as pure numbers, and you have almost as much of a headache as the pronouns.

I am having terrible flashbacks to the number of times someone has loudly pointed out in the grocery store that "organic" is a meaningless label on different types of food because it means "including carbon", which is a statement containing at least three true and three false things.
A true pedant, of course, would reply that no, "organic" doesn't mean "including carbon", it means "relating to bodily organs".

#253 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 09:00 PM:

My father was a neuroscientist; in fact he was among the people who created the field, after realizing that following a problem had led him out of psychology (his PhD discipline), and into areas studied by neurologists, biologists, and the proponents of many other disciplines. He was one of the first to conclusively demonstrate adult brain plasticity, for example.

None of that gives me any extra authority about linguistics. I flatter myself that my BA in Linguistics (Michigan State University, 1981) may give SOME credence to my thoughts on the subject; note also that my education happened well before the publication of the paper about alphabets and related phenomena (and yes, people my age DO sometimes think of events 20 years past as "recent"). My major professor was the late David G. Lockwood, who also taught the one class in Old Church Slavic that was available; he was a well-reputed Slavicist in addition to being a prominent Stratificational linguist.

The following was written after reading Raven 220, and rewritten after reading the rest of the thread, to provide more light and less heat.

Using the name of OCS to "prove" that it was strictly liturgical from the beginning is simply nonsense. The name of a thing doesn't prove anything about its nature; all it shows is the attitude of the people who named it. Accepting it as a valid description of the nature of the thing itself just means you agree with them, and nothing more. (My thanks to the friend on Twitter who pointed out that people who claim the Nazis were socialists are really saying they trust the Nazis more than they trust historians and political scientists.)

OCS was named Old Church Slav(on)ic long after it was extinct as a native language, and used exclusively as a liturgical one. We don't know what its native speakers may have called it, because no one wrote it down, and they're all centuries dead. Cyril and Methodius did not create the language based on a predecessor language. (Sarcastic remark about parole vs. langue deleted here.)

Every language has a standardized form. Written English is often held to be a different dialect than any of the spoken forms (I like to point out that 'for' is only used to mean "because" in writing and poetry (including song lyrics), never in ordinary speech). To that extent, C&M may have regularized some things. Probably they imposed some aspects of Latin (a thing that was also done to English, to its detriment). But the language was a real living language (meaning babies asked their mommies for milk in it) before that.

What would be the point of translating liturgical texts into a new language? Of course they didn't; they were geniuses, not fools. They translated them into the language the people they were trying to convert already spoke. St. Patrick may have taught the Irish to write in Latin, but he spoke to them first in Irish, and used a plant that grew abundantly in Ireland to explain the Trinity.

Finally, let me say something I've ranted about before, in a less ranty way: linguistics is one of the few sciences where everyone seems to think their opinion is just as valid as that of someone who has studied the science. Can you imagine someone saying to a biologist "It's not carried by mosquitos! It's right there in the name, 'mal-aria', bad air! It's caused by bad air!"

I cannot.

#254 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 09:07 PM:

Chris @252: And now I know even MORE delightfully weird things about the writing system of Japanese, for which I thank you. It solidifies my decision to keep it as "that interesting language I studied in college that one year" and not go further, given the number of other languages on my plate.

But, as with things like woodworking and dressage competitions, sometimes the joy is in knowing that other people are off doing very interesting things, just out of my sight, even if I'm not doing those things myself and am never likely to.

#255 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 09:07 PM:

Chris 252: And a member is something surrounded by a membrane. And things are only manufactured if they're handmade. And...

#256 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 09:57 PM:

Fade Manley: I have about as much Japanese instruction as you do. So I'm curious to know more about:

hiragana, which are a set of characters used to each represent specific syllables (except when they don't)
– when don't they? My course never covered that, unless my brain is blanking on something obvious.

#257 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 09:57 PM:

RT Xopher @253: "For" used as "because" is certainly primarily found in poetry -- it's also used in quotes from poetry (cf original Star Trek's "For the world is hollow and I have touched the sky" episode title, which most viewers won't know the original for) and I'd bet you money that not-quite-quoting such usage happens sometimes, and more than we might think.

This is my way of echoing Fade's "(except when it isn't)", which should be reduced to EWII and used in pretty much every description of the ways language works. And a lot of other places.

#258 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 10:05 PM:

@David Goldfarb no. 256: Ooh! Oooh! I know this one! Sometimes a hiragana character is a marker meaning "put extra oomph into this consonant here" or something else that doesn't indicate a separate syllable.

...and that's pretty much all I remember about hiragana.

#259 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 10:17 PM:

Last minute addition to the last comment: it's like the fact that words in English don't change their pronunciation when you capitalize them, except when they do. There are two, clear, unambiguous examples of when they do (for common usage -- yes, you can put polish at the start of a sentence and it won't be pronounced like Polish). The other clear one I know of (and I'd love to know more!) is local to me, and left as an exercise for the commentariat. I do not take credit for noticing it, as I'm pretty sure someone pointed it out to me but I don't remember who.

#260 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 10:29 PM:

David Goldfarb @256: I was thinking of where certain particles (or just one?) had solidified in certain places to have a specific grammatical usage with a specific sound that no longer matches the sound used when that hiragana is being used to create words, as with furigana. Or the ones that are totally pronounced "CV", except when in certain contexts they're actually pronounced C (the -su at the ends of certain words, for example, which turns into just -s when spoken). But this is stretching the limits of my memory, so I may have forgotten/misrepresented, at this point.

I just remember that the professor had to explain that the hiragana were perfectly logical exact syllabic representations of what they said they were and always sounded the same wherever they showed up! ...except when they weren't.

This is making me want to take Japanese again. Their writing is so much FUN.

#261 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 10:33 PM:

Tom Whitmore (259): Do you mean tangier/Tangier? Patrick told the story about Mike Ford pointing that one out.

#262 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 10:35 PM:

Actually that's a third one, Mary Aileen. But it's the same vowel shift: rainier/Rainier.

#263 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 11:19 PM:

What about August/august?

#264 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2017, 11:50 PM:

Also nice/Nice (France) and job/Job (Bible character)

#265 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 12:13 AM:

Julie L. (263):

I pronounce those the same.

#266 ::: Cal Dunn ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 01:06 AM:

Fade Manley @260: I was thinking of where certain particles (or just one?) had solidified in certain places to have a specific grammatical usage with a specific sound that no longer matches the sound used when that hiragana is being used to create words

That would be は, which is pronounced "ha" (in words), except when it's pronounced "wa" (as a particle); and also へ, which is "he" when it isn't "e" (ditto). This has got something to do with historical kana usage, which also explains why the word for "today" is pronounced "kyō" but was once written けふ "kefu", and I really want to spend the rest of the afternoon reading up about it but I am still technically at work for a few more hours.

There are also quirks of pronunciation, like dropping the final U (except when you don't), and how "ka" might turn into "ga" for euphony (except when it doesn't), and the way that ひと (hito, "person") is actually pronounced "hito", but あのひと (anohito, "that person") is pronounced more like "anosh'to" with a very soft sh.

Chris @252: as the Chinese-derived ichi, ni, san, shi crashes headlong into the native hi, fu, mi, yo

Oh, that explains so much! Thank you!

#267 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 01:17 AM:

Okay, yeah, I was forgetting about how "tsu" can be a marker for "double this next consonant". (Katakana tsu does the same thing.) Naturally the course I took mentioned that. And all the other examples people have mentioned.

#268 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 01:19 AM:

Cal Dunn @266: That would be は, which is pronounced "ha" (in words), except when it's pronounced "wa" (as a particle); and also へ, which is "he" when it isn't "e" (ditto).

Yes, that's what I must've been thinking of! Though I didn't know the rest at all. A lot of the sound changes make perfect sense on a phonetic level, but they're rather baffling when encountered alongside a writing system that bundles its vowels and consonants together for the most part.

(Not that English, which does horrors to its vowels in pronunciation vs. transcription, can really point fingers there.)

When I took introductory Greek for the second time, the tutor I was learning from sat down and went through the way Greek declensions and conjugations worked from the "original" sets of sounds, or at least as near as classicist philologists could reconstruct at the time. It was fascinating and so USEFUL, because it turned out a lot of the "memorize this weird variation" stuff was following quite strict and logical rules. You could break out all the individual little pieces, and then smash them together again, following the rules (two vowels with a sigma between them kill the sigma! this is the order vowels contract in! eta and omega will eat ANYTHING that comes into contact with them! Here's how you can spot the hidden digamma that's acting as a consonant here and affecting the order of contraction!) to derive the Attic forms from, more or less, basic pieces.

And then one of my cats peed on my class notes right at the end of the class so I don't have all the meticulous charts he built for us and I copied out carefully in turn. Sigh. But that's the way of cats.

#269 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 02:01 AM:

Ingvar M @223 "Thinking more about WorldCon 75, would people prefer Thursday, Friday, or perhaps even Saturday, for a Gathering of Light?

"I'm perfectly fine with arranging it, but will happily yield to someone who really wants to do the arranging."

Thursday or Friday would be preferable for me, as I am traveling with someone who would enjoy Light company but who has to return to North America on Saturday.

Alas, I do not have a room to offer for the gathering, but would be happy to contribute in some other material way.

#270 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 02:02 AM:

Mary Kay Kare posted a couple of notes to SMOFS about her husband Jordin Kare needing open heart surgery. She's said these notes can be broadcast. So I'm including them here, because they've both been part of this community:


1. I haven't looked at email since the end of April. Let me explain. That was when it began to be suggested Jordin's fatigue & shortness of breath might be heart related. This was confirmed by early May. And later today, around 11am EDT they're going to cut him open, stop his heart, and replace the valve between the heart & the aorta. It is frighteningly close to complete failure. Then, one hopes, re-start the heart. Jordin is calm, but for @2months my lizard brain has been running in circles, waving its hands in the air, and screaming. I haven't been able to do much of anything more demanding than stick my nose in a book & leave it there. A way of hiding from a really scary reality. So if anyone has emailed me in that time, you'd better do it again. I'm making resolutions to start reading it again starting Thu when it's over. But I'm just gonna delete all that shit that came before.
In the meantime please send us whatever good wishes, finger-crossing, good intentions, or prayer your personal belief system allows.
MKK
Sent from my iPhone

2. Surgery is done & surgeon says it went like a charm. Technically perfect. However, he said the valve was the worst he'd ever seen & Jordin's heart is quite weak as a result. They've currently got him on a small helper pump for 1-3 days. It will take as much as 6 months for it to recover as much as possible. He very carefully wasn't saying recover fully. Sigh. So he's probably ok, but won't be tip-top. The next 1-3 days are the important period. Keep those fingers crossed. Feel free to contact me on or off list if you have questions. Or text or call. Though when I go to sleep tonight I may go totally unconscious for as long as possible.

Mary Kay

Those are both cut-and-pasted: all words are hers. I know folks here will join in sending our very best wishes to them. I've left out all her responses to individual good wishes.

#271 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 02:10 AM:

Avram provided this list:

polish
tangier
august
herb
job
lima
nice
rainier
reading

#272 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 04:03 AM:

Doug @ #269:

In so far as rooms go, I am vaguely hoping there will be either quieter areas, or bookable non-program-item rooms, or some such, for a meetup. Or something approaching the People's Village (it probably wasn't called that, but that is what my memory insists on) from LonCon where Light can be Gathered and Made.

#273 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 05:23 AM:

Race Traitor Xopher @253: “Using the name of OCS to ‘prove’ that it was strictly liturgical from the beginning is simply nonsense.” [emphasis added]

Strawman argument, especially since already pointed out:

[Raven #207] “...solely devoted to religion...” [emphasis added]

[Xopher #214] “I assume you know OCS wasn't invented as a liturgical language, right?” [emphasis added]

[Raven #216] “Before that, it was the first Slavic literary language, specifically it was used in translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek ecclesiastical texts — does this not qualify as what I called it, ‘devoted to religion’?” [emphases added]

So to keep arguing that I claim OCS “was strictly liturgical from the beginning” is a strawman. I had broken off before, and have responded here only to defend myself from that renewed argument (of a type Idumea has already characterized).

I trust Idumea will be even-handed on this issue.

#274 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 05:50 AM:

Race Traitor Xopher @253: “Cyril and Methodius did not create the language [OCS] based on a predecessor language.”

In like manner, it could be argued the Greeks did not create the Greek alphabet based on a predecessor [Phoenician] script.

However, what came after was not identical to what went before.

You say yourself, in your own words, “... C&M may have regularized some things. Probably they imposed some aspects of Latin (a thing that was also done to English, to its detriment).”

And the people who spoke the Slavic dialect before that did not use the “regularized” features, nor the “Latin aspects”, did they? So what they spoke you can call “Old Slavic”, but not “Old Church Slav[on]ic”... without being misleading in the way called anachronism [out-of-time-ism].

And it would equally be an anachronism to claim that any English people of the pre-Latinized period spoke any English language of the Latinized period — e.g., that the Beowulf poet gossiped with his mates in Modern English — correct?

Which was the point of that example.

#275 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 06:17 AM:

Raven @ #273, #274:

I don't know what our conversation-tending gnome is inclined to do, but (and I will be blunt here) what I am seeing is multiple people saying "please step away from this specific line on conversation" and multiple other people going "we're going to stay on this line, no matter what, until everyone is convinced that we are right" and getting (at least as far as emotion are conveyable via text) more and more agitated (as signaled by the pointing out of the same thing that has already been pointed out, harder and with more specificity; among other signals).

Meanwhile, there's been some interesting (to me) and new (to me) information about Japanese writing systems, something that pleases me.

#276 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Gardener of Threads ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 06:42 AM:

Raven, I give you full marks for comment 273, and maybe half marks for 274; your edge was coming back out.

Ingvar, meanwhile, gets full marks and a try-on of the gnome hat for 275. Enough, already; this is no longer a conversation about what's true, but about who's right, and it's boring as hell.

Onward, as they say.

#277 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 06:52 AM:

Ingvar M @275: I had stepped away... and then, still, after that, got a strawman argument aimed at me.

So the idea is that (per Idumea) strawman arguments are bad, moderatable, and I was accused of making them, then further accused of arguing against a general warning for denying that specific charge...

And now I’m also not allowed to rebut other people’s strawman arguments against me?

Wow. Pretty one-sided.

As to #274, I believe the request was “less heat”; where is any “heat” at all in that reply? (I think some heavy eisegesis [reading-into] has been going on here.)

#278 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Gardener of Threads ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 07:03 AM:

Raven, drop it right now. Drop the whole subthread.

Your next comment on this subthread, on your behavior and how it's come across to the community, or my moderation, will lose its vowels and you will be put into moderation for a week.

The remainder of the community will also now leave both the subthread and the behavior of its participants alone. Please trust that you have all said enough that a later reader can figure out for themselves who in this conversation is a sheep and who a goat.

#279 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 08:06 AM:

Doug @ #269:

I'd be inclined from scheduling anything against the Business Meeting, even though I will most probably miss the Friday BM (I have a penciled-in panel engagement).

Time-wise, I am thinking either "start somewhere between 14 and 16, schedule for 1h, but don't break up just because teh schedule says so" or "start between 19 and 20, continue until no one is there anymore" and I am thinking "one scheduled" is an almost perfect amount.

#280 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 09:29 AM:

Tom Whitmore, thanks for putting Mary Kay's exact text here, which is much more accurate (unsurprisingly) than my foggy paraphrases. Entirely unsurprising that this would be stressful for her. I'm keeping the hope that this is all part of a process that will result in something better for Jordin and Mary Kay.

#281 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Gardener of Threads ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 11:31 AM:

(To be clear, the subthread to drop is Old [Church] Slavonic and/or the differences among the precise technical terms for different writing systems. Go on with the Japanese and other assorted linguistics!)

(If you want to, of course.)

#282 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 11:34 AM:

Now that I know trying on the gnome hat is on the list of potential rewards, I'm really going to step up my commenting game.

#283 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 11:42 AM:

In non-WorldCon-related SF happenings in my immediate locality, I am still re-watching Babylon 5, now on the second half of the third season. It has aged, but perhaps not as badly as I feared. I happened to come across some of abi's blog posts on the subject and it is interesting to see other people doing the same thing, even if they may have done it in the past.

I suspect I won't be able to finish the re-watch before Helsinki, but I should at least have been able to start the fourth season before then, maybe (I seem to get through 2-6 episodes per week and I think I have 2-3 weeks before EOS3).

#284 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 12:27 PM:

Fade Manley @254: the joy is in knowing that other people are off doing very interesting things, just out of my sight, even if I'm not doing those things myself and am never likely to.

This is like my relationship with the Grateful Dead. I am ambivalent about their music*, but am endlessly tickled by the subculture that has sprung up around it, especially the associated esthetic.

* In general, Not My Thing.** Though there are a few specific songs, which have very warm fuzzy associations because I first encountered them at Minicon music parties, Back In The Day.

** With the notable exception of Mickey Hart's stuff, which I enjoy a great deal.

#285 ::: alisea ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 12:38 PM:

I'm in for a GoL in Helsinki and don't have any strong preferences yet. I'm around for all of Worldcon. I'll be on the programme giving a tatting workshop, but I don't know yet when exactly that will be.

Since this is going to be my first Worldcon, I'll gladly leave the organizing part to someone with a bit more experience.

#286 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 01:47 PM:

Life's little annoyances: Google Maps was displaying all text upside-down. Upgrading to the most recent version of Firefox fixed that problem, but now my sticky information here gets wiped every time I have to close my browser (which happens every few days; it starts getting wonky, and if I don't close and restart it, sooner or later it crashes). Grumph.

#287 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 02:00 PM:

268
The bit about ancient Greek and its phonetics reminds me a bit about one passage in Cherryh's Visitor (it's in chapter 19), where Bren is remembering realizing early one morning before a major exam that the changes in atevi forms are for convenience, rather than some carefully-detailed-by-humans set of rules by meaning.

#288 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 02:45 PM:

AKICIML: Does anyone know where I can find decent political maps of the Ottoman Empire? What about maps showing the ethnic and religious distributions in the Middle East today?

I have a theory (it could be bunnies) that the Ottoman's understood and respected the religious and ethnic differences amongst the peoples in the Middle East a lot more than Sikes and Picot. I suspect that, administratively, the Ottomans didn't throw Turks and Kurds, Sunni and Shia together in quite the same way that the British and French did. But I don't know for certain.

#289 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 03:26 PM:

Buddha Buck @288 For the historical references, I recently wrote about The Ottoman Endgame by Sean McMeekin, which has lots of good maps, although none precisely matches what you are looking for. (Incidentally, he argues, strongly in my view, that Sykes-Picot is overrated as a shaping force in the contemporary Middle East.) McMeekin's sources, however, may have just what you are looking for.

I'm presuming you want something from later Ottoman periods. You may also wish to look at Andrew Mango's Atatürk, either directly for maps or indirectly via the sources Mango cites. A Peace to End All Peace by David Fromkin covers the topic you're thinking of, but it's been more than a decade (and probably closer to two) since I read it, so I don't remember how well it is outfitted with maps. Lord Kinross' The Ottoman Centuries will give you a longer-term overview, and possibly a good bibliography, even if the book itself is far from the latest scholarship.

#290 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 04:07 PM:

Jacque, at #284: There is definitely something ineffable about the Deadhead aesthetic. My husband has a sweater consisting of more than 30 years of his patching and embroidery, on a base of a tattered Deadhead tie-died undershirt.

To our eye, not only is there no trace of the original shirt visible, but the colors do not even represent the original well.

But Deadheads recognize it nonetheless, and greet us (I have a clone of the sweater) as members of the in-group. We have no idea what it is that they recognize, but are enchanted by the fact that there are still Deadheads, and they can still recognize their own work.

#291 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 04:59 PM:

HHS is looking for public comments on Trumpcare. Credo has put up a page to make that easy to do. There's canned text in the message box, which you can alter as you choose.

#292 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 05:14 PM:

I've just been notified that something I initiated last year, after years of dithering about it, is shortly to come to pass. I had no idea, last Hallowe'en when I put things together, how long it would take, and I wasn't expecting quite this long. Nonetheless, I will have a major announcement sometime soon.

I do have another I can make now: by main force I am being obliged into what is essentially early retirement through disability. Having swirled around the plughole three times, my body has had enough and has told me to give up on sustained work. The Feds agree that I can't engage in sustained work, and, as a result, I'm now on Disability. Fortunately, my employer provides disability insurance so that my income, while it takes a big hit, is not reduced to penurious quantities.

I have thus become that odd creature, the superannuated man, and I am seeking a new foundation and new purposes.

#293 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 05:47 PM:

Congratulations, Fragano! May your early retirement never feel premature to you, and may the other half of your announcement be even better!

#294 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 05:49 PM:

One of the interesting things about English is that we can see, daily, both how it behaves as a living language at multiple levels, but also how all its children behave.

Because English exploded into the wider world in the seventeenth century as a language of empire and trade, its effect in the world has also been explosive. It has provided the vocabulary for pidgins and creoles all over the planet, as well as developing several variant standard forms and having its standardization date to the time of its expansion rather than to the first consolidation of the English state in the sixteenth century. That standardization was enormously facilitated by the development at the beginning of the seventeenth century of two key texts that did much to ensure a unified language among the educated, the Authorized (King James) Version of the Bible, and the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. The Bible and Shakespeare between them constitute a kind of bedrock of English rhetoric, prosody, and linguistic commonplaces for all speakers of English over the past four centuries. Johnson's standardization of orthography in the eighteenth century, and Webster's creation of the alternative American standard in the nineteenth, may be said to have sealed the deal.

What we have today is a set of standard Englishes spoken and written around the world and kept mutually comprehensible by the global coverage of the internet. ObSF: in Orion Shall Rise Poul Anderson has some fun looking at how English could fragment in a post-holocaust world, as well as how language change is affected by political dominance. In fact, Anderson's playing with English in that novel is part of what led me to think of English today as not so much a language as a family of languages ranging from Standard American or Standard British at one end to pidgins like Nigerian Pidgin or Police Motu at the other.

As I see it, to claim mastery of English you have not only to be able to speak/read.write your own particular dialect, but several of them both standard and non-standard.

#295 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 06:28 PM:

English was being held together by a network long before the Web. The network of newspapers and other zines was a lot slower, but that gave it an odd sort of power. Yes, there have been pockets of fragmentation: but newspapers date back to 1650 in German (right in the middle of your 17th C) and English newspapers to 1702. The Times (of London) goes to 1758, and that's been a standardizer of a particular kind of English from the start.

It's the printing press that makes the biggest difference, though it took a while to catch on: dictionaries go back a lot farther (the earliest English one, though, seems to be 1604) -- with printing, there's a reason to want to keep languages from changing over time. (info from googling "newspaper history" and "dictionary history" -- it confirmed what I was thinking before I started looking)

#296 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 07:05 PM:

Idumea 278: I obey, with apologies.

#297 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 07:11 PM:

Fragano, #292: So when can we look forward to the announcement of your Emeritus status?

Seriously, I'm sorry to hear that you've been forced into retirement by disability, not least because I know how much of yourself you put into your work. I hope that your quality of life remains good, and that you find somewhere else to put your interest at a level which you can sustain.

#298 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 08:14 PM:

AKICWML: Is there a name for the particular literary device where a writer tells the story in the format of a non-fiction piece of functional writing?

Examples would be a ghost story told through the descriptions in an estate auction, or a narrative in the form of a fictional press release that gets out of control. Someone recently linked to a piece of fiction written as a series of yelp reviews, that kind of thing.

Is there a specific term for this? Pastiche is used when referencing a specific artist or literary style, but that doesn't seem exactly right. Is there something more specific for taking a mundane non-fictional format and using it to write fiction?

#299 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 08:28 PM:

Leah Miller: That seems similar to, though not quite the same as, an epistolary novel (i.e. fiction written as a series of letters).

#300 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 08:29 PM:

Leah Miller @298: I don't know of one, but I'll point to Peter Dickinson's short story "Flight" as an example of a story being told through a sociological paper written in a repressive society. I've referred to that as "indirect storytelling", but AFAIK nobody else has used that term. Vonnegut's "Report on the Barnhouse Effect" is another.

Epistolary stories are a subcategory of it, but the category is much larger.

#301 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 09:10 PM:

I used 'directed second person' for stories in which there is an I and a You and both of them are people, and 'pseudoacademic' for one particular style of... hm, nonfictionesque fiction? Found narrative, in the way that found footage horror movies exist?

In a completely unrelated request, does anyone have a really, really simple explanation of polarized light? I found one at an optics for kids site that made it clear that I need something even simpler than that. It doesn't need to be accurate-- I mean, lies-for-children is an appropriate level of understanding. Or is polarized light something you can't explain without getting really into it?

#302 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 09:14 PM:

Leah Miller @298:

Would the short stories as Amazon reviews qualify here, or is that not quite what you're getting at? (Perhaps the most famous example of this microgenre, which I first encountered here, is the "We live underground, we speak with our hands" audio cable review.)

It doesn't help find a name for this sort of thing, but it would help me get a handle on exactly what "this sort of thing" is.

#303 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 09:33 PM:

Kip W writes in #280:

I'm keeping the hope that this is all part of a process that will result in something better for Jordin and Mary Kay.

I join Kip in hoping that our friends find at the Cleveland Clinic the very best Kare.

#304 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 10:29 PM:

Diatryma: How's this?

Think of light as a bunch of flat waves. Normal light would go through a clock face with some of the waves pointing from the center at every number. Perfectly polarized light would only point from the center to two opposite numbers -- say 12 and 6.

I could go into more detailed explanations if you want, but that's the way I think of it. And if I'm wrong, I'm sure folks will tell me!

#305 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 10:33 PM:

News around Jordin is not the best. Karen passed on to me this note from FB about 2 hours ago:

From Tom Galloway:

Damn. Things have changed for the worse with Jordin Kare; "Things went pear shaped. Jordin ended up on the table under anesthesia for 12+ hours. He's currently on a portable heart-lung machine & unconscious. He'll be that way probably 2 more days & it will be at least that long before we know the future health -or not - of said heart. “

I'm sending my very best wishes for them both.

#306 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2017, 10:54 PM:

304
I remember it being explained as being something like a rope threaded through a picket fence, and being waved around, something like a jumprope. The rope can move easily only in the same direction as the spaces between the pickets.

#307 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 12:13 AM:

The quote in my previous post turns out to be from Mary Kay, not tyg -- I just saw where she posted it in another venue, for myself. Trying to keep attributions and information clean....

#308 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 12:40 AM:

So normal light is... sort of asterisk-shaped, wave-direction-wise, and polarized light means you've filtered out all but one direction of it? Okay. I really, really like the clock analogy for this. Some things polarize light just normally, the same way some things reflect or refract light just normally, and polarization is sort of like another flavor of color. Thus, 3D movies, and the ability of some animals to see polarized light, much like some animals can see UV. (I think some animals can see polarized light, anyway.)

Thank you for the explanations. The clock thing and framing it as another flavor of color are making things make sense in my head for now.

#309 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 12:54 AM:

Do you want a bit more explanation of it, Diatryma, or shall I stop there? It'd be some expansion on the clock analogy.

#310 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 12:59 AM:

Ouch. I hope things work out for Jordin.

One of my cow orkers today gave me another word for the List: mobile.

#311 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 01:25 AM:

David Goldfarb: I was trying to remember that one. (It's good news, anyway. Now I can stop trying.)

#312 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 01:32 AM:

That one's particularly interesting, David, because it has 3 pronunciations (and is the only one on the list that does that for me):

1. mobile (able to be moved)
2. mobile ( an object that moves in interesting ways)
3. Mobile (a city in Alabama)

They hinge on the pronunciation of the letter i. So, three pronunciations:

a. moe-bull
b. moe-bill
c. moe-beel

1 and 2 both can be pronounced like a. 2 and 3 can both be pronounced like c.

That one's really complex! And then there's the difference between an automobile and a mobile transport....

#313 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 02:10 AM:

On chess - I got good enough at it in high school to recognize what good chess looked like, and to recognize that it was not fun for me to watch games I was playing because they did not look like good chess :-) I wasn't painfully bad, and sometimes I could even win games at the chess club, but it wasn't like watching a game between two people who were good.

On Greek - I wish I'd had the part of Fade Manley's class that went into how things worked and evolved; we did enough Homer to play "Oh, that's where the digamma was" and a few other Ionian constructs I've since forgotten. (We had a cram-two-semesters-into-one course I attempted to take, dropped out halfway when my CS professor noticed he'd only done 1/3 of the material in half the time and doubled our pace, took 2nd semester the next year and found I was pretty far behind.)

On old church languages vs. modern vernacular languages - I remember either Patrick or Teresa telling about travelling in northern Italy, and Patrick talking with a bartender for a while before Teresa pointed out he was actually speaking Latin rather than Italian.

I'm surprised that the list of scripts and the languages that use them is so short. Only 175 using Latin or Latin-plus-a-bit? (Not even counting IPA, which isn't listed.) There are something like 7000 languages still in use. I looked at Wycliffe Bible Translators' website, and unfortunately, while it talks about what they're working on right now, it doesn't go into statistics in places easily found from their front page. (There's some reference to them helping with 1300 orthographies.)

#314 ::: Craft(Alchemy) ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 05:06 AM:

Tom Whitmore #312:

That's interesting; in my accent (mostly London) 1 and 2 are pronounced the same way, which is not any of the ways on your list - d. moe-bile. I don't think I've ever had occasion to pronounce the name of the city.

#315 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 06:27 AM:

Fragano @294

I would be inclined to add the Book of Common Prayer to Shakespeare and the KJV as your key texts, partly because (despite the dissenting movements that emerged) it would be something that everyone at least heard.

We have a pretty good idea of the context from which all these emerged. Just as with the emergence of Latin as the language of the Christian Church, we know what was happening. The writing system was already there.

Meanwhile, since it is claimed that it came from a Chapel Choir, is "On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at" something that can be considered a sample of liturgical English? Who uses "thee" now, other than in liturgical contexts? And obviously it's part of a sermon warning of the perils of drug use...

#316 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 08:20 AM:

Bill Stewart @313: That reminds me of one unpleasant memory from decades ago, when a co-worker and I played our first and last chess game. It ended when I took his pawn en passant and he accused me of cheating; he had never seen or heard of such a move, and would not believe me that it existed. The next day I brought in for him his own copy of chess rules. He knew I published newsletters etc., and accused me of forging the rules. The remainder of our work time together was... strained.

#317 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 08:29 AM:

He accused you of forging a rulebook? Just to back up having won a chess match? Gracious.

I can well believe he was difficult to work with.

#318 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 09:19 AM:

Tom @312:

I don't have in my mind either of your first two pronunciations. What I have is more like "moe-bəll", where the final vowel is a schwa, not an "i" or a "u". I find your spelling and distinction of -bull versus -bill forces me to put more emphasis on that vowel than I normally hear.

Of course, my watching of British television introduces the "-bile" ending, with the specific (fourth?) meaning of a cellular telephone.

I have heard the city in Alabama pronounced with both a schwa, and with the -beel ending, though.

#319 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 09:29 AM:

Raven @ #316:

Heh, I did not know of pawn capture en passant but I must say that it makes perfect sense, even if it would've surprised me until just a short while ago.

#320 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 10:09 AM:

abi @317: “Just to back up having won a chess match?”

Oh, it never got as far as winning; the game stopped right there, because he did not accept the pawn capture as valid. (It was not even a checkmating move.)

#321 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 10:16 AM:

Ingvar @319:

En passant is one of those rules, like left-turn-on-red in the US, that is so rarely legal, and not always the best thing to do when it is legal, that it almost never is used. As such, a lot of people never use it, don't even know about it, and will vigorously defend their position that it's wrong, even though it isn't.

#322 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 10:21 AM:

Which word begins with "y" and looks like an axe in this picture? The internet collaborates to try to solve the mystery of a children's inflatable toy ball.

#323 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 10:24 AM:

321
I don't believe I used it in the few chess games I tried playing, but I've heard of it.

#324 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 10:46 AM:

Buddha Buck @ #321:

I have only ever learned the rules of chess by osmosis (well, having them explained as play happens, I guess) that something that unusual probably never appeared on the radar. I am far from a brilliant chess-player, but I once played one in a film (knew several people who were into independent film-making, back at uni).

#325 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 11:00 AM:

If you'd gotten a rematch, you could try castling Queenside!

#326 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 11:01 AM:

No, I didn't mix tenses, YOU did!

#327 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 11:16 AM:

Bill Stewart @313: "I remember either Patrick or Teresa telling about travelling in northern Italy, and Patrick talking with a bartender for a while before Teresa pointed out he was actually speaking Latin rather than Italian."

Or Ladin? (But not Ladino, that's something else.)

My father was just on a hiking trip in that area last month. He mentioned hearing "Salve" mixed in with the "Ciao" and "Grüss gott" as he passed people on the trail.

(Although, googling, I see that Ladin would be "Bun dé", and maybe "Salve" is Italian in a formal style? Now I'm confused again.)

#328 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 11:19 AM:

Diatryma @308:

Some cephalopods can distinguish polarization. (Anything that can see light can see light that is polarized; light reflected off water is polarized, which is why polarized sunglasses are so enormously helpful when you're at the beach, so "see polarized light" isn't quite the right phrase here.) It's speculated that they may use this ability to communicate by using polarized reflection patterns on their skin, thus signaling in a way other species can't detect, but AFAIK this is not proven.

If you get a pair of polarized sunglasses and turn them 90 degrees while looking at a highly polarized source, like reflections from water, you can see the effects of polarization.

#329 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 11:42 AM:

I don't think I need more explanation-- most of the explanations have sort of elided that normal light is all the directions, much like it's all the wavelengths*, and instead drawn two different directions of polarization to show that hey, light can go in directions!

I think my sunglasses might be polarized. I got them from Zenni, and while they are not perfect-- I wanted larger ones than they turned out to be-- they are definitely better than nothing, and also more than 25% of perfect, which is about what I paid for.

*Lies for children! I dislike imprecision except when it's me doing it. And since I'm trying to hook a concept to another concept, it makes sense to go with the simple-if-not-completely-accurate version of both.

#330 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 12:08 PM:

The way to tell if they're polarized: take them off, and look through them at light being reflected off water. Then turn them. Does the scene change brightness? If so, they're polarized. If not, not.

#331 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 12:20 PM:

Damn. Best wishes for Jordin and Mary Kay.

Fragano Ledgister @ 292:

Good luck in your future endeavors. I hope you find something new and interesting (or old and interesting) to do.

estelendur @ 322:

I saw that about a week ago. It's only improved since! Who knew that a toy ball could be so interesting.

Diatryma @ 329:

The pictures for polarized light that show only two perpendicular directions are simplified that way because varying amounts of x and y can be added to form any direction. It's pretty confusing if you don't know that's what they're going for.

To test if your sunglasses are polarized, look through them at an LCD screen, then rotate the glasses (or the screen). If they are, there will be rotations where you can see the screen pretty clearly, and rotations where it'll be dark or even black.

#332 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 12:24 PM:

I think polarized sunglasses are also the only ones where you can see the stress patterns in glass (like the back window in a car, if you're looking in the mirror).

#333 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 01:08 PM:

Raven... Abi...

"Not chess, Mr. Spock. Poker!"
Or maybe fizzbin...

#334 ::: alisea ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 01:12 PM:

I had to explain polarized sunglasses to my mom because she couldn't see anything in the display at the back of her camera when trying to take a picture with the camera in portrait mode. Turns out most displays also heavily polarize light and can interfere with polarized sunglasses so you can't see anything in one direction.

This is another way to figure out if your sunglasses are polarized if you don't have water with appropriate reflections nearby.

#335 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 01:41 PM:

Raven @316: I took his pawn en passant

This was a move I learned when playing with my dad. It's a term I use somewhat loosely ("I exchanged greetings with him en passant."), and it's always interesting to watch people's reactions. Which fall into the usual three categories: "What does that mean?," simple failure to parse, and unthinking correct interpretation.

The term always reminds me of my dad.

Tedious cow orker is tedious.

#336 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 01:53 PM:

Diatryma @308, @329:

I know you said you didn't need more explanation, but I feel there's important stuff that the previous explanations are missing, especially when explaining 3d glasses. So if this is hlepy I apologize.

The slightly more accurate version of the "clock face" version is that, for unpolarized like, don't think of "light going in all directions", think of it as a single clock hand which is moving around somewhat irregularly. It can be shrinking, it can be growing, it can be moving clockwise, it can be moving counterclockwise, and so on, but it's not just moving in a clear, easy-to-see pattern.

As a clarification: if the light is all one frequency, then the movement of the tip of the clock-hand is simpler: it is always moving in an ellipse: it could be a degenerate ellipse (aka, a line); it could be a circle; it could be aligned along any axis; but it'll be an ellipse.

Light adds: If you had two lights represented by this clock-face, then you wouldn't see two separate clock hands moving about, you'd see one clock hand moving about based on the combination of the two hands: if one hand was pointing at 12, and the other hand was pointing at 3 at half the strength, you'd see it as if it were a hand pointing at 1. Contrariwise, you could think of a hand pointing at 1 as if it were two hands, one pointing at 12 and the other pointing at 3 at half the length.

So when we look at this unpolarized clock hand moving all around, we can "break it up" into two clock hands, one moving just along the 12-6 axis -- not turning, just growing and shrinking -- and one along the 3-9 axis.

A (linear) polarizing filter allows us to see the hand in the 12-6 axis, but not the hand in the 3-9 axis.

However, there's another way to break up the movement of the clock hands representing light. It's easier to talk about if we restrict ourselves to a single frequency, though.

With a single frequency of light, the clock hands movement isn't quite as erratic. In fact, it'll always go in an ellipse, with it returning to the same point in the ellipse once per period (1/frequency) of the light. Period is like wavelength, but in time: time per cycle versus distance per cycle). With linearly polarized light, the ellipse is degenerate: just a line. But in unpolarized light, the ellipse can have any orientation, any eccentricity, and the hand can be moving around the ellipse clockwise or counterclockwise. Breaking the ellipse up into horizontal and vertical components essentially turns it into the sum of two degenerate ellipses, both with the same frequency, but of differing amplitudes.

The other way of breaking up the movement of the clock hands is to do it in terms of two clock-hands, moving in opposite directions, but not growing or shrinking -- as if you had two minute-hands on a clock, one going clockwise, one anticlockwise. If the two hands are the same size, the combined, summed, motion of them is linearly polarized. If the two hands are of different size, the combined, summed, motion is elliptical.

So if you could make a filter that allowed all the clockwise motion of the light, but not the counterclockwise motion, you could filter out just one of these components, much like a polaroid filter allows all the vertical motion but none of the horizontal. This would be a "circularly polarized" filter.

This is what the Real3D movie projection system uses: It circularly polarizes the left and right images in opposite polarizations, and the glasses also have circularly polarizing filters, so the left eye filters out the right image, and vice versa. Turning your head doesn't change the axis of polarization like it would for linear polarization.

So with circular polarization, the clock-face image would be:

Looking "head on" to light, unpolarized multicolored light would correspond to having a clock with lots of hands, all of different lengths, all moving at different speeds, in different phases to each other, and some moving clockwise and some moving counterclockwise (chirality). There are rules for replacing two hands with the same speed and chirality with one hand of the same speed and chirality, and vice-versa.

A monochromatic filter will show you only hands moving at the same speed. A circularly polarizing filter will show you only hands moving clockwise or counter-clockwise. A linear polarizing filter will show pairs of hands for each speed, of equal size, going in opposite directions, and pointing the same way along the axis of polarization.


#337 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 02:09 PM:

alisea @334:

LCD displays work by using the liquid crystals to change the polarization of light passing through them. The front and back of the display have polarizing filters, and the crystals will rotate the polarization of the light depending on if an electric current is passing through it.

So when you see a white spot on your screen, it's because the backlight is getting polarized horizontally, passing through the crystal which is rotating the polarization 90 degrees, and then passing through a vertical polarization filter, and then on to your eyes. (The choice of horizontal/vertical, and the choice of whether it's twisted-when-on or not was determined arbitrarily by me, but it works something like that).

You can make a "secure" monitor by carefully removing the top-layer polarization filter and wearing vertically-polarized glasses. Then onlookers will just see a white screen, and you can see all the real contents.

#338 ::: alisea ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 02:31 PM:

Buddha Buck@337:

Thanks for the explanation! I was familiar with polarized light and how it works from back when I was studying applied physics, but didn't know about its application in LCD displays, probably because it was back in the days when TVs and computer monitors still worked with cathode ray tubes -- and my degree is not even 20 years old.

I'm continuing to boggle at the technological development of the last 20 years!

#339 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 02:54 PM:

Buddha Buck @337:

You can make a "secure" monitor by carefully removing the top-layer polarization filter and wearing vertically-polarized glasses. Then onlookers will just see a white screen, and you can see all the real contents.

LOL!

First reaction: Imagined myself in my polarized sunglasses working at my Very! Bright! white computer monitor, cue "The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades!"

Second reaction: My brain turned that sideways, changed it from first person to third person view, and fed me a variation of the old Memorex audio/speaker ad, but with video/monitor substitution. Minor variations: the guy in the ad is a MIB (My brain uses Agent Smith rather than any of the MIB movie characters), the beverage is coffee in a sturdy ceramic mug, and the chair is gov't issue, though high-backed. The floor lamp is replaced by one of those hanging-from-the-ceiling gov't style ones.

Of course, the stuff on the monitor is a condensed feed of all the seekrit stuff happening everywhere all at once...

#340 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 04:52 PM:

Bill Stewart @313: The Greek class that taught me those contraction rules in great detail consisted of one tutor, two students, and four hours a morning five days a week, as fast as we could get through the material. That I found these explanations marvelously helpful ("There are actual rules!") and my classmate found them confusing and distracting ("I already memorized the forms, now you want me to memorize these forms that don't even exist? And learn about things like 'stops' and 'plosives' so I can remember the rules?") suggests there's a reason most classes on Ancient Greek don't break things down that way; you need to get some basic information on phonetics to have the rules make sense without lots of memorizing of 'exceptions', and most students won't have taken even an introductory linguistics course when they start on Ancient Greek.

Some of my Greek textbooks, on checking, show some a stage back of the contracted form next to it in parentheses, probably for help with Homer. But none of them go into nearly the detail that tutor did. Conversely, if I try looking into academic articles on the topic, they rapidly hit far more technical detail and jargon than I can follow. It looks like I was luckier than I realized to have a tutor who knew how to explain it at the right level for what I could handle at the time.

Raven @316: I had an experience somewhat like that from the other end. I had learned the rules of chess (in that I knew the goal of the game and what all the pieces could do), and would play chess very badly with a friend at lunch: we basically played it like checkers, trying to take as many pieces as possible until we either half-accidentally got someone into checkmate or ended up with kings trying to chase each other around an empty board towards blocked pairs of pawns in the center. Then I tried playing chess with someone who knew all the rules, and discovered "castling" was a thing. Which I'd never heard of! I didn't even know what he'd done, except it was apparently a weird special rule, and meant I had been playing chess wrong all along. It was rather upsetting in the moment.

I swiftly gave up on chess as being too darn complicated for the type of casual game I liked. But at least I didn't argue with him about the rules. That's something...special.

(I am now reminded that despite having rapidly hit the point of "Eh, not for me" with chess, checkers, and go, I'm still interested in learning to play shogi. I blame Persona 5, wherein one of the relationship subplots you can pursue is with a teenage girl who's making headlines as the hot new thing in the shogi-playing world.)

#341 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 05:30 PM:

Related to the linguistics discussion: Science News has a brief article on the Southern drawl.
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/southern-drawl-gets-deconstructed?tgt=nr

#342 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 05:37 PM:

It's weird seeing the levels of detail necessary for teaching so clearly in myself this time. Usually, I pick things up quickly, remember them, can spell them at need, things are cool-- the usual Smart Kid pattern. "Please explain this in a different way," is a skill I've only had to develop in adulthood. I've adapted life skills to fit the needs of my students before, and explanations thereof, but I don't need it for myself as often.

#343 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 05:43 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @292: Having had to retire on disability in 2005, I’m in full sympathy, believe me. But so far there has been life afterwards (with a few near misses) for me, as for other retirees like my wife (also on disability) and friends. Please go on with the same hope and optimism you found so helpful at the start of your career.

#344 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 05:47 PM:

Fragano: Sympathies on the disability. But look on the bright side: at least you won't have to deal with brain-bending student essays sentences any more.

More seriously, I wish you all the best and hope you find fulfilling ways to pass your time in retirement.

#345 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 05:53 PM:

Doug at #271:

Add:

denier

saucier

#346 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 07:10 PM:

I lurve my polarized sunglasses, among other reasons, because when looking at clouds they pull out a whole level of detail in what my naked eyes see as an amorphous wash of gray/white.

#347 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 07:20 PM:

Jacque @335: “Which fall into the usual three categories: ‘What does that mean?,’....”

As the artist (Randall Munroe) says in that cartoon, “I try not to make fun of people for admitting they don’t know things.”

Actually, I’m thinking of a cartoon/joke about the stereotype of some very intelligent and knowledgeable people — (Freudian) psychiatrists — in which, even for being greeted with a cheery “Good Morning!”, the psychiatrist is left wondering, “What did he mean by that?”

I have a deep dark suspicion that J.R.R. Tolkien was running a riff on that joke (as he ran riffs on the OED in Farmer Giles of Ham) when he had another very wise person respond to Bilbo’s “Good Morning!” with: “What do you mean? Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”

Which exemplifies that a semantic breach or gulf is all too easy, and not dependent upon the relative youth or ignorance of any participants.

#348 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 09:29 PM:

Buddha Buck, #321: I'm not much of a chess player, but I have read a couple of beginner-level rulebooks. They mentioned capture en passant.

ObSF: The term is also used in Diane Duane's My Enemy, My Ally. Realtime report of a space battle:

"Inaieu fired at Battlequeen point-blank en passant," he said. "Battlequeen is destroyed."

I understood the reference perfectly, but now it occurs to me to wonder how many non-chess-players were confused by it?

Jacque, #335: Well, the English translation of en passant is "in passing", which is what you meant. It's not a loose usage, but a language substitution. It's like when I say soi-disant instead of "so-called".

#349 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 10:23 PM:

I think it was Isaac Asimov who observed you can tell steelworkers from chemists by the way they pronounced "unionized".

#350 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 11:33 PM:

Keeping a good thought for Jordin and Mary Kay.

I believe I flipped out when I first saw an en passant capture...but I was eight. I behaved in an age-appropriate manner.

#351 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 11:36 PM:

Cassy 349: Yes, and "unionized state" means one without right-to-work laws.

#352 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2017, 11:57 PM:

Cassy B (349): Yes, it's in one of his Black Widowers stories. (It's phrased slightly differently there, but it's the same observation.)

I think that's the only one I've seen here that doesn't hinge on capitalization for the variant pronunciation.

#353 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 12:15 AM:

Mary Kay update from SMOFs:


After a pretty bad day, culminating in a visit from the dreaded crash cart, Jordin is doing ever so slightly better. He blood pressure has gone up to low normal & his heart is starting to beat voluntarily & just barely strong enough to move blood through his heart. He's still on the machine that does that but it's good that his heart is starting to do some. The surgeon said it was a good sign & that he was excited. He's still critical but now it's critical but stable.
I can't tell you how much everyone's words have meant to me & helped to me. I read all the emails to Jordin, yes he's unconscious but what the hell. Thank you so much everyone.
MKK

I'm acting on the assumption that her original permission to broadcast what is going on is still true. If I am wrong, I will apologize both to her and to SMOFs. This just feels too important to leave unshared. This is what community feels like.

#354 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 12:19 AM:

Mary Aileen @352: I actually guessed the term for this kind of word: it's homograph, analogous to homonym. There are a bunch of examples at that link.

#355 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 12:41 AM:

Raven @347: very wise person respond to Bilbo’s “Good Morning!” with: “What do you mean? Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”

When I did my NLP training in '85, we were working some exercise one morning, which involved doing somethingorother with a list of questions. I kept just resolutly locking up, absolutely unable to proceed, almost to the point of tears.

It wasn't until (I think) a couple of years later, after I finally discovered the inside of my brain, that I realized the lock-up was in response to precisely that kind of ambiguity, except that I wasn't conscious of the conundrum. So I'd hit the interpretation fork and freeze, not knowing which one was implied.

It wasn't until years after that, that I got all this stuff well-enough integrated, such that I could be hit with a question, realize the range of possible interpretations, and either pick one and proceed, or ask what the questioner meant.

#356 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 01:08 AM:

Content warning for dental surgery:

And in other news, I had flap surgery for a gum pocket this morning.

Back in '15, the 40-year-old root canal in my upper left front incisor (which was killed when I went over the handlebars of my bike in junior high) finally gave up the ghost. After a replacement root canal failed to fix the problem, I had the tooth extracted and got an implant.

(After initially freaking out when told the tooth had to be pulled, I brought myself up short: "Hey wait! I've been fantasizing about getting in implant there for years." The original root canal left the tooth gray, shading to black near the gumline. Very ugly.)

After the initial extraction, I had to wait four months for bone to fill in the now-empty socket, and then for the implant base to take root after it was installed. (I now really truly have a screw in my head.) During that time, I had a temporary tooth "flipper" to hold the space open. It says something that even a cheap cosmetic replacement looked better than the original tooth.

Problem was, the flipper was uncomfortable, so I'd leave it out over the weekend. Even overnight, the gap would close enough that it took some force to get the fake tooth into the space. On a Monday, after a weekend with it out, it was really uncomfortable (sometimes rather excruciating) to get that thing in.

Somewhere along the line, the gum on the right top incisor became delaminated, and so even after the implant was completed, I still had noticeable discomfort. I had it checked several times, because it just wasn't clearing up, and it was finally concluded that I needed to go to a periodontist to get it fixed.

So that was my morning.

Blessedly, this guy has a much lighter hand with the novocaine than the oral surgeon did. The os was one of these people that stresses out at his patients' stress over the injection, so he tries to hurry the injection process. The discomfort of the recovery was far more due to that part of my mouth getting chewed up by the needle* than from the actual surgery itself. I'm all like, "Dude! Novocaine is an anesthetic? If you take your time and let it do its job, it'd be much easier on both of us...?"

Fortunately, the guy this morning understands this, and the injections were slightly uncomfortable, but far more tolerable. And also: no stirring or iterative Stabby McStabbersons.

I have been doing quantities of Advil, with a tramadol chaser, but generally, right now (12 hours post-proceedure) I'm feeling a "well exercised" kind of achiness. Which is already an improvement; that infection-like discomfort from the pocket is aready gone.

I do love modern dentistry.**

* It's a crowning irony of modern dentistry that by far the worst part of the proceedure (for me, anyway) is the application of the anesthetic.

** "What period in history would you most like to visit?" "Well, any would be interesting, as long as I get to have access to modern medicine & dentistry."

#357 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 01:27 AM:

Mary Aileen, #352: It's also in one of his science essays, titled "To Tell a Chemist". I don't know whether the story or the essay was published first. In the essay, he goes on to say that you can also ask, "What's a mole?", to which the non-chemist answer will be, "a little furry animal that burrows underground," and the chemist answer will start out, "Well, it's like this..." and continue for quite a while.

#358 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 02:05 AM:

A mole is not that difficult to define: 6.023x10E23 of the same molecule. I think Isaac was just obfuscating....

#359 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 02:08 AM:

Oh, and a biologist can get just as long-winded as a chemist (particularly if the biologist is a taxonomy wonk) on what that furry animal is.

#360 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 02:45 AM:

Jacque @355: In my childhood, I devoured fairy-tales on an industrial scale (lived in NYC a few years and scoured the shelves of the central library’s big children’s room); by my early teens had developed an interest in both stage magic and the occult type — as, in my view, a branch of psychology (which Colin Wilson also does, though our opinions about it differ); this came in handy when a concussion in 1979 put me into a ten-month-long tailspin depression, and along with meds and counseling I was able to apply insights and learn optimism from “spiritual alchemy” regarding passing through nigredo [the black night of despair, which let me regard depression as just a stage I would indeed “pass through”], albedo [purification, a cue to dump emotional baggage like grudges], and rubedo [reddening, a cue to ripen like grapes, grow], to reach the Philosopher’s Stone of wisdom. It’s a highly metaphorical approach, but then I’m a poet, so it has worked for me.

Enjoying your linked blog-entry: “... wondering when someone was going to notice how completely inept I was and throw me out on my ear.” — Around the same period (mid-’80s) I had my first supervisory job, and I remember telling my manager... who had hired me fully knowing my skills and work history... how often I felt like an imposter who might get found out. Luckily he had confidence in me; and then we got great customer-satisfaction bonuses for which I got some credit (and raises), which did wonders for my self-confidence. What he had seen was a capacity to learn new skills, because of those I had; and I stopped doubting that capacity. I've tried to teach the same self-trust to others, including those I supervised.

Even before that, the lady who later became my first wife had told me she “couldn't draw”, and I had started her off with calligraphy to train hand-eye control; many dozens of illuminated SCA court scroll presentations (and a wedding) later, she had a layoff and I had a year of double-shifts at (unionized) time-and-a-half pay, so I paid for her to turn her Associate’s in Accounting into a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts — which with drawing and painting and sculpting and writing she did, Magna Cum Laude. (I do believe her self-confidence also improved.)

Oh, that word “can't”. It sounds more permanent than it is, which can be a mental block. The way “you can’t swim” (if you don’t already know how) can make you afraid to go in the water in order to learn how to swim... but of course once you simply take classes and learn how, then you can swim, and that “can’t” goes away.

I think one of the best confidence-builders for life I’ve ever read on this is in Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters To A Young Poet (Franz Kappus, 19, about to enter the German military), which I hope the moderators will forgive my quoting here (from #8):

... We have been put into life as into the element we most accord with, and we have, moreover, through thousands of years of adaptation, come to resemble this life so greatly that when we hold still, through a fortunate mimicry we can hardly be differentiated from everything around us. We have no reason to harbor any mistrust against our world, for it is not against us. If it has terrors, they are our terrors; if it has abysses, these abysses belong to us; if there are dangers, we must try to love them. And if only we arrange our life in accordance with the principle which tells us that we must always trust in the difficult, then what now appears to us as the most alien will become our most intimate and trusted experience. How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love. So you must not be frightened if a sadness rises in front of you, larger than any you have ever seen; if an anxiety, like light and cloud-shadows, moves over your hands and over everything you do. You must realize that something is happening to you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall. Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any misery, any depression, since after all you don't know what work these conditions are doing inside you? Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where all this is coming from and where it is going? Since you know, after all, that you are in the midst of transitions and you wished for nothing so much as to change. ...

#361 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 03:14 AM:

Oh, and Jacque: that is an utterly beautiful double-question-mark icon.

You may also enjoy Theodore Sturgeon’s Q-and-arrow icon (which he wore as a necklace), representing his motto, not just for story-writing: “Ask the Next Question” (i.e. don’t settle for the first answer, dig deeper).

#362 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 03:35 AM:

Occasionally Tumblr produces genius. Here's a group effort by wishful-thinkment, trailofdesire, theragnarokd, and kestrel1337 (link: http://clockworkcuttlefish.tumblr.com/post/162443783096/violent-darts-kestrel337-theragnarokd)


It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday
As the regular crowd tumbls by.
There’s an old fandom queen blogging next to me
And her little gray tags catch my eye.

She says, "Tumblr, I’m feeling like shit today;
Can you send me some posts for a smile?
Can we talk about slash? Can you fill up my dash
So I won’t have to think for a while?"

Laa dahdah didee dah,
La dahdah didee dah dadum...

Fill up my dash; you’re my followers.
Fill it with pictures and fic.
Yeah, we’re all in the mood for some memery
And occasional pictures of dick.

Now Jill is a centaur novelist
And she writes of her girlfriend and wife.
She reblogs from Toni, who’s in My Little Pony
And probably will be for life.

As the staff implements wretched changes
And we think of how aliens bone,
We are writing a lot about loneliness:
It’s much better than writing alone.

And sometimes we blog about politics
And sometimes we blog with a beer
And when I proudly boast that I’m older than most,
They say, "Gross, what are YOU doing here?"

#363 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 09:48 AM:

I had a milder version of that last fall - the hygienist discovered it, as I hadn't had any discomfort. I remembered from the previous time the dentist Did Things that required novocaine to the upper mouth that the injections would be uncomfortable (he'd warned me then), so it wasn't bad.

#364 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 10:20 AM:

Jacque (355): I could be hit with a question, realize the range of possible interpretations, and either pick one and proceed, or ask what the questioner meant.

I am reminded of the job interview for my current position as a reference librarian. I was interviewed by the library director and assistant director (who were sitting on either side of me so that I had to keep turning my head back and forth like watching tennis). The questions they asked were somewhat ambiguous; I kept trying to pin them down: "Well, do you mean this or this?" They'd say "Whichever", and I'd make a stab at answering it anyway. Immensely frustrating. Not least because I felt that my continual questioning of the questions was making a poor impression (just answer them, dammit!), but I couldn't make myself stop doing it. Some hours later, I finally realized that I was using my reference interview skills*, trying to pin down the actual question before answering it.

*A lot of people have trouble articulating exactly what information they're looking for**, which means being asked questions all day long, some of them quite vaguely or ambiguously phrased. So a big part of reference work is figuring out exactly what they're asking, so that you can proceed to find the answer to the right question.
**This can be too general--"got any books about dogs?" when they're looking for information on breeding poodles--or just phrased oddly, as in the classic "can birds fly?" meaning "can I take my parakeet on an airplane?"

#365 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 10:26 AM:

Mary Aileen @ 352:

I was reminded of another that doesn't require capitalization to get a different pronunciation yesterday at work: dove.

#366 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 10:32 AM:

Re: chess:

When I was eight, and going through a fascination with Alice Through the Looking-Glass, my father joined the chess league at work. (It was either that or bowling, and he'd already brought down his bowling team's average sufficiently that he was asked to find some other means of social contribution.)

Turned out he was moderately good enough at it to win the plant championship; the lasting results (aside from the prize, a bow tie with chess pieces on it) were a peg chess set, some Staunton pieces with full-size cardboard board to go with, and a Reinfeld book of rules.

Since I wanted to figure out wtf was going on in the Alice sequel, I became the custodian of the book. Where I learned about en-passant, castling, and the other thing that would really make Raven's cow orker explode: queening pawns (which, of course, features rather prominently in Looking-Glass).

I ended up being one of those people who join the high school chess club and find that I'm a better player than anyone but the three or four people who carry chess books along with their physics texts. I used to play what I'd call a reasonably good social game. My best memories of summer vacations in college were evenings spent playing chess with my father while we tried to make some kind of inroads on the rather massive bottle of blackberry wine he'd bought in a mad moment.

Then I went and married someone who just does not believe in games (it's his one real failing) and the Staunton pieces repose decoratively in the living room on an etched-glass board made by a high school boyfriend. Sometimes Jenny the Cat will move them around; I can see no rules to her madness.

#367 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 10:39 AM:

Mary Aileen 344 and Fragano generally:

Fragano may not miss them, but I certainly will miss his hauling up gems-in-the-very-rough from the depths of his students' ids--or wherever. (Speculation falters.)

My spouse, when discussing possible retirement with a co-worker, stated (correctly) that I wanted him to keep working as long as possible, because who knew what he'd get up to if he stayed home--probably bolt rockets onto the sides of the house just to see what would happen. (Readers, I spluttered immoderately.)

#368 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 10:41 AM:

Singing Wren @ 365:

Interesting bit of psychology. I was so primed by "can birds fly?" in Mary Alieen's post directly above yours and by your name, that I initially read "dove" as the bird and it took me far longer than it should have to remember the diving aspect. That I'm just waking up probably didn't help either.

#369 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 03:08 PM:

me @227: Wow, that was fast. Chess set was waiting by my door when I got home yesterday.

Just opened it up; didn't get the frission of recognition I was expecting. The pieces are right, but they're smaller, lighter, and more cheaply made than I remember—which is unsurprising, as the last time I saw my dad's set was just under 40 years ago, and things from one's childhood often seem smaller when encountered in adulthood.

I think I need to make a fancy box for it. (Which will maybe do double duty as a chessboard...? (Do I want to get really silly and put brass borders between the squares...? Hm. Have to think about that....)

#370 ::: David Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 03:09 PM:

Tom @ 358: Technically the definition of a mole is "The number of carbon atoms in a flawless diamond composed of isotopically pure Carbon-12 that weighs exactly twelve grams".

That number has been experimentally determined to be about 6.02E23, but that's not the definition.

#371 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 03:15 PM:

'Just Read the Instructions'

Not really sure what the pronounciation is supposed to be there.

#372 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 03:17 PM:

Raven @360: interest in both stage magic and the occult type — as, in my view, a branch of psychology

Penn Jillette would agree with you.

Oh, that word “can't”. It sounds more permanent than it is, which can be a mental block.

And a handy way to maintain power and control over your victims, if that's your objective. "To disable" has an interesting double-meaning in this context.

#373 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 03:37 PM:

Raven @361: double-question-mark icon.

Thank you!

Theodore Sturgeon’s Q-and-arrow icon ... don’t settle for the first answer, dig deeper

Yes! I encountered this idea around the same time I learned about NLP's Meta-model, which offers pleasing techniques to extract specifics from vagueness. Great tricks to cause all kinds of trouble! Mwa-ha.

joann @336: Sometimes Jenny the Cat will move them around; I can see no rules to her madness.

Wow. Now there's a story-seed if I ever saw one. Perhaps something in the vein of "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" by Lewis Padgett...?

#374 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 04:40 PM:

joann @366: “Sometimes Jenny the Cat will move [the chess pieces] around; I can see no rules to her madness.”

Cat Chess. Terry Pratchett discusses that in The Unadulterated Cat. Giving due credit and riffing further, Diane Duane, in her Feline Wizards series (spinoff of her Young Wizards series), starting at The Book of Night with Moon (see Afterword for full rules), shows that cats — including ours — play a form of strategy position-game called hauissh [the Ailurin word for “seeing”] in which the cats themselves are the “pieces”, the point of positioning being to get where you can best see without being seen. (There is a hexagon-celled board game based on hauissh here.)

#375 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 04:45 PM:

Raven, #360: of course once you simply take classes and learn how

[sourly] I love how easy you make that sound. Signed, survivor of at least 4 swimming classes without learning how to swim because I float too low. "Just turn your head to the side" gets my face about halfway out of the water. Eventually I stopped trying.

Mary Aileen, #364: So in fact, you were providing an excellent demonstration of your qualification for the position!

#376 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 04:49 PM:

David Crisp @370: On the level of answering the original question, your answer serves just as well as mine to disprove Asimov's point.

And what you've defined isn't a mole, but Avogadro's number. Oddly, that diamond you describe is probably technically a single molecule in at least one sense! Which is part of what makes the defining process difficult.

#377 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 05:01 PM:

Thanks for all the good wishes!

Lee, I can't qualify for emeritus status at my institution unless I formally retire from the institution. For technical reasons, that can't be until I'm 62 at the earliest. I'm not there yet (and you, I, and TNH were all born in the same year). Until then, I'm officially on indefinite unpaid medical leave.

I've already had one misadventure, which involved the university's medical insurance service giving me the sack. This produced profuse apologies from human resources since they can't actually do that.

I'm keeping my mind occupied at the moment by writing. Unfortunately, while I can get work, it's all of the academic "paid in exposure" kind. So my CV grows, but my bank account doesn't.

#378 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 05:06 PM:

Continuing in my hooking-weird-concepts-to-other-concepts, when I someday explain stoichiometry and moles to someone, I am going to start with an entire worksheet of eggs and donuts and grams per dozen.

#379 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 05:08 PM:

Lee @375: In fact, I absolutely had to learn to swim because *I* don’t naturally float. I can lie down on the bottom of the pool holding my breath and watch people swimming over me. It’s only by the exertion of swimming, at least dog-paddling, or jumping off the pool floor, or standing in the shallows, that I can put my head above water. So I do dutifully wear a life-vest every time I go boating (muscles wear out)... but the skill of swimming is always with me whether a life-vest is or not.

#380 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 05:12 PM:

Lee (375): Mary Aileen, #364: So in fact, you were providing an excellent demonstration of your qualification for the position!

That's what I eventually concluded. And I got the job, so they must have been reasonably impressed with me.

#381 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 05:13 PM:

All this discussion of burrowing moles and chemical moles, and no-one yet has brought up the skin kind that looks like dark freckles?

#382 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 05:14 PM:

Tom Whitmore #295:

This is Benedict Anderson's theory of print nationalism (to be precise, his theory that linguistic nationalism is tied to the existence of the printing press) as elaborated in Imagined Communities (1983).) Print created the standard language, and enabled the state to define its boundaries (those of the state and those of the language both).

Dave Bell #315:

The BCP played a major role in the unification of England as a common culture, and thus in establishing England as an Andersonian imagined community. It didn't play that role in the much more religiously fragmented Anglosphere, where the Bible and Shakespeare formed common texts for all native English-speakers, and in which "go thou and do likewise" or "here is much breaking of God's peace and the King's English" are recognizable commonplaces, while "and there is no health in us" really isn't, unless you were brought up C of E.

#383 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 05:16 PM:

Raven (381): Not to mention the Mexican sauce. Speaking of words with more than one pronunciation.

#384 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 06:22 PM:

Mary Aileen #383: Yes, one might expect (given its pronunciation) for it to have the same accent mark as “Olé!”, thus “molé”, but no.

Mole poblano is delicious (the chocolate is not at all sweet; that doesn’t matter); I haven’t had the other varieties.

#385 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 07:39 PM:

eric @ #371

Rhymes with reed (or seed).

A polite version of the directive to RTFM.

#386 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 08:10 PM:

384
Olé is stressed on the second syllable, and mole (Mexican Spanish) is stressed on the first.

#387 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 08:54 PM:

I thought of another words-that-doesn't whilst driving across Ontario today: Chili.

The food, chili, rhymes with Willy (really!), and the town—a town by Rochester, NY—rhymes with "Why lie."

Chili?
My eye!

#388 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 09:23 PM:

No discussion of burrowing moles and chemical moles would be complete without a link to Randal Munroe's "What If?" column on A mole of moles.

TL;DR: "Things get a bit gruesome."

#389 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 09:28 PM:

Kip W @387:

Rochester also has a suburb called "Charlotte", spelled the same as the city in North Carolina, but the stress is on the second syllable.

#390 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 09:40 PM:

Lots of examples of place names pronounced differently. Houston, Paris, Toledo… but I didn't think it fit the topic as stated.

(Jeez, I've lived here nine years now, and I don't know if I've even heard of Charlotte, NY.)

#391 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 10:47 PM:

Tom 354: Homographs are one kind of homonym, the other being homophones. I personally think teaching kids these names is silly, especially the way I was taught, which is to teach the term 'homonym' without explaining! They should be taught to call homophones and homographs 'sound-alikes' and 'look-alikes' respectively. The Greek terms can wait until high school (maybe earlier, but they taught me 'homonyms' in third grade, and even then I knew something was wrong).

Buddha 389: And a town in Michigan with the same pronunciation.

#392 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 11:18 PM:

RTXopher @391: If I'd been making the distinction before, I'd probably have derived "homograph" as well! A very nice distinction, and thank you for bringing it to my attention.

And there's a third type (at least!) of homonym -- the cross-language one. My personal favorite: the difference between adrenaline and epinephrine is Latin and Greek. They're the same molecule and the names translate the same (as much as any two words in different languages translate to each other: "stuff from above the kidney"). This is a great trick question for most people in a medical field, BTW. If they know it's the same molecule, they usually don't know the language origins.

#393 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2017, 11:40 PM:

I had a fun moment in a taxonomy class when the professor said that the language of science is officially Latin, and her example was Bryophyta. Which is Greek for moss-plant. Super Greek! But it was explained that if science, then Latin, whatever the actual language is. I do not hold with this, but I feel it is useful to have the language Scientific Wordstuff separated out sometimes.

Does anyone else sometimes want to just roll around in science words?

#394 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2017, 01:05 AM:

@Diatryma no. 393: There's a fox named Eardog Big-Ears and a frog called The Back-of-the-Heady One That Makes Noises. I love science words!

#395 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2017, 01:26 AM:

I love science words too! I've got a professional connection to anatomy words: the two-headed biceps, the muscle that connects the sternum, the clavicle and the mastoid process (sternocleidomastoid, generally SCM) and the sidemost muscle on the back (latissimus dorsi) are all personal favorites.

Muscle itself -- little mouse, running around under the skin!

#396 ::: ma larkey ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2017, 09:02 AM:

HLN: one very confused woman learns that her partner of two years thinks that her chronic illness which has been posited as degenerative and progressive in the last three years is "not real".

the pain and struggle is very real. looking back on the grace and courage of the people on these threads who have sustained her in real and virtual ways.

#397 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2017, 12:47 PM:

ma larkey (396): Sympathies on your partner Not Getting It.

#398 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2017, 12:53 PM:

Agreeing with Mary Aileen, ma larkey. Sometimes that attitude can help -- doesn't sound as if this is one of those times.

#399 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2017, 01:40 PM:

ma larkey #396: Oh dear me. That is not helpful.

#400 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2017, 02:23 PM:

Somebody needs to explain to me how NASA could run a child slave colony on Mars.

#401 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2017, 02:51 PM:

Fragano (400): NASA faked the moon landing* to cover up the fact that they were building a Martian colony. But since the colony is a secret, they can't get sufficient volunteers. So they had to resort to kidnapping workers--children, because they're smaller and thus cheaper to ship up there. It's obvious, really.

*I understand it's the same people who believe both.

#402 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2017, 03:22 PM:

Raven, I have to ask: do you not know how to use View All By?

Also: are you clear that we're not a branch of Wikipedia, and have very different rules?

#403 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2017, 04:21 PM:

Mary Aileen #401:

But how do they cover up the preparations, the launches, the spacecraft, the appearance of structures on Mars... ?

#404 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2017, 04:30 PM:

AKICIML:

This one's been nagging at me for a while. It's a short story, originally published in the sixties in Britain (since the book I read it in was purchased by my father). A man encounters an entity only he can see. This entity informs him that he is a "figment" ("fingo, fingere, finxi, fictum." "Exactly! Fiction. Make-believe!"). In order to persuade himself that he's not deluded, the man seeks to show others the figment. In succeeding, he gives the figment reality only to become a figment himself.

What's it called, and who's it by? And have I remembered it right after 42+ years?

#405 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2017, 04:35 PM:

Fragano (403): Obviously all of the news media and the astronomers are in on it. It's a vast, far-reaching conspiracy! The fact there is no evidence is Proof! Proof, I tell you!

(They probably launch from Area 51; no one believes all the sinister outer-space stuff that goes on there, anyway.)

#406 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2017, 04:53 PM:

me (401/405): In case it isn't clear, I have no idea what the arguments for the Martian slave children conspiracy actually are. I'm just making stuff up to be silly. At that, I may have put more thought into this in the last few hours than the proponents of the idea ever will.

#407 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2017, 05:01 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @400: When I first saw this, snark supplied: "Yes! And this is where we've been keeping the real Justin Bieber while we keep getting the robot arrested!" followed after a minute by "Someone has been reading too much PKD." It turns out though that the fellow currently warming the Grown-Ups Chair in the Oval Office seems to admire the interviewer of the conspiracy theorist. So perhaps a direct rebuke/refutation was necessary.

Story, with video clip. At your own risk. Do these people harbor Pied Piper fantasies, or is that my twisty brain?

#408 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2017, 06:22 PM:

May I ask why the discussion of moles has yet to mention breakwaters?

J Homes.

#409 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2017, 06:29 PM:

ma larkey @396: Hey, there! Glad to hear from you!

Congratulations on partner! Dear Partner: get an effing clue!! Come talk to me if you have questions about the "reality" of ma larkey's illness. I promise: I'll try not to leave you with too many bruises. }:-[

Fragano Ledgister @400: Um, same way they run their lunar slave colonies...?

& @403: how do they cover up the preparations, the launches, the spacecraft,

Very carefully?

the appearance of structures on Mars... ?

Well, obvy: since they're in control of the video feed, they just loop in fakes or repeats when necessary.

#410 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2017, 06:30 PM:

ma larkey, #396: Good to hear from you again; sorry that the news is unpleasant. Is there any chance that having the doctor give your partner a stern talking-to might help? When you're dealing with something like that, the last thing you need is to have someone undermining you at home.

#411 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2017, 07:03 PM:

I confess that I've drifted away from regular reading here recently for reasons, but I wanted to wave at the discussions of a Gathering of Light at Worldcon and express my interest.

#412 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2017, 08:10 PM:

#402

Oops!

<Moose digs hole in ground, climbs inside, and positions dustbin lid on top. >

#413 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2017, 08:21 PM:

*makes sure not to be standing near certain people near whom one ought not to be standing when the things that are about to start happening happen*

#414 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2017, 08:57 PM:

Success!

I have written a program that takes book reviews from a web page and runs them through a Markov text generator.

Favorites among the words it has come up with:

Superpowerlessness
Corresponditious
Sometimescapes

It's mangling Locus Magazine reviews, and I will see if that generates new story ideas worth pursuing.

#415 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 01:01 AM:

One more, relatively good, report from Mary Kay:

So I seem to be wrong about Jordin's progress being really slow. I've been dealing mostly with the chief surgeon's assistants, Fellows, & assorted ancillaries. I had a nice long chat with him this evening. The improvement in Jordin's heart function from Thursday to Saturday takes most people 5-7 days. My husband the overachiever. They are doing another echo tomorrow morning & the surgeon says if it's as good as he thinks the big heart?lung machine could go away as early tomorrow afternoon. He'd still be on the small pump & other assorted hardware, but this would be a huge step. They could start to decrease the sedation and maybe I could talk to him! We've been daily communicators for going on 30 years & not talking with him is so hard! I talk at him of course but he's not been much for answering back lately!
I feel so much better. Thank you all for you support and wishes & stuff. Keep it going just a *little* longer.
MKK

#416 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 02:12 AM:

Heather Rose Jones @411: Great! That's three expressions so far by my count (you, me, Ingvar). The lurkers, of course, support us in e-mail.

I am holding back the urge to planplanplan because I think it's mostly a sign that I have been living in Germany for too long. Also, I am so full of squee that my first Worldcon is about a month away that I want to take the energy and Do Something.

Anyway. Now that we are three, I trust that is sufficient to guarantee that there will be a Gathering of Light in Helsinki. Yay!

#417 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 03:25 AM:

Fragano@400 The colony on Mars is the next movie set over from The the one they used for Moon. It's also where they ship the pizzas from.

#418 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 04:50 AM:

We, too, would be interested in a gathering in Helsinki. Just don’t make it Friday night, which (unusually) is when the Hugo ceremony is scheduled this time.

#419 ::: Louis Patterson ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 06:43 AM:

@370, and others.

There are, apparently, Movements to swap the relationships of the kilogram and the mole: to fix avogadro's number and the mole and make mass a derived unit. Essentially we can count atoms better than we can weigh them, these days.

CSIRO-or-someone were at a trade show with their proposals for same a few years ago, and they had trial pieces to handle: an approximately-perfect sphere of mostly silicon weighing about a kilo, where all those approximations and hedgings convey a far higher degree of precision than they normally do. Kind of interesting.

Other teams were using other substances; silicon has isotope problems, but it's fairly cheap and its physical properties reasonably well-known, for the standards of "fairly" and "reasonably" that are used for these sorts of things.

#420 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 07:59 AM:

pnh @ #418, Doug @ #416, Heather Rose Jones @ #411:

Does Thursday evening-ish work for people, as a pencilled-in time? I'm (still) happy to nail down a more definite coordinate in space-time, closer to the time.

#421 ::: ma larkey ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 10:53 AM:

397,398,399 410,409

Thank you, Mary Aileen, Tom, Fragano, Jacque, Lee.

Yes, as partner is not getting it, I am now feeling betrayed and sad, because it’s not as if partner hasn’t had the opportunity to meet with my providers (they promised to, then made excuses not to). I need all the help I can get, and so I have been trying to stay in this relationship and work on it in spite of the horribleness. Confused because it seems like a sudden shift from promises to work with me to get better care, even put me on partner’s healthcare plan, which would have meant marriage. I am telling myself that marriage with someone who doesn’t believe you when you are sick, or believe your doctors, would be miserable. But my heart.

#422 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 11:04 AM:

I'd love to come to a GOL at Helsinki!

#423 ::: alisea ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 12:30 PM:

Ingvar M @420:

Thursday evening-ish sounds good for me, I'm assuming my duties at the craft corner will mostly be during daytime.

#424 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 12:33 PM:

Lee, all the way back @348: I had no trouble with en passant when I read that book at age 15, and while I knew the basic rules of chess I certainly had never encountered the term there. But context helped.

#425 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 12:47 PM:

Louis Patterson @419:

There are efforts underway to replace the lump of platinum-iridium alloy sitting in a vault in France as the definition of a kilogram. Evidence shows that the international prototype kilogram is losing mass relative to the national standard kilograms (periodically, they bring all these lumps of platinu-iridium alloy to France and compare them). It is considered bad when the object which, by definition, has a mass of 1 kg appears to be changing in mass. So there is a desire to change it to something more stable and reproducible. There were, last I checked, at least two proposals:

One is the effort to make a perfectly spherical isotopically pure monocrystalline silicon ball massing exactly 1 kg, use crystallography techniques to count the number of atoms in it.

The other effort is to make a "Watt balance". This is a set of scales that works by comparing the test mass against electrical signals (current, voltage, etc) that can be precisely determined based on physical constants like Planck's Constant.

I've noticed that the first method seems to have much better PR people, since I've seen many articles which do not mention the Watt balance at all, and seem to claim that the silicon sphere will be selected as a replacement definition of the kilogram in 2018.

I haven't seen any official source that says that the Watt Balance is out of the running. Personally, I prefer it. I can build a Watt balance at my Makerspace (albeit not as precise as the one at NIST), it is based on constants we feel are truly fundamental, and it doesn't feel (to me) like replacing one hard-to-replicate lump of matter with another hard-to-replicate lump of matter.

#426 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 01:40 PM:

Now, I'm even more intrigued. There's a real Justin Bieber?

We have a planetful of amateur and professional astronomers. Yet there are idiots who believe that someone can run a space program more sophisticated than any of the ones we actually see in secret?

#427 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 03:24 PM:

ma larkey #421: I am telling myself that marriage with someone who doesn’t believe you when you are sick, or believe your doctors, would be miserable. But my heart.

Yes, and yes. You have my deepest sympathies... but you also have my encouragement to make the break ASAP, because the only way it's going to get "easier", is when things get worse. And from what you've already said, I'm pretty sure that's a "when", not an "if".

#428 ::: David Langford ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 04:32 PM:

A gathering at Helsinki sounds like a wonderful thing and I hope it works out splendidly. Alas, as my hearing gets worse I find I'm not coping well with big events. Loncon 3 was difficult and the 2017 UK Eastercon very difficult, even with the emergency lifeline of knowing in both cases that I could drop out, catch a train and get home in a couple of hours. Still, I plan to bore and annoy people online with Ansible for the foreseeable future.

#429 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 05:30 PM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @402: “... are you clear that we're not a branch of Wikipedia, and have very different rules?”

“Site rules” are not the point. Wiki-sites have those rules for good reasons.

And ___ may differ with them on the giving end of Assume good faith — but, per email, not the demanding end. (Forgetting that “Things which can cause the loss of good faith include... personal attacks....”) [See also the MeatballWiki version, re: “Reasons people stop assuming good faith:... Hiding information. An insistence on withholding information normally shared....”]

Likewise, you may differ on having sockpuppets in order to be more abusive than the main account. But then, even here I seem to recall something about the good reasons for sockpuppets being limited to such things as career protection and medical privacy. Oh... it’s still legal as long as fingerprints or other clues to the truth are left behind (à la the Thieves’ Guild card)? Well, heck, maybe that’s even the future state of the law.

It’s your and Patrick’s site, Teresa; you not only don’t have to follow anyone else’s rules, you don’t have to follow your own rules. As I said starting out, nobody is the boss of you; as I wrapped up, you owe me nothing, including explanations.

So why imply, here, that I suggested (of all silly things!) that you were bound by Wikipedia’s rules?

#430 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 05:40 PM:

429
First rule of holes. Remember it, please.

#431 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 05:47 PM:

Raven: Is something weird going on in your home life? Because seriously, the way you've been acting for the last week or two is not like you, and I'm starting to become concerned.

#432 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 05:48 PM:

430
I had made this a private email discussion. Teresa has brought it back here.

#433 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 06:05 PM:

Just so we're all clear here: the abusive sockpuppet that Raven is referring to is Idumea, who he believes does the dirty work so that my identity as abi can remain "the nice one".

(Also note that I always use the same email address for both names, so that the (view all by) history that constitutes my reputation on this site is intact and clear.)

#434 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 06:15 PM:

I know I can be a fool, but I usually managed to stop before I get this bad

Anyway, my computer is now running Linux Mint 18.2, and it has all gone very smoothly.

And there is a Falcon 9 on the pad...

#435 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 06:38 PM:

Xopher@203: And there was much rejoicing, because writing Glagolitic is a huge pain in the ass. When I sang Janaček's Msa Glagolskaja, one waggish reviewer described Glagolitic as looking like the symbols travel guides use to show amenities at a site. I also remember an older Unicode description sniffily observing that it did not cover obsolete alphabets, specifically citing Glagolitic.

ibid@214: great story (the one-upping).

ibid@217: Bulgarian rather than Czech(oslavakian?)? During prep for the above, a Czech in the chorus argued some of the academe-provided pronunciations on the grounds that OCS was close to modern Czech; I got the impression she felt they were as close as Old Norse and current Icelandic, but didn't dig into details.

shadowsong@247: I have great admiration for the Korean writing system - it's amazing what you can do when you're designing from scratch rather than repurposing something from thousands of years ago that's been constantly patched and adapted and revised over the years. How long can such a system be effective? Does it leave room to grow, or straitjacket the language, or get broken by not supporting amendments? I've a certain admiration for what I hear is Japanese absorption of new words by approximate pronunciation with local phonemes (e.g. "bei-su-bo-ru" for "baseball"); does Hangul support this, let alone the ... flexibilities ... of English that led off this thread?

Mary Aileen @ 261: I probably read that comment at the time, but I'd completely forgotten the story. (My partner had not.) Thank you for the reminder.

Tom W @ 270ff: thanks for the details. I knew Jordan when we were both in college and hope he'll be well enough for Boskone again this year.

Doug @ 271: fascinating! although I'd argue that 2 of those involve another language's pronunciation and so could be hairsplit to death -- especially since Wikipedia confirms my recollection that Lima OH is pronounced like the bean.

Fragano: echoing Tom's and Lee's wishes. My post-work life began similarly suddenly (layoff), which might have been harder if I hadn't had a friend importuning me to work on a Worldcon that I hadn't previously had time for; my partner had a slower departure (starting, then gradually folding self-employment after leaving corporate) and has found herself ... vigorously committed. May you find as many interesting things to do as suit you. (I've been luxuriating in reading and too much net time.)

Leah M @ 298: I can't point to examples of a full story told that way, but it's frequently effective as leavening; see (e.g.) Yolen's Great Alta works, which are unilluminated by the discussions of academics from a later culture.

estelendur @ 322: fascinating!

Cassy B @ 349: this ex-chemist is delighted by your example.

Tom W @ 354: I was sure there examples not requiring capitalization (which I'd argue is just an additional marker for part-of-speech in most of the examples in this thread), but my mind was blank; thank you for the list.

Jacque @ 356: having had many cavities filled with a cable drill, I am entirely with you on modern dentistry.

Kip W @ 387: another in a long line of bizarre town pronunciations; cf above, BERlin (ME?), KAY-ro (IL), ...

Xopher @ 422: so would I, but I'd have to get to Helsinki. (Too much local chaos -- nothing severe any more, just not supporting a trip.) Y'all have fun; be sure not to leave PNH's antique sousaphone behind when you're done.

#436 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 06:54 PM:

abi @ #433

Yikes! Local moose wishes to report a rapid unscheduled disassembly of his bogglemeter and the urgent need to obtain a new one.

(Fortunately the dustbin lid was sufficient protection from flying bits.)

#437 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 07:12 PM:

ma larkey: Witnessing.

Abi, I'm boggled that someone doesn't understand the difference between a public, universally-known alter-ego and a sockpuppet. On Compuserve, years ago in the SF forums, I used to role-play in one fantasy role-play section as "Cas-cat", a small orange tabbycat with wings. Cas-cat was not a sock puppet; everyone involved knew *exactly* who was writing her dialogue and actions. But she was a different... erm... persona from Cassy, who is far more ordinary and responsible than Cas-cat ever was.

#438 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 07:26 PM:

Lee @431: Once again, I had taken this to private email; I was not the one who chose to drag it back onto the public board. But in answer to your direct question:

At multiple times in my life I have had the traumatic experience of being falsely accused by other people — sometimes out of sheer malice, sometimes to deflect blame from themselves, sometimes as a way to extort or grab for themselves whatever they wanted (mere social position in one case) — in person, quite enough to detest even the online version. Must I defend even my objection to it, while it remains unretracted?

This is my permanent persona, not a sockpuppet; my long-term reputation is attached to it. While false accusations are left up against it by a site moderator, my reputation is harmed.

I direct my arguments ad argumentum, not ad hominem. To call a fallacy “ridiculous”, or to call a rule “less-than-fully-thought-out”, is not to so mock the person propounding it, or have contempt for him. Which of us failed to make that distinction?

Or, gosh, did everyone who ever contradicted my ideas thereby display “contempt” for me, and then why wasn’t the identical accusation in so many words made against them? Was there a single standard?

As with the misdirected accusation of “strawman”, made against the side of the argument that had not committed it....

To answer these complaints by waving the banhammer is basically saying “I can do whatever I want whether it’s right or wrong, just or unjust.” — which is a truthful statement; this is a private site, and our hosts can set whatever terms they like for guests to visit, or close the doors to anyone or everyone anytime they like.

And guests, or potential guests, are free to observe the hospitality patterns of their hosts, or potential hosts.

#439 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 07:51 PM:

CHip 435: ...one waggish reviewer described Glagolitic as looking like the symbols travel guides use to show amenities at a site.

SO THIS. That's great!

Bulgarian rather than Czech(oslavakian?)?

No such language as Czechoslovakian; Czechoslovakia was always a country with two languages, Czech (also called Bohemian) and Slovak. They're different ethnic groups, too, and now they have two countries.

The last I heard, Bulgarian was the closest modern language to OCS. But that was ~35 years ago now; linguists may have re-assessed it. I also know only a few words of Czech, and those only because my mother yelled them at me when she was upset.

But that said, I doubt Czech is closer to OCS than Russian, and pronouncing OCS like Russian is a grave mistake. The latter lacks nasalized vowels, like the ѧ I used in an example earlier (sort of like the sound that ends French words whose spelling ends in '-in', if I understand that correctly), and all the yers are pronounced in OCS; none are pronounced in Russian any more, and most are not even written (the post-Revolutionary orthography dropped the yers where they're not needed to show consonant quality). In OCS all syllables end in vowels, far from true in most modern Slavic languages.

#440 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 08:37 PM:

CHip@435: How long can such a system be effective? Does it leave room to grow, or straitjacket the language, or get broken by not supporting amendments? I've a certain admiration for what I hear is Japanese absorption of new words by approximate pronunciation with local phonemes (e.g. "bei-su-bo-ru" for "baseball"); does Hangul support this, let alone the ... flexibilities ... of English that led off this thread?

Speaking as someone who has studied Japanese in depth and looked at Korean from the outside, Hangul is much, much more flexible than the Japanese "fifty sounds" (which can actually be used to write just over a hundred distinct syllables).

#441 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 11:06 PM:

Ingvar M @420:

Thursday eveningish works for me as I currently know my schedule. (I'm still hoping to get a reading or kafeeklatsch, so who knows what might get added, but as it currently stands I have no conflicts at that time.)

#442 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2017, 11:58 PM:

415: Thanks so much for Mary Kay's words on the progress Jordin is making. This is a big relief.

#443 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 12:00 AM:

abi @433: So the link exists to follow, IF one already suspects that the name given at top might share an email address with other names on the same site. (And if not? If one just trustingly reads the text as shown? Is that to be laughed at?)

But what is accomplished by changing even just the visible names, becoming “a single person who posts in the same thread masked as multiple users”? [yet another website not cited as governing ML] The behavior of one is not, prima facie, tied to the other. One must dig. That may be a thin mask, but a mask it is.

I am also not suggesting that Usenet “rules” (such that they can even be said to exist) should govern here when I bring up a dismal denizen for comparison, the multiple nym-shifter, here called “VPN user”, who proudly asserts that he has “a personal rule that no two nyms post to the same thread ever (that's a cardinal rule for me...)”.

Certainly ML is free to have lower standards than even such on Usenet. But what does exercising that freedom imply?

Cassy B @437: “... universally-known....”

I do not think that term means what you think it means. A “universal” claim is disproved by even one exception. (Despite Trumplandia’s “Never... with rare exceptions...”.)

#444 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 12:09 AM:

Louis Patterson@419, Buddha Buck@425:

I remembered there was news about the kilograph a couple of years ago, but I haven't heard anything lately. Your comments inspired me to take a look around.

The best recent explanation I found was a paper: "Foundation for the redefinition of the kilogram" (2016) -- http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0026-1394/53/5/A6/pdf

What I think this is saying: scientists are still working on it. But it's not that there's two competing proposals for a definition of the kilogram. People have generally agreed to define it in terms of the Planck constant, the meter, and the second.

We've got the meter and the second down pat. So now we have to measure the Planck constant experimentally, and the two experiments you mention are the leading contenders for doing that reliably. The plan seems to be to make sure that the watt-balance people and the silicon-sphere people can measure the Planck to a high degree of accuracy *and* get answers consistent with each other to a high degree of accuracy. (And they should check their results against the old platinum cylinder, too.)

(I am looking at section 3.2 of the paper I linked, "The CCM Recommendation G1".)

People are optimistic that they'll hit these targets by 2018.

The draft kilogram redefinition, which describes both experiments (and is also full of blanks because it's a draft) is at http://www.bipm.org/cc/CCM/Allowed/15/02A_MeP_kg_141022_v-9.0_clean.pdf .

This has been an interesting digression, thanks. :)

#445 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 12:37 AM:

One more quote from Mary Kay.

They took him off the big machine today. Surgeon says his heart is within 5-10% of normal which is mildly amazing & very very good. The hope to have him off the ventilator by late tomorrow. Then they can start to wake him up.
MKK

I'm going to stop doing these unless there's a significant change; if it's just "improving" there's nothing to see (and I'm skating on thin ice copying this from SMOFs even though Mary Kay said it was okay when she started). I hear that someone is working on a CaringBridge site: if I hear there's one up, I'll certainly post a link to it here. It's easy to subscribe to the updates there when/if it happens,and they seem to be good about keeping addresses quiet.

#446 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 12:41 AM:

In much less pleasant news, Dwain Kaiser, LA area fan and bookseller, has died violently under bizarre circumstances. It's still early times, but I expect we'll hear more later.

#447 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 12:44 AM:

I've been biting my tongue, but:

Raven! Stop! Please!

Whatever is going on, whatever you are intending to communicate, what is coming across is angry, confrontational, aggressive, and defensive.

As to abi/Idumea, This is a running joke abi has continued that all the mods had engaged in, from back in the days when ML had an over-enthusiastic spam filter, and comments frequently had to be rescued. It's a call-back to the gnomes described in ML's held-for-moderation message.

The purpose of the view-by-all is to establish a commenting history. If something seems out-of-sorts, one of my first steps is to check that; it would be a handy way to (for example) see what the history of a particular nym is, and thus provide some parallax on current commentary. E.g.:

Lee @431: I'm wondering if we're dealing with someone other than the "Raven" who has commented here previously; the comment history associated with this instance of the nym only goes back a couple of months.

#448 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 01:39 AM:

Dave Bell @434: “I know I can be a fool, but I usually managed to stop before I get this bad”

Now here’s the thing: I've called a fallacy (specifically, an anachronism) “ridiculous”, and a rule “less-than-fully-thought-out”, and for that been accused of “contempt” toward other persons. Yet where had I called another participant such a thing as a “fool”, let alone a “bad” one?

Without pretending to read minds, I suspect what you think is foolish is my taking the risk of being banned by complaining about unretracted false accusations.

Let me ask you: IF this site were to show itself willing to make false accusations without basis, and not reconsider or retract them in the face of rebuttal, but rather to double down and reinforce them with a banhammer, which would be more foolish: getting banned from such an unwelcoming, hostile, and dishonest environment; or shutting up in order to submit to it? Unlike my simply leaving, such a ban would clarify for everyone the site’s position.

Myself, I never thought this topic would be back here. I had originally emailed only Abi (not T&P) privately with my complaints, and inviting her discussion. Rather than resolve the issue that way, she referred it to them. Rather than email me, Teresa brought the topic back here in #402.

So when you say “... I usually managed to stop before I get this bad” — did you then have anyone else dragging matters you tried to discuss privately back into a public forum?

#449 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 01:47 AM:

Jacque @447: While, over the years, my email address has migrated, from solaria.sol.net to hotmail.com to (now) gmail.com, the current limit on my (view all by) history appears to be a site limit and not an address mismatch, as I had numerous comments earlier than that from this same email address. Not the first time the function has been dysfunctional.

Which is what makes pointing to the (view all by) history as definitive so disingenuous.

#450 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 01:48 AM:

Ingvar M @420 (et alii): Thursday evening-ish works splendidly for me, too.

#451 ::: abimea ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 01:58 AM:

Raven,

The fundamental problem, the fundamental underlying disconnect here, is that this site has its own culture, which is not like a Wiki. This has three material implications for your experience in this thread:

1. You mistook the nature of the conversation. Although the topic was factual, the purpose was to have an interesting and enlivening conversation. That is not done by hammering your interlocutors into the ground.

Although the text of your arguments were carefully always on the topic, the tone you used and your dogged persistence has its own message, and that message was, "I have my opponent in my sights and I'm not going to stop until one of us gives up."

It's like following someone around at a party to continue the argument. It sours the whole party after a time.

2. The social norms and rules of this site are not like a Wiki. We here do not accept that Wikis are the only, or even the best way to organize long-time communities. Certainly not long-time communities with a different purpose than organizing information, but quite probably not communities in general.

Some of the norms and rules of this site aren't easily visible. Sometimes their origins are obscure, their manifestations unclear, their purpose baffling. We are aware that newcomers make mistakes or don't get the jokes; we're happy to explain when we're not being verbally bludgeoned.

3. One norm of this site is that the purpose of the moderators is to keep the conversation flowing. We're not a force apart from the community; we participate in the conversation (time allowing). But we also monitor the metadata, if you will, the tone and the manner in which things are said, because the success and failure of a thread as a conversation often stands or falls on those factors as much as the text itself.

Now, you can chop things fine and explain how my use of strawman was not your use of strawman, et cetera adque nauseam, but the actual fact, plain to see on this thread to all who look, is that the conversation was going sour. And when I intervened with a light touch, everyone else stepped back a pace, took a quiet breath. But you doubled down. As PJ Evans said, kept digging. (Note that digging in private, including accusing me of bad faith but still expecting me to listen to your complaints* is also digging.)

At this point, unfortunately, my read of your character is that you want capitulation from a growing list of people who you feel have wronged you. It's not unlike the dogged pursuit you were engaged in that caused my initial intervention.

But feel free to prove me wrong! I'm happy to shrug and say, "Huh. Culture clash. Treat it more like a backyard barbecue, listen when people are telling you you're crossing cultural norms, listen when the mods tell you to back down." Do that, and in a very short time indeed everyone will forget this whole awkward incident.

-----
* Which I did, which is why I have involved not just Patrick and Teresa but also the community. You want a fair judgment? Here's your chance.

#452 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 02:05 AM:

There was a abort for the Falcon 9 at T-10s

Linux is still working.

Otherwise, no change, nor does it seem likely that there will be one.

#453 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 02:08 AM:

So I've done a database search using the significant element of your email address, Raven, and I see 142 comments from 2004 and 2006 under your hotmail address, then 57 from gmail this year. The two aren't connected because it's indexed on email address, but now everyone can see your complete history here in this comment.

If there are other, missing ones, it's because you were using a different significant element. If you can find an exemplar of such a comment (though I also did a database search on "Raven", and none of the others is even remotely a match), I'm sure everyone would be interested to hear it.

#454 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 02:22 AM:

Also, Raven, you did not originally invite me to discussion of my behavior; you originally invited Abi to give you an independent view on Idumea. I told you (quite neutrally) that I was Idumea and referred you to genuinely independent moderators in cc.

That's when you started accusing me of bad faith sockpuppeting (as summarized in comment 433) and yet continued to want to discuss with me.

I have neither the time nor the inclination to be privately bludgeoned by you (or any other member of this community, but people rarely do this to me). So you can discuss it with me, to the extent that I have time for this (I really don't), in public where everyone can be clear on exactly who has said what to whom.

If the consensus of the community (or the site owners, Patrick and Teresa) is that I have wronged you and should apologize, I will duly apologize. But we're doing this in the sunlight.

Actually, that's a very Wiki approach.

#455 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 02:39 AM:

Raven @449: Which is what makes pointing to the (view all by) history as definitive so disingenuous.

'Scuse, please? Where did I declare that the VAB was definitive? ::puzzled::

dis·in·gen·u·ous: adjective. not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does.

How am I being insincere? What is it I am pretending not to know?

(Or is this a kettle/pot thing?)

::scratches head::

Or is it that I'm supposed to know that you've posted under multiple email addresses? (Which would imply that I have access to that data—which I don't, not being a mod.)

Yeah. Kettle/pot, I think.

#456 ::: abimea ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 04:00 AM:

Let's not get too far into the weeds of who does/should know what about (view all by). Certainly, let's not laugh at people for not knowing things; that's rarely productive in the long term.

I can see how Raven made an honest mistake in not checking, or not understanding what he might find. That's mostly interesting because it's symptomatic of his disconnect with Making Light culture.

His previous behavior in this thread, his tenacious assertions that site custom constitutes bad faith, and his ways of dealing with this conflict are all another matter.

#457 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 04:59 AM:

As was the wont, in one of the online fandom textual-based communications wossnames I used to haunt, back when I was still doing usenet, let me furnish you with the recipe for creamed reindeer.

Ingredients:


  • thinly sliced reindeer meat (slices ~1 mm thick), frozen (this is usually sold as "renskav" in Scandawegian stores)
  • onion (white/yellow/red as you fancy)
  • garlic
  • single cream (17% - 25% fat, approximately)
  • salt, pepper (ideally both white and black pepper)
  • butter
  • "bulk" (potatoes, rice, something like that)

Cooking process:
Start by putting a frying-pan to heat, while heating start dicing the onions, you want it fine, but not too fine (slabs that are about an onion-layer thick and 2-3 thicknesses wide are about perfect), and chopping the garlic (again, fine, but not to the point of mush).

Once the frying-pan is hot, add a knob of butter, once that is making satisfying fry noises, put the entire frozen slab of reindeer meat into the frying pan. Leave it alone for 10-20 seconds, flip it over and shred the now-thawed top layer of meat and scoot that off the slab. Iterate until you've shredded the entire slab. This will probably take a few minutes.

Once entirely shredded, add salt and pepper (ideally about three parts finely ground white and one part finely ground black) to taste. Chuck the onion and garlic in, and mix that into the whole messy deliciousness.

Add the cream, it should just about cover the seasoned meat. Put a lid on the frying-pan, drop the temperature to "low", let simmer while you prepare the bulk.

Serve and enjoy, Rudolf never tasted better (unless you take the same meat and make a Blitzen-and-Donner kebab).

#458 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 06:45 AM:

abimea @451: “Although the text of your arguments were carefully always on the topic, the tone you used and your dogged persistence has its own message....”

Thank you for acknowledging that I stayed on-topic, but as to “tone”: at first you insisted repeatedly that I had “contempt” for other participants because I had challenged those of their ideas which I considered erroneous or fallacious... a challenge which, oddly enough, you yourself have retweeted is a responsibility. After my second objection to this mind-reading, you said "Honestly, I don't care about your inner emotional state..." — but never retracted the accusation — and claimed the issue was that my contributions to this discussion have not been "respectful and constructive" (What, never?)... Except, again, respect is due to participants (and other persons), not to errors or fallacies, and I had never yet heard that constructivity forbade refuting errors or fallacies in order to “clear ground” for constructing more solid structures.

> “We are aware that newcomers make mistakes or don't get the jokes....”

You surely are not now about to claim you were joking. In fact, you yourself couldn’t get that it was in a reply to your own “more light” the (as you “scarily” put it) scare-quoted “By some ‘lights’” phrase appeared, so you only found it “regrettable”. My goodness, what awful meaning could light have had, even forgetting you had asked for more of it?

> “... my use of strawman was not your use of strawman....”

Wait, *I* never made that claim; are you now making that claim? Until now, I thought we both meant “strawman argument”, arguing against an argument never originally given. Your #242 seems to support that. But as I pointed out to you, I hadn’t committed that offense. Quite the reverse, it was done against me, without such objection by you. You’ve never acknowledged any of this. Now you leave in doubt what you mean by the term!

> “... when I intervened with a light touch....”

False accusations, including repeatedly of contempt toward participants (which you later claimed you didn’t care whether I felt or not, but you never retracted either)... escalating to a threatened banhammer for defending myself from those completely unfounded slurs... a “light touch”? No.

> “... digging in private....”

I’m shocked, shocked, after the comments above, saying all I would have needed to do to uncover your identity was dig a little, as the normal and expected thing to do, as something I was foolish to neglect, that you are now leveling this as an accusation against me.

> “... accusing me of bad faith....”

You know, those observations from the wiki-sites aren’t just about wiki-communities, they’re about human nature, and it’s true that you’re free to ignore them just as it’s true that you’re free to ignore laws of physics like gravity, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be subject to the same underlying cause-and-effect you’ve simply shut your eyes to, simply falling down more often because self-blinded. Again: (1) “Things which can cause the loss of good faith include... personal attacks....” (2) “Reasons people stop assuming good faith:... Hiding information. An insistence on withholding information normally shared....” — You personally attacked me from an alternate nym (no explanation for switching from the same nym you’d already used on the same thread); *I* had issued no personal attacks, and this is (I say again) my permanent long-term persona — example links to elseweb on request. [Pointing to (view all by) is a red herring; in fact, that feature has already been used to suggest I’m not really me, so little wonder if I won’t rely on it.]

> “... my read of your character is that you want capitulation from a growing list of people who you feel have wronged you.”

My goodness, who besides you has been a moderator making false accusations, refusing to reconsider or retract in the face of detailed cites/links, only doubling up on threats? Yet did I even ask you to “capitulate”? No. On thread, to reconsider and retract the false accusations, yes. Is that a bad thing? And, full disclosure, in email I also did ask: (1) “I still really truly would love to hear from you in your own persona, guided by the ‘Be Appropriate’ teaching, in (perhaps calmer?) hindsight on the matter.” (2) “Again, I’d like to know what *socially responsible* ‘Abi’, not the unaccountable cardboard mask (or Balok’s-puppet) Idumea, thinks about it. What if our positions had been reversed?” — So why do you suggest here that I have been demanding “capitulation”?

You, not I, referred the issue to T&P, they have merely as yet not taken action (other than T’s posting #402 to bring the issue back here), and to them I had written (after your referral): “Nobody is the boss of you; ML is your private site.... Of course you owe me nothing, including explanations.” Not a hint in there about “capitulation”.

Really, what has happened to basic reading comprehension?

That banhammer, Abi, waving that banhammer to require that your accusations be accepted without defense was demanding capitulation. How should people read your character from now on?

#459 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 06:56 AM:

@Ingvar: Can you see any reason why this wouldn't work with "regular" venison? Reindeer meat is a bit hard to come by in these parts, and it would make a change to the usual roast-with-juniper-berries thing I do with it.

#460 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 06:57 AM:

Let us now observe the writings of all and see that it was decided, that a Gathering of Light was to be, on Thursday , the tenth day of August, at the seventh hour past Noon, at a place yet to be determined, for no one has yet to survey the venue so as to find a most suitable place.

I'll be arriving Wednesday, pick somewhere and update people "sometime Wednesday". If someone knows of a Good Spot, feel free to preempt me picking one and simply augment the When with a Where.

#461 ::: johnofjack ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 07:09 AM:

Open Threadery: I recently finished Seanan McGuire's Down Among the Sticks and Bones, and liked it a lot--even more than Every Heart a Doorway, I think.

I did find a typo in it (just one, which I think is good for a first edition). I'm told typos are best reported to publishers, but none of the contacts I'm seeing on the Tor page at MacMillan look appropriate for it. How should typos best be reported to Tor?

#462 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 07:15 AM:

ObSF: can someone please check that the character with poor impulse control does not have a motorcycle with a radioactive sidecar, please?

#463 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 07:25 AM:

I think at this point all relevant information is visible to the community, and my position is sufficiently clear.

I leave the community and site owners to draw conclusions therefrom. That should be the reality check that Raven so greatly desires.

#464 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 08:00 AM:

Dave Crisp @ #459:

It works with moose, so deer should be perfectly fine. The flavour will probably be subtly different in all cases (I usually describe reindeer as "tastes like moose, but not as gamey; or venison, but gamier").

The main problem I foresee with scratch-making it is getting the initial set of thinly-sliced meat, but there's ways around that, as well.

#465 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 08:32 AM:

@Raven, you are making incorrect assumptions about the community norms and culture of the Fluorosphere. Please step back, take a deep breath, let it go, and start over. Please.

#466 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 08:34 AM:

@457, That reindeer recipe looks wonderful. Except the only thinly-sliced-and-then-frozen-in-a-block meat I can think of that's readily available in the US is bacon. Mmmmm, bacon. But I think bacon would probably be too fatty for this recipe.

Can it be done with, say, a pound or two of frozen ground meat like turkey or beef?

#467 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 08:52 AM:

Cassy B @ #466:

If you have a slicing machine (as sometimes seen at deli counters, I guess?), it should be able to produce thin slices. Otherwise, if you have a decently sharp knife, you can use a chunk of meat that's just on that tricky intermediate "neither thawed nor frozen" to get really thin slices. Then stack them and freeze them yourself.

It's still tasty with ground meat, but you don't get quite the same texture. I mean, with ground meat, it'd almost be hamburger gravy, if I recall correctly.

What I don't recall is if the cuts are across or along the muscle fiber grain, but from the way it shreds, I think it pretty much has to be across the grain.

#468 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 09:03 AM:

More frozen meat cooking!

"Frost Lump" (best translation I can think of for 'tjölknöl', where 'tjäle' is the frost in the ground, that if it doesn't thaw becomes permafrost; and 'knöl' literally means lump)

Take a large-ish lump of meat, the closer to spherical the better. Aim for 3+ kgs (that'd be 7+ lb. if you're not metric). Freeze until frozen solid (traditionally, this would be "leave it outside during winter, or a few days"). Once frozen, cook at 80-95 degrees Celcius (what, 180-200 Farenheit, I guess?) for ~12 hours. Pare off the tough, desiccated outer bark, slice the moist delicious inside, eat. Possibly with other stuff. A chanterelle cream sauce goes beautifully with at least moose frostlump. You may want some bulk, as well. But, FROST LUMP!

Ahem. Yes. If you want to be super-traditional, the freezer is just an unheated shed and the cooking is done by plonking the meat on the top bench of your sauna.

This does waste a fair bit of meat, I suspect that wrapping the meat up in something might preserve more meat, but probably changes the balance of moisture in unpredictable ways. The freezing should produce small crystals inside the meat, basically tenderizing it from the inside.

#469 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 09:53 AM:

464: But not, one hastens to add, with Cadbury Moose.

#470 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 09:53 AM:

Jacque @455: Where did I declare that the VAB was definitive?

You didn't; you weren't one of those arguing the reliability of View All By in defense of nym-changing, so that was not referring to you. I'm sorry it looked that way by reason of its placement and vague phrasing.

abi @453: W..T..? Well, that's me back in 2006, yes. (Note that View All By was malfunctioning back in 2006 too....)

And I legitimately got a late start in 2017 because I started January in the hospital with bronchitis which turned into pneumonia which (with my myasthenia gravis) went downhill badly and hit congestive heart failure; unconscious for days, intubated, ICU, NICU, a month inside, then another 2+ months coughing up at home, before I could even think about getting back online. I have lost 60 pounds since the start of the year, maintaining my negative buoyancy....

But what the heck happened to the decade in-between? This site isn't just bookmarked, it's on my main links page that I run through every day I get online (most days, health being what it is). I have clear memory of... gahhhh.... No, I don't any more. Not since those first 3+ months of the year, nearly out of the world.

So a decade of posting here that I was remembering may never have happened. Patched together from scraps, as easily as any momentary or minute-long span to explain a blank. Unsettling. I've got to read through the archive.

#471 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 09:54 AM:

Jacque @455: Where did I declare that the VAB was definitive?

You didn't; you weren't one of those arguing the reliability of View All By in defense of nym-changing, so that was not referring to you. I'm sorry it looked that way by reason of its placement and vague phrasing.

abi @453: W..T..? Well, that's me back in 2006, yes. (Note that View All By was malfunctioning back in 2006 too....)

And I legitimately got a late start in 2017 because I started January in the hospital with bronchitis which turned into pneumonia which (with my myasthenia gravis) went downhill badly and hit congestive heart failure; unconscious for days, intubated, ICU, NICU, a month inside, then another 2+ months coughing up at home, before I could even think about getting back online. I have lost 60 pounds since the start of the year, maintaining my negative buoyancy....

But what the heck happened to the decade in-between? This site isn't just bookmarked, it's on my main links page that I run through every day I get online (most days, health being what it is). I have clear memory of... gahhhh.... No, I don't any more. Not since those first 3+ months of the year, nearly out of the world.

So a decade of posting here that I was remembering may never have happened. Patched together from scraps, as easily as any momentary or minute-long span to explain a blank. Unsettling. I've got to read through the archive.

#472 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 10:06 AM:

I would be happy if someone deleted my duplicate post #471 and this one, please; I'd gotten an error message.

#473 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 10:08 AM:

View all by was entirely rewritten from the ground up in 2009.

Until this conversation, we have not had any reports of its unreliability since then.

#474 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 10:30 AM:

Eek, Raven, that sounds like a seriously unpleasant illness, and I'm glad you're through it.

As a small note, I've found that the italics in your comments-- not the quoting ones but the regular-speech ones-- are reading as shrill, mean, argumentative, and gotchaish. Quite a lot of your comments seem to be aiming for a gotcha, really, and the italics don't help at all. At least for me; I'm one of those people who doesn't read long italicized portions of books (well, long italicized poem-formatted portions of books, my enjoyment of Redwall notwithstanding) so grain of salt anyway.

I also don't think that you're going to achieve what you seem to want via this thread. An admission of wrongdoing, poor behavior, tyranny... as you have said repeatedly, you understand that you aren't owed anything here, and those who think that bringing a private conversation public isn't best practices* are unlikely to jump into an unpleasant situation. I really just want it to stop, and I will process and make further decisions later. Sometimes you make your point once and wait for the seed crystal or yogurt starter or whatever metaphor you like to take effect.

*this includes me, and really, I just wanted to mention the italics.

#475 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 10:37 AM:

Jenny Islander @362: I love it. The better you know Tumblr, the funnier (as in funny-accurate) it gets.

It would be a group effort, because Tumblr.

Raven @429:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @402: “... are you clear that we're not a branch of Wikipedia, and have very different rules?”
“Site rules” are not the point. Wiki-sites have those rules for good reasons.
Oh, f*ck you and the high horse you rode in on. :) :) :) Site rules are absolutely the point. We even have a certificate saying so. It's official.

You don't get to browbeat Abi about How They Do It Elsewhere, with the not-very-subtle implication that the rest of the internet would think your behavior is just swell. This is Making Light. Site rules rule. Also, Abi knows Wikipedia's rules -- by my estimate, better than you do -- as well as the rules of a fair number of other forums. Also, I phoned up the rest of the internet for a quick chat this morning, and it agreed that your behavior, and your excuses for your behavior, will neither fly nor hold water. So there.

:::::

This is hardly the first time I've seen the set of tactics you're using. I associate them with my time as moderator of Boing Boing, because they came up so often; but they were hardly new to me then. In this gambit's most basic form, a commenter who's been warned about their behavior invokes a folkloric set of rules, and protests that since their behavior fell within those rules, it must be okay.

The usual rules they invoke: Stick to the subject, no naughty words, no personal attacks, take it to email.

What's striking about this fictional rule set is the issues it doesn't recognize, like tone, engagement, cooperation, taking an interest in what others are saying, how the other commenters are reacting, the overall health of the conversation, and whether you're being a bore. You may be an enemy of discourse (to use Jo Walton's phrase), and have turned a cheerful and wide-ranging conversation into a morass of recriminations and multi-level nested quotations, but! You didn't use any naughty words while you were doing it, so it's okay!

It's not okay.

And ___ may differ with them on the giving end of Assume good faith — but, per email, not the demanding end. (Forgetting that “Things which can cause the loss of good faith include... personal attacks....”) [See also the MeatballWiki version, re: “Reasons people stop assuming good faith:... Hiding information. An insistence on withholding information normally shared....”]
This is embarrassingly rudimentary stuff. Why are you lecturing Making Light's commentariat about it?
Likewise, you may differ on having sockpuppets
Sockpuppets? Such twaddle so nonsense wow.
in order to be more abusive ...
Do not pretend you've been abused. Just don't. That word does not pertain to your experience here. You've been gratuitously adversarial, all elbows, since the start of this conversation. Idumea issued one general hint -- "Less heat, more light, please," politely forbearing to mention that you were 90% of the problem -- and you've been escalating ever since.
...than the main account. But then, even here I seem to recall something about the good reasons for sockpuppets being limited to such things as career protection and medical privacy. Oh... it’s still legal as long as fingerprints or other clues to the truth are left behind (à la the Thieves’ Guild card)? Well, heck, maybe that’s even the future state of the law.
If your ear for language were as good as you believe, it should long ago have told you that Abi and Idumea are the same person. If your grasp of forum rules were as authoritative as you pretend, you should have noticed that Abi and Idumea have the same powers, responsibilities, and range of social roles. And if you had ever once clicked on View All By, you would have seen a clear, complete, in no way obfuscated history of Abi and Idumea's comments being posted from the same account.

Your embarrassment is not our fault. Stop recycling it as unjustified anger.

How have you escaped noticing that good conversation is a shared, cooperative enterprise? You've generated all this unpleasantness because you're outraged that someone quietly told you to tone it down. There is no dignity in that reaction. If you're out of elementary school, you're old enough to know better.

On a personal note, I am seriously unimpressed by the mail you've been sending Abi. "Taking it to email" is not a euphemism for stepping up the hostile language and bizarre accusations.

You may want to take a closer look at the seal on our Moderation Certificate.

It’s your and Patrick’s site, Teresa; you not only don’t have to follow anyone else’s rules, you don’t have to follow your own rules. As I said starting out, nobody is the boss of you; as I wrapped up, you owe me nothing, including explanations.

So why imply, here, that I suggested (of all silly things!) that you were bound by Wikipedia’s rules?

Don't even try that dodge, boyo. How much do you like your vowels?

#476 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 10:43 AM:

Just to be clear, as far as this particular site owner is concerned, Abi's behavior has been exemplary.

Most of us have, at one time or another, done most of the following things: gotten too confrontational in what was previously a casual conversation; gotten affronted when asked to tone it down; taken offense at someone's characterization of our behavior; gotten stuck on points of pride; and convinced ourselves that if we just explain ourselves at sufficient length, everyone will suddenly realize how completely right we were about everything all along. It's all very human. But you know, most of us get. over. it.

I have way too much to do in the next day, week, month, year, and rest of my life to want to devote another second to trying to explain to this particular nincompoop how their behavior brought on the reactions they find so objectionable.

#477 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 10:46 AM:

Raven @470: I remember the older posts, FWIW. Your tone was different back then.

#478 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 10:54 AM:

Patrick @476: I'd offer to do the explaining, but I'm at the end of a long line of volunteers.

#479 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 10:55 AM:

We have had a couple of other Ravens: Raven on the Hill/Raven Onthill/The Raven (vab) and Inquisitive Raven (vab). But the addresses in the back end don't match this Raven's description of his.

#480 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 11:01 AM:

That would explain the change in tone.

(Translation: Oops, I should have checked.)

#481 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 11:17 AM:

Comment 472 leaves me both deeply vexed and oddly sad.

#482 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 11:20 AM:

To noodle a little at one corner of the linguistics subthread, and since the writing system questions about loan words have come up... Does anyone have any fun examples of loan words that narrow in meaning when loaned?

An easy example is "chai tea", where "chai" in its original context is just the word for tea, but when brought into English it ends up meaning a specific kind of spiced tea. The first time I ran into the phenomenon explicitly myself was when my Japanese teacher explained that a 'party' in Japanese--I believe it comes out as 'paatii' there, but I may misremember a vowel length--isn't a general word for a party, but specifically the type thrown by university students, where you invite the professors to be polite, but they either don't show or only stop by to say hello and then leave, because it would be weird if they stayed.

I also seem to recall there's a word in German that takes some variant of the English for 'single mother' and uses it to mean something far more specific, but damned if I can work it out on fuzzy memory and Google, without my textbook at hand.

#483 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 11:31 AM:

Fade Manley at #482:
Loan words that narrow in meaning when loaned

Salsa

Sombrero

#484 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 11:39 AM:

Fade Manley @ #482:

Swedish has the same loan-word, twice, meaning different things.

We have "sky" (homophone to the other "sky" that means the thing we see when we look up outdoors), pronounced with a... voiceless fricative apparently. This is the sauce-like thing left over from frying meat and is directly stolen from the French "jus".

We also have "juice" (if I was to write an English wordoid pronounced the same, I'd probably render is "youse"), which is stolen from English, where it started as a stolen French "jus".

The former (in Swedish) is only applicable to the juices left over after frying, the latter is (again in Swedish) only applicable to juices from fruits and maybe berries.

That's perhaps a bit further assimilated than you were thinking of, though.

ObBond, the Swedish word for a quick-onset rainstorm is "skyfall".

#485 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 11:40 AM:

Diatryma, from my perspective, this wasn't private correspondence in the same fashion as a personal letter. Raven contacted me on a site issue; I referred him to the site owners, because I was not a suitable person to answer his email. He continued to pursue the (site-related) matter with me; I declined to answer beyond saying that I was not going to. He then, to his credit, dropped the correspondence.

(Generally, I do not see that being a moderator means that people who aren't getting satisfaction from me on-thread are entitled to suck up my limited time and attention with whatever tone and nature of email they choose to fire at me. But that's neither here nor there for the nature of what I have revealed on-thread about the correspondence.)

Teresa made the decision to discuss this moderation matter in public, and she's the boss here. But that's more usual practice than discussing things behind the scenes.

I mentioned two matters first arising in correspondence on-thread, both in response to things Raven said in public: first, that the Abi/Idumea split was what he meant about an "abusive sockpuppet", and second, correcting his misstatement about why he chose to write to me.

This is all very different from revealing information from private, personal correspondence, which I would not do.

#486 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 01:03 PM:

Abi @485: I mentioned Wikipedia etc. as a low-key way to say "Sir, if you do not put down the wrong end of that stick, we will be forced to take action."

(Generally, I do not see that being a moderator means that people who aren't getting satisfaction from me on-thread are entitled to suck up my limited time and attention with whatever tone and nature of email they choose to fire at me.
Same here. I'm a slow writer, and I have a note from my neurologist to prove it. "Taking it to email" takes as much time as any other kind of writing, and it's limited to an audience of one. Odds are, it's not someone I'd normally find interesting.

I'm uncomfortable with the assumption of total confidentiality in correspondence with a (frequently hostile) stranger. They can say anything, including stuff that's threatening, actionable, or direly strange. They can also misrepresent the exchange to others, and if I don't agree with their summary description, my only real option may be to quote what actually got said.

I am indebted to Jane Austen for the concept of forcing a confidence on someone.

The legal status of quoting correspondence that's addressed to a publisher and discusses the content of the publication is interesting but complicated. I won't get into it unless someone else does.

#487 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 01:05 PM:

Fade Manley @482: "I also seem to recall there's a word in German that takes some variant of the English for 'single mother' and uses it to mean something far more specific,"

It's possible, but I've been living in Germany (and mostly speaking German, despite my blogging habits) for 15 of the last 20 years, and I haven't heard anything like that. "Single" is creeping into German, both as noun (usually plural) and adjective, and used just as we do in English.

"Handy" is the German word for mobile phone. Which of course one is; it's still an unusual way to loan a word, I think.

#488 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 01:14 PM:

I have never subscribed to the notion that someone can unilaterally impose an obligation of confidentiality onto me simply by sending me an unsolicited letter -- or an email.

Mind you, I've seen many instances of various people trying that one out, going back decades into the pre-internet era of mimeographed fanzines and paper correspondence. I didn't buy it then and I don't buy it now.

If you want to engage in a confidential exchange, negotiate an agreement to that effect first. "Agreement," you know, that thing that requires the consent of both sides.

#489 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 02:03 PM:

Buddha Buck @ 425:

The Watt (now Kibble, renamed in honor of the man who built it) balance is still in the running. NIST has the measurement uncertainty narrowed way down from previously.

A nice summary from The Register, of all places.
News article from NIST itself.

#490 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 02:09 PM:

I saw a line long ago, and I wonder if anyone recognizes it.

From memory: Criticism, at its best, identifies the qualities which seem to accompany success.

I love the modesty of it-- no laying down the law about what is good and bad.

Now that I think about it, it might an idea from Lewis' An Experiment in Criticism.

#491 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 02:10 PM:

Raven @470/1: I would like to ask if you think your health issues, and general change of circumstance, might actually be affecting the way you're talking here? I've seen you go in this sort of direction a few times before, but this time seems both more pronounced and longer.

Please note that I'm not saying the situation is causing the difference: I'm asking you if you think it might, or if you have even thought about the possibility.

All that said, I'm very sorry to hear about your health problems, and I hope you're feeling totally back to yourself soon.

#492 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 02:27 PM:

Diatryma @474: I'll take your advice to heart as earnest and well-meant. Done at the end of this post.

I'm not trying to express “shrill, mean, argumentative, and gotchaish”* with my typestyles: just normal speaking tones, no shouting; I would say a lot of boldfaced tends to be shouty, but then all links are auto-boldfaced here (and I do post links); CAPS are shouting, along with !s.

* Though, granted, that wouldn't necessarily save me from being shrill, mean, argumentative, and gotchaish... whether I used typestyle emphases or not.

I was raised among Quakers and Unitarians, and finally chose the Fellowship over the Meeting House. Our U-and-then-UU Sunday service featured a talkback after the sermon, the congregation immediately expressing their opinions of what the minister or other speaker had said or related matters. I'm used to people speaking their minds forthrightly, and that being taken peaceably. It's not an expression of contempt or meanness.

[And no, for goodness's sake, I'm not suggesting UU rules do or should govern ML either. Watch the eisegesis, folks.]

I was lucky enough to attend a college with small classes on the Robert Maynard Hutchins Great Books / discussion plan, which felt remarkably similar — both in class and afterwards, sometimes late into the night in dorm lounge discussions. People were respected, but the realm of ideas was ruthlessly plundered. I thought that made for great conversations.

... and done.

#493 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 04:23 PM:

Ingvar M @420

I haven't been commenting at ML for a while - largely because I've been too consumed by anger by various political developments over the last 12 months or so - to be able to sustain the kind of conversation that I come here for - but I'd very much like to come to a Gathering of Light. I'm very flexible schedule-wise, so can fit in with whatever time others settle on.

Would it be OK if I brought my daughter? She's not a commenter here, but talks to a bunch of the commenters on Twitter under the nym @fromankyra (One of her early algorithms for finding people to follow was 'people who comment at Making Light tend to have seem to have interesting and worthwhile things to say.)

Fragano - sorry to hear about the continuing health problems, and best wishes in you search for new purpose and foundations. (My mother went through a similar thing about a quarter of a century ago, though for reasons related to mental rather than physcial health, and ended up for a while as elected deputy mayor of the small market town where she lived. I'm not entirely sure this was the best choice for anyone involved, but it did mean she got to meet Tony Benn, who is/was one of her heroes.)

#494 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 04:26 PM:

I vouch for @fromankyra as an interesting person and a good fit for our community.

#495 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 04:41 PM:

praisegod barebones @ #493:

If she's interested in coming, and thinks it would be time worth spending, then I think she'd be welcome.

That is neither an answer nor an absence of an answer. I am merely the decider-of-time-and-place, this time.

#496 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 05:50 PM:

Raven @492: I would be happy to have a conversation about languages with you! I lurk far more often than I talk, here, but while I'm no linguist, I'm deeply interested in related fields. (Classicist, here.) I have been trying to toss some "Cool language things!" balls out there for people to bat around, since I'm so interested in that particular subtopic.

As someone who feels a bit on the fringes of this community at time--mostly for lack of energy to dive in more deeply--here's my suggestion on a way to adjust tactics slightly. You mention the fun of "the realm of ideas was ruthlessly plundered", and I can see how that would be delightful. But on ML, the realm of ideas tends to be picked through amiably, with interesting bits held up for display to all, and other bits sometimes gently folded back down into the bottom of the chest as not sparking delight in the rest of the audience.

I learned some interesting things about alphabets from what you said, but I was also distressed by the way the conversation heated up. Would you be interested in talking about some of the other linguistic bits that are floating about at the moment? "Loan words that are used for a specific subset of the thing they describe in the original language" are of particular interest to me right now. (I also enjoy seeing it happen to names of places: "The La Brea Tar Pits" is one of those easy illustrative examples.)

Or just some other fun bit of linguistic trivia that you've come across recently that makes you want to hold it up in front of people and say, "Isn't this a cool idea?"

#497 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 06:14 PM:

Doug wrote @ #469

But not, one hastens to add, with Cadbury Moose.

Thank heavens for that.

<raises dustbin lid 25.4 mm and looks around cautiously >

Incidentally: abi/Idumea is an International Treasure.

#498 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 06:18 PM:

Was it Pratchett that had a river whose name translated to 'River river river river river' or something like that? I know I read it, and it seems like something that would show up in Discworld.

#499 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 06:34 PM:

Diatryma @498:

I don't remember that from Pratchett, but there is an apocryphal tale about a village in England near Plymouth whose name translates to "Hill Hill Hill Hill".

There is, of course, that park in LA called "The The Tar Tar" pits.

#500 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 06:53 PM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @475: “... whether you're being a bore.”

Oh, if that had been the sole charge, I would have copped to it. I'm well aware. It's the "strawman" and "contempt" charges I objected to.

“If your ear for language were as good as you believe, it should long ago have told you that Abi and Idumea are the same person.”

I can't be sure, and right now I really don't trust my memory (see #470), but I may quite possibly not have interacted with “Idumea” at all before this. I'm trying to find any record of my having been on here between 2006 and this year, which I had felt sure I'd done. My brain's been through a lot recently.

#501 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 06:57 PM:

Not apocryphal at all, there are two of them:

Breedon on the hill (Bree = Hill, Don likewise means Hill, so you have Hill, hill on the hill".)

Likewise Torpenhow hill (Tor, Pen and How all meaning hill in various languages).

Meh. Or maybe not.

#502 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 06:57 PM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @475: “... whether you're being a bore.”

Oh, if that had been the sole charge, I would have copped to it. I'm well aware. It's the "strawman" and "contempt" charges I objected to.

“If your ear for language were as good as you believe, it should long ago have told you that Abi and Idumea are the same person.”

I can't be sure, and right now I really don't trust my memory (see #470), but I may quite possibly not have interacted with “Idumea” at all before this. I'm trying to find any record of my having been on here between 2006 and this year, which I had felt sure I'd done. My brain's been through a lot recently.

#503 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 07:01 PM:

Afon (Avon) is Welsh for 'river', so "River Avon" = "River River".

#504 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 07:15 PM:

Cadbury Moose #501: Except, right off, Pen[n] in Brythonic (like C/Ken[n] in Gaelic/Goidelic) is “head” rather than “hill”. Pendragon = dragon-head, not dragon-hill, etc.

Tor and How[e], yes.

#505 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 08:03 PM:

Some thoughts on "Wonder Woman" after a second viewing...

(I am impressed that the theater was still mostly full this long after the movie opened,)

(rot13 for spoilers)

1) Zl vavgvny ernpgvba gb gur Nznmbaf punetvat vagb gur Trezna gebbcf unq orra gung vg frrzrq n gnpgvpny reebe gb yrnir gur gbc bs gur pyvssf. Ba shegure gubhtug, Qvnan vf qbja ba gur ornpu naq gurl nera'g tbvat gb whfg yrnir ure gurer.

2) Gurer'f orra fbzr fhttrfgvba ryfrjurer gung gur jne raqvat evtug nsgre Nerf qvrf haqrephgf gur vqrn gung vg jnfa'g whfg uvf rivy vasyhrapr. V qba'g ernyyl nterr jvgu guvf pevgvpvfz. Vg'f znqr pyrne ba zhygvcyr bppnfvbaf gung gur jne vf nobhg gb raq rira jvgu Nerf gurer. Treznal vf pbzcyrgryl rkunhfgrq naq gur Oevgvfu naq Serapu nera'g GUNG zhpu orggre bss. Nerf vf whfg gelvat gb xrrc guvatf tbvat ybat rabhtu gb jva Qvnan bire gb uvf fvqr. Juvpu oevatf zr gb gur ynfg cbvag.

3) Qvnan qbrfa'g yrnir gur vfynaq vs Fgrir qbrfa'g penfu vagb gur frn gb or erfphrq ol ure. Nalbar ryfr jbaqre jurgure Fgrir'f "unq gb qb fbzrguvat" jnf npghnyyl Nerf znxvat n fhttrfgvba?

Rfcrpvnyyl fvapr obgu Fgrir naq gur Trezna gebbcf znantrq gb oernx guebhtu gur vfynaq'f cebgrpgvbaf va snveyl encvq fhpprffvba.

#506 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 08:06 PM:

Just to clarify my point #3 above.

Ol "Nerf znxvat n fhttrfgvba" V zrna gung Nerf npghnyyl tnir Fgrir gur vqrn gb fgrny gur abgrobbx.

#507 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 08:11 PM:

abi 454: If the consensus of the community (or the site owners, Patrick and Teresa) is that I have wronged you and should apologize, I will duly apologize.

If the consensus is true consensus, then I can say definitively that it is not the consensus of this community that you have wronged Raven OR that you should apologize. I block.

If it's more of an overwhelming-majority-opinion kind of consensus, I can't (of course) be definitive. But I'm a NO vote.

praisegod 493: I'd also love to see @fromankyra commenting here!

Cadbury 497: Incidentally: abi/Idumea is an International Treasure.

Hear, hear.

#508 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 08:54 PM:

Michael I #505: Also Rot13'd, as Wonder Woman spoilers:

Fgrir nyfb (juvyr Nerf jnf fgvyy nyvir) jnf whfg nf qevira gb oybj hc gung pnetb, fnivat yvirf, abg rknpgyl jung Nerf jnagrq, jnf vg? Qvnan crttrq jung jnf qevivat Fgrir: ybir. Ab ernfba gb guvax qvssrerag nobhg gur fgneg bs gur zbivr.

Naq vs lbh guvax Nerf jnagrq Qvnan bss gur vfynaq whfg gura, erzrzore, fur pbhyq xvyy uvz. Bapr fur jnf npghnyyl gurer, lrf, gura ur jnagrq gb jva ure bire vs cbffvoyr... fb fur jbhyqa'g xvyy uvz... ohg vs fur pbhyq unir orra xrcg ba Gurzlfpven hagvy nsgre ur'q jvcrq bhg uhznavgl, naq bayl gura zrg uvz, ubj jbhyq gung abg unir jbexrq bhg orggre sbe uvz?

#509 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 09:21 PM:

Diatryma @ 498:

I don't know about Pratchett, but I do recall something along the lines of "Ford ford ford ford Bridge" in Brust. Described much more eloquently and at much greater length by Paarfi, of course.

#510 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 09:53 PM:

In ROT-13, the God of War himself gets Nerfed.

#511 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 10:15 PM:

Cadbury Moose @501 and ff,

In this household, the ur-example is Goonhilly Downs.

J Homes

#512 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 10:34 PM:

Xopher @ 439: In OCS all syllables end in vowels. Then we must have been singing some variant; I clearly remember "Xxx yyy bist" (corresponding to "passus [et] sepultus est"), and "s[j?]edit xxxxx" (IIRC, "sedet ad dexteram patris"). (I was 26; memory is more etchable then.) The score was a loan and I don't have equipment to play the recording, so I'll just have to wonder what the composer was up to. Useful to know that I'll have to be vaguer about this piece.

johnofjack @ 461: I'm torn about DAtS&B; it's a powerful story, but it may be overpowered by the lecturing. (~"This was a mistake" ~"This is where/how so-and-so turned to the Dark Side." etc.) I wasn't completely put off by it, but I was aware of it in a way that I'm usually not aware of the Great Authorial Hand.

#513 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 11:05 PM:

Cassy B @466: readily available in the US is bacon. Mmmmm, bacon. But I think bacon would probably be too fatty for this recipe.

Too salty, too, I would think. But I am by no means an expert, bacon-wise.

Can it be done with, say, a pound or two of frozen ground meat like turkey or beef?

Buffalo, maybe? Dunno how available it is in the eastern US, but it's readily obtained in the West. The Whole Foods in Boulder usually has it, I think.

#514 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2017, 11:57 PM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @486: I am indebted to Jane Austen for the concept of forcing a confidence on someone.

Thank you! A very useful concept. Back In The Day, I had a boyfriend who was going through some Stuff, and wanted me to be his sounding board. Okay so far, but then he wanted a pledge of confidence from me. I declined; I wasn't willing to do the mental bookkeeping necessary. (I wasn't in the habit of discussing any of our interactions with others, but that was beside the point.)

He wound up breaking up with me over this. Go, him. As for me, the bandwidth issue was never really the issue; I'm not sure what was. In retrospect, I'm thinking maybe it was the coercive flavor of the whole thing.

#515 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 12:03 AM:

praisegod barebones @493: Would it be OK if I brought my daughter? She's not a commenter here, but talks to a bunch of the commenters on Twitter under the nym @fromankyra

I can independently confirm @fromankyra's interestingness (and willingness to indulge me in silliness) in our Twitter interactions. Please to wave "hi" to her from @cavyherd!

#516 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 12:08 AM:

Buddha Buck @499: a village in England near Plymouth whose name translates to "Hill Hill Hill Hill

And of course, we have Table Mesa in Boulder.

#517 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 12:13 AM:

Michael I @505: "Wonder Woman"

Oh good! An excuse to share this!

#518 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 12:15 AM:

Diatryma @498, Singing Wren @509: I remember that. It was in The Phoenix Guards, and the name of the place was "Bengloarafurd Ford", which translates in five different languages / dialects as "Ford Ford Ford Ford Ford". After the Interregnum, the Empire built a bridge there, and the town was renamed Troe, both to honor the bridge's architect and because it was shorter. (Paarfi is of course all about the brevity.)

#519 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 12:30 AM:

Patrick Nielsen Hayden @488: “I have never subscribed to the notion that someone can unilaterally impose an obligation of confidentiality....”

Because this echo chamber keeps growing in volume, may I point out: this would be relevant if anyone had tried.

I did not refer the discussion to you and Teresa, and when Abi did, I said you owed me nothing.

When I answered Teresa’s #402 here, people asked why I had bring the subject back to the thread. I said I had not, I had kept it to email, and #402 had made it public — not that she was unentitled to do so, merely that she was the one who made that choice. Since then much text was spent on how Raven doesn't know that site owners have the right to... good grief....

#520 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 12:32 AM:

bring → brought

#521 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 01:56 AM:

CHip 512: A Russian composer might have set music to a mispronunciation, leaving out the yers, or anyone might have worked from a faulty transliteration.

Working from memory (since I can't find any texts right now) I think there should be a front yer at the end of the verb 'sit': /syedit&‌#x012D;/, pronounced like syeh-DEE-tih.

OK, preview isn't showing the character I was trying for; it's an i with a breve (that little u-shaped diacritic).

#522 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 04:14 AM:

Race Traitor Xopher @521: 'sit': /syedit&‌#x012D;/, pronounced like syeh-DEE-tih.

OK, preview isn't showing the character I was trying for; it's an i with a breve (that little u-shaped diacritic).

Try: /syeditĭ/ [with the literal rather than the code].

#523 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 04:32 AM:

Xopher, may I suggest Ergonis PopChar (font map and typer - PopCharX for Mac, PopCharWin for Windows); also, if you use Firefox, the free addon EasyAccent (keyboard shortcuts to accents)?

Or simply bookmark that last linked page (or any other with all the accented characters), then copy-and-paste characters from it as needed?

#524 ::: anhweol ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 05:36 AM:

512, 521;
there is a difference between modern(ish) liturgical (New) Church Slavonic (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_Slavonic_language), and real Old Church Slavonic with its reconstructed pronunciation as in the oldest manuscripts.
The former has multiple different regional modern pronunciations vaguely corresponding to modern languages (though with some archaic features preserved from a few centuries back, e.g. no akanie in Russian) but lacking the pronounced yers and with a lot of other substitutions for obsolete sounds. E.g. Russians merge 'e' and 'yat' as 'ye', others will keep them distinct, and I don't think anyone does the nasal vowels. Composers of Orthodox church music will use the appropriate New Church Slavonic pronunciation for their area.
(I recently had to get up to speed on modern Russian version of Church Slavonic when singing the Rachmaninov Vespers with my choir)

#525 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 06:22 AM:

I use WinCompose for getting accented / non-Latin characters on Windows. It works just like the compose key on a mac, and has the additional easter egg that compose followed by the Konami Code flips a table: (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻

#526 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 12:07 PM:

Googling revealed this which appears to be a virtual keyboard for some version (s) of Church Slavonic.

#527 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 01:11 PM:

Raven @500:

I'm trying to find any record of my having been on here between 2006 and this year, which I had felt sure I'd done. My brain's been through a lot recently.

Are these comments yours? Found via a google site-search for "Raven", and a VAB.

#528 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 01:25 PM:

Apart from one comment as Raven and one as The Raven, all the comments in that view all by are variants of Randolph. The backend email address doesn't match the significant element of the email address that this Raven has provided in both his view all by and his correspondence.

(The way that view all by works is that it takes the username and email address from the comment whose (vab) link you click on. The username goes at the head of the page. The backend looks up the email address from the comment and populates the result with all comments from any username that have that email address. But the page header is based on the name of the comment you clicked.)

#529 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 01:50 PM:

I would say something complex, nuanced, and full of interesting historic and linguistic observations about the semantic network covered by Brythonic "pen(n)" but somehow I'm just not feeling like I have the stamina to do so at the moment.

#530 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 02:01 PM:

Raven,

The reason I called comment 228 a strawman is that it is predicated on the notion that your interlocutors have proposed 21 years — or any set timeline — for the propagation and acceptance of new theories across all fields of knowledge. They didn't. Arguing against it is a strawman argument.

If you are happier with "ludicrous analogy", I can go with that. But just as your consistent and persistent pursuit of victory to the detriment of the conversation (not to mention rhetorical effectiveness) was rude, so your use of such a ludicrous analogy immediately after I asked for better conversation was an act of contempt for both me as a moderator and (more importantly) your interlocutors, who deserved better.

As a moderator, I'm not all that keen on having people thumb their noses at me. As a human being with (at the moment very) limited time and energy, I'm very much not keen on the amount of said time and energy you're soaking up as you, as Teresa put it so well, recycle your embarrassment as unjustified anger. That's why I threatened, not to ban you, but to give you a week off. (That's not a ban, that's a break.) To get you to back off and cool down.

So then you sent me an email asking me for a reality check. Being as I was unable to give you the independent perspective that you desired, I passed it to people who could. Furthermore, as a moderator, it is always my right and my responsibility to bring in additional voices.

Those additional voices have spoken, but they didn't say what you wanted them to.

If you can't see any way to reach a rapport about this incident, which will include accepting my authority as a moderator and either backing off or approaching disagreements with the understanding that, whether you like my phrasing or not, something you're doing isn't working in the conversation, then I'd suggest you take your leave, and I'll leave it to Patrick and Teresa to decide whether to shut the door behind you.

If you do want to seek rapproachment, I need to hear you back off of your shifting but ever-negative narrative around your emails, and your assertions that site custom and culture constitute bad faith.

Furthermore, I need you to acknowledge and live with the fact that Making Light has a site culture that, while working with the same human characteristics as Wiki culture, takes a different approach to solving them. It's how we do it here. If it works with you, work with it. If not, then you're never going to be comfortable here, and it might be best for all concerned if you go somewhere where you're going to be happier.

#531 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 02:43 PM:

abi @528

Sorry, my mistake.

#532 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 02:44 PM:

lorax,

A well-meaning attempt is never to be scorned. And it's easier to figure out what happened with access to the back end.

#533 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 05:30 PM:

Just checking in to say I'm not dead. Life has been life; busy, strange, happy, sad.

More of the penultimate than the ultimate, and no question that it's a good life. I spin, I tweet, I don't write as much long form as I want to, for reasons I can't explicate.

I have to say, this thread has been hard to read. It's always painful to see someone getting harshly defensive over a gored ox. I've done it. I like to hope I've responded well to gentle criticisms. It's heartening to see the overall culture is as it was; comity being striven for, even when things are harsh.

Now I think I shall start a lamb shoulder, blade roast, and head to the grocer for vegetables to go with it.

I won't be in Helsinki: lots of reasons, the greatest of which is that this year has been a whirlwind of travel, some of it known to be just a bit too far too butt up to the con. Even if it had been possible to stretch the trip... we have a standing convention which is just after the familial visit in which wasn't quite against it. No way to manage three weeks out of the country; certainly not with the other travel which was more once in a lifetime (a family re-union, of a family spread not only across the US, but also in England/Europe).

I shall try (but make no promises) to be more present here, as it is; in so many ways, my touchstone for what communitt on the net should be. Not perfect, but working toward making light.

#534 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 05:42 PM:

Terry Karney @ 533 ...

I'm glad to hear you're doing well, for the most part. It seems like there's been a lot of resurfacing of late -- perhaps a sign of metaphorical spring?

#535 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 06:09 PM:

#461, johnofjack: "How should typos best be reported to Tor?"

Simplest answer: email me at my Tor address, pnh@tor.com. I'll forward your email to the production people.

#536 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 06:13 PM:

#493, praisegod barebones: "Would it be OK if I brought my daughter?"

One, I am absolutely chuffed that you'll be in Helsinki, and two, of course it would be great if you brought your daughter.

Also, I just followed her on Twitter, hoping that's okay. She certainly seems like one of the smart ones, and we're depending on those.

#537 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 06:17 PM:

Abi, #530:

If you do want to seek rapprochement, I need to hear you back off of your shifting but ever-negative narrative around your emails, and your assertions that site custom and culture constitute bad faith.

Quoting this because it's absolutely correct.

Really not going to argue about it.

#538 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 06:26 PM:

Michael I @505: #1: I agree. It's tactically shaky, but believable. It's infinitely better than "Faramir demonstrates how not to respond to an amphibious attack," or "Gandalf executes a cavalry maneuver that couldn't possibly have succeeded in real life."

I have nothing to add to your second point except my further agreement.

#3: I'd call that one an unforeclosed possibility, with the understanding that it's very hard to rule out all the unwanted possibilities in a story. I don't see any compelling reason why it couldn't have been set earlier in the war, or would have turned out differently if it had.

The other thing I might call it is interesting head canon, if you're into that sort of thing.

JohnofJack @461: What's the typo, and where does it occur?

Jacque @514: Yeah, that. If you trust someone enough to tell them stuff in confidence, why demand an additional pledge of confidence? It feels overcontrolling.

David Goldfarb @518: Thank you. I was about to say the same thing to Diatryma and Singing Wren.

I asked Steve once whether there was a reference to "Benford" buried in that anecdote, but he said no, he was just riffing on the Torpenhow process.

Raven @519:

Because this echo chamber keeps growing in volume, ...
That's "echo chamber" as in "There must be some hidden reason why everyone is disagreeing with me at once."
When I answered Teresa’s #402 here, people asked why I had bring the subject back to the thread. I said I had not, I had kept it to email, and #402 had made it public — not that she was unentitled to do so, merely that she was the one who made that choice. Since then much text was spent on how Raven doesn't know that site owners have the right to... good grief....
We're trying to get your attention. We're trying to get you to wake up and notice that what you've been doing has not been working, and entertain the notion that there might be other ways to conduct yourself in a conversation.

I'd have more hope if you'd noticed that other commenters have been trying to entice you into more interesting lines of thought.

(I'm sorry your brain's been through a lot. You're not alone. Try to act like you know that.)

We don't want to win the argument. We want to have a great conversation, ideally with you in it. But if you insist on making your own participation be about winning and losing, I tell you now: you will lose.

Heather Rose Jones @529: You'll do it on another day. In the meantime, I hope you feel better.

Abi @530: What you said, and all of what you said.

:::

Raven again: My internal sense of myself is that I'm a very patient and forbearing person; but over the years I've come to recognize that that's only true if what's being measured is the distance between my impulses and my behavior.

In real life, Abi is far more patient and forbearing than I am. When someone rejects the obligations of mutual civility, effectively declaring that they're outside the social contract, she feels bad about it. Her mind doesn't immediately jump to "They are now fair game for experimentation," which right there makes her a better person than I am.

Emotional labor: it's a real thing. The world runs on it.

You've wasted more than enough of Abi's time and effort. You may not notice or regret it, but I sure do. I'm booting you out for a week. If you come back unimproved, I'll make it permanent.

#539 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 06:31 PM:

Raven, #519:

Patrick Nielsen Hayden @488: "I have never subscribed to the notion that someone can unilaterally impose an obligation of confidentiality...."

Because this echo chamber keeps growing in volume, may I point out: this would be relevant if anyone had tried.

Hard though it may be for you to grasp, I was not actually addressing something you had said, and you are not the sole focus of conversation in this thread. Yes, I know, it's incredible.

As for your "echo chamber" crack, yes, I know, more than than one person has disagreed with you.

I did not refer the discussion to you and Teresa, and when Abi did, I said you owed me nothing.

"I said you owed me nothing." Yes, this is the usual passive-aggressive-libertarian I Will Respect Your Property Rights So Long As You Respect My Right To Be An Abusive Asshole routine.

#540 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 07:13 PM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @538: One window into the way my mind and memory work, is that I didn't have to look any of that up.

#541 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 07:23 PM:

Hobby Lobby, craft & hobby outlet owned by obnoxious religious zealots of the women's health care denying variety, is paying a $3 million fine for illegally importing looted Iraqi artifacts.

I am hoping they turn out to be recipes for Babylonian magic boner medicine.

#542 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 07:32 PM:

Teresa #538: Thank you. It's unfortunate that Raven was unwilling to accept milder corrections, especially given that all the present mods were amazingly patient and forbearing with him. I do hope the enforced break will let him find a new perspective.

#543 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 07:36 PM:

I finally convinced myself that if I try to assemble my responses to everything of interest in this open thread we'll be on the next one before I get around to it. Especially on orthography. So, picking one thing:

Fade Manley@482: It's not exactly a narrowing, but my first thought was of the kind of multiple borrowing described by Ingvar M@484. My favorite example in English is triplet of "dish", "disk", and "discus", all of which derive by various paths from δίσκος.

#544 ::: Tsotate ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 07:45 PM:

@466 There's frozen sliced beef sold for making Philly cheesesteaks, which would likely work better than bacon.

#545 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 08:25 PM:

After observing the furor over NPR's tweeting of the Declaration of Independence, a friend of mine has obligingly provided a translation from the original into phrasing that the people objecting are more likely to comprehend.

(It should be noted that he grew up in, and still lives in, one of the reddest parts of rural East Texas, so he's using the language he hears around him every day.)

#546 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 08:30 PM:

praisegod barebones @ 493 "Would it be OK if I brought my daughter?"

In case it need be said, I have been completely delighted to begin making the acquaintance of the girl from ankyra on Twitter and may almost be as excited about meeting her as she is about meeting me.

#547 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 09:09 PM:

Bear breaks into boy's bedroom, says, "Ow, that was a really bad idea," and leaves immediately:

https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/wildlife/2017/06/29/bear-breaks-through-window-into-sleeping-boys-bedroom-in-south-anchorage/

I found it interesting because it highlights the realities of living cheek by jowl with wildlife. It's likely that the bear was not actually planning to break into the boy's room; it just sort of happened. Possibly a dog, a moose, or another bear was chasing it; possibly it saw its own reflection in the glass and got mad. Anyway, it did not see a human, go, "Whee! Food!" and eat the kid. It whimpered (possibly because it was bleeding and had just had an unexpected fall to the floor) and left.

We're usually not being targeted by the wildlife. We're just sort of there.

#548 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 09:59 PM:

Raven 522-3: Thank you, those are very helpful suggestions.

anhweol 524: That explains a lot! I was taught OCS by a Slavicist linguist who attempted to get us to pronounce it as it was by native speakers before Cyril and Methodius converted them.

Dave 525 and praisegod 526: Also very helpful. Thank you.

#550 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2017, 11:12 PM:

eric at #251: Indeed! My dad was overjoyed when someone wrote and released software that made it possible to write in Kannada on Windows. He posted a thank-you on Usenet that I still think about:

Congratulations for your achievement on the Kannada 'baraha' concept on Cyberspace!

On behalf of myself and of the Kannada Community abroad I would like to thank you for the help you have rendered in propagating and the retention of Kannada - through this 'baraha' software programs on Cyberspace.


You must have spent quite a considerable time on developing this family of Software and thanks to your sustaining interest and noble service attitude, it will help the Community very much from now on.

No doubt, there is room for improvement, but that can wait - the important news is, a giant stride has been already been put in the right direction and you deserve all the credit!

May God bless you!!

That was a little under twenty years ago. I ought to write enthusiastic fan letters to the creators of software I love, too.

#551 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2017, 01:44 AM:

I need to figure out how to get notifications of new posts on ML when Twitter isn't reliable about letting me know.

Also, connecting my vab as the previously tagged email is now defunct.

Magpie brain has seen too many things to respond to in the thread, including lots of shininess around language. As I read most of the thread on a plane, I didn't note them all, but merely wish to say that I adore this community and should try to get back.

In HLN: area woman and her husband are both unemployed & looking in CT/MA.

Also in other HLN: area woman holding down the CONvergence art show, if people are in Minneapolis.

#552 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2017, 07:21 AM:

Sumana Harihareswara@550: I really, really strongly encourage anyone feeling pleased with a creation to go tell the creator(s). Even a really short bit like "I just read/listened to/{whatever} this piece, and loved it!" is entirely in order. More details are in order, too, but never in the sense of "you must have at least this much exposition to express appreciation".

I don't know, or know of, anyone who makes stuff to share with the public who feels they're getting too much appreciation and good vibes. I do know quite a few who struggle sometimes or constantly with the sense that this is a lot of work that maybe doesn't actually matter to anyone and what is the point of continued struggle when times are going to suck anyway, and like that.

So...yes. Use whatever tools are at hand to say something once in a while to someone who made a thing you like. It's good for the world. :)

#553 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2017, 11:32 AM:

I have a possibly false memory of reading here about a CEO who hit a bicyclist with a car, killing them, and used "stock price" as a defense for why he shouldn't be charged. My google-fu is insufficient; can someone help me?

#554 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2017, 12:48 PM:

Sisuile @ 551

I have no idea whether I have connections that might help, but if you want to contact me by email I will happily see if there is anyone in my network looking for people with your or your husbands skillsets. I'm in the BDL area--don't know if that's the right part of CT/MA or not.

This username at google's mail.

#555 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2017, 03:48 PM:

Fade Manley #482:


The Spanish word 'queso' merely means 'cheese', but in American English is rapidly becoming one kind of melted cheese.

The English word 'handy' has several meanings, several of which have to do with general utility. In German it means 'mobile phone'.

#556 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2017, 04:02 PM:

My favorite array of vocabulary doublets are those where English got a "sh-" form by the usual channels and a "sk-" form from Norse pathways.

ship - skiff
shirt - skirt
possibly: shrimp - scrimp (though sources are hesitant on this one)

#557 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2017, 04:25 PM:

A fascinating piece of episodic multimedia scifi has begun, published by SB* Nation of all places. The internet is an amazing place.

*"Sports Blog", apparently. I was hoping for "sportsball".

#558 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2017, 04:44 PM:

Some comments in reply to comments:

re comment 74: I'm going to take issue with this: "Overtaking on the inside" being a particularly bad thing to do, apart from it being illegal, but it's very hard to see someone doing that to you, therefore dangerous. That is true even if you take your car to the wrong country."

Passing/overtaking on the "Inside", per this nomenclatural rule: is the preferred method. The "passing lane" is on that side in both the US and the UK, because it is the side on which the blind spots are easiest to overcome, and to which the driver can most easily clear when changing lanes to overtake.

There are signs on trucks, (where the passing side is the side on which the driver sits).


Xopher: re "for": I have heard the following sort of exchange many a time, "Why did he do it?" "For no reason".

Re 263 (august, August). As a name they are the same; yet as an adjective (i.e. she has a most august personality) they shift.

Fragano at 555: This may be a regionalism (esp as I have a lot of California in my scope of awareness), but in the NY area folks use "queso" to mean either queso fresco, or queso blanco.

By me (see above), it's just cheese :)

#559 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2017, 04:50 PM:

HA! I have found hidden functions on my Belkin iPad case.

My previous case (by Logitec) had ctrl functions for "home" and "end", on the cursor keys. This one does not (though "select" is an option for left/right). So I poked about a bit.

Up/down are one line. Option = scroll. Command/flower = home/end.

ML just got a lot easier to navigate on my tablet. ML on the go.

I am doomed.

#560 ::: Craft (Alchemy) ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2017, 05:02 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @556: I heard somewhere that "skep" (as in bee skep) was also a counterpart of "ship".

There's some excellent examples of that in place names too. Here in Yorkshire we have Shipley (Saxon) and Skipton (Viking). There's also Ulleskelf, where I believe the second element means "ridge" and is cognate with "shelf".

Elsewhere in the country, Chiswick and Keswick are the same kind of pair.

#561 ::: Craft (Alchemy) ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2017, 05:08 PM:

myself @560, an ohnosecond later: aaand I forgot my favourite example. There's an area of North Leeds that used to be called Skyrack; the name now survives only as a Girl Guide administrative district and the name of a pub.

Said pub sits over the road from another pub called the Original Oak. The two are named after the same thing: "Skyrack" is the slightly mangled Norse version of "shire oak".

#562 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2017, 05:44 PM:

I have learned the hard way that if a cheese is described as "queso" (i.e., "Burger With Queso" or "Chips and Queso" or similar) then there is noticeable spice-heat in the cheese. (I'm a spice wimp.)

#563 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2017, 05:50 PM:

On-no-second: also, "queso" on a menu is (in my experience) always a melted cheese, never a solid one.

#564 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2017, 05:52 PM:

560
Skutterskelfe, in north Yorkshire, near Hutton Rudby - it's the area my mother's family was from, before moving south and then to the US.

#565 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2017, 06:25 PM:

Skips are still sort of boatlike in that they are used to haul trash (and certain small craft were/are still called skips), sort of like a land-based barge.

#566 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2017, 07:54 PM:

Race Traitor Xopher @ #253: I like to point out that 'for' is only used to mean "because" in writing and poetry (including song lyrics), never in ordinary speech

Terry Karney @ #558: Xopher: re "for": I have heard the following sort of exchange many a time, "Why did he do it?" "For no reason".

I don't think that's the kind of use of "for" Xopher is talking about, where "for" means exactly the same thing as "because" but with fewer syllables (I immediately thought of "For he's going to marry Yum-Yum", because I was just in a production of The Mikado).

I don't have the jargon to put it specifically, but that's not what "for" is doing in "For no reason". You couldn't have said "Because no reason" instead.

#567 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2017, 07:56 PM:

ohnosecond: I really should have said "for I was just in a production of The Mikado".

#568 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2017, 07:59 PM:

Terry 558: Ah, but that's one of the common uses of for, parallel to 'for the money', 'for the everlasting glory', and especially 'for nothing' (as in "he hit me for nothing"). Not quite the same as the benefactive use ('for his mother', 'for himself'), nor yet quite the use I was thinking of, like "Beware him, for he will swallow you whole and spit out your bones and teeth."

#569 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2017, 08:53 PM:

Xopher: And I am possessed of enough archaisms, and archaic friends, that I use it in just that way, for there are time I find no other usage so perfectly apposite.

I actually did it today.

Paul A: You could substitute "he had, in lieu of "for", Because, is a strange word, in that it has implicit helping structures/achaisms in its very structure (one might even read it as, "for the cause is/was, bringing us 'round again on the guitar"), and it might well (I'd have to dig into my texts) have started as two words, which then agglutinated (this seems more than plausible to me; as a speaker of Elizabethan English).

#570 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2017, 09:10 PM:

In Spanish, mole means many kinds of sauce, but in English its mole poblano, dark chocolate and hot pepper plus other ingredients.

#571 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 12:17 AM:

Also guacamole.

#572 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 01:30 AM:

Regarding "for"

This is just the sort of semantic-relationship analysis I did a lot of for my dissertation (except in Medieval Welsh). Once prepositions start drifting into more abstract senses (or even into being grammatical function words), one has to set aside the notion of them having a concretely definable meaning.

In many cases, use of a preposition in an ambiguous context, where it might be interpretable in multiple ways, results in reanalysis from one distinct meaning to another almost unrelated meaning, by means of a more restricted set of uses in which both meanings are present. But that doesn't mean that the senses in question can be directly derived from each other, except by implication.

A great example of this in English is the development of the construction "going to" from indicating physical motion along a path to a location marked by the preposition "to", to a multi-layered understanding that motion through space requires time, and therefore that the locational goal will be achieved in the future relative to the start of the motion, to the re-analysis of "going to" as marking futurity. Thus, "I'm going to my grandmother's house" is purely motion-through-space-with-goal, and "I'm going to my grandmother's house to eat dinner" is still fairly anchored in spatial motion, but "I'm going to eat dinner" becomes ambiguous with respect to spatial and temporal interpretations, allowing for reanalysis as a future marker, and "I'm going to think about that" pretty much abandons possible spatial interpretation and can only be interpreted temporally, and furthermore brings in an ambiguity between simple temporal sequencing and intentionality.

"For" has a cluster of senses that overlap in specific cases, but can also be used in non-overlapping examples. The cluster of benefactive-exchange-context-causality senses often show up together. Sometimes an actual chronology of reanalysis and branching senses can be traced. Other times it can only be reconstructed from the end result.

#573 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 02:09 AM:

Heather Rose 572: Disambiguation of 'going to' is how I first noticed that in my native dialect only auxiliary verbs can be contracted. The specific case was 'I'm going to vote', which is ambiguous, except that had I meant it as future I would almost certainly have said "I'm gonna vote." (A crossing guard had noticed my crossing the street in an unusual direction.)

Constructions like 'I've plums in the icebox (if my selfish poet husband hasn't eaten them)' are foreign to me. I understand them, but when I use them I feel like I'm putting on an accent.

#574 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 03:02 AM:

Hi! I'm feverish. Have this tiny scene I'd like to see in a vampire novel:

Knowing the vampire's great age, an ancient music consort invites him to the unveiling of a newly rediscovered, meticulously recreated piece.

His initial response: "Whoa. The last time I heard that, I was so drunk."

#575 ::: Craft(Alchemy) ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 05:46 AM:

Heather Rose Jones @572: that's fascinating and very cogently explained; thank you. (I did one semester of Medieval Welsh and the prepositions more or less turned my brain inside out.)

It also reminds me of one time when we were discussing the many uses of the ablative in Latin class, and the professor went off on an excellent tangent about the complications of English verb phrases of the type verb+preposition and how difficult it is to a) translate them and b) learn them as a non-native speaker. His example was "make up". You can make up a story, make up a prescription, make up with someone, make someone up for the stage, make up a missed class or be made up about something - and probably some other things I'm forgetting - all of which are slightly different senses and none of which have anything obvious to do with the normal usage of "up" as a standalone preposition.

#576 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 09:04 AM:

Heather Rose Jones@572 : That was awesome and to be encouraged!

#577 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 09:28 AM:

Talking about prepositions reminds me of my non-infrequent statement, on noticing a thing that's been sitting there waiting for me to get to it/put it away/whatever:

"I need to do something to, with, for, or about that." (Then I leave it there to mellow a while* longer.)

*'a while' or 'awhile'--I'm never sure which to use; I think they have slightly different meanings, but I couldn't articulate them. Or maybe I'm just strange; that's always a possibility.

#578 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 11:45 AM:

@575 Not to mention all the 'up' nouns: make-up, mark-up, fry-up, just off the top of my head.

@572 That was an exceptionally clear explanation. Imma sit and admire it.

#579 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 12:11 PM:

And while we're talking about parallel borrowings/inheritance with contrasting meanings, I've always been very fond of sets of preposition+verb compounds that have the same literal root meaning but entirely different idiomatic meanings, especially when we include borrowings from Greek and Latin. I think my favorite set is the "above" + "see" compounds. If you include when the verbs get nounified, you have:
overlook (but also the geographic noun "overlook")
look over (very different from overlook!)
oversee, oversight
overview
supervise
episcop(al)
and no doubt more that I'm not thinking of at the moment.

#580 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 12:27 PM:

Anyone have any linguistic insights about words with two different meanings diametrically opposed? I'm thinking specifically of "cleave" here ("cleave apart"; "cleave to") but I know there are others which do not come immediately to mind. Is it the preposition's fault, or is it more like "overlook/look over"? (But then, there's a preposition involved there, too...)

#581 ::: Craft (Alchemy) ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 12:55 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @579: to add to that list, via Norman French there's survey (v and n), surveillance, and now surveil(le) which I think was back-formed from the noun?

#582 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 01:31 PM:

"Inflammable."

#583 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 01:46 PM:

Sanction

#584 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 01:58 PM:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/49834/14-words-are-their-own-opposites

http://mentalfloss.com/article/49952/11-more-words-are-their-own-opposites

Fix can mean repair, immobilize, or punish.

#585 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 02:03 PM:

There are so many shiny things about orthography. Picking up on eric@251 as a starting point, I'm really privileged to have my primary language fit into ASCII, so I can enjoy the boundary cases as intellectual exercises without having to suffer through the consequences.

My nym is one of my favorite characters, and a really elegant boundary case. Where lots of alphabets use various diacritics, the Turkish alphabet distinguishes I/ı (without a dot) and İ/i (with a dot) in both lower and upper case. Before the international exchange of electronic data this was a perfectly sensible innovation to distinguish two vowels. Now, though, this one tiny character means that, even if you're restricting yourself to Latin characters, you can't answer the frequently-asked (by programmers) question "are these two text strings the same, ignoring capitalization" without knowing the language of the strings.

I love that one tiny character can break assumptions so neatly; but, as I said, I don't have to deal with software disrupting my (non-work) activities as a result.

#586 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 02:05 PM:

There are two Dutch words, spelled the same in the infinitive but behaving differently in other forms, which are near-opposites:

voorkomen is an intransitive verb meaning "to occur"
voorkomen, on the other hand, is a transitive verb meaning "to prevent"

#587 ::: Craft (Alchemy) ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 02:35 PM:

Cassy B @580, I went and looked up "cleave" in the OED (hurrah for institutional access) and discovered, fascinatingly, that cleave-meaning-stick and cleave-meaning-split have completely different roots, from two different Old English verbs, clífan (stick), and cleofian (split). Several vowel shifts later, they converged on the modern spelling. So I suppose technically they're homographs, rather than two senses of a single word.

OED notes that both stems are preserved in modern Dutch - beklijven (stick) vs klieven (split).


dotless ı @585, that reminded me of this 2015 Medium article about the curious case of the disappearing Ś.

#588 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 03:00 PM:

"Auto-antonym" or "contranym" are the terms I've heard for words with opposite or nearly-opposite meanings. One of my favorites is 'citation', in the sentence

"She was given a citation for ____."

You need to know the full context of what goes in the blank - valor or reckless driving? - to know whether it's a good thing or a bad thing to have received.

#589 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 03:08 PM:

Xopher @573, pericat @578:

When I read Xopher's "I'm gonna vote", my mind was going "No, that's not right... it's either "I'm going to vote", or if I'm going to use "gonna", it's "I'm a-gonna vote". So I'm sort of glad to have the vindication of seeing "Imma sit here and admire it". Clearly the same dialectical impulse, but with a different way of spelling it.

D. Potter @582:

From what I've read, "inflammable", meaning capable of being inflamed, is the older word, and "flammable" is a (bad) back-formation from the other word, stripping it of the (false) prefix in-. Which gets put back on to make "inflammable", meaning not capable of catching fire.

There's a reason why the preferred term for something that is fire-safe is "non-flammable".

dotless @585:

I've been working on old computer code to convert TeX-encoded citation strings in math articles to Unicode. Guess which character I discovered wasn't properly converted when I found a mathematician of Turkish descent who cited five of her own papers? She only has three of them in her last name.

Craft (Alchemy) @587:

I didn't know that about cleave, and I hadn't even thought about it!

It reminds me of the synonyms "island" and "isle", which started with different roots, different spellings, and different pronunciations. One gained an "s", the other lost the pronunciation of the "s".

#590 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 03:42 PM:

On the twitters of this morning, and I quote, "Shout out to the social media intern at Church of England who just accidentally restarted a 500 year old sectarian conflict" from Charles Lawley.

It's got everything in the replies and followups*, including "a legit Catholic priest tweeting Britney reaction GIFs".

--
* found another 'up' word. They are multiplying.

#591 ::: johnofjack ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 05:13 PM:

CHip @ 512: I think I was so taken with the narrative voice that I didn't even notice that. I usually have a strong allergic reaction to moralizing in fiction.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @538: Sorry, I wrote Patrick about that before I saw your comment. Now I'm not sure which response method would have been best. ^__^ Anyway, it's on page 24: "compliment the décor" should be "complement" etc.

#592 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 07:17 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @579:
Don't forget the noun "look-over".

#593 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 09:33 PM:

lorax: I don't know if you can call that a contranymic word though; in both cases 'citation' means 'special thing given in recognition of'. It's just that being recognized for a good thing is good, and being recognized for a bad thing is bad. ;)

#594 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 10:16 PM:

Somebody just reminded me that English has a similar issue to Spanish: some words that are spelled exactly the same way but change meaning depending on which syllable is stressed, necessitating an accent to indicate which word you're looking at. Except that English doesn't have the accent. Compare CONtract and conTRACT, DESert and deSERT.

#595 ::: johnofjack ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2017, 11:43 PM:

Jenny Islander @ 594: Wikipedia describes those as "initial-stress-derived nouns" though I'm not seeing that term in many other places aside from copycat sites. Academics seem to favor phrases like "Stress differentiated pairs of noun and verb."

Has anyone read Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries? I thought it was an entertaining look at the actual work of writing definitions, and it had a few passages which made me laugh aloud (a rarity for me in nonfiction, though it's entirely possible I've been reading the wrong nonfiction). The author also gets into various linguistic topics which people tend to feel strongly about, like "irregardless." It's written by a lexicographer for Merriam-Webster and the author's voice reminds me of the Merriam-Webster Twitter account, so if that's not your cup of tea then you might want to give the book a miss.

#596 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2017, 12:00 AM:

Craft (Alchemy)@587: Yes, I remember reading that; and I suspect there are many similar messes left behind by various once-necessary workarounds. My memory is that Romanian still has problems due to previous lack of computer support.

johnofjack@595: I've been looking forward to Word by Word for a while, but haven't had time to pick it up yet. I've generally loved Kory Stamper's writing—particularly the responses she wishes she could write to the more off-the-wall letters to the M-W editors—so I expect I'll love the book when I get to it.

#597 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2017, 02:23 AM:

re stress, some words have dialectal stresses which further confuse the issue UK/Canada stress produce to mean "fruits and vegetables" the way USians use it to mean generate/bring forth, and vice versa

#598 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2017, 02:23 AM:

re stress, some words have dialectal stresses which further confuse the issue UK/Canada stress produce to mean "fruits and vegetables" the way USians use it to mean generate/bring forth, and vice versa

#599 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2017, 02:24 AM:

And the iPad can produce a double post too.

#600 ::: Jim Parish ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2017, 09:35 AM:

On the stress issue: in current English, "suspect" is another such, with the noun stressed on the first syllable and the verb on the second. Apparently that only clarified fairly recently, though. Claude Rains, in Casablanca, follows the present-day pattern, but only a decade or so earlier, in The Kennel Murder Case, every character (notably, William Powell) stresses the noun on the second syllable.

(There's an interesting John McWhorter podcast on this and related subjects.)

#601 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2017, 09:58 AM:

Patrick @ 493: It would be lovely to meet in person.. And the follow on Twitter is almost certainly the explanation of a very audible exclamation of delight earlier this week.

Others, passim: many thanks for being so welcoming, and for all the lovely things you've said about/to @fromankyra. I can confirm that she's as excited at the prospect of meeting some of you as I am. (And, while I'm at it, this is probably as good a time as any to mention how lovely and supportive many of the people I've met in this neck of the woods have been over the course of what's been a pretty grueling year for her. One of the great things about it is the way it's given her something I wish I'd had before I got to university - namely, the sense of there being a world full of interesting people, doing interesting things in various parts of the world beyond the confines of full-time education. For which, all kinds of thanks to to those who have created and sustained this community.)

Abi @ 586: this reminds me of the behavior of the German prefix 'um', which, depending on whether it is separable or inseparable from it's verbal stem can mean 'to circumvent while doing something' or 'to kill someone by doing something. (Thus, 'umfahren' which as a bare infinitive can mean either to drive around someone or to run them over, but allows one to distinguish which is meant by whether it interacts co-operatively or unco-operatively with other parts of the sentence.)

For further Germanic verb shenanigans, I recommend that people find a largeish German-English dictionary and look up the various meanings of 'auflauf' - roughly, to run over. Among the meanings listed in my Cassells dictionary are 'a riot' and 'a souffle'. When I mentioned to a German friend that I was surprised that any word could cover so wide a semantic range, he was surprised that I was surprised.

In English - or at least, some dialect of it, spoken by those possessed of an expensive Latinate education, or of a clergyman possessed of the same, 'prevent' - has two opposed meanings - the one you'd expect, and another meaning to go before, which appears in an otherwise mystifying prayer about the grace of God preventing us in all our actions.

#602 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2017, 10:05 AM:

Suddenly I need to know everything about sign languages so I can find similar meaning-weirds between them.

#603 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2017, 12:00 PM:

hemn... On the stress issue: in current English, "suspect" is another such, with the noun stressed on the first syllable and the verb on the second. Apparently that only clarified fairly recently, though. Claude Rains, in Casablanca, follows the present-day pattern, but only a decade or so earlier, in The Kennel Murder Case, every character (notably, William Powell) stresses the noun on the second syllable.


I suspect this isn't as clearly solidified as all that. Running through sentences in my head the stresses are variable, in part becase of just how variable the uses are, and places where it stands apart (for want of a clearer way to explain) the stress seems firmer to the rear, but niether syllable seems to be unstressed.

I suspect some still find the usage suspect, and the adjectivle and adverbial uses still muddy the waters.

#604 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2017, 12:02 PM:

My greatest sadness, lo these many years, when I can't make a worldcon; intensified when it's not in the US, is all the people I don't get the chance to put faces, and voices too.

I am there in spirit.

#605 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2017, 02:25 PM:

Pericat@590: Wow. It is as glorious as advertised. Thank you so much.

#606 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2017, 03:31 PM:

Nyaarrrggghhhh.

My old, late friend Rob Downes used to tell of a Word of Power, known to his circle of friends at Aberdeen Christian University (as I recall), that was used to get a person out of a state of MindFuck. Which is something like being verklempt. The word was something like "kestifrekkareshtifarrian."

I wish I knew for sure so I could tell someone to shout it at me.

After a very-promising-looking acquisition of a product line didn't pan out, the end credits of my Career 2.0 are rolling; they're down to the music licensing stuff, so you know you don't have to hold in your pee much longer in your quest to catch the surprise scene at the end.

I'm wondering how hard to look for Career 2.1 job, vs. semi-retirement and Career 3.0 "In Search of Something Fun."

So, question for the group: How hard would it be to use something like Fiverr (sp?) for freelance writing gigs, to earn maybe $12k a year?

This is the approximate value of: ( [What the Senate plan might inflate health insurance premiums to] - [what I anticipated in my retirement plans for them to be])

I'm a pretty good technical and creative writer; when the actual tech writers in the company had trouble grasping a concept I'd be the one to knock out a developer's guide chapter or API docs.

* * *
And while I'm at it, it is hard to describe how utterly surreal it is to go -- in the space of two hours -- from worrying about Sprint planning and a manager breathing down your neck about goal-setting and having to find time to take the company's Business Ethics Training lesson . . . to having absolutely no job responsibilities. The product is kaput; no customers, no prospect for sale except for the salvage version of intellectual property.

But the office is open and I have to the end of the month to take advantage of free coffee, good air-conditioning, and a quiet place to study on-line courses.

#607 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2017, 04:00 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 606: KESTIFREKKARESHTIFARRIAN! It can't hurt, right?

#609 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2017, 12:33 AM:

Fade Manley @482:
"... loan words that narrow in meaning""

I'm not sure if it qualifies (been hesitating to post) but in Malaysia gostan is used to direct drivers reversing vehicles: "Gostan...gostan... okay, stop." I did not discover that it's a corruption of "go astern" for many years. When I did, it sort of made sense that nautical terms were adopted for use on land given the history of the region.

Related example: emergency phone boxes on highway roadsides are labelled "SOS".

#610 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2017, 07:18 AM:

This video examines how a single line of English can vary.

The play's the thing.

#612 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2017, 08:36 AM:

Calling back to an old game, I was thinking about Common Meter, and it occurred to me that there a self-referential song about it had to exist... and so it does. (Timesink warning: Link to TV Tropes.)


#613 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2017, 09:55 AM:

HLN: 11-hour power outage ended half an hour ago. (Transformer fire at major substation.) Area is happy to have electricity back, as temperature yesterday afternoon was in three digits.

#614 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2017, 10:02 AM:

There's a scene in one of Barbara Hambly's vampire novels where the protagonist, a professor of linguistics, is obliged to spend a few hours in the company of a centuries-old vampire, and winds up drawing her into a conversation about Shakespearean original pronunciation from the viewpoint of someone who was there when he was pronouncing it.

#615 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2017, 03:27 PM:

Soon Lee @609: Sounds like it qualifies to me!

I am reminded of a discussion in Spanish class, in my youth, wherein we discussed whether translating "to park [a car]" should use estacionar or parquear. The former was what the book said and the teacher claimed was true, but we all damn well knew that when people talked about it out on the street, parquear, clearly a derivative of the English "to park", was what people actually used.

#616 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2017, 03:46 PM:

Fade Manley @615

There's the old nugget that in Quebec, "on park dans le stationnement", but in France "on se stationne dans le parking."

(Speaking of: Am back from vacation, where ten out of every eleven Parisians said "Ah, you're from Quebec" as soon as I opened my mouth, Somerset cider was delicious, I saw THE MOST INTERESTING BOOK -- more on that later when I have more time to tell the story properly -- and my grandmother in Yorkshire turned ninety in style. Thank you all for the book recommendations far upthread for my niece!)

#617 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2017, 03:47 PM:

615
I'm sure Spanish has words for trains and buses, but the ones on the street are trén and bus. (I've seen trén in safety instructions on the L.A. Red Line. They tend to read like Spanglish.)

#618 ::: Del Cotter ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2017, 03:57 PM:

Also shale/scale/shell/skull, all from either the Norse or Germanic word for husk. In Henry V the Constable of France says

To horse, you gallant princes! straight to horse!
Do but behold yon poor and starved band
And your fair show shall suck away their souls
Leaving them but the shales and husks of men

#619 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2017, 06:03 PM:

P J Evans #617:

The Spanish word for train is "tren" (the Spanish word for "railway" is "ferrocarril", you won't see that very often, but I have noticed it on some signs in Atlanta). The Spanish word for bus is "autobus", however local terms do vary. in Puerto Rico, for example, a bus is a "guagua" ("bow wow").

#620 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2017, 06:48 PM:

619
I've seen freight cars labeled "Ferrocarril del Pacifico". (Figured that was formal, compared to tren.)
It's L.A., I tend to assume that what I'm seeing is everyday local Spanish.

#621 ::: Sarah E ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2017, 07:06 PM:

Jim @ #600 -- I'd also noticed that in old movies, and frequently enough that it plainly wasn't just one actor mispronouncing a line.

I've also noticed that on the rare occasion a detective is termed a "shamus" nowadays, it's pronounced Shay-mus, like the Irish name; where in old movies it was pronounced shamas, like the caretaker of a synagogue.

#622 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2017, 07:15 PM:

Xopher @ 521: Janaček was Czech, not Russian. However, given anhweol @ 524, I can easily see variations in a 20th-century setting of whatever Church Slavonic. (It's also possible that the trailing sound got eaten by the leading vowel of the next word; I know that happens massively in Verdian Italian.) anhweol -- I love the Rachmaninov (although we pronounced ~entirely by the detailed instructions in our edit) even though I can't reliably sing my part any longer (my 64Hz C's come and go).

dotless ı @ 585: Now, though, this one tiny character means that, even if you're restricting yourself to Latin characters, you can't answer the frequently-asked (by programmers) question "are these two text strings the same, ignoring capitalization" without knowing the language of the strings. Is that true in Unicode, or only in ... deprecated ... forms? This is part of what I spent my last professional decade-plus on, but that ended >4 years ago. Files on that job carried a language marker in the header, but I don't know what the practice was in (e.g. per Buddha Buck) TeX.

The 4th-of-July supper I went to after my last posting was amusing; a Spanish/Jewish couple served a list of foods brought by more recent(*) immigrants: paella, ropa vieja(sp?), French lentils, hummus, and I've already forgotten something else suitably non-local.
(*) as compared to the not-as-recent immigrants who brought us roast beef, or the original immigrants who gave us succotash.

#623 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2017, 07:23 PM:

622
Ropa vieja is correct.
(Billboard memory: "Ropa vieja no es el mismo que vieja con ropa." Another in that series was "Lomo saltado no es el mismo que salto de loma." There was a third, but I have lost the memory of it.)

#624 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2017, 09:06 PM:

#618 Del Cotter
"Also shale/scale/shell/skull, all from either the Norse or Germanic word for husk. "

also scull?

#625 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2017, 09:10 PM:

CHip@622: Is that true in Unicode, or only in ... deprecated ... forms?

I believe that the "dotless ı" problem is especially acute with Unicode, since text in Unicode could be almost any language. In my experience, there are lots of contexts where language markers aren't present. (Texts intended for human reading are probably better, especially if non-Latin scripts are supported; databases are often worse.)

#626 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2017, 09:17 PM:

I have read somewhere that there is now a problem with phishing websites that have addresses that LOOK the same as common legit URLs, but have characters that are unicode characters from other languages that happen to look identical.

#627 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2017, 09:42 PM:

Erik Nelson @ 626 ...
It's not a particularly recent problem, but Wikipedia's IDN homograph attack page is a reasonable summary.

#628 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2017, 09:46 PM:

Erik #626: The troublemakers started trying that years ago, but AIUI most browsers quickly implemented countermeasures, like a warning box when non-ASCII characters show up in a URL, or escaping such characters in the URL.

#629 ::: Johan Larson ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2017, 08:46 AM:

@Em

Might your daughter enjoy Enid Blyton's "Secret Seven" and "X of Adventure" books? They feature characters who are very nearly your daughter's age.

I'm not really sure what people today make of the character of George, a girl who really wishes she were a boy. Once understandable, then offensive, and now acceptable again?

#630 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2017, 09:47 AM:

I have a question for any German speakers.

My father uses a word that sounds like "ferstrudeled" to mean messed up, screwed up, etc. He claims it's German--he learned standard German in school and spoke a little Low German with his grandmother--but he doesn't know how to spell it.

I've often wanted to use it in writing, but I can't spell it either, and various attempts at Googling have turned up nothing (I suspect it begins with a v but I can't prove that).

Is anyone familiar with the word, and if so, can you spell it for me?

#631 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2017, 11:09 AM:

Open threadiness: I just noticed the new coat of arms for the just-renamed Grace Hopper College (formerly John Calhoun College) at Yale. There's some heraldic detail at the link for those interested, but my first impression was "dolphin under a waveform, in a sea of bits", which seems entirely appropriate.

#632 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2017, 11:44 AM:

Buddha Buck@589: Can I hope that the mistranslated form was at least obvious?

Dave Harmon@628: I think they're still trying to find good heuristics for which domain names to show in their full Unicode glory, and which to warn about. They can't always just show the encoded forms if they want non-ASCII names to be usable.

Punycode is a good example of an encoding algorithm with very tight space constraints, which means it's kind of impenetrable. It puts all the ASCII characters in a string up front, and then appends some gibberish describing where to insert the non-ASCII characters. So "mаkinglight", with a Cyrillic "а", comes out as "xn--mkinglight-zqi", which at least gives you a hint of what's going on. But if you're really trying set up, say "βρεκεκεκέξ-κοάξ-κοάξ.com", a browser that disables all non-ASCII names is going to show you "xn-----w8bbb3avaa2cbbcc9cddmey.com", which isn't very helpful.

#633 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2017, 12:21 PM:

Quill @ #630:

Apparently, Dutch has "verstrudelen", meaning (roughly) 'interferes'. If Dutch has it, there's probably a good argumnet for people from Netherlands-bordering parts of Germany at least standing a fair chance of understanding (and maybe using) a word.

That is, if one trusts Google Translate.

#634 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2017, 01:11 PM:

"Strudel" as a noun means "whirlpool", so I can see "verstrudeln" as a verb meaning to whirl things around and disorder them.

#635 ::: alisea ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2017, 01:57 PM:

The correct spelling would have to be "verstrudeln", but it's not in my Duden (standard German dictionary), and I've never heard it. But then I'm definitely nowhere near the Dutch border. The explanation from Ingvar M@633 sounds plausible to me.

Here's a link to a Rheinisches Wörterbuch that knows the word, so yes, it does exist in at least one regional dialect.

#636 ::: anhweol ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2017, 02:08 PM:

#622.

For the Janáček specifically; since the Czech area did not have a living tradition of Church Slavonic, and he seems not to have wanted to set an Orthodox liturgy, the Glagolitic mass text is adapted from a Croatian text which was somewhat modernised to start with and then was further modified in the direction of Czech, partly by mistake. See http://www.asochorus.org/janacek_glagolitic_guide.pdf The resulting text has some features which are not found in Czech, such as palatalised l, but given the circumstances it would be overdoing it to make it very different from modern Czech overall. (At least it doesn't have ř, which makes singing actual Czech challenging for foreigners: I spent a year in a Czech choir so had some interesting pronunciation challenges, but we never tackled the Glagolitic Mass).

#637 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2017, 02:18 PM:

I've also noticed that on the rare occasion a detective is termed a "shamus" nowadays, it's pronounced Shay-mus, like the Irish name; where in old movies it was pronounced shamas, like the caretaker of a synagogue.

Now that surprises me. I had thought "shamus" WAS Seamus, from cops tending to be Irish. The OED says "Etymology: Origin uncertain: perhaps

#638 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2017, 02:21 PM:

Although the ver- prefix is Dutch (it means to make something happen, kind of) I can find no reference to "verstrudelen" as an extant word in any of my Dutch resources, either online or on paper. Strudel is merely the German food, and is a loan-word at that.

A whirlpool is ordinarily a draaikolk, or just a kolk. Interfere has many translations, but not that one.

There is a Dutch verb vertroebelen, which means "to make cloudy or unclear" (apple juice with the bits in is troebele appelsap). But there's nothing closer than that.

It could be a construct, like my use of upgefukt, a word with no Dutch provenance at all.

#639 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2017, 03:14 PM:

dotless ı @632:

It was more annoying than unreadable. LaTeX has provided dotless variants of i and j for a long time (even before internationalization was an issue) because typesetting math looks better sometimes when the dots aren't there. As such, the character sequence "\i" translates to ı.

It's just that in hundreds of lines of code to do things like replace every occurrence of \"e, \"{e}, {\"e}, {\"{e}} (etc) with ë, and the same stuff for Ë, é,è, ñ, ç, ł, and so on, the fact that \i was missing was an annoyance.

But it meant that a name like "Yısımır" (probably not the real name, but "like" the real name) came out as "Y\is\im\ir". Readable, but obviously wrong.

#640 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2017, 06:05 PM:

abi #638:

upgefukt

Lovely, lovely word.

#641 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2017, 06:14 PM:

Stefan Jones, do you like teaching? Do you think you'd be interested in being a trainer through a company like Pluralsight?

#642 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2017, 07:30 PM:

Quill 630: That sounds like a German-class gag coinage to me. But then we used a lot of gag coinages in my German classes, so perhaps that has biased me. The ver- prefix is often used to mean wrong or backwards. So verstrudeln would mean "strudeled up." Not bad for an expression used as you say.

anhweol 636: At least it doesn't have ř, which makes singing actual Czech challenging for foreigners:

I am no longer physically able to make that sound, since my tongue surgery. It's partly ballistic, and my tongue won't occlude the air passage completely enough. The rolled R used in some Spanish words is another casualty, along with vrooom noises.

abi 638: I've used upgefukt since high school. It also has no particular German provenance!

#643 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2017, 08:00 PM:

Fershlugginer? (spelling is probably miles out) I have a vague memory of this from reading old fan stuff, so may have been yiddish originally. "All beat up" rings a faint bell.

Anyway, local moose is tired and going to bed, goodnight all.

#644 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2017, 08:06 PM:

Cadbury Moose (643): I'm fairly sure that 'fershlugginer'* is Yiddish.

*I'm not sure how to spell it, either, except that it would start with an 'f' and have an 'sh' instead of an 'sch' as German would.

#645 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2017, 08:08 PM:

634/635: Just thought to Google it. Apparently it's spelled furshlugginer and was popularized by Mad magazine.

#646 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2017, 08:15 PM:

Em @616:
There's the old nugget that in Quebec, "on park dans le stationnement", but in France "on se stationne dans le parking."

Similar to how in the US, the Post Office delivers the mail, but in the UK, the Royal Mail delivers the post.

#647 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2017, 09:34 PM:

#641: Thanks! I have taught and done training, but on very specific product-related things. Features that I learned inside and out (as a result of testing).

When it comes to coding and technologies, I'm a jack of all trades, not having the kind of mastery that would make me valuable on a venue like Pluralsight.

I'm actually using Pluralsight right now, to learn App & Android development. Very, very different from the kind of systems I've been testing, which are the sort of thing that sit in cable company back offices.
* * *
That all said, one thing I'd like to do someday is make video how-tos about model rocketry, especially construction.

Right now I'm still reeling. Feeling kind of intimidated by the sheer number of things I've always wanted to do "after I get out of this job."

#648 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2017, 09:48 PM:

dotless ı @ 625: now I'm even more puzzled; are the dotted and undotted forms supposed to match in Turkish but not otherwise? Since AFAIK they're unique to Turkish, I'd think that comparison should be language-independent (i.e., if they appear use Turkish comparison), but I never had to deal with it in my work. (Let's not talk about the induhvidual who thought it was cute to store a number in a string, where it would get mutilated by recasing....)
and @ 631: seriously cool.

anhweol @ 636: fascinating! I don't think any of that subtlety was explained in the program notes -- maybe even the Boston Symphony Orchestra thought it would be too much detail for such an uncommon piece (this was 39 years ago). The guide does not mention one instruction we received, that 'j' (like to 'l' and 'r') could be a vowel, such that "pomiluj" (~"have mercy") had 4 syllables (sort-of; I don't have a working tape player to check, but my recollection is that it was a ~lift in the same pitch rather than being given its own note -- a bit like the way most pieces set "eleison" as 3 syllables but some conductors make it "e-leeeeeeee-i-son"). I also remember complaining about the consonants-as-vowels to a speaker of Russian who told me that an objurgation translatable as "stick it in your ear!" has nothing we'd recognize as a vowel -- pity I didn't ask for a transcription, and can't now.

abi @ 638: interesting connection; "trub" (German form, like a lot of brewing terms in English) is the bits that coagulate after the sugars extracted from malt are boiled, needing to be filtered out before the result can be fermented to make beer. (The filtering success varies; some beer throws "chill haze", although Carlsberg claimed to be countering this (when I toured in 1990) by entangling barley with white rhododendron as the haze related to the substance that caused the flower's normal purple.)

Backtracking a little, a question about polarization: is it also affected by reflection? I find that the "Hybrid System Display" on my Prius looks about the same when seen through polarizing sunglasses, but the traditional gauges (speed, fuel, etc.) seem much dimmer; all are LCD-ish display, but the former are direct while the latter are (for no obvious reason) reflected from below the plane of the dashboard.

#649 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2017, 10:21 PM:

CHip: polarization is absolutely affected by oblique reflection. It's why vertically-polarized sunglasses help with road glare and surface reflections off water.†

Given that, it seems odd that Toyota would choose to use an angled HUD-type view for the speed and fuel gauges, but I'm not going to try to guess their reasons.

[†] I don't remember the details of the physics for why that happens, but I could dig out my old textbooks if you care.

#650 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2017, 10:54 PM:

@630, 634/635, 644 etc:
For a similar form from Yiddish, there's also verklempt, pronounced like "ferklemt", English borrowing of a Yiddish word meaning overcome by emotion, overwhelmed, or the like. There are some other ver- or fer- prefix words, but I can't find anything like verstrudeled either.

#651 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2017, 11:38 PM:

AKICIML: I'm looking for a map that I saw on Tumblr (so it's impossible to find via Tumblr) that divides North America into regions labeled with the name of the country elsewhere in the world that each region most closely resembles WRT climate, hydrology, etc. Has anybody here seen it?

#652 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2017, 11:52 PM:

Quill @630: Maybe "verrückt". It means "crazy".

#653 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 01:55 AM:

@Jenny Islander #651:

This one?

#654 ::: anhweol ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 03:07 AM:

CHip @ 648

The standard Czech "vowel-less" tonguetwister is Strč prst skrz krk, "stick [your] finger through [your] throat.
For "pomiluj", there is obviously a fine line between a very shortened vowel and a consonant, but in principle the j should count as a consonant and not create a new syllable. Of course while Czech and other Slavonic 'aj', 'ej' and 'oj' map neatly onto English syllables containing diphthongs (sounding like 'eye', 'ay' as in day, 'oy' as in boy), the closest English match to 'uj' would require two syllables 'oo-ee', as in Louis or gooey, so it's tempting to hear it that way.

#655 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 03:13 AM:

@Soon Lee no. 653: Yes! Thank you!

#656 ::: Del Cotter ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 03:15 AM:

The Yiddish analogue of ver- is fer- or far-, I believe, and the English equivalent is for- (not fore-, which is the equivalent of German vor-); forgot, forsworn, and so on. You might forgo a pleasure, but it would sound strange to unironically forgo torture.

So verstrudelt would mean something like "whirled all to heck". I'm guessing it's a family in-joke.

#657 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 03:19 AM:

Via Twitter, I clicked on "What football will look like in the future" curious about the excitement it was generating. What I experienced was entirely unexpected & grippingly awesome. I don't really know how to describe it without spoilers, except to say that the title doesn't lie, but it is less than complete. And even if you are not a fan of football (I'm not; I barely understand how it's played), do check it out anyway.

#658 ::: anhweol ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 04:08 AM:

By the way, as a long-time lurker but only very occasional poster, this is probably the appropriate point to say that I met some people here at the Loncon GoL, where I was wearing a T-shirt with the Glagolitic alphabet. (My first name is Andrew).

#659 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 06:47 AM:

Soon Lee #653, Jenny Islander #655:

That map looks like fairly casual handwaving, where the commenters are taking things too seriously.

That is, yeah California's climate is roughly Mediterranean, our central section runs from hot to cold, with strong continental(-interior) effects, the Northeast is temperate seacoast, and so on. But the respective arrangements and sizes of the various zones offer few real correspondences, which is why the commenters are getting tangled up in minutia.

#660 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 09:03 AM:

CHip@648: now I'm even more puzzled; are the dotted and undotted forms supposed to match in Turkish but not otherwise?

Two of the forms—undotted upper case "I" and dotted lower case "i"—use the same characters (codepoints) as in every other Latin script; but the lower case form of the first ("ı") and the upper case form of the second ("İ") are different than in most Latin scripts. So, say you're writing code to compare strings ignoring case. Your code sees an "I" in one string and an "i" in the other. Are they the same? In Turkish, no; in most other languages, yes.

#661 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 10:02 AM:

Thank you, everyone, for your answers to my word question! Perhaps I'll make up a spelling and use it anyway, just to confuse people. It's a handy word to have.

#662 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 10:12 AM:

659
There are some actual correspondences: my SIL's Norwegian ancestors actually settled in BC well north of Vancouver (to which they moved later), and there's a town in Montana named Polish in an area settled by Poles.
(California's apparently drier in summer than most of Spain and Portugal, though.)

#663 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 10:16 AM:

Soon Lee, I agree -- "What football will look like in the future" is so amazing. I am looking forward to talking with people about its kindness, the particular quality of its banter, and all sorts of other bits that are spoiler-y enough I won't talk about them here. On MetaFilter several people have been sharing reactions as each chapter goes up (the serialization will finish on Saturday July 15th, I believe).

#664 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 10:34 AM:

That map reminds me of a very racist Andre Norton book in which a group of enslaved? indentured? Africans seized control of a spaceship, kept the white people to fly it, landed on a planet, and then our protagonists came in a while later. The planet had 'an African-like climate' which is total bullshit because Africa doesn't have a climate; it's a huge continent with everything in it, so bite me... but planets also don't have single climates unless it's 'hellscape' and even then there are gradations. So grrrr became unintentionally technically okay.

This message brought to you by my knee-jerk, "Iowa is not Russia!" "Wait, Russia is big and has lots of climates, so... maybe?"

#665 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 11:30 AM:

>> ... a town in Montana named Polish ...

I'd like to read more about that. Google and Wikipedia are not forthcoming.

#666 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 12:31 PM:

665
It's apparently either too small to show on maps, or it's now a ghost town. It was in Liberty County, which is in the middle of the border with Canada. From what I can find, it was somewhere around "Hay Coulee". (Now I have dates for several of the people in that family).

#667 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 12:44 PM:

I've been told that Tehran is a lot like Boulder (or visa versa).

#668 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 02:39 PM:

Cob has an amazing variety of meanings. Any other words which can mean so many different things?

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/cob

#669 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 04:34 PM:

P J Evans @666 This flickr page, https://www.flickr.com/photos/outlawpete/14945474650, describes a school and a post office at Hay Coulee, "many Polish homesteaders", and another post office at Warsaw, nearby. Google has a location for Hay Coulee, but it is at the confluence with the Marias River, several miles south of where the flickr page describes the post office being.

#670 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 04:38 PM:

abi, #638: I have used "upgefuct" for years, with German as my inspiration. It's far too useful a coinage not to have had multiple people come up with it!

Stefan, #647: How hard would it be for you to start making rocketry videos? And are there enough model-rocketry enthusiasts who would like them that you might be able to set up a Patreon? YouTube has some kind of thing that lets you monetize your video based on views, but I'm not sure how it works. Patreon I get.

#671 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 04:39 PM:

669
I'm still exploring that rabbit hole, but that's the one.

#672 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 05:39 PM:

Soon Lee @657 (and Sumana @663) -- Wow. That is one of the most innovative SF stories I've ever seen, and I'm now on tenterhooks to see how it will end. (For those of you who, like me, get antsy not knowing how long this will go on, it's at 16 screen/chapters as of today.) I wonder if Bryan Alexander knows about it -- it looks like the kind of thing he was postulating would happen in his book THE NEW VIRTUAL STORYTELLING.

Wow.

Wow.

#673 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 06:10 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz #668: Nice is one such word.

#674 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 06:40 PM:

My comment at 637 got cut off. I thought I quoted the OED examples and such. I can try to do it again if anyone is interested and can't access the OED themselves (my local public library provides online access).

#675 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 06:56 PM:

AKICIML: Years ago, I learned from somewhere or other (that is, a now-forgotten source of extremely dubious reliability) that to test whether a dish is microwave-safe, you put it in the microwave empty and dry for a few seconds, and if it doesn't head up, it's microwave-safe.

I have NEVER had a dish pass this test, ever.

I bought some new tempered-glass dishes from IKEA for real cheap. I've microwaved in them, but they failed the "10 seconds dry in a microwave" test. IKEA swore they were microwave-safe.

Anyone know if this test is still supposedly valid? Anyone know a better test (preferably a non-destructive one)?

#676 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 07:25 PM:

Soon Lee @657, thanks so much for that link to the football story. I am gobsmacked.

#677 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 07:49 PM:

675
I check the label first, to see if it says "microwave-safe". Not all ceramics are, nor are all plastics. (Nordicware makes some dinnerware that's safe - but it's kind of ugly.)
I mostly use paper plates these days....

#678 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 08:18 PM:

Race Traitor Xopher #675: The test seems dubious to me -- I suspect it came from an excessively glossy magazine. If that dish is the only thing that's in the microwave cavity, then yes, it is going to absorb energy.

A more plausible test would be to put it in with a small amount of cold water (perhaps a half cup or cup/150-250 ml). Microwave for 30 seconds or so at a time (if you're nervous about that you could do 10-second stints), while you (1) watch through the window for sparks or signs of melting, and (2) see if it heats up alarmingly before the water boils.

But of course, that procedure fails the magazine-tip standard of "instant answer, no attention required!" :-)

#679 ::: Johan Larson ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 08:25 PM:

When the learned elders of SF gather to select the best american science fiction writer of the twentieth century, who will be on the short list?

I'm thinking Heinlein, Le Guin, and Dick must be on the list. But who else?

#680 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 09:33 PM:

Actually, I'm not sure that Heinlein will get past the second elimination round; he was daring in his time, but he also was very much a creature of his time -- as demonstrated in the heavy attention paid to his work by the Suck Fairy and her sisters. LeGuin, on the other hand, will surely be up there, while Clarke and Vonnegut might well be in the running.

#681 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 10:12 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @668:

I have believed (after reading an online article a few years ago, so it must be true) that "set" has the most meanings, but it may have been surpassed by "run"?

#682 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 10:34 PM:

@Dave Harmon: I think that the labels are accurate; they just aren't precise. The part that resembles China specifically resembles the riverine heartland of China and in fact has a massive river system running through most of it. I also note that it was possible to grow rice near sea level with hand tools in New York even before global warming took hold, if you knew the trick of it. People just didn't because they weren't part of a rice culture. Likewise, the part that resembles Japan should be labeled "Northern Japan." The comparison of Florida to Taiwan is interesting and I would like to take a closer look at the natural history of Taiwan now. Coastal Alaska is indeed very like Scandinavia, except for the boreal rainforest, and also like Scotland--which, I note, supports thick stands of imported Pacific boreal rainforest trees!

#683 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 11:06 PM:

Scattered thoughts:

Xopher@675 et al, the "30 seconds with water in it" test is probably pretty good. I usually test "put in one hot dog, heat for 30 sec; is the plate hotter than the food?" But I haven't done extensive testing ...

Dave Harmon@678, "it will absorb microwave energy" is not guaranteed. At our first Mad Science Party, after we stopped doing (semi)planned experiments and were just chucking things in the disposable microwave, we proved you can microwave a can of soda for multiple minutes and it won't heat up at all. Faraday cages work. (It was classic science: an unexpected result that made sense when you thought about it.)

Diatryma@664, may I offer a bit of pedantry? I'm not sure you can say "Africa has everything"- it's short on the high latitudes. South Africa is about the same latitude as negative "the Mediterranean"; Capetown's at 34 deg. S and Athens is at 37 deg. N , for instance.

#684 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2017, 11:30 PM:

683
Plants from South Africa do pretty well in California. (Sometimes a little too well, like Australian plants.)

#685 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 12:27 AM:

Johan Larson @679: Sturgeon belongs there, no question, under almost any criteria. A lot depends on which elders are doing the picking: there's an argument for Gene Wolfe, and an argument for Peter Hamilton, but they wouldn't be picked by the same set of elders. Similarly with Dan Simmons, Alfred Bester, Neal Stephenson, etc.

Without a set of criteria for "best" to judge on, I'd be hard pressed to stop at a list of 20, chosen for diversity. And even that requires me to pick one of the definitions of SF (does it include fantasy, or anything borderline?).

#686 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 12:31 AM:

#673 ::: Fragano Ledgister

C.S. Lewis' Studies in Words goes into detail about "wit", "simple", "life", "sad", and some other words which have had interesting changes of meaning.

I don't know whether there are any more recent works that go into specific words so deeply.

#687 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 12:56 AM:

I have tweeted
the emails
that were in
my inbox

And which
you were probably
chasing for a year

Forgive me
they were incriminating

Jeremy Noel-Tod @jntod (On Twitter tonight)

My reply: "The Twitterverse can be a vary dark place sometimes. It's good to see that there's someone on here Making Light."

[I actually expected "Jeremy Noel-Tod" to have posted it here already, perhaps under some other name....]

#688 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 12:59 AM:

Pedantry accepted! Still, it brings me pleasure that the doubly wrong parts added up to something right.

#689 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 02:51 AM:

If fantasy is included, then Tolkien would be all over the list, for influence alone.

Xopher, I don't think a glass dish would ever pass that test. A microwave-safe dish is one that will not spark or deform/crack or contaminate the contents; tempered glass is good for all those, in my experience. It shouldn't get *hot* in 10 seconds, though.

#690 ::: Johan Larson ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 03:54 AM:

Thanks for the suggestions folks, but be mindful of the constraints:
- American
- science fiction
- twentieth century

What does it mean for an artist to be the best in their field? I don't have a formal definition, but I think it requires some combination of popularity and critical respect. And it has to be sustained over time, not just done once. I suppose an artist could be broadly loved but scorned by critics and their peers, and that's an accomplishment of sorts, just as an artist could be an artists' artist, respected by their peers but with not real fan-base, but those both strike me as lesser accomplishments, something other than true greatness.

#691 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 06:30 AM:

Recently I was re-reading Michael Swanwick's time travel novel Bones of the Earth. One scene is a fundraising dinner-dance on the bottom of the ocean 95 million years ago during the Cretaceous. For at least one of the attendees it was a magical evening.

Is this a reference to the Enchanment Under the Sea Dance from Back to the Future (and Back to the Future Part 2)?

#692 ::: Johan Larson ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 06:49 AM:

Neil W@691: Isn't "Under the Sea" one of the standard themes for proms and dances?

#693 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 09:20 AM:

Huh. My last nights comments to Lee @ 670 got eaten by a Moveable Press error. Will reenter later.

#694 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 10:14 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @668: 'Water' has something like a chapter in the OED.

#695 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 10:18 AM:

Jenny Islander @682: it was possible to grow rice near sea level with hand tools in New York even before global warming took hold, if you knew the trick of it.

Some while ago, there was a peat bog researcher at NCAR who tried to grow test plots of rice on the roof of one of the towers. I gather mostly what they learned is why rice is not a cash crop in Colorado.

#696 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 10:40 AM:

Best American science fiction writer of the twentieth century?

(I'll assume "SF" means "speculative fiction" here in all its widely-spread genres.)

I think I'd judge based on "which ones are still being read and re-printed fifty years later", so we probably won't get a good read on it till the 2050s or 2060s (to allow the late nineties people chance), but I think Le Guin, Howard, Lovecraft, Asimov, Sturgeon, and Heinlein are all in the running, though nobody will be reading all their works by 2050 except for cranky literary specialist professors. I'm not sure about the last quarter-century of the twentieth, even though I grew up and started reading during it, because I'm too close to it, but I'm guessing that Bujold and Neal Stephenson have a shot. (Connie Willis, David Brin, and George RR Martin join Niven and Wolfe in the also-ran category.) There's probably going to be at least one really popular breakout person who keeps getting read and keeps getting read and keeps getting read even though people get very cranky about how non-literary their fiction is/was. (I suspect that the next member(s) of the Will Shakespeare and Charles Dickens Memorial Driving Litsnobs Insane Club will be David Weber or Robert Jordan, though there are a couple of other options. Perhaps someone from the romance/SF or paranormal/urban fantasy crowds.)

Clarke is British or he'd be here. I'd nominate Guy Gavriel Kay but he's Canadian rather than US.

#697 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 10:54 AM:

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America provide criteria for who may be considered a professional science fiction writer. It is the best starting point for any discussion of who is the "best american science fiction writer". SFWA accepts members of all nationalities. Therefore, for the purpose of definition, "America" means "the entire world."

Next is the question of whether we should use the the "short" twentieth century (1914-1989) or the "long" one (1870-2012). I feel that the long twentieth century is more meaningful and appropriate to this discussion. Jules Verne is a 19th century science fiction writer, while HG Wells is very much a 20th century one.

Defining "science fiction" is of course trivial.

#698 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 11:18 AM:

#694 ::: Jacque

I wish the OED were more affordable.

I'd probably spend $5 to get the definition of an interesting word.

Meanwhile, it might be worthwhile to find out how the definition of "articulate" is doing, if that's convenient for anyone.

Last I checked, it was mostly about bones, with not much about being well-spoken.

#699 ::: Craft(Alchemy) ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 11:31 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @698: I just had a look, and the sense you mention is 1c, the third given: "Of a person: (capable of) engaging in lucid, fluent, or confident speech or self-expression; well-spoken, eloquent." Bones do not show up until sense 6.

#700 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 11:32 AM:

Online OED lists the verbal meanings of articulate first, for both the noun and the verb; the zoological meanings are listed last, which means they've come up more recently, which in this case means the 17th century (1615) rather than the 16th (1568.) OED gives its definitions in order of historical evidence, so you sometimes get to wade through a couple centuries of older senses before you get to some current uses.

(Interestingly, there's a third basic sense besides the verbal and zoological ones: a legal meaning, "divided into (separate) articles". I'd never seen it before, but then IANAL.)

#701 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 11:33 AM:

I sincerely expect that Neil Gaiman will continue to be read through the 21st C -- and all of his work is spec fic, if not science fiction. Is Bradbury science fiction? Some think so, some don't. Same with Vonnegut.

SFWA's Grand Master award is one good place to look at who SFWA members think are the great writers of the 20th century -- and it's not a bad list at all. It's limited by their rules about people needing to be alive when selected (Bester was alive when selected, but died between the selection and the announcement -- thus the discrepancy in his dates).

#702 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 11:33 AM:

Thanks everybody about the microwave-safe issue. I'm gonna relax.

#703 ::: Johan Larson ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 11:34 AM:

I think Ray Bradbury and Andre Norton belong on the list.

The early twentieth century is tricky. Not a lot of works from back then are still being read. Are Lovecraft and Howard really the only viable candidates? I would expect at least one candidate who was writing wiz-bang adventures about aeronautics during the thirties, say.

#704 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 11:43 AM:

#699 ::: Craft(Alchemy), #700 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk

Thank you-- as I recall, this isn't how it was some 15 years ago when I was looking into the matter of whether "articulate" should be considered insulting. Instead of meaning "well-spoken", it was sometimes taken as "unexpectedly well-spoken for this sort of person".

The person in my social circle who was most vociferous on the subject was a white Southerner whose accent had been treated like a speech defect. (He didn't drop his accent all the time, he can also do what he calls his radio announcer voice, and I think he uses an intermediate accent most of the time with me.)

At the time, my impression was that "articulate" was sufficiently likely to be taken as an insult that it wasn't worth using as a compliment. I don't know how matters stand now.

#705 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 12:01 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @704: I have heard recent criticism of applying the word "articulate" to well-spoken Black Americans, on the basis that it is used in the way you've cited. (For example, someone might object to calling Obama "articulate," but not to calling him "eloquent.") I have not gotten the sense that people also see it applied that way to poor, Southern, or otherwise Othered white Americans, but that might be a side-effect of spending all my time in fairly well-off Rust Belt-area intellectual bubbles.

#706 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 12:11 PM:

I'm not sure that wizbang 30s aeronautics stories would fall under the SF umbrella as opposed to the contemporary-fiction umbrella. (Are modern technothrillers SF? That's the closest equivalent I can think of. Maybe the Tom Swift stories?)

Early 20th century stuff that lasts -- hmm, Robert Chambers (The King in Yellow etc.) is still in print, and so are Doc Smith (Skylark, Lensman) and E.R. Burroughs (Tarzan, Barsoom), but who else?

#707 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 12:30 PM:

Tony: Part of the issue is that as we recently discussed here, the genres themselves formed over the course of the 20th century! In particular, H.G. Wells, Howard, Burroughs, Lin Carter, etc. would have been considered "adventure" writers for most of their career, while Lovecraft was (and still is) usually filed under "horror". Agreed that if "fantasy" is to be included, Gaiman stands way up high (and will also drive listsnobs insane). Of course, if you bring in fantasy, then you also have to consider Charles de Lint and Gene Wolfe....

The more basic issue here is that the explosion of work over the course of the 20th century (driven by both increasing population and increasingly universal literacy) beggars any attempt to pick one "best".

Kind of how Einstein was the last person who could be called "the great scientific genius of his age" -- because by the end of his career (and since), there were too many geniuses running around to anoint just one.

#709 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 03:10 PM:

We already know about books that the fans love but critics loathe-- Twilight leads the pack, but Nora Roberts'/JD Robb's In Death books are there too. I think that an important thing to remember (and articulate) is that we, the people hypothetically creating this list, are the academic/critical population. We have further refined circles and they don't all overlap, but if the only line we're drawing is between 'unschooled populace' and 'knows better', we're over here.

Also, Octavia Damn Butler.

#710 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 04:14 PM:

While I've been reading and enjoying that "17776" link, I realized there's a serious plot hole hanging -- yesterday I thought they were actually about to deal with it, but then they fired off another topic instead.

According to Our Guide, on the same day everyone stopped dying (in 2026 iirc?), aging, being born. Right, what about the kids that hadn't grown up yet? Pregnant women? People who were gravely ill, or otherwise on the brink of death? There's some serious nightmare-fuel potential there....

#711 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 05:14 PM:

Johan Larson @692. Yes it is. Which is why I have doubt. Swanwick will intertextualise at the drop of a hat, so usually if I spot a correspondance with something else I'm confident it's deliberate.

#712 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 05:53 PM:

Late to the microwave discussion...

The development in microwave ovens that has me most unsettled is that they are now sold with metal oven racks as an accessory. Evidently there are specific conditions under which the presence of metal in a microwave does not result in sparks and explosions. But I'm not entirely willing to trust in this theory and the rack for my recently-installed microwave has been place in a cupboard.

#713 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 05:55 PM:

Late to the microwave discussion...

The development in microwave ovens that has me most unsettled is that they are now sold with metal oven racks as an accessory. Evidently there are specific conditions under which the presence of metal in a microwave does not result in sparks and explosions. But I'm not entirely willing to trust in this theory and the rack for my recently-installed microwave has been place in a cupboard.

#714 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 05:57 PM:

I checked. I swear. I reloaded the page and checked and it hadn't posted.

#715 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 06:30 PM:

Mary Aileen, #708: SQUEEE!!!

#716 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 06:37 PM:

Lee (715): You're welcome!

(That was my reaction, too.)

#717 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 09:12 PM:

TomB at #697: I think that 1914–1989 is too Eurocentric a definition of the short twentieth century to use in a discussion about American authors.

What are the reasons for setting the limits of the long twentieth century at 1870–2012? Some searching on "long twentieth century" yields mainly a book published in 1995.

#718 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 10:53 PM:

The Second Industrial Revolution started in Britain.

Rapid American industrialization after Reconstruction. Check out the image in this article: The Development of the Industrial United States (1870-1900)

Rapid German industrialization after unification in 1870.

Rapid Japanese industrialization after the Meiji Restoration in 1868.

I ran into this quote in a book review:

The problem with the long century is that the ramifications of these things are far from being played out, we simply don't know where they will end or even if they ever will.
(Paging Mr. Wells...)

#719 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2017, 11:00 PM:

As a random comment, I always assumed that Jane Bennet, in Pride & Prejudice, was laid up by "a trifling little cold" because of the medicine level of the early 19th century, and the upbringing that would likely have not left her in as robust health as a modern reader.

I was wrong. It is quite possible to be entirely wiped out by a cold, even given modern medications, both OTC and prescription.

Thankfully, that point was only a couple of days, but it's been three weeks and I'm still coughing hard enough to both keep me awake and give me a headache while simultaneously being able to breathe quite clearly. (It's weird. I'm in rehearsals, too, and I can sing the notes but get no breath under them. At least it's two months until we open.) Whee!

#720 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Gardener of Threads ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2017, 02:30 AM:

Raven is now removed from the moderation queue and is able to comment again. Whether he is welcome to comment again depends on his willingness to go along with the last three paragraphs of comment 530. I need explicit acknowledgement. It doesn't have to be detailed or thoroughgoing, but I'm not going to just let things skate by at this point.

And to be clear: I would like Raven to return, and return to being the interesting commenter and community member that I have seen him be in the past, both in this iteration and the earlier one. Although I very much disliked his behavior in this context, I do not dislike him.

#721 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2017, 02:43 AM:

@Jacque no. 695: Every year some hopeful transplantee tries to grow sweetcorn up here. It was always a vain effort until hoophouses became widely known.

Back to the rice: I would have to go look it up, but the gist is that rice does nicely on a south-facing hill in a climate like that of maritime New York, and that this is not a modern or Western invention, it's just that the jade rice patties of the tropics get more press. Apparently rice can tolerate much colder weather than is popularly supposed as long as it the right amounts of water at the right times. It also requires a lot more hand labor, the technique not being easily convertible to plowing with livestock, but the payoff is that rice keeps for a very long time.

#722 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2017, 02:43 AM:

I, too, would like to see Raven back to his old self.

#723 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2017, 02:43 AM:

*receives

#724 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2017, 03:42 AM:

B. Durbin@719 - Are you sure it's not pneumonia? I've had it a couple of times, starting off as what seemed like colds that just wouldn't go away.

---
On the "Long 20th Century", I can't explain the 1870 beginning, but the world was going to end in 2012 anyway, so no point in burning a whole new century when we could just tack a dozen extra years on the one we had.....

#725 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2017, 03:42 AM:

B. Durbin@719 - Are you sure it's not pneumonia? I've had it a couple of times, starting off as what seemed like colds that just wouldn't go away.

---
On the "Long 20th Century", I can't explain the 1870 beginning, but the world was going to end in 2012 anyway, so no point in burning a whole new century when we could just tack a dozen extra years on the one we had.....

#726 ::: Bill Stewart Apologizes to the gnomes for double-posting. ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2017, 03:44 AM:

Argh, double-click, argh. Sorry.

#727 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2017, 07:12 AM:

B. Durbin #719: I'm concurring with Bill Stewart: In fact, effects lasting more than two weeks says right there, that what you're dealing with is not the "common cold". If it's not pneumonia, whatever the original infection was may have left you with bronchitis.

In any case, it's time to go back to the doctor and have them address your current condition.

Idumea #720: Amen.

#728 ::: Johan Larson ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2017, 08:44 AM:

I just got notified by Amazon of William Gibson's next novel, Agency. It's due out April 24, 2018.

Anyone know more about this novel?

#729 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2017, 09:29 AM:

Heather Rose Jones @713:

Keep in mind that the walls and the screen in the glass door of your microwave are also metal, and they don't result in a shower of sparks and explosions. So the issue is well-characterized and "solved" long ago, even before they used microwaves for cooking.

What is going on is that when microwaves hit metal, they induce currents in the metal, getting absorbed in the process. Those currents in turn generate microwaves that counter the original ones -- effectively reflecting them.

While this is true for microwaves, it's also true for light, and is how mirrors work. The walls and screen door of a microwave essentially act as mirrors for the microwaves, keeping them trapped inside the box.

The sparks and explosions happen when conditions aren't right for these induced currents to do their thing -- when the metal has a high electrical resistance (when it's thin, for instance) or has sharp points which leads to large electric fields and "coronal discharge", the plasma-like streamers and sparks you can see.

It's like the difference between running electrical current in a low-resistance device like an electrical wire, and in a high-resistance device like a thin tungsten filament in a light bulb. In the first case, you barely get any heating, easily carried away by the air; in the second case, it heats up to the point where its glowing white-hot, and needs to be encased in a vacuum to keep it from burning up.

An aluminum soda can, or the wire rack, is highly conductive and doesn't have sharp points. The rack has wide enough gaps that the microwaves can get through it (whereas the soda can doesn't, so the soda stays cold).

Compare that to the gold leaf decorating old plates, which often had intricate tracery of gold, with fine detailed edges (full of points). The thinness of the gold leaf and fineness of the tracery combine to make it highly resistive, so it gets hot, melts or vaporizes, and arcs between the points in the detail work.

#730 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2017, 10:10 AM:

Mary Aileen @708: *runs in small circles eeeping with mad joy*

#731 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2017, 10:28 AM:

729
I happen to have a mug with gold decoration on it - not tracery, but a largish area - and it's labeled as "not microwave safe". So are the couple of metallic-finish ones I collected when we were changing floors at work. (Everything had to be moved or trashed. Salvage.)

#732 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2017, 12:02 PM:

We have a pair of Mr and Mrs mugs (one friend's wedding gifts were all references to the marriage itself) that are decorated with gold-colored metal and not microwave-safe. We don't do a lot of mug-microwaving, though-- they'll see some use for hot chocolate when we have people over, but I'm the only person who wants enough that it getting cold is a potential problem.

#733 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2017, 02:51 PM:

Buddha Buck @ 729

An aluminum soda can, or the wire rack, is highly conductive and doesn't have sharp points.

Not meaning to derail your delightfully technical explanation, but...

Wait...what...are you implying that you regularly microwave canned soda?

#734 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2017, 03:47 PM:

#679:

Well, to my way of thinking Zelazny will be on the short list. Silverberg deserves to be. So does Russ. Le Guin must be. Asimov would be on the long list, I think. Delany should be on the short list. So should Miller, and even Weinbaum.

#735 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2017, 03:55 PM:

Heather Rose Jones (733): I believe that Buddha Buck is referencing Sandy B.'s #683, in which Sandy recounts an experiment in microwaving canned soda.

#736 ::: LadyKay ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2017, 10:29 PM:

In the spirit of spring (and summer) awakening long-dormant things, I'm back.
I just finished an intensive two months of teaching training.
I have to repeat two modules and two presentations, which will delay me six months. I am, if not on-track, not derailed, at least.

And I have been broken into crying laughter at the poem by John M. Burt in #687.

#737 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2017, 03:35 AM:

Finishing up my Hugo votes, not that I've had a chance to read all of them. My general reactions in most of the categories have been "Oh, man, I have to rank these against each other? But they're all so good!" (Or that, modified by sticking one badly written work below no award.) For a few categories I thought one or two really stood out, and the rest were generally also good.

And the series are hard to rank fairly because I'd already read everything in some of them, but for others I've only got the parts in the voter package and certainly won't finish them in the next two days.

Those publishers who insist on PDF are, as usual, getting grumbles from me because I'm reading most of the work on a Kindle, but they seem to be better formatted for the small page size than in some previous years.

#738 ::: alisea ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2017, 03:47 AM:

Bill Stewart @737: Yes, exactly my problem. I'm on my second to last novel and hope to squeak at least a cursory look at the last one under the wire, but have already read and voted in the short fiction categories. Almost all excellent in very different ways. I'll be cheering for whoever wins those categories, the prize can't really go to the wrong person.

#739 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2017, 08:23 AM:

Random pop-in (not having read all the way down) from an old conversation in this thread: I found another town name that's a mispronounced real word. Ensign, Michigan, rhymes with 'sign.'

Still on a sort of vacation up here in the UP.

#740 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2017, 08:50 AM:

Heather Rose Jones @733, Mary Aileen @735:

Exactly. I don't have access to Someone Else's Microwave to test it out myself.

But if you try it, recall that the microwaves have to go somewhere, and what destroys your oven when you run it empty is the power being reabsorbed by the emitters in the oven, sending 1500W of electric power where it isn't designed to handle it.

So when you microwave an aluminum can of soda, remember to also add a cup of water to absorb the microwaves.

#741 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2017, 08:58 AM:

On microwaves in general @ #many:

If you want the inside of your microwave coated in a thin gold film, "all" you need to do is to microwave a beaker with a small amount of gold and aqua regis. Be aware that this WILL coat the microwave-transparent opening between the emitter(s) and the cavity, so the microwave is unlikely to function normally ever after.

Please don't ask me how I know.

#742 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2017, 09:13 AM:

If only it had been a hovercraft.

#743 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2017, 09:54 AM:

Cadbury Moose @ #742:

I can understand gold-coating the inside of a microwave, but doing the same for the inside of a hovercraft strikes me as a (ghag?)fishy thing to do... :)

#744 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2017, 11:24 AM:

742
I saw a photo of one of the cars that was caught in the aftermath. Eeewwwwwww! and also arrrrggh!

#745 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2017, 11:50 AM:

Reminder: Hugo voting ends tomorrow (Saturday) at 11:59pm Pacific Daylight Time.

#746 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2017, 07:52 PM:

I said I had an announcement....


Time has a strange quality. Its passage is hard to note because we live in an eternal now. In one sense, it will always be the summer of 1967, when I turned eleven, and London was hotter than it had been or would be for years. I have so many memories of that bright dry summer, it might have been yesterday. On the other hand, yesterday, a stiflingly hot and steamy summer day in Atlanta, was one like so many others that it sinks into a kind of mass of hot July days that are easily run together.

That can become a problem, you see. Inertia applied to time has dreadful effects. You do the same things, or similar things, over and over because it’s your job, because “life’s like that”, because “that’s just the way things are”. Time keeps moving. One day turns to two, one year to three, and it keeps on moving.

On an October night in 1982, I landed in New York. I was young. I was recently married and my wife was waiting for me somewhere beyond the barrier. I was, like anyone in their mid-twenties naïve and hopeful. I had somewhere to go. I had a new world to explore, and things to do in it.

I’m still in that world, almost 35 years later. I have a lot less hair. I’m carrying more bulk. In the process, I seem to have had two failed marriages, three close encounters with the Reaper, three graduate degrees, four published books (none so far with Castalia Press), two children grown to adulthood, and an entire academic career.

Until today, I did it all as a resident alien. It’s that inertial quality of time. It doesn’t seem to move. It is always now. Until it isn’t. Until 1982 is all of a sudden 2017.

Going through rehab last summer and autumn gave me a chance to reassess my life, for about the third time in seven years. One of my fellow victims of the physical terrorists, er, therapists, was a Belgian lady who worked for CNN and who mentioned her decision the previous year to become a US citizen. The process had been easier and less burdensome than she had expected. Was I also a citizen? I was not. In over three decades, during which I’d had to renew my Green Card twice, I hadn’t taken that one major step and become a citizen.

So, I decided, let me become one. Today, hundreds of dollars, and eight and a half months after I sent in my application on October 31, 2016, I stood in a hall in suburban DeKalb County, and with 152 others from fifty other countries took the oath to become a citizen of the United States. Moments later, all of us pledged allegiance to the flag. Richard Stans was not in the running. I was next to a lady of about my age from El Salvador. Next to her was a tall blonde chap from Romania. In front of us was an Ethiopian couple. Behind us was a young lady from my own parish in Jamaica (when we were sworn in, we were asked to stand as our country’s name was called; I stood when the UK was called).

But this isn’t only my story. To become a US citizen involves a process that takes time. Part of that process is an examination on US history and civics. People prepare for this, and have been doing so for more than a century. Now, in June 1944 a ship called the Marine Robin docked at Ellis Island and disgorged a load of “laborers” from Jamaica. What was particularly noteworthy about this shipload of workers to replace Americans going to fight in the war, was that about a dozen of them bore the surname Ledgister. One of them was my father, Clarence Ledgister. The old man told us (my brothers and I) as we were growing up about some of his experiences in the US, including some strange things called “citizenship classes” which he took in the early 1950s before he decided to cross the Atlantic to England.

Being neither my father (whose formal education stopped at primary school) nor H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N, I didn’t take citizenship class. In fact, I spent years teaching the stuff taught in those classes only we called it American Government (CPSC 219 in the catalogue). I was very glad when I got a perfect score on the exam. Anything else would have been embarrassing (especially since Gail was present while I was getting it).

This evening, I am a citizen of the US and a registered voter in the state of Georgia.

#747 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2017, 08:02 PM:

746
Welcome!

#748 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2017, 08:13 PM:

Congratulations, Fragano!

#749 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2017, 08:31 PM:

What a privilege my nation enjoys!

The United States of America is a country that's a bit better, now that Fragano is a citizen of it.

#750 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2017, 08:39 PM:

Woot, Fragano! Total congratulations, and enjoy it!

#751 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2017, 09:03 PM:

Mazel tov, Fragano!

#752 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2017, 09:31 PM:

Congratulations Fragano!

#753 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2017, 09:43 PM:

Congratulations!

Sometimes I wish my fellow natural-born citizens had to take a test like the one you did (but I'm well aware of the reasons why we don't).

#754 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2017, 09:45 PM:

Congratulations, Fragano! I feel complimented by your readiness to join us as a citizen.

#755 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2017, 10:05 PM:

Congratulations, Fragano! We badly need more citizens like you.

#756 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2017, 03:08 AM:
Congratulations, Fragano! We badly need more citizens like you.
This.
#757 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2017, 10:08 AM:

Congratters, Fragano! And thank you, from the bottom of our collective heart.

#758 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2017, 10:14 AM:

Congratulations and welcome, Fragano!

#759 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2017, 10:22 AM:

Congratulations Fragano!

#760 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2017, 11:25 AM:

congrats to Citizen Fragano!

#761 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2017, 12:26 PM:

Fragano Ledgister #746: Congratulations!

#762 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2017, 12:34 PM:

Fragano, #746: Congratulations, and welcome!

I am still agitating for a law stating that every candidate for political office be required to answer all of the questions used for the citizenship exam and score at least 95% as part of the qualification process.

#763 ::: Jim Parish ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2017, 12:56 PM:

Lee, #762: At the federal level, if I understand correctly, it would have to be a constitutional amendment; the qualifications for office are spelled out there and can't be added to otherwise.

I've heard that there are some loopholes as regards being on the Presidential ballot in a given state, but I don't think they've been legally tested.

#764 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2017, 01:10 PM:

Ingvar M @741

It might be possible to protect the microwave-transparent part with the sort of plastic film they use on some food containers, but I think I would want to make sure the hole it covers is sealed to be sure the emitters don't get affected.

Some people would brag bigly about having a gold-plated microwave. Make sure they pay well for that.

I would think the chemistry could backfire badly, another reason to increase the quotation.

#765 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2017, 01:44 PM:

Congratulations, Fragano! The US and Georgia deserve you

#766 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2017, 01:46 PM:

Dave Bell @ #764:

The main reason you end up with a thin film coating is because the cloud(s) of acid generated carries a small amount of gold with them. And if you do it under the right light conditions, you can see the metal goldy shimmer in the cloud as it exits through the vents. Pretty!

#767 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2017, 02:03 PM:

Congratulations, Fragano. What a story. It is an honor to have you choose to be a citizen of the country I happened to be born in. And I am cheered by the thought that you are now empowered to vote.

#768 ::: ma larkey ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2017, 02:32 PM:

Congratulations, Fragano. It's stories like yours that make ML such a good place, and this country is better for it.

#769 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2017, 02:34 PM:

Are there other fans of the Narbonic comic here? Any of you who might want a copy in print?

Shaenon Garrity is gearing up to do a Kickstarter for a full reprint, and is soliciting ideas for Kickstarter incentives on her Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/shaenon/posts/10213830323457924

For those of you who aren't fans, really you should investigate it - especially anybody who enjoys Girl Genius. Go here, click the "Commentary" button at the top of the first page to turn off author's comments and avoid spoilers, and have at it. (It's funny from the beginning, but initially the drawing skills are a little rough; as there's 6 years of comics there, have a little patience while the artist's skills evolve and you'll be rewarded.)

#770 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2017, 04:25 PM:

I started commenting here on ML a bit over 11 years ago. I'd been lurking a couple of years before that, mostly making up my mind if I were mature enough for this community. ML took me to its bosom without hesitation, and with such speed, that it was remarkably simple to get to my first GoL in September 2006 when I (and Gail) could manage to be in the same place as many of the regulars.

It still took all of my courage to go over and talk to Teresa.

I say all this as a preamble to thanking everyone for the kind words they've said. Making Light is an extraordinary gathering place, and I am deeply grateful for all the people whom I have met and befriended here.

#771 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2017, 04:52 PM:

I started commenting here on ML a bit over 11 years ago. I'd been lurking a couple of years before that, mostly making up my mind if I were mature enough for this community. ML took me to its bosom without hesitation, and with such speed, that it was remarkably simple to get to my first GoL in September 2006 when I (and Gail) could manage to be in the same place as many of the regulars.

It still took all of my courage to go over and talk to Teresa.

I say all this as a preamble to thanking everyone for the kind words they've said. Making Light is an extraordinary gathering place, and I am deeply grateful for all the people whom I have met and befriended here.

#772 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2017, 05:24 PM:

My apologies for the double post.

#773 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2017, 05:44 PM:

You honor us, Fragano. I'm not entirely certain we deserve it, but thank you and...congratulations?

Our country is a better place than it was yesterday.

#774 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2017, 06:22 PM:

In today's edition of "my dreams are weirder than yours," I dreamt I met a young trans person, asked about pronouns, and was told "vancouver."

In the dream, vancouver got upset with me when I told vancouver that vancouvers pronoun was ridiculous, and that I'd just use vancouvers name every time.

(Note: since 'vancouver' is a personal pronoun, it does not get an apostrophe in the possessive. Yes, I think about stuff like that.)

When I tweeted this story, someone asked me "Vancouver BC or Vancouver WA?" I replied "why does it have to be one or the other??!?! I don't think vancouver identified with either of those!"

Binarism. Sheesh.

#775 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2017, 07:41 PM:

Clifton @ #769:

I backed the first print edition, five or so years ago, so I already have a print copy, with my name in the acknowledgements and everything. (And, life being what it is, in all those years I have not found the time to do more than flick through it. So it goes.)

#776 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2017, 07:45 PM:

Congratulations, Fragano. And thank you for adding yourself to the seemingly shrinking group of voters who think about what they vote about.

#777 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2017, 08:32 PM:

Congratulations, Fragano!

Lee @762: I am still agitating for a law stating that every candidate for political office be required to answer all of the questions used for the citizenship exam and score at least 95% as part of the qualification process.

Jim Parish @763: At the federal level, if I understand correctly, it would have to be a constitutional amendment; the qualifications for office are spelled out there and can't be added to otherwise.

OTOH, there is absolutely nothing to stop some news organization, blog, opinion writer, or citizen's group from offering candidates the opportunity to take the test, and then publish the test results and/or the candidate's refusal to take it....

Race Traitor Xopher @774: (Note: since 'vancouver' is a personal pronoun, it does not get an apostrophe in the possessive. Yes, I think about stuff like that.)

Hey! Important work. Somebody needs to do it!

Binarism. Sheesh.

::giggle::

#778 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2017, 01:13 AM:

Dave Harmon #710:

The final installment of 17776 is out & it does address those concerns.

BTW, what Hugo category would you put this in?

#779 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2017, 10:41 AM:

When I tweeted this story, someone asked me "Vancouver BC or Vancouver WA?" I replied "why does it have to be one or the other??!?! I don't think vancouver identified with either of those!"

Hey, that was me! If you'd been to Vancouver WA you'd ask too.

(Actually not a bad sprawlburb, but doesn't hold a candle to BC manifestation.)

#780 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2017, 11:12 AM:

I have done what I have set out to do!

I have written a webscraping program that takes short book reviews from the Locus website, extracts only the text part of the review, and uses that as a corpus for a Markov text generator.

Sample output:

When things like accidents or surgery, but theyre unaware that serves to remind us just how well Barker writer of whom I expected skills for finding up dead women who become involved with stopping pirate bands attacking monasteries, poems, and noted horror editor and authors of Science Fiction from novel excerpts from a frighteningly different kind of warped and wry weirdness to the mythical city of Karantica.

#782 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2017, 04:16 PM:

Soon Lee @778: I think it would have to go in "Related work", as that's a catchall that includes graphic novels, and this is closer to a graphic novel than it is to any of the other categories. Yeah, it's fiction -- but it's multimedia, and it's less a dramatic presentation than it is a fiction.

I've got a query in to LOCUS to see if they want a review of it. It's an important piece, and I think more people should get to experience it. Thank you so much for bringing it to my attention!

#783 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2017, 05:08 PM:

Is a particular kind of wit hereditary? I have wives (well, an ex-wife and a wife) who insist that my sons have inherited mine.

Since they're two very different young men, with rather different personalities, I'm not so sure. On the other hand, I phoned my younger brother this morning to wish him a happy birthday. Given the age he has reached, I asked "should I call you Heinz?" "Very droll," he answered. I suspect that proves it.

#784 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2017, 06:43 PM:

Fragano, #783: I suspect it's less a matter of heredity and more of learning from your example. My partner's daughter definitely has at least some of his sense of humor! (As well as his love for power tools.)

#785 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2017, 07:45 PM:

Tom Whitmore@782

Actually a graphic novel would go into the "Best Graphic Story" category (webcomics also go into this category).

#786 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2017, 09:13 PM:

Stefan 779: I wasn't sure if you'd want to be identified. And thank you for the magnificent straight line.

#787 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2017, 09:21 PM:

Johan Larson @ 679: I am amused to find Kornbluth (but very few other SF writers) in my copy of Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia, but I wouldn't list either him or Pohl or both together. I see a lot of names I could +1 or -1, but I'm a lousy prophet; if we're allowing fantasy (as it seems), I'd add McKillip and Beagle. I don't know what history will think of Ellison; is the list unbiased about people who don't do novels, and will his work still impress in another half-century? (And I can accept Lovecraft as an influence, but not as a great writer on his own; his overwriting makes Dumas look terse.)

And congratulations to Fragano; I'm not sure he deserves Georgia, which I wouldn't wish on any friend given its recent politics, but it's his choice and it is certainly improved by his citizenship.

Which goes back to Johan, as there have been several suggestions for Gaiman -- who AFAIK is still not a US citizen. Whether his long residence and his one great US novel (vs his many specifically English works) should put him on the list is an argument I'm staying out of.

#788 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2017, 11:56 PM:

Before there was a "graphic story" category, Michael I, there was only related work, which is where WATCHMEN won. 17776 is the same kind of category-breaker.

#789 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2017, 01:54 AM:

"The Future of Football" is a graphic story. It takes advantage of the web medium in interesting ways, including animations for some of the images, but fundamentally it is a work that is read, not watched. WSFS has made it clear that the Hugo categories are about the fundamental nature of the work, not the medium, so I think this is an easy call.

#790 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2017, 02:44 AM:

I like a lot of Gaiman's writing, and am still a huge fan of Sandman, but I think his writing varies quite wildly in quality. I'm dubious that he'll be read much in a distant future, apart from possibly Sandman.

On the other hand I can easily picture many of the Pohl/Kornbluth collaborations being read in 100 years - 'The Space Merchants' is over 60 years old and last time I read it, it felt to me as fresh as the day it was written, and more applicable than ever to today's society.

#791 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2017, 11:48 AM:

Fragano, congratulations!

Clifton @790: I read "The Space Merchants" for the first time last summer (just a week before the Soylent product called Coffiest was announced, as it happens). I think I enjoyed it; I no longer remember if it tripped my default reaction to most science fiction that is older than I am [as one of the younger inhabitants of this realm], namely "this is good, and I largely enjoy it, but its treatment of women is a little irritating." Such issues have thrown me out of at least a few stories.

I actually worry about the ability of various worthy works to survive that ardent social justice filter. Will we still read XYZ in fifty years, or will it be universally deemed Problematic and dismissed, relegated to an academic curiosity at best?

#792 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2017, 12:17 PM:

Bill Stewart @737: Are you the same as over on on Scalzi's blog?

If so, are you likely to be coming through Boulder at all? Care to do a mini-GoL?

#793 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2017, 01:12 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 746:

Congratulations!

estelendur @ 791:

I actually worry about the ability of various worthy works to survive that ardent social justice filter. Will we still read XYZ in fifty years, or will it be universally deemed Problematic and dismissed, relegated to an academic curiosity at best?

I don't agree that this is a problem as phrased. If a work really has staying power, then there will be people who read it in spite of its problems. People still read the Sherlock Holmes stories, even though they're rife with stereotype and sexism. People still read Lovecraft, despite the trainload of baggage they have. There are no gatekeepers or censors in the way that your question makes it sound; a work's survival is far more organic, and depends more on whether or not it's still relevant and relatable.

I would propose that better lenses to look through would be the concept of the Suck Fairy, and the notion that it's ok to like problematic things.

As an example, I recently read H Beam Piper's Little Fuzzy. It was fun, and had plenty of SFnal moments about defining sapience, but there were problems, too. Apart from some quaint technology, there's pretty much only one female character in it, and she's forced to retire at the end of the story for reasons that make no sense whatsoever to a modern reader. And the treatment of the indigenous, sapient Fuzzies by the heroes is infantilizing at best, and it makes pets out of them at worst.

Would I recommend it as appropriate reading material for a kid? Maybe, maybe not, depending on their level of understanding. Would I recommend it to someone interested in the genre and the history of the genre? Yes. Will it survive another fifty years? I don't know.

#794 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2017, 05:58 PM:

I had occasion to re-read Ru Emerson's The Princess of Flames recently, and am pleased to report that it has not had a visit from the Suck Fairy. There is a bit of "woman who has no truck with romance finds a man she can trust and perhaps love," but it's a very minor note in the overall plot. The female characters are treated as competent by the male characters (except for the villain), and the story passes the Bechdel test easily because most of the conversations between women are about the protagonist's mission. Content warning: the villain is a notch-carver who doesn't care whether the woman he wants is willing or not, and there are references to past instances of rape, and also one nearly-successful incident of trying to extract information by means of torture.

There's also one very good fanfic about the book, which takes a brief look at the potential futures of several of the characters.

I wish there were a sequel!

#795 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2017, 06:49 PM:

Stephen Semple @ 649: TFTI. I am also baffled by the display as it doesn't seem to save any space; I'm glad the gauges are out from behind the steering wheel, but the mirror seems an added complication.

Keith S @ 793: Holmes and Lovecraft are not comparable to SF; both take place in their own time, not the future. Some readers have issues with a world that has regressed from what we have right now (at least with no excuse or explanation, cf The Stars My Destination talking about the upheavals caused when almost everyone can teleport). Clute once spoke of the "real year" of a work (not necessarily the year it was written, but the year whose forms(?) it assumes), although he disavowed that a few years ago.

#796 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2017, 07:48 PM:

CHip 795: Have to mildly disagree with you on one point: the Sherlock Holmes stories were absolutely SF at the time they were written. Forensic science did not exist; fingerprints and ballistics were in their infancy (in fact the first time fingerprints were used to solve a crime was 1892, a good five years after the publication of "A Study in Scarlet").

The idea of applying scientific technique to crime scenes was apparently original with Doyle (or maybe his mentor, but the mentor never wrote about it). And the pioneers of forensic science definitely had read Doyle; Edmond Locard certainly had, and he was known as "the Sherlock Holmes of France."

Also, you write "Holmes and Lovecraft are not comparable to SF; both take place in their own time, not the future." I don't buy that as a criterion. Plenty of SF is set in the present day with new or unusual science. ET, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Starman, Kyle XY, Orphan Black—all set in the present day of their respective times. Even Doctor Who is based in the present day.

#797 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2017, 04:32 AM:

Jacque@792, thanks, but I'll be running around with family enough I won't really have time to stop by. But yes, same me over there.

#798 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2017, 11:29 AM:

From Today's Lucky 10,000: I learned about a thing today. Had never heard of this before!

#799 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2017, 11:30 AM:

Bill: Cool. Happy elk!

#800 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2017, 11:51 AM:

#796 ::: Race Traitor Xopher

Forensic science has reached a stormy adolescence.

Seriously, matters are very bad in the US. Anyone know of countries where forensic science is in better shape?

#802 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2017, 06:30 PM:

Nancy #800 - here in the UK things used to be quite good, but the government privatised the national forensics service, which has left the field open for small cost cutting dodgy companies to offer poor services, and destroyed any development of professionalism.

#803 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2017, 07:55 PM:

Speaking of forensics, here's font geek forensics in action.

#804 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 12:19 AM:

Idumea @720: Acknowledged. May I presume you still want replies to your earlier post?

abi @530: “The reason I called comment 228 a strawman is that it is predicated on the notion that your interlocutors have proposed 21 years — or any set timeline — for the propagation and acceptance of new theories across all fields of knowledge. They didn't. Arguing against it is a strawman argument.”

(1) Thanks for telling me exactly what you meant, ~300 comments (and many guesses) later.

(2) Interlocutor singular (anhweol in #219).

(3) What constitutes “extremely modern” was set by the publication date (1996) of the work so labeled in that comment (“The alphabet/abjad/abugida distinction, while very useful in narrow technical discussions, is extremely modern - coined by Peter T. Daniels himself (see the work cited above).”), subtracted from 2017, = 21. Arithmetic, not straw.

(4) The very next sentence suggests even 21 years are not enough to gain acceptance: “So it's probably not yet appropriate to insist on it as the only correct usage, though it may get there some day.”

(5) As to “all fields of knowledge”: nowhere is there a disclaimer that this argument is like the Supreme Court’s Bush v. Gore decision, to be applied only to this one solitary case, and never anywhere else. The one context mentioned (which I did not read as limiting this rule) is “narrow technical discussions”; but then how is DNA research a less relevant application than linguistics? (I brought up the DNA double-helix discovery by comparison, because that was close to my life and came immediately to my mind — how could it not? [skip repetition of bio details])

Does that sufficiently answer the “strawman” accusation?

> “... recycle your embarrassment as unjustified anger.” — May I at least ask that you desist from these attempts at mind-reading? As I said in #500, “It's the ‘strawman’ and ‘contempt’ charges I objected to” — since I didn’t commit them — so I’ve no “embarrassment” on those counts either.

I’m aware of my own limitations, including that I am neither telepathic nor clairvoyant; what would embarrass me would be hopelessly pretending to these skills.

> “... Making Light has a site culture....”

Yes, indeed. You had in #245 enunciated one of its values: to make contributions “respectful and constructive”, which is splendid — for instance, I don’t swear at people or call them things like “nincompoops” online or offline, never did, wasn’t brought up that way, hadn’t done it here either — but how was such a respectful-and-constructive site culture thereafter demonstrated?

My dear wife has sometimes wondered aloud whether I suffer from Asperger’s Syndrome, and while I have assured her I don’t, I have to wonder how events here would have differed had that been the case. People with AS often are accused of insensitivity and even stupidity, and treated quite harshly in response. I’m ready to follow your advice and go elsewhere simply because the joy has gone; I’ve stayed this long only to defend my reputation from false accusations; but the idea that other people — say, with actual AS — might wander in here seeking community only to be sworn at and called names is dismaying.
___________

Patrick Nielsen Hayden @539: “... I was not actually addressing something you had said....”

Nor did I say you had. Review the thread: _#485_ - #486 - #488 - #519+#520 - #539

The “concept of forcing a confidence on someone” was brought up in relation to my email, which had never at any point asked for any degree of confidentiality. (Feel free to quote, at any length required, any passage contradicting this!) As the thread went on, I objected to the implication.
___________

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @538: “When someone rejects the obligations of mutual civility....”

Now, there’s the thing: I’d thought argumentum ad argumentum [going after ideas] was civil, and argumentum ad hominem [going after the person] was not.

There was certainly no accusation of incivility, let alone contempt(!) against Xopher for saying, “Using the name of OCS to ‘prove’ that it was strictly liturgical from the beginning is simply nonsense.” — although that was truly a strawman, I had not claimed OCS was liturgical from the beginning — because the word “nonsense” was directed at the [straw] fallacy, not any person. Yet my word “ridiculous”, also aimed at a fallacy (a real one, an anachronism), seemed to have been taken as not just disrespectful or nonconstructive but downright contemptuous. (Or perhaps not. I had had to guess just what the “strawman” was that I was being accused of; now it seems to have been the number 21, as in “2017 minus 1996”.)

If I had shown such incivility and disrespect as to swear at people or call them names like “nincompoop”, I should have expected an instant permanent ban.

But the site rules are yours, not mine, and y’all are the ones to enforce them (or not), rather than me.

And y’all are also free, utterly free, to ignore them in your own behavior.

Without even any introspection.

But excuse me, I think I can’t stand to watch any more. Goodbye.

#805 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 02:24 AM:

Oh. This makes me sad. I really thought they might come back to have fun talking about language, instead of just to flounce.

#806 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 02:45 AM:

Fade 805: You and me both, sibling. You and me both.

#807 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 10:25 AM:

Open-threadiness: I've noticed that the accuracy of my typing seems to suffer on a mechanical keyboard, which are supposed to be moderately better for the overall typing experience. I am wondering if I would benefit from "actually" learning touch-typing, or just being more careful, or getting an actual ergonomic setup (the keyboard is currently quite a bit too high)...? Working in command-line text editors makes hitting the wrong key moderately inconvenient, since it *does* things (besides make typos). Not sure if anyone has opinions on the topic.

#808 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 10:43 AM:

estelendur @807:

All three ideas, learning to touch-type, being more careful, and adjusting the keyboard height, are probably good ideas.

Fortunately, you can start with being more careful and adjusting the keyboard height. Most keyboards also allow you to adjust the tilt, which might help.

But I'd suspect that the biggest help is learning to touch type. Unfortunately, I learned to touch-type over 30 years ago as a pre-teen, and I have no real advice on how to do so as an adult now.

Mechanical keyboards are supposed to mimic the feel of typewriters more than non-mechanical keyboards. But when you think about it, every keyboard except a touch-screen is mechanical, right?

I have one mechanical keyboard, and it does feel better to type on, but its very loud. I don't use it at work.

#809 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Gardener of Threads ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 10:44 AM:

I think that I will close the door behind Raven. May the road rise to meet him, and the wind be always at his back...elsewhere.

I do hope the feeling of having the last word was satisfying. Apart from any expressions of regret at the final outcome, let's leave him that feeling, shall we? I think his record in this thread is enough to allow future readers to come to a just evaluation of him without additional substantive rubric.

#810 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 10:46 AM:

@805 & 6: "From the Department of So Missing The Point" ::headdesk::

Meanwhile, in happier news, a coworker brought in what I have declared to be Meta-Brownies.

Chocolate-chip-cookie–chip brownies.

Nom.

#811 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 10:50 AM:

estelendur @807: I, personally, am a huge fan of touch-typing. One of the very few actually useful things I learned in jr. high.

Aside from speed, the thing I find it does for me is division-of-labor: tactile/proprioceptive is in charge of accuracy; visual/verbal is in charge of content. Making visual/verbal track accuracy, too, really degrades my typing quality and speed.

#812 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 10:53 AM:

Idumea @809 & me @810: Sorry; we "crossed in the post," as it were.

#813 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 11:09 AM:

CHip @ 795:

I picked Holmes and Lovecraft because they were the first things that came to mind that are still readily in print, still have a reasonably-sized following, and are at least SF adjacent.

The Holmes stories also show how some works survive and some don't. Other works of Arthur Conan Doyle aren't nearly as well known or popularly regarded these days, often for good reason.

I like SF (and am explicitly going to restrict it to Science Fiction for the purposes of this response and not reignite the SF, SF/F, Fantasy, whatever discussion), but I don't have nearly enough knowledge of the field to pick good examples of survivors that feel to me like they will keep their staying power despite their issues. Maybe Starship Troopers, since I still commonly see it on shelves at the bookstore.

estelendur @ 807:

Oh boy, keyboards! Some people have opinions on keyboards the way others have them on barbecue or religion (but I repeat myself).

If it were me, I'd put the keyboard at a more appropriate height first, and learn touch typing second. When the keyboard is at the wrong height, I've found it increases my error rate quite a bit, simply because it's more awkward to type. Touch typing will then give you increased accuracy and speed.

That said, my grandfather, who worked with computers for decades, never did learn to touch type and did fine. He was a self-proclaimed "biblical" typist ("seek and ye shall find").

And if the keyboard you have still isn't comfortable for you, for whatever reason, you can go to a nearby big box store and poke at a few demo units they have lying out.

Semi-related: Searching for "finally got my Emacs setup just how I like it" yields excellent results.

#814 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 11:19 AM:

KeithS @813:

There's a whole hobbyist scene of people who design and build their own keyboards for special purposes, buying Cherry mechanical switches for the purpose.

The main problem I have right now keyboard-wise is that I use a mix of Linux and Mac machines, and switching between using control-option-command and control-win-alt keys (and key bindings) is a pain.

#815 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 12:15 PM:

Jacque, Buddha Buck, estelendur @ #807, #808, #810 :

Touch-typing is not a bad thing to know, although I would say that even if I did learn and used to touch-type, the frequencies of key presses (and extensive use of editors using massively many modifier keys), I know use a typing method that sees me move my hands around a lot, rather than the very static positioning encouraged y touch-typing.

Keyboard-wise, my preference is "buckle-spring keyboard" (what most would call "mechanical", I guess), but I haven't used one for work for nearly 20 years by this point. In fact, the work buckle-spring Model M is now my home keyboard.

I can make do with most key mechanisms with a traditional layout, but some of the more "chicklet"-style makes my hands and wrist ache after a while. I tend to hurt my fingertips on the ergonomic "split" keyboards (my right hand stabs down for a t or an y and there's just a solid divider where there should be; a key....)

Figuring out how you want to have keyboard and body inter-related is probably the trickiest...

#816 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 01:11 PM:

Fragano, congratulations! (And you yourself are one of the reasons I delurked years ago. You and Serge trading puns was too much to resist.)

#817 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 01:15 PM:

Re: touch-typing

I would say in general that touch-typing is a very useful skill, but it isn't a cure-all for accuracy issues. I'm not the only person who has found--after at least half a century of fluent touch-typing--that skill and fluency eventually begins to create its own error types. (The most common that I've noticed is the typing equivalent of "whole word reading", where your brain sends a signal to your fingers containing all the letters in a word as a packet, but is less specific about the order of executing the packet contents. This is the primary source of that common internet punchline "teh" for "the".)

But since I didn't notice this happening in my own typing until I'd been touch-typing for about 30 years, it's not a reason not to learn!

#818 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 01:30 PM:

On keyboards and touch-typing:
I learned typing way the hell back in the dark ages (1966/1967) on a manual typer, and have adjusted, barely, to electronic machines. I currently use a Kensington "Keyboard for Life", which feels more like a mechanical keyboard and is holding up well - other than the characters wearing off the keys!

My typing is now going to hell because my fingers move faster than my eyse, responding to brain, and the words I get aren 't always the ones I'm thinking. [see, e.g., the typos in this paragraph!]

#819 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 01:41 PM:

Interestingly, I am able to basically type without looking, mostly, most of the time, and I type reasonably fast. Sometimes I type too fast: a lot of the time I end up hitting two keys at once, or not letting up Shift before hitting something that needs to not be shifted, or... And I type reasonably fast, as well.

Heather Rose Jones @817: Sometimes my brain will substitute an entire different word for the one I was going to type; earlier today I typed "weird" instead of "write"!

I got a mechanical keyboard because I noticed that the keyboard I was previously using at work (not chiclet nor mechanical) was causing fingertip pain from how hard I was hitting the keys in order to bottom them out. My typing did not get too much louder when I switched to Cherry Blue (clicky) switches. :) Current work keyboard is Cherry Browns (tactile, not loud) with muffling o-rings.

Sounds like probably the thing to do is work at getting the keyboard low enough for my arms. Anyone have suggestions for attaching an under-desk keyboard tray to a glass desk...?

#820 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 02:02 PM:

estelendur @ 819:

Superglue?

More seriously, one of the following might work: clamp-on keyboard tray, higher chair and a footrest (if necessary), or a different desk. Since poor ergonomics are a potential health and safety issue, your employer (if employed at a reasonably-sized and responsible company) should help to get you something that will work.

#821 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 02:43 PM:

Ergonomics are so much more important than it seems like they should be. I touch-type two keyboard layouts these days; I used to have a fair command of a third. What helped me was a lot of real-time practice-- Word Shark and chat rooms-- and having a printout of the keyboard taped to my monitor so I looked up rather than down to figure out what I was doing. I do whole-word typos for the most part, often swapping suffixes, like 'everyone' for 'everything'; this is annoying because spell-check would really only be useful for typos and it doesn't catch mine.

#822 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 07:36 PM:

Xopher @ 796: you miss my point. I was answering Lee's (passing on of?) argument that people shouldn't fuss about retro authorial positions in SF because they don't fuss about such in Holmes or Lovecraft. The question is not what is or isn't SF but what is or isn't in our future. A future dystopia (or an upheaval such as I cited) has an excuse for reversions of social progress, but such reversion grates in SF that presents the future as being an improvement on (or at least an extension of) the present. I'll add Iceworld to your list of contemporary SF, with the comment that I found the sex-based duty assignments jarring when I skimmed it for the first time in decades; as a high-schooler in the late 1960's I just hadn't noticed them.

#823 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 08:41 PM:

CHip 822: Ah, you're quite right, I had misunderstood what you wrote. Thank you for explaining.

#824 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 08:44 PM:

Re: typing

I've been exclusively using instances of the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 for at least the past decade, replacing them whenever they have fatal accidents with liquids or excessive torque. Nothing else has quite the same key configuration and ergonomic shape.


There are a few keyboard tweaks that seem very subtle but make a big difference for typing ease and comfort:

The first is the angle of the keyboard. Most keyboards have little feet to let you prop it up in back. This is exactly the opposite of what I need. To keep my wrists in a neutral position rather than flexed upwards, I use a keyboard propped up at the front and dipped down at the back.

The second is the shape of the keys. Pretty much the only laptops I can type on are ThinkPads - because the keycaps are all dished in a little in the center. Without that dip it's a lot easier to misalign my hands, and I have to keep looking to make sure I'm in the right place.


Personally, I think the time spent teaching my index fingers not to cross the centerline on a split-style ergonomic keyboard was definitely worth the complete lack of wrist pain that I have as a constant typist.

#825 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 09:24 PM:

I have sad news to report. Mary Kay posted elseweb:

Jordin coded this afternoon. His heart stopped & could not be re-started. He's gone. I'm cremating him here and taking him home that way as soon as possible. Other than that I have no plans & know nothing.
MKK

There's one less light in the world today.

#826 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 09:26 PM:

CHip @ 822:

Ah, in that case, I think we're talking past each other, and I misunderstood your point as well (it was me you were replying to). My point was that some works survive and people enjoy them, despite the social attitudes in them, and therefore there's no worry that any group of gatekeepers will push works out of common circulation. Rather, the staying power or disappearance of works depends on a number of more organic factors.

My point was not — or, at least, I didn't intend it to be — that people shouldn't ignore or dismiss problematic depictions, or shouldn't be unhappy that the shining future of the past excludes or demeans themselves or others. If that's at all how it sounded, I apologize.

Thank you for clarifying your point, too.

#827 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 09:29 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 825:

Wow. So sorry to hear that. My sympathies to Mary Kay. May his memory be a blessing.

#828 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 10:36 PM:

Jordin is/was one of the most brilliant people I have ever met in fandom, which is really saying something. He will be missed. A lot. Condolences to Mary Kay.

#829 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2017, 11:17 PM:

Sincere condolences to Mary Kay, and to all who loved Jordin.

#830 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2017, 12:23 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @800: Canada's justice system is still wading through the mess left behind by former pathologist Charles Smith.

Condolences to Mary Kay; Jordin was a really nice guy and I enjoyed talking with him. His laser research was inspiring.

#831 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2017, 12:44 AM:

I'm sad to hear about Jordin.

#832 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2017, 04:19 AM:

So sorry to hear of Jordin's death.

#833 ::: SunflowerP ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2017, 04:58 AM:

A thousand of bread
A thousand of beer
A thousand of every good thing
May Jordin ascend
And may his loved ones be comforted.

#834 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2017, 06:50 AM:

re 801: My son does a killer Londo Molinari. After Serkis and Hammill, we got him to do some Trump tweets in Londo's voice. Yikes.

#835 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2017, 09:37 AM:

I am sorry to hear about Jordin as well.

#836 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2017, 09:39 AM:

I heard about Jordan... sigh. The world is smaller than it was before.

Mazel Tov to Fragano (of whom I had the same feeling in London, as he did when he met Teresa).

I feel enlarged for you joining this polity: and thank you for the manner of the tellling.

Not related, but related, I have been re-reading Making Book, and it's as new as ever, and as enriched by time, and new memory as only a good schmooze with friends can be.

#837 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2017, 10:26 AM:

Sorry to hear about Jordin Kare. Sympathies and condolences to Mary Kay Kare.

#838 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2017, 10:33 AM:

To those who have lost a friend, I am sorry to hear of it.

To Fragano, welcome to the voting booths. You are a treasure and we are lucky to have you.

To Xopher, apropos of nothing, you mentioned volunteering at some point in the distant past, and I may have misremembered the details. May I dredge up your email [on ML somewhere] and contact you?

#839 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2017, 10:46 AM:

Very sad to hear about Jordin. My deepest condolences to Mary Kay. May his memory be a blessing.

#840 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2017, 01:15 PM:

Oh...no. Sympathies to Mary Kay and all who knew him. He will be missed.

And the filkroom in the Beyond welcomes another voice.

Dammit.

#841 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2017, 02:22 PM:

My condolences to Jordin's family and friends. His passing will leave a large hole in the filk community.

#842 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2017, 04:48 PM:

I'm very sorry to hear about Jordan.

#843 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2017, 07:59 PM:

I'm so sorry to hear about Jordin's passing. He will be greatly missed. Sympathies to Mary Kay.

#844 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2017, 10:23 PM:

I sent my condolences to Mary Kay on Twitter. The loss to her, to his friends, to fandom, and to the world is incalculable.

Sandy 838: Sure. My email is my X name here followed by the name of Tolkien's hole-dwelling critters (in the singular) at Google's mail service.

#845 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2017, 01:15 PM:

My deepest sympathy to Mary Kay and family at this time; I'll miss Jordin.

(I got the news yesterday but was too busy to drop in here before because yesterday was also the day my father died.)

#846 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2017, 01:52 PM:

@Charlie Stross, condolences

#847 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2017, 01:57 PM:

Sorry to hear, Charlie Stross.

#848 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2017, 06:46 PM:

Charlie Stross, my condolences and sympathies.

#849 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2017, 10:01 PM:

I'm very sorry for your loss, Charlie.

#850 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2017, 11:50 PM:

Condolences, Charlie -- was it expected or unexpected?

#851 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2017, 02:17 AM:

Condolences, Charlie.

#852 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2017, 03:27 AM:

Charlie, my sympathies.

#853 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2017, 07:50 AM:

Sympathies and condolences.

#854 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2017, 12:41 PM:

My condolences and sympathies to Charlie and to Mary Kay.

#855 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2017, 12:58 PM:

Condolences and sympathy both to Mary Kare and friends of Jordin, and to Charlie.

#856 ::: Charles Stross ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2017, 05:04 PM:

Tom @850: my father was 93: the cause of death on the death certificate is listed as "old age". So no, not unexpected, and he went peacefully in his sleep, at home, surrounded by family, after a short decline. So it was about as good as it gets.

All my sympathy to Mary Kay, who I expect has a much rougher time of it; Jordin was far too young to lose so abruptly.

#857 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2017, 05:57 PM:

Agreeing on all counts, Charlie. It's still hard to lose a parent, but easier when it's expected (from experience).

#858 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2017, 06:26 PM:

Sympathy and condolences to Mary Kay and to Charlie on their losses, and the strength to bear them.

#859 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2017, 06:30 PM:

[Intervening ISE.]

Sympathy and condolences to Mary Kay and to Charlie on their losses, and the strength to bear them.

#860 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2017, 11:31 PM:

Condolences to Charlie.

#861 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2017, 05:29 AM:

Checking in briefly, more later I hope. Condolences to Charlie Stross.

Also congratulations to Fragano, and welcome. We need as many educated and thoughtful voters as we can get. And congratulations on your sort-of retirement. I sympathize; my retirement was rather a bumpy affair too.

It's cooled down in our bedroom while I read through the 600 or so comments I'd fallen behind, so I'm going to try to sleep.
Tomorrow (later today) I'll tell you about how I seem to have backed into fillking as a byproduct of reading The Craft Sequnce.

#862 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2017, 11:00 AM:

Condolences to both Mary Kay and Charlie.

#863 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2017, 11:27 AM:

Adding condolences.

#864 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2017, 01:02 PM:

To both Mary Kay and Charlie, condolences.

#865 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2017, 02:52 PM:

My condolences, Mr. Stross -- I could wish for no better departure than that. While I still have both parents, I know eventually I'll be facing that loss too. Wishing you whatever you need to get through today and every day hereafter.

#866 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2017, 03:55 AM:

A few days ago, just after midnight, I was reading Max Goldstone's "Four Roads Cross", which is either the 4th or the 5th book in the Craft Sequence, depending on how you count. I'm reading them in publication order, so for me it's the 5th.

In chapter 26 I came across this line: "Gargoyles on rooftops, and moonlight in alleys,” The cadence of it reminded me of the song "My Favorite Things", and I immediately started writing. By the time I had one verse and the chorus it was well after 1 AM, and I was too tired to continue. This is what I'd written.

My Craft Sequence Things (Sung to the tune of "My Favorite Things")

Warning: spoilers for several of the books

Gargoyles on rooftops, and moonlight in alleys,
Craftspeople dealing in soulstuff for high fees,
Dead gods have left their worshippers behind,
Skeleton Kings have replaced divine kind

When the spell's cast,
When the glyph's drawn,
When the Craft is used.
Those who are unwanted will quickly be gone,
But failure will not be excused.

So that's how I backed into filking by accident. I've been working on more verses, but it's coming slower than the original ones.

By the way, I heartily recommend The Craft Sequence.

#867 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2017, 09:53 AM:

Bruce Cohen, the phrase "Ghoulies and Ghosties and Long-legged Beasties" pops into my head as another pre-existing set of words that will fit your theme.

I'm very sorry to hear about Jordin. What a loss to the world. Condolences to Mary Kay, and to Charles Stross.

I just got back from a visit with my dad, who would be doing better if it hadn't been for several strokes. All my sisters were there as well.

#868 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2017, 07:49 PM:

Ah, damn. As soon as I read his name, the opening bars of "Fire in the Sky" started up in my head. And so young.

#869 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2017, 11:32 AM:

Popping in very briefly to say:

Charles Stross@845: My condolences. May his memory be a blessing.

Condolences likewise to all who knew and loved Jordin Kare.

And congratulations Fragano Ledgister! (Also, thanks for earworming me with a couple of memorable lines from H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N.)

#870 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2017, 08:15 PM:

My condolences Charlie.

(It's a strange feeling to lose a parent. It's nearly two years since Dad died, I still have not got over it. Remember to look after yourself too.)

#871 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2017, 03:02 PM:

My condolences to Mr. Stross and to Jordin's family.

#872 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2017, 07:32 AM:

First time I've checked in here for a while. I wanted to see what people might have said about Alan Dorey's death and was instead shocked to hear of Jordin's death. My deepest condolences, Mary Kay. My condolences also to Charlie; I remember how tough it was when I lost my own father.

#873 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2017, 09:15 AM:

Just heard the death of Julie Gomoll - sister of Jeanne - is being reported by Lucy Huntzinger and others. I met Julie on several occasions over the years and liked her a lot. No details as yet but she was posting on twitter as recently as a few days ago.

#874 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2017, 10:43 AM:

June Foray, the voice of both Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Natasha (of Boris and Natasha) has died at age 99.

#875 ::: Charles Stross ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2017, 01:58 PM:

Rob: Alan Dorey died? Crap. I totally missed this.

(Will people please stop with the dying, already? At least — he says selfishly — until after Worldcon?)

#876 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2017, 07:33 PM:

Condolences to Charlie, and to Mary Kay.

And to Soon Lee @870 - grief takes longer than you expect, even when you expect it. The hard parts get less frequent, and the good parts mostly stay, but you'll still get surprised for a while.

#877 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2017, 07:40 PM:

Jacque@799, thanks! We did see a herd of about 50-100 elk in one batch in the park, and occasional other ones, and deer, and my sister and cousin saw a moose and calf. There don't seem to be marmots living in the rocky cliff any more, but there's one that lives under the lodge, and the proprietor feeds him so he comes out most days. (Plus we saw a skunk hanging out by the fire hydrant when we got home.)

As usual, seeing family out in the mountains was good, both the people who stayed there and the cousins who came up from town to visit, and the folks who run the lodge who we've known since their parents were running it, and the other group of cousins who arrived for a week as we were leaving. (And there was marginal wifi access, but you still have to drive 5 miles up or down the road to get cell phones.)

My nephews decided to climb Mt Meeker, and did so successfully and fast, which is the kind of thing you can do when you're in your 20s :-)

#878 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2017, 08:42 PM:

AKICIML: I would like to make sourdough, but all of the recipes I have seen say that the culture has to be kept at very warm temperatures for hours and hours in order to make bread. Room temperature in this house is 68 degrees on a windy day and less if it's calm. How do people in a similar situation keep their sourdough starter going?

#879 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2017, 10:06 PM:

Jenny Islander @878 -- do you have a gas stove? The pilot light in the oven tends to keep it at a nice warm temp for rising bread. If you have an electric, you might try warming it to its lowest temp setting, then turning it off -- ovens stay warm for several hours. As long as you're not near boiling, the yeasts should survive okay (range between 100 and 150 F is pretty safe).

#880 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2017, 10:25 PM:

I concur with incubating stuff in the oven. Note for ADD folks: Turn the oven on, stand there and count the 60 seconds, turn the oven off, insert the culture to be warmed. I.e. do not insert the culture, turn the oven on, and promise yourself to come back in 60 seconds to turn it off.

#881 ::: Pfusand ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2017, 10:28 PM:

Jenny Islander @878 -- You can use a light bulb on an extension cord as a warmer. Put the starter and the bulb in a box -- but be careful, since the system can get surprisingly hot. Start with a large box rather than a small one.

#882 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2017, 11:38 PM:

Use a low-wattage light bulb, and prop the oven door open a little. (This is what my mother did - the oven was electric. With a gas oven, the pilot light should be enough.)
Another possibility is setting on top of the refrigerator - that's a warmer spot that you would expect, especially toward the back of the fridge, where the coils are.
(Sourdough starter since 1978.)

#883 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2017, 11:40 PM:

Thanks! I can't get up to check the lowest setting on my big old steel oven just now, but I'll look as soon as I can. If I go this route, I'll need to make a sign and hang it on the oven door when I'm incubating sourdough, or I'll forget and preheat the oven for something else...

#884 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2017, 11:50 PM:

If you have an electric oven with a light, that might be a good temperature. My mother used to make yogurt that way. (Now she puts warm water in an old styrofoam cooler and leaves the jar(s) in that overnight.)

#885 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2017, 03:36 AM:

Coming down off the nervous tension of the Republican Senators attempt to kill off people whose health care took too much money from their donors' tax cuts. They'll no doubt try to resurrect it again, but it's dead for tonight.

#886 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2017, 03:48 AM:

AKICIML: I'm looking for the title and author of an SF story I read sometime in the last 3 or 4 years. It takes place on a tide-locked world inhabited by humans, who live in the twilight region, and another race that lives on the night side. The narrator is the daughter of a famous explorer and colonizer of the night side. Her father wants to conquer and enslave the night-siders, believing them to be evil, and barely more than wild animals. She and her brother come to believe otherwise. I seem to remember that the author is either Indian (from the subcontinent, not N. A.) or Indian-American.

#887 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2017, 09:02 AM:

Jenny Islander:

Many folks keep their starter in a jar in a cabinet, and take it out to feed once a day or so. Others keep it in the refrigerator, and when they feed it, they set it out on the cabinet to come to room temp before they feed.

There's a time/temp trade-off. Cooler temperatures won't kill a starter, but it'll make it grow slower. This can be useful (put your starter in the fridge before going on a trip to keep it from starving while you are gone). But for a starter, the goal is to get the thing to live forever, while occasionally giving up bits to be used for cooking. But it'll live over a range of temps.

For making bread, it's the same thing: there's a time/temp trade-off. Putting the dough into a warm proofing box (or oven with pilot light/oven light, etc) will make it rise well in a couple of hours. But there's a famous NY Times sourdough bread recipe (as well as a series of books and blogs) based on the idea of letting the dough rise for days in a bucket in the refrigerator (google for "Artisinal Bread in 5 minutes a day").

#888 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2017, 10:23 AM:

I'm reading a book about cowboy cooks . . . the guys who worked from the back of a chuck wagon.

They took great care to keep their cask of sourdough starter going, taking it to bed with them to keep it warm.

Now that's commitment!

#889 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2017, 10:51 AM:

885
Good. (I went to bed before they'd gotten to that vote.)
I wish that they'd have the courage of their own words: if they're going to talk about how bad it is, they should vote against it. Or they're not worth their salaries and benefits.

#890 ::: Craft (Alchemy) ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2017, 11:53 AM:

Seen via Captain Awkward on Twitter: a family court judge renders his decision in a letter to the 14-year-old at the centre of the custody case.

It reminded me of the case abi mentioned at the start of the most recent Dysfunctional Families thread, partly in circumstances, but mostly as an example of an adult in a position of power addressing a child with a lot of compassion, and without talking down.

#891 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2017, 01:25 PM:

Another here who stayed up during the graveyard shift to see if McCain would keep his word. Which meant I got to hear McConnell choke out the words that the skinny bill had been defeated. I thought McConnell was going to break into tears.

It was MOST satisfying.

#892 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2017, 01:43 PM:

These are what I'd recommend for propping oven doors open:
http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=73796&cat=1,42363,42348
Hooks on magnetic bases, in three sizes.

#893 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2017, 03:12 PM:

Craft (Alchemy) @890:

It's the same judge. I hope his approach spreads.

#894 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2017, 06:18 PM:

Bruce Cohen, Speaker to Managers, #886: I'm not sure, but it might have been in one of the last few "Best Science Fiction of the Year" collections. You know, the one that's up to #34 this summer. I seem to recall one that led off with 2 stories about tidelocked worlds. Hope this helps.

#895 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2017, 01:38 AM:

Buddha Buck #887:

Temperature will also have some effect on which bacteria and yeasts become dominant, and so on flavour. In particular, you tend to get a higher ratio of bacteria to yeast when the starter grows at higher temperature and so you tend get more lactic acid. A wetter starter also tends to produce more lactic acid for the same reason (source)

#896 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2017, 04:26 AM:

*deepest sigh*

News, such as it is, on Julie Gomoll's death - via File 770.

You'll have to scroll down to sub-section 8 to get to that info. In particular, they mention her sister, Jeanne, has set the eulogy FB post to public.

Crazy(and ... feeling out of words; though I'm sorry for the others here going through bereavements as well...l)Soph

#897 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2017, 10:42 AM:

WRT sourdough: the best temperatures for the starter are somewhere around 80 to 85F, I understand. (If you can get a copy of the Sunset Bread Book, particularly in the editions from the 70s, they have a chapter on sourdoughs and how to get the best flavor: nonfat milk for the liquid is recommended. Mine is in one of the Magic Boxes....)

#898 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2017, 05:58 PM:

Tom W @ 879: a pilot light was my first thought also, but then I looked at my igniter stove and wondered how many still have pilot lights? I know a local instance at least 40 years old that uses igniters; that may vary by state (especially since this is MA, where bathroom light switches must be outside the door so they aren't operated by wet hands...).

P J Evans @ 889: I wish that they'd have the courage of their own words: if they're going to talk about how bad it is, they should vote against it. I'm intermittently croggled at the tactic of presenting something ruinous in the hope that the same party in the other chamber will modify their own ruinous bill, but I admit to considerable schadenfreude over the Republicans having to actually come up with something that won't get them lynched, instead of making gestures they know will be vetoed. (And I'm wondering how many senators were involved in the gerrymandering that produced such a pigheaded House, and whether any are now regretting it.) I suppose we might even have to thank Trump for this behavior; someone less of an ass might have been able to persuade McCain not to vote against (or not gotten Murkowski's dander up), and then we'd be in a real mess.

Craft @ 890: what a godawful case, and (as you say) what a wonderful treatment of a minor as an intellectual equal. I've done jury duty (called frequently, served twice (both ~expectable in my state) and considered myself lucky not to be empaneled once) but never even considered the law, because I have no skill at the kind of picking-through-personality-minefields that this judge has had to do. I do know a case where a minor manages week-on week-off -- but it involves exes deliberately living within walking distance of each other, and both seem relatively sane now (as I understand they weren't when together), so I can't fault even that part of the decision; I just hope the minor can appreciate and work with the care the judge took. (I might have been more explicit about the importance of getting through secondary school in solid form, but I don't know whether that could be said without the talking-down that the judge avoids.)

Lori C @ 891: I regret not seeing that; I'm not sure Trump isn't more despicable, but I've had almost 9 years to be disgusted with McConnell.

From what my partner (who Facebooks (I don't)) says, I was only about the millionth person to have "Scaramooch, Scaramooch, will you do the fandango?" earwormed; however, it has a little more resonance for me as I have the age/experience to know the hacker's term fandango on core -- which the Mooch seems to be exemplifying. Now I'm waiting to see whether various Republicans will make something of their threats if (when?) there's another Saturday Night Massacre.

#899 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2017, 01:55 PM:

CHip @898: It was ALMOST worth the past months' endless nights of insomnia.

Re: Potential Saturday Night's Massacre. I had the privilege of seeing Rachel Maddow interviewing the joint heads of the Intelligence(?) Committee, who assured her that if Trump should be so stupid as to fire Mueller, THEY had already drawn up the paperwork to create a special commission with Mueller as its head.

So I would say Congress is prepared for this eventuality, and might even be said to be giving Trump enough rope to hang himself...

#900 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2017, 03:56 PM:

I learned to touch type in high school, but I still mostly look at the keys if I type numbers.

Is anyone else using a mixed system like that?z

Thoughts about using the keypad instead of the top row?

#901 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2017, 04:10 PM:

I've been touch typing since elementary school, and usually have to look--at the screen, if not my fingers--when I need to use the top row numbers. I absolutely hate the trend of smaller keyboards; if you type quickly, ten-key is so much easier most of the time*. Until you have to dial a desk telephone, anyway, since they're reversed and it can be easy (for me, at least), to get mixed up when I have to switch. (If I'm dialling a cell phone, I always have to look at what I'm doing anyway; however, a proper phone is of a size that my fingers think they know what they're doing without my brain's intervention.)


* As long as you're not typing a Canadian postal code. Which I have to do frequently, alas.

#902 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2017, 05:27 PM:

I can touch type, but I mostly look. 10-key is much faster for pure numbers, and I definitely check the numbers whichever system I'm using.

#903 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2017, 05:54 PM:

"Thoughts about using the keypad instead of the top row?"

I learned touch typing in high school as well, on a typewriters that didn't have a "1" key. You were supposed to use the "I" (capital i).

I'm far more comfortable using the top row, but there have been times, when using a calculator app or a spreadsheet, that I use the number pad. Not common though.

My brother-in-law, who went to business school and I think studied accounting a bit, is a master of using the keypad to enter numbers. Really freaky fast.

#904 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2017, 06:38 PM:

Last day of job (19 years, 9 months, 25 days) tomorrow.

Maybe last day of Career 2.0.

Alternating between profound relief and fear of not knowing what to do besides walking the dog and napping.

#905 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2017, 06:39 PM:

900
I use both, depending on what I'm doing. If there are mixed numbers and letters, I'm probably using the top row. (I spent a lot of time at work, for several years, doing data entry on terminals with no numeric keypad - they were all set to special uses. IBM 3270 series.)

I learned to use lower-case "L" as 1. But I've seen "I" used that way also.

#906 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2017, 06:55 PM:

Stefan Jones @904 -- hope you weren't at a company that gives you a pension after 20 years!

#907 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2017, 07:45 PM:

Stefan Jones (903)/P J Evans (905): Like P J, I learned to use the lowercase L for 1. Also, an exclamation point was made by typing an apostrophe (aka single quote), then backing up and putting a period under it.

----
Stefan Jones (904): May you enjoy your retirement.

#908 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2017, 08:13 PM:

HLN: I discover (again[0]) that there are no conditions under which the combination of a dust consuming system and a dust producing mechanism[1] will not result in a net increase in airborne and distributed dust.

[0] See also: Surely it wasn't -that- bad / will be better this time / hope springs infernal
[1] Sanding this time, but applies equally to drilling, routing, sawing ...

#909 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2017, 08:55 PM:

#904. Pension, HA HA HA. Not in high tech. I've been panic saving/investing since the first acquisition 17 years ago. Living like I had half my salary, so retiring on the about same so it won't feel like too much of a downgrade.

I'm hoping freelance work will earn enough to deal with insurance premium inflation. Fingers crossed. Otherwise . . . see you at the end of the check out line, bagging groceries.

(There WAS a time when the company gave out service awards -- an item from a gift catalog -- every 5 years. It turns out that program was cancelled shortly after I got my 15th year prize. (I chose a tent . . . housing!) Now, when you reach a 5 year interval, your manager prints out a certificate of merit and gives it to you at the morning meeting. So, I'm not even missing out on a gold watch or monogrammed golf tee dispenser or whatever.)

(Thanks to acquisition timing, I also missed out on sabbatical, and about $60,000 in stock options. )

* * *
#907: Ahhh, the lower case "l" makes more sense. It has been 30+ years since I had to deal with a keyboard like that.

The apostrophe + period = bang sounds vaguely familiar

#910 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2017, 10:28 PM:

Back when I was doing typesetting, it was before everybody converged on the standard IBM Selectric keyboard. So every time I changed jobs, I'd change typesetting rigs, each of which had its own proprietary keyboard layout. Letters & number locations were standardized, but everything else...varied.

The worst was when two jobs overlapped, and I had to switch back and forth between two—often on the same day.

*Bzzzt!* >Gznap!<

#911 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2017, 12:18 AM:

Apropos of nothing....

The other night as I drifted off to sleep, my dreams consisted of Facebook page feeds. It may be time to take a screen break.

#912 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2017, 10:58 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 900:

I've been touch-typing for years, but my grasp of the number row at the top of the keyboard is somewhat hazy. I don't need to look at the number row to get it right as much as I used to, but my speed is dramatically reduced when entering mixed letters and numbers. I'm much better at the number pad, and sometimes even wind up using it when entering mixed letters and numbers if there's enough numerical content, inefficient as that may be.

I appreciate that Apple thought it was a grand idea to have an equals key on the number pad, but making the + key single-height and rotating the /, *, and - keys clockwise to accommodate it wasn't the way to do it if you constantly flip back and forth between PCs and Macs.

And then there are the historical reasons for why adding machines and telephones have different keypad arrangements that Jennifer Barber brought up. Also frustrating.

#913 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2017, 12:33 PM:

Sam Shepard dead at 73.
Jeanne Moreau dead at 89.

#914 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2017, 01:10 PM:

900

My first job out of college was typing prescription numbers in pharmacy records. The only way to avoid going crazy was to learn to touch-type across the top row. I can still do it, 45 years later.

#915 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2017, 02:53 PM:

Scaramucci has resigned?
That sure didn't long.
Thunderbolt and lightning!

#916 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2017, 03:14 PM:

Stefan Jones @904

Sounds like you're pretty well prepared financially for being laid off. Having spent 35 years or so in high tech and being laid off 5 times, I can tell you that your best resource is patience. You can find more work, but it usually takes some time. If you've been offered a COBRA health package, I recommend you take it even if it seems expensive. Maintaining coverage may be important for later insurance.

#917 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2017, 03:17 PM:

Serge @915

Half-life of administration officials is trending down rapidly. May it go to zero.

#918 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2017, 03:44 PM:

May it be so, Bruce, may it be so, and soon too.

#919 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2017, 03:51 PM:

Serge Broom @ #815 -

Twitter is going crazy. My favorite so far is from Patton Oswalt.

DOUCHE BOOTS MOOCH.

#920 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2017, 03:54 PM:

:-)

#921 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2017, 03:59 PM:

AKICIML: I'm considering applying for an administrative assistant's job at a Lutheran church. I just answered a brief ad in the paper; it wasn't until I picked up the application that I found out that they'll only hire churchgoing Protestants. As it happens, I am a churchgoing Protestant--but can they actually legally specify that on the application?

#922 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2017, 04:17 PM:

Harvard Law's alumni book lists Scaramucci as having died in 2011.
This whole thing is more and more like a Monty Python skit.

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Scaramucci-erroneously-listed-as-dead-in-the-new-11721069.php

#923 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2017, 04:42 PM:

Jenny Islander @ 921 -

Apparently religious organizations are allowed to discriminate on the basis of religion.

http://churchlawgroup.com/resources/blog/religious-discrimination-can-a-church-hirefire-someone-based-on-religious-beliefs/

#924 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2017, 04:44 PM:

I ATEN'T DED.

HLN:
Been stuck in hospital awaiting surgery on a busted patella (my first broken bone). It was embarrassing; tripped while taking trousers off, smacked knee on floor with my full weight behind it.

Thankful for smartphones and free hospital WiFi. And books.

Am even more grateful to live in a country with socialised healthcare; haven't had to pay anything. But in another way, I already have, in our collective taxes.

The US political climate feels like it's accelerating toward a singularity.

#925 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2017, 05:17 PM:

I learnt to touch-type on typewriter keyboards, and never really mastered the number row.

I also had the experience of using the common l for 1, and of using the single quotation mark ' underpinned by a full stop as the substitute for an exclamation mark (much rarer, I was working for a newspaper).

Of course, since I worked for a newspaper, most things I wrote ended thus


-- 30 --

#926 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2017, 07:42 PM:

Serge Broom @ 915:

I'm getting echoes of music by Queen, but not Bohemian Rhapsody.

More like Another One Bites the Dust.

#927 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2017, 08:53 PM:

I had a summer job about 25 years ago walking the shelves at a college library, putting barcodes onto the books. All the call numbers had been typed into the catalog by librarians who learned to type in days when manual typewriters didn't necessarily have 0 or 1 keys, as folks are describing above. Some of them were OCRed.

Which meant that I ended up getting too much practice telling the difference between l, 1, | and I apart, as well as 0 and O, in Helvetica. As well as correcting for bad scans and mistypes.

#928 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2017, 09:39 PM:

#924: Heal, quickly, Soon Lee!

Patella sounds like it should be a tasty Spanish dish.

* * *
About . . . maybe five years ago? . . . I found, on the close-out shelf at Safeway, a box of candy called Figamajigs. Ten cents a package. Bought 'em all. Picture a Good-n-Plenty, but with fig paste instead of licorice, and a layer of chocolate under the candy shell.

I ate or gave away to co-workers most of them. Last year, maybe the year before, I was down to two packages.

I did a search, and discovered that Figamajigs were No More. Kaput. Out of production, out of business.

I ate one, and vowed to keep the other until my last day at work. I ate the pieces as I said good-bye to co-workers, some of whom I worked with since 1997.

Ate the last piece as I walked out the door!

Tomorrow begins the unemployment bureaucracy adventure.

#929 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2017, 10:12 PM:

I mix top-row and number pad for typing numbers; I learned 50 years ago (via a teacher who despaired of my handwriting), when number pads existed only on compact adding machines. I tend to use them now only for long numbers, as the pad is farther from home position (I'm not fanatical, just vaguely efficient) -- and only when I have a real keyboard (I've never gotten used to the numbers-under-the-right-hand keyboard of notebooks, which is where I do most of my typing). I'm fascinated at the number of people reporting learning alternates; it's way over 40 years since typewriters needing such were made, but a lot of them were so well-made that I can see them being in use long after. How many here remember making large letters for headers by using '$' or similar as ~dots in a ~dot-matrix (typically 5x5)?

Stefan: the question Tom should have asked was whether you lost random benefits. (With you on pensions -- my last was bought out 4 layoffs ago, in 1979.) E.g., I was laid off at 17 years 10.5 months, with a good package but not nearly as good as people who'd been there over 18 years. (This might have clipped a couple of other people as I was part of a hiring spree, but the turnover in the near-subsequent years was so high I wouldn't bet on it.) Here's hoping the health premiums are tolerable; I'm still going WTF at the difference between what the HMO told me my existing coverage would cost if I had to buy it individually and what they actually charged.

Soon Lee @ 924: Ouch! I find just banging a patella (not unknown as I'm clumsy) painful; hope the books etc. keep your mind off the injury.

Fragano @ 925: I'm surprised at "--30--"; I remember "The Little Black Bag" (1950) saying that's what youngsters did. I suppose Kornbluth was being NYC-up-to-the-minute.

So -- was the Mooch just a one-out (Priebus) pitcher, or did Kelly decide there were one too many alphas in the White House? (Added irony points that Kelly was in because the Mooch got his vengeance on Priebus.) Or did Kelly (who's been quoted at the same level of worldwide paranoia as Bannon) decide that Mooch wasn't batshit crazy enough?

Moving to the international stage: has anybody been following Venezuela in detail? I'm assuming there was some reason the majority couldn't just put up candidates who would sign off on a copy of the existing constitution (maybe with an amendment about a constitutional convention requiring the assent of the legislature) and go home in a day, but I haven't seen an explanation.

#930 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2017, 11:54 PM:

I remember reading some years ago about a font that was meant to highlight common OCR errors in books-- a curve on the lowercase L, different shapes for 1, I, and such. Probably a very different M and N shape in the lowercase, too. It was not a pretty font, but useful.

I find myself examining highway signs for different fonts. Highway Gothic vs Clearview, and I can tell the difference sometimes.

#931 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2017, 04:13 AM:

Diatryma @ #930:

For a while (I don't know if it's still in use), the Stockholm City road maintenance department had a semi-fraktur font for street name signs for use only in Stockholm Old Town. It had multiple similar-but-subtly-different representations of each letter, chosen randomly at street sign generation time, to encourage the illusion that they were hand-lettered.

#932 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2017, 04:30 AM:

Soon Lee @924: Sympathies and good luck with that. When you get that far: do the exercises the physio gives you. Religiously. It makes a big difference to returning joint movement.

#933 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2017, 05:36 AM:

IT'S ALIVE!!!
Back in ward after knee surgery. Am told it went well. Ate cottage pie for my first meal in over 24 hours, and very much appreciated it was too.

@Stefan Jones,
Thank you! And best of luck with the unemployment bureaucracy adventure. May you find employment quickly.

@CHip, I am glad to be living in an age of miracles and wonders.

@dcb,
Thanks, I've received that advice from others too. I'm motivated to do whatever helps me achieve full recovery.

#934 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2017, 06:40 AM:

CHip @ #929: How many here remember making large letters for headers by using '$' or similar as ~dots in a ~dot-matrix (typically 5x5)?

Yes. Both on the last of the old mechanical typewriters and in the first of the computer word processors, before adjustable font sizes were a common thing.

#935 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2017, 08:09 AM:

Soon Lee @933, glad to hear the surgery went well. Best wishes for a smooth recovery.

Typing ... I can touch type numbers from the top row if I'm doing mixed numbers and letters but usually need to check them. If I'm entering numbers in spreadsheet format I'll use the numeric keypad and am pretty accurate.

When I learned to type in high school, which would have been the early 70s, I remember exclamation points with an apostrophe, backspace, period. And the dreaded "two spaces after a period," which I eventually retrained myself from with some effort. And centering headers by counting the number of letters in the row, dividing in half, backspacing that many spaces from the center, and then typing the text.

I had a job the summer of 1974 typing using an IBM Selectric mag card machine. I still recall the joy of SAVING what I had typed and being able to recall it to redo with small changes. Magic! I was already interested in science but that would have made me a techie if I hadn't been.

#936 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2017, 08:42 AM:

Backspacing to type an exclamation point? Unheard of! It being the day of mechanical typewriters, one was taught to hold the space bar down and then striking the apostrophe and the period (in some order).

Did a fair amount of centering, too, which was done by starting from the center and backspacing once for each pair of letters, then typing. When typing for publication (my junior high school paper used typewriting for everything), you'd reach the end of a line and type slashes or 1234 to know how many spaces to insert when retyping it for an even right-hand margin.

I feel like I've recently recounted the joy of progressing to a memory typewriter (in 1981) and being able to make all the fixes to a test or handout and then have the whole thing print out on a ditto master. No more overtyping and razor blade work!

#937 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2017, 10:05 AM:

One of the earliest programming languages I learned (both in the sense that the language itself is older than me, so it's probably about the 3rd oldest language I've used, and in that it's probably about the 2nd language I've dabbled in, long before I formally did work in it) has commands which require backspacing.

APL is a highly symbolic language, and used a special keyboard loaded with special characters, like arrows, upside-down Deltas, dotless i (probably for "iota"), etc. But some of the symbols used in the language were composed of multiple symbols, overstruck. The "grade up" operator, for instance, was a Delta overstruck by a vertical line.

It's a weird language, which you either "get" or "don't get". It looks more like line noise than most languages.

#938 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2017, 10:18 AM:

Buddha Buck @ #937:

The "looks vaguely like a dotless i" is actually a iota indeed . With a sufficiently high-resolution screen, or a proper IBM APL typingball, the iota clearly does not have the "protrudes to the less" serif-y thing at the bottom. I really like how APL uses the set intersection sign and the degree sign to make a light-bulb for comments.

APL was, I think, language #4 or #5 in my now thankfully aborted strive to learn ALL the languages (Basic, Pascal, Lisp, C, APL, Prolog, ...; life is too short).

#939 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2017, 10:30 AM:

Buddha Buck #937:

Yes, APL was just plain weird; it showed up in a programming languages class for upper-division CS majors. I vaguely recall that the special keyboard, connected to some sort of teletypewriter, looked like what might happen if you threw all the special symbols on a random assortment of drafting templates from engineering, architecture and flowcharts around some old typewriter keyboard that had already started with its own set of special symbols from at least three European languages, widely separated on the Indo-European tree.

What you had to do to combine these keys reminded me unpleasantly of my high school programming course, where we had a deal with the local research university to run our programs on their IBM 360. We'd send over a program, neatly printed out on the green forms, and get a printout and the card deck back a couple of days later. After which, if you could scrounge the time to use the school keypunch, you could make corrections. The keypunch was the older model that didn't have a number of really important keys on it, but there were backspace combinations that would work. Unfortunately, the backspace key was broken, and would do random things. This also would be OK, except that the machine was right outside the door of the assistant principal's office. You know, the one in charge of discipline, who *really* didn't approve of swearing, even in a good cause ...

#940 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2017, 10:39 AM:

930
You're probably thinking of OCR-B, which is still around, although some of the features have been adopted by newer fonts for computers and screens.

#941 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2017, 12:42 PM:

Soon Lee @933, dcb and others: Yes, it's generally a good idea to do what the physio tells you -- but add in some common sense. If you get swelling, inflammation (redness and heat), or severe pain (pain that feels like it's damaging you) -- get a second opinion from someone with a lot of experience. Different people react differently to almost anything physiological, and some therapists have less experience dealing with the variation than others. Ask about warning signs. I can't find the article by a former head of a medical organization who required a very different approach than the standard one -- read it about 6 months ago. If I find it, I'll post a link.

Individualized medicine: it's not just about drugs!

#942 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2017, 02:16 PM:

Re: APL, I learned the basics of it while I was in high school, during an intensive week of math-related stuff at the University of Waterloo -- a prize for having done really well in their Junior Math Contest. It's sometimes described as a write-only language. Just a few days ago I was trying to parse a little APL program that I wrote and printed out as an undergrad, with the complication that it was done on a regular terminal using cryptic three-letter acronyms instead of the special symbols.

A small example of APL, where [rho] is the lower-case Greek letter:

+/ ? 3 1 [rho] 6

I think I've got that right. That gives a value for 3d6. Reading right to left, as usual for APL: generate a 3x1 array filled with 6s, find the sum of that array, output the result. If you want to specify that the result should be printed on the terminal, prepend a rectangular box overstruck with a single quote (representing the terminal), and a left-pointing arrow ("send it to").

Tom Whitmore and Soon Lee: Absolutely consider that your situation may not respond well to a therapist's expectations. One of the physio treatments I had, before my spinal-cord problem was properly diagnosed, involved targeted zapping with a red or infrared laser. If felt like I was being stuck with a big pin. I yelled out for the therapist to stop. She told me that it was supposed to *reduce* the pain, and zapped me one more time to make sure. I was *really* sure. At least she stopped after that.

#943 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2017, 02:37 PM:

Just popping in to say, "Hi, APL people!" It's the first programming language I learned for work, as opposed to in class--and the reference sheet I was given was older than I am.

#944 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2017, 04:26 PM:

I have a friend whose job in the computer lab was maintaining APL. I know almost nothing else about it, except that it's extremely cryptic and concise. The examples upthread make it sound like a completely ridiculous language.

I learned FORTH once upon a time...or at least started to. It's an RPN language, very stack oriented. Back when it mattered how efficient your code was, you could use it to write very fast code indeed...in exchange for thinking backwards and upside down.

#945 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2017, 04:43 PM:

in re: APL.

The currently available programming language J was designed by the designer of APL, as a hybrid between APL and Baccus's FP languages, using pure ASCII.

It seems immensely powerful, and equally line-noisy, as a language.

I followed a blog where (as a sub-series) the author would program a small but non-trivial programming task (scoring a game of bowling) in different languages, as a way of learning or getting a feel of the languages. He tried with J several times, responding to tips and feedback from blog followers who were J aficionados, before giving up. It is so different in how to think in it, much like APL.

So if you liked APL, but can't get the keyboards anymore...

#946 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2017, 05:45 PM:

Re: me @942 - Oops.

⍞ ← +/ ? 3 1 ⍴ 6

Make a 3 x 1 array filled with 6s, generate a random number between 1 and N for each of those elements, find the sum, output that to the terminal.

#947 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2017, 06:01 PM:

Xopher @944 - APL's big advantage is that it's quite concise for certain kinds of tasks. For example, to generate the inverse of a matrix takes a single symbol - it's a built-in mathematical operator. That is, the monadic quad divide operator, ⌹, generated on the keyboard by overstriking the quad character (⎕) and the division symbol.

And we're back on the subject of weird languages.

#948 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2017, 07:24 PM:

AKICIML: my oldest is starting to have Feelings About Boys but is young enough that Scarleteen just squicks her. Can anybody suggest a site that is about feelings, but not sex?

#949 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2017, 08:14 PM:

Chip #929: How many here remember making large letters for headers by using '$' or similar as ~dots in a ~dot-matrix (typically 5x5)?

Back in high school, I went with a friend visiting someone in another school, who had written a "banner" program for their school's timesharing computer -- that is, it would make large signs on the fanfold paper of the time, on their school's timesharing computer. He offered to print me one, with a message of my choice.

I asked for "To err is human; to really foul things up requires a computer". The program messed it up! I think I still have that printout somewhere.

I briefly played with APL at summer camp, but I didn't really have the math to appreciate it. APL was very much a special-purpose language, primarily intended for dealing with arrays and related concepts.

#950 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2017, 09:48 PM:

Dave #949 (and others)

The virtue of having many kinds of languages is that it should be possible to choose a tool for the job. The reality in commercial stuff is sometimes unfortunately that you only have a hammer, so all problems become nails.

One current but funky language is XSLT - Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations - applied to XML documents, to make something else. In one job, we used XSLT to turn XML into HTML for reporting, to which it is well suited. But it's a non-procedural language, declarative rather than imperative. It definitely encourages some different patterns of thought. You can (and it's a bit of a piece of gymnastics) write a counted loop in XSLT. But often, you don't need to.

You can also do some odd things with CSS: the programming test/puzzle "fizzbuzz" can be implemented as a CSS stylesheet.

#951 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2017, 12:08 AM:

I got my most fun and interesting job, at the Smithsonian's Office of Seminars, because I told a temp agency at 6am that I knew how to use an IBM Executive typewriter. (I'd never heard of one, but it was just a typewriter, right?) They were (indeed, are still) proportional spacing typewriters. One space for an i, four for an m, etc. They also had a complete set of numbers, 0 through 9, in the top row. My assignment was to address envelopes for thousands of invitations.

What prompted an offer of a full time job was my remark to my supervisor that since these were engraved invitations, they really should be hand addressed. She didn't think young people knew stuff like that any more (in the early 70s.) I volunteered to hand address invitations to the trustees and other Really Important People. She found me a dip pen (it was the Smithsonian. Of course she found one -- government issue) and I used my very best Palmer Method penmanship.

One of the fun things I did was organize a luncheon for members of the Polish press and their national academy of science with Gene Roddenberry. Few of them actually knew much about Star Trek -- it was 1972 -- so I introduced him with a few words about the appeal of Star Trek to young people -- the social messages, the vision of a future with people from
all over working together, all that good stuff. I'd been going to cons since the 60s and had met, talked with, and partied with plenty of pros*, but Wow! Gene Roddenberry! I was seriously star struck. All because of a typewriter.

*Yes, kids, it's true. At cons in the olden days, you could meet, converse with, and party with celebrities without standing in long lines and paying extra. Elders of this parish still remember. I'm even told there are still cons like that today.

#952 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2017, 06:25 AM:

Henry @950:

I always thought that XSLT was functional, not declarative. The first job I had out of college was writing XSLT scripts to convert from XML to a binary over-the-wire format called HL7.

CSS3 has some features which (inadvertently) make it Turing-complete, capable of doing anything a general purpose computer language can do. I forget what those features are, though.

#953 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2017, 06:40 AM:

Soon Lee @933: Very glad to hear the op went well.

Tom Whitmore @941: I agree with your caveats. It's always important to check on what's 'normal' pain etc. Nevertheless, I've heard from several different physios (while they were treating me variously following a dislocated shoulder, torn posterior tibial tendon, ankle fracture) that I've progressed faster than most people they treat, because I do the exercises. Even if that means lying in the aisle near the emergency exit during a trans-Atlantic flight, solemnly lifting my arm out to the side and up into the air. Most people, even if they are paying privately for their physio sessions, go home and skimp on the exercises (if they do them at all) and then wonder why they're not progressing very fast.

#954 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2017, 10:18 AM:

951
Ah, the IBM Executive, with its PITA space bars and its film ribbon that went up, over, and down onto the other reel - they were side mounted.
I worked for a year at an electronics company where one of the things I did was fill in the labels for the parts I made, using an Executive. (Some parts got labels printed right on them, and I did those a couple of times also.) That was in 1978.

#955 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2017, 12:56 PM:

dcb @953: I am in complete agreement. And the exercises are almost always somewhat uncomfortable -- so it's a fine line to walk. Doing the exercises mindfully is the best option, where "mindfully" means paying attention to the feelings and modifying the exercises to prevent damage (while aiming to remove the modifications as one is healing).

#956 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2017, 07:07 PM:

There seems to be a universal commonality that food provided by hospitals is, uh, not great.

Hoping to go home today.

#957 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2017, 08:41 PM:

HLN: Area metagender takes daytrip to Portland from Seattle (after a 20-year gap) with the help of Boltbus and has a fabulous time.
Only 2 places therein absolutely needed attention, even after an absence of 20 years, and both were convenient to the bus stop, making a short trip feasible. Steel Bridge, narrator's favorite in the city, a melanistic vertical lift that is world-unique in having 2 separately moving decks, still a fine sight even though in severe need of a new paint job, and then, of course, Powell's.
That bookstore was recalled as being huge even 2 decades past, and since then had expanded into such vastness as to require a special map. Having been expanded into contiguous structures originally built separately, it is a confusing maze of split levels, and to help with this, there is an elevator that has 3 doors. Just as a visitor may have read of and wondered about. Each door opened on certain levels, these conveniently labeled on the buttons. Speculation ensued about how many doors an elevator could have, but no sure answers were forthcoming, though a staff member pointed out that all "techie types" passing thru made a point of checking this one out.
Various departments were investigated, notably the sci-fi section. After a couple of hours, and a feeling that several more would have been enjoyable, it was time to grab some food from a store and, laden with books, catch the bus homeward. Mt Hood, St Helens and Adams were seen on the way; the Willamette River was reminiscent of the Skagit, but the immensity [and apparent vigor] of the Columbia was stunning. On arrival in Seattle, an odd haze had settled in, and next morning was marked by a very orange sunrise. Sure enough, there were forest fires going--in BC.
Area metagender/pontist/bookworm [and afficionado of elevators] is glad to have made the trip. And grateful for Boltbus.

#958 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2017, 12:54 AM:

Soon Lee @956

Good to hear the procedure went well, and that you're gong home. Hope you get home early enough to have some real food to wash away the hospital taste.

#959 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2017, 01:01 AM:

Various APL programmers:

It is a fascinating language, if rather opaque to read. I spent a few weeks with it many years ago, & did manage to write a few interesting one-liners, but never got to use it in my work. I remember almost nothing about it now.

#960 ::: Jen Birren ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2017, 08:02 AM:

Jenny Islander @148:

I've been looking round to see if I can find any lesson plans for the UK's PSHE (Personal Social and Health Education) national curriculum, because I know relationships are taught in that as well as sex ed, but I'm having a frustrating time finding actual resources as opposed to documents discussing the statutory requirements.
Perhaps searching for childrens' resources from humanists, or UUs or other liberal denominations that might do Sunday school teaching on growing up and healthy relationships, might be worth a try? Sorry if that's hlepy.

#961 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2017, 02:27 PM:

That pounding you hear is a bunch of workers stripping the siding off the front of the house to see how much water damage we have from the overflowing downspout we just discovered. I'm blocking out the noise as much as I can by streaming the Grateful Dead to my hearing aids. Currently listening to "Touch of Gray" with the line "I will get by."

Of course they're starting the job on what might the hottest day of the year, 104ºF forecast. Good thing we got that portable air-condition for the bedroom; maybe we can get through the night.

#962 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2017, 02:51 PM:

Bruce Cohen (STM) @971: Our downspout problem didn't affect the siding, but it did make replacing the floor in our basement more expensive and much slower. The insurance companies will tell you that water damage causes a lot more insurance claims than fire damage.... (We're still not done with the remodel, which sat for almost two years after the cat got stuck in the ceiling for over 3 weeks. Long story. The cat's fine.)

#963 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2017, 06:59 PM:

This is just to say
we have removed the railings
that were on your porch

and which you were probably
saving to hold your plants up.

Forgive us.
They were so old
and dry-rotted.

--
Actually I don't know if they were dry-rotted or not, but the condo mgmt's been replacing a lot of troubled wood lately. Much banging and sawing and drilling has been involved. Some of the siding on the other side of the building got replaced as well.

#964 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2017, 06:59 PM:

This is just to say
we have removed the railings
that were on your porch

and which you were probably
saving to hold your plants up.

Forgive us.
They were so old
and dry-rotted.

--
Actually I don't know if they were dry-rotted or not, but the condo mgmt's been replacing a lot of troubled wood lately. Much banging and sawing and drilling has been involved. Some of the siding on the other side of the building got replaced as well.

#965 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2017, 08:41 PM:

#961: I hope the damage in minimal.

I just fielded a call from my mom, who saw that A) record temperatures in the Portland area, and B) smoke from fires in WA and BC were infiltrating the region. Reassured her that my neighborhood was "only" 97 F.

I providentially had central air installed in June, but I'm just using it to take the edge off. Trigger temperature is 80 F, but just getting the humidity down feels wonderful.

#966 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 02:09 AM:

@Jen Birren no. 960: OWL! I'd forgotten about it. I'll call the local UUs.

I have another, unrelated AKICIML directed at bakers:

I am slowly reorganizing my kitchen so that I can take advantage of the best unit prices for food even if the packages are humongous. However, I've run into an issue with bread(?) flour.

Cheapest of All, But Hasn't Been in Stock in Months: Wal-Mart off brand, 5 lb.
2nd Cheapest: General Mills All Trumps, 50 lb.
3rd Cheapest: Stone-Buhr, 5 lb.
4th Cheapest: General Mills Gold Medal, 5 lb.

The All Trumps is far and away the best deal unless and until Wal-Mart starts carrying bread flour again. However, it's labeled "High Gluten," not "Bread." The ingredients for all three in-stock items are the same--wheat flour, barley flour, and some vitamins--but online reviewers claim that the All Trumps is not in fact good for bread for assorted reasons I don't quite understand.

I want to get the best deal on flour for making bread that works like this: I put things in a bread machine, I walk away, I come back, I take the bread out, and I slice it for sandwiches or toast. For my purposes, would the All Trumps work? It would be the biggest package of anything in my kitchen, and I wouldn't want to get rid of my extra baking dishes for nothing. (I have three shelves of baking dishes, some of which I haven't touched in years.)

#967 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 02:12 AM:

Does the performance by clipping. at 8:15pm next Thursday cause any desire for us to adjust our time for the Gathering of Light in Helsinki? And if so, is there a practical time that works as a substitute?

Does anyone have a suggestion for a location?

#968 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 03:03 AM:

Jenny Islander #966:

I haven't used that particular one, but I've tried adding different levels of gluten to bread. I might be able to help with the "assorted reasons I don't quite understand." aspect of the problem. Increasing the gluten results in a springier final product. I mostly like it that way, especially since I often make bread that also has extra stuff other than wheat flour in it. However, some of my highest-gluten products have a suspicious affinity with foam rubber. It's quite possible to go too far. I assume the All Trumps flour isn't quite that extreme, but it might produce bouncier/chewier results that some people like for some bread recipes.

One solution would be to buy the All Trumps but also buy some more typical bread flour or even all-purpose to adulterate it with if necessary (and if that was still cost-effective).

#969 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 03:34 AM:

Doug @ #967:

To the first quetsion ("does it cause a desire to change time"), I can only say "I don't know what 'performance by clipping' entails, but I am again merely the coordinator, so if a change of time is wanted, another time that is not Friday evning can probably be arranged". OTOH, keeping it when it already is mean fewer changes and still gives a while to gather and illuminate.

To the second question, I have no knowledge of the site, so cannot (yet) give an informed answer, but I hope to be able to do so at least 24h before the scheduled time. If anyone else knows of a good gathering point, please speak up.

At last year's Nineworlds, we simply gathered in the bar, with me having a hanmd-written sign saying "Making Light" (I think, it might've been "GoL" or "Gathering of Light", duckbunny may remember what I actually put on the sign).

#970 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 03:36 AM:

@thomas no. 968: here's some discussion clipped from an old post at The Fresh Loaf.

"the only difference i've found between all-trumps and sir lancelot is that all trumps is bromated, so you can't feel as self righteous about using it."

"I can tell you that high-gluten flour (flour typically in the range of 13.5-14% protein) was designed for use in challah, bagels, manufactured pizza shells, and breads that need the extra gluten boost, like whole-grain mixture breads, and many rye varieties. The miller (such as General Mills) will list "breads" as a generic use for this product, but that's not very precise. It's presence in a baguette dough is like using a howitzer to till your garden.


Pluses: Very high protein supports lots of dead weight (soaked grains, bran, nuts, raisins) while giving good volume. Gives bagels their chew. Withstands the rigors of high-volume baking machinery like dividers, sheeters, and moulders. Can be mixed with unusually weak white bread flours to boost their strength when needed.


Minuses: What is perfect for a bagel is too chewy for most European-style hearthbreads. Requires longer mixing because of the super-high gluten levels. Creates a flexible, rubbery crust instead of the crisp crust you get with hard winter wheat flour (11.3-12% protein). Extended mixing times incorporate extra oxygen into the dough, which destroys the flavor and aromas that come from carotene pigments. "

"I'm in the SD area and have been using GM All Trumps as well. It has performed well and gives good chew. When I want something a little more tender I mix it with AP flour, the ratio depending on the amount of chew I want. "

So I'm getting a lot of stuff about bagels and baguettes, but what I need to know is whether I would get non-crumbly, non-rubbery sandwich bread with a crust that didn't hurt people's gums.

#971 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 03:59 AM:

Stephan Jones, #961: I'm right glad I did my Portland trip just *before* the temp got so high. Now I am sitting here in Renton wishing I could take my skin off and just sit around in my meat.
Woke this morn to an oddly bright gray sky, but then it turned pink and there emerged a fantastic scarlet orb tinged with gold. The sort of thing one could hardly believe, describe or depict. I think Turner or someone made a good try once, but don't know if I could re-find it.

#972 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 06:32 AM:

Jenny Islander, does the All Trumps flour come only in the 50-lb size? If you could get a 5-lb one, even if it's not ideally cost-effective for that bag, then you could try it out before you invested in the larger one.

#973 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 07:34 AM:

Strictly, for bread, it's the hagberg falling number rather than protein content that matters, because it's a measurement of what the protein does. There are high protein flours with a low hagberg for certain uses.

Large-scale industrial baking needs a consistent grist so the flour behaves consistently. As farmers, we got better at producing flour for this market, but it needed some high-gluten grain to get a final consistent product going into the baking process.

Another factor was, much earlier, a Danish brewer effectively working out how to farm consistent yeast. Before the Carlsberg brewery figured this out making both beer and bread was a bit of a gamble. Once the ingredients were consistent, the end product could be, and it is likely that we couldn't have had sliced bread without it.

Another side effect is the way European companies are so significant in pharmaceuticals. Biological processes, such as brewing, are a key technology.

Anyway, back to bread flour. Not all retail sources are reliable for protein quality. But that 25kg bag may be sized for safe handling, and be the size that gets used in the trade. Is it too big? It depends how much bread you bake, it's around a hundred loaves.

#974 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 08:49 AM:

Regarding bread flour: "High gluten" is what you're after. I bought "Bob's Red Mills" whole-wheat flour, from hard red wheat - that's the kind of wheat that makes good bread. Otherwise, add gluten to all-purpose flour - about a teaspoon per cup, is what I'm finding. (King Arthur says it doesn't make a big difference.)

#975 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 09:57 AM:

diatryma @ 930: an un-OCRable font sounds like an interesting demonstration. The BBC today has a more sinister story about tiny additions to objects breaking their recognition by AI.

seconding Tom W @ 941ff. I've had a couple of rehab-only injuries for which the preface to exercises amounted to "Pain is not your friend." (A self-motivating friend decided to double the recommended exercises after hip replacement; no serious damage, but he was back out of action for a couple of days.) The wrist still twinges, even though I worked my way up from a tack hammer to a 2-foot crowbar -- but that mostly reminds me away from the bad habits that let one hour of clumsy snow-shoveling make the wrist unbendable.)

Angiportus @ 971: Now I am sitting here in Renton wishing I could take my skin off and just sit around in my meat. With you there; I tell people asking why I left DC (birthplace) for Boston (college and since) "I can always put on another layer but there's a limit to how many I can take off", but this is more ... colorful.

AKICIML: pole beans! Does anyone know
* How high they can climb a support? We have tendrils that have gone 4-6' sideways/down after reaching the top of a 6' tower, but I don't know whether they would grow that long if they had to keep going up. (Wikipedia claims 7-10' height; I'm not sure they've met these beans.)
* Can they be persuaded to grow more shorter (i.e., ~6') stems if the top inch-or-so is cut off the most aggressive stem when it reaches that height), or do they just give up?

#976 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 10:23 AM:

OW @ Soon Lee . It is remarkable how rarely a person injures themselves doing something smart. May your healing be swift and your pain be minimal.

#977 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 10:24 AM:

CHip, on pole beans: I don't have answers, but I strung cord between poles (sturdy netting would probably be better) to support them as they exceeded pole height. (We used 6-foot steel fence posts. They rusted a bit, but they're good for years, and the rust gives the stems better support, I suspect.)

#978 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 10:54 AM:

The OCR font is for copyediting things that have been scanned in; the letters are more differentiated so humans can tell them apart easily. But an un-OCRable font would be interesting. Would it have to be something like Arabic or Hebrew where a lot of the letters are implied (as I understand it)? Then we have context-specific fonts like Futuracha, which I read about about a week before seeing it on a book cover-- the letters change form according to the letters around them.

#979 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 11:14 AM:

#971: My morning dog walk starts at 5:25 am, so I managed to catch that colorful sunrise. Yay forest fires!

* * *
Interesting flour / bread thread. I am in the position of A) having plenty of time to make no-knead bread, due to between jobsness (or post jobsness?), and B) really trying to cut back on bread-carbs.

#980 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 11:59 AM:

#975 ::: CHip

Very interesting piece. One nitpick: a person who maliciously puts a sticker on a stop sign isn't a scam artist. They're a troll or a griefer, maybe even a terrorist.

Anyway, it might not be malicious. It could be someone advertising a rock concert who doesn't know better.

#981 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 12:04 PM:

I just got hit with an internal server error. I'm hoping that not reposting is the right thing.

Would the gnomes be interested in some humus with olives?

#978 ::: Diatryma

I'm not sure I'd say that Hebrew (and presumably Arabic) has implied letters. It has implied sounds, but the letters were never there.

#982 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 12:04 PM:

Soon Lee, may your healing be swift and sure.

#983 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 12:08 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz #981: There's a huge difference between humus and hummus. I don't think that the gnomes would care much for the former with olives. Not that it would be a big loess if they did.

#984 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 12:18 PM:

Jenny Islander -- Regardless of any numbers, from the reviews you've quoted, it sounds like the 50-lb bag's flour has enough gluten / whatever that it makes regular bread a bit rubbery. Regular all-purpose flour (which is usually cheaper than bread-specific flour) often doesn't have quite enough gluten to make good bread, though in my experience that depends on the brand. If you can afford the space, your best bet is probably to get both, and experiment to find a good ratio. You may have to adjust the ratio if you change brands. It's not the total hands-off approach you're looking for, but the experimentation phase shouldn't take more than a few batches.

The high-gluten flour will also cover the situation if you want to play with bread that includes non-gluten-y ingredients such as oatmeal, cracked wheat, flax seed or other grains, etc. I like bread with some oatmeal thrown in; I find that it helps to keep the bread soft and a bit chewy. It takes me about a week to go through a loaf, so a little bit of extra keep-it-moist is a good thing.

I make my bread by hand, and have done so since I first learned how while helping with an SCA feast some 25 years ago. Punching the dough down is sometimes a good stress-reliever and visualization exercise.

#985 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 01:48 PM:

Jenny Islander -- I'm a snob, I only use King Arthur flour for baking bread, and I also prefer a bread with a tender crumb not chewy. For finer baking, i.e. cakes, cookies or pastry, it's White Lily all the way.

That said, given your choices, I'd stick with Gold Medal, as that was my grandmother's flour of choice.

#986 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 04:21 PM:

CHip @975:

I've done a little work with off-the-shelf image recognition algorithms, and I think the "a tiny sticker makes a stop sign unrecognizable" fearmongering is ludicrous. Pandas and gibbons and ostriches and school buses have a lot of different ways they can appear - angles, poses, color patterns. A stop sign is a red octagon, and a red octagon is a stop sign. That's pretty easy for even the most trivial machine vision algorithm to recognize - a good one will train with multiple languages on the signs so it doesn't overfit the English-language version and be flummoxed by "ALTO", which will also make it more robust to the tiny-sticker approach. So I'm really skeptical that anything so subtle would work, and the article does nothing to demonstrate it. That's not to say there aren't ways to spoof a auto-driving car's vision, just that this isn't it. (Purely speculatively, speed limit signs may be a vulnerable point - not too hard to make "15" look like "75" with a little extra smudge, and have the cars go racing through a school zone.)


#987 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 05:40 PM:

Fragano, #973: If that doesn't work try Quiche Moraine.

#988 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 07:37 PM:

@Joel Polowin no. 984: I live with a wobbly dinner table, a tiny kitchen counter that is half perpetually wet because I don't have a backsplash that actually directs water back into the sink and half covered with appliances that can't go anywhere else, picky eaters, and executive dysfunction. So as soothing as kneading has been the few times I've been able to do it...it's either bread machine bread, or one or two brands of the most expensive storebought bread.

#989 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 09:42 PM:

PSA: despite the usual "curtain" description, a retinal detachment can initially present as an isolared black spot within the visual field. Which is what mine did back in May. It took another week for the spot to enlarge into the classic curtain.

The first reattachment surgery was foiled by a macular hole (the initial blackout spot) which they hadn't lasered down in hopes of preserving that area of vision. Currently recovering from a second surgery that lasered the hell out of it.

#990 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 11:47 PM:

@Bruce Cohen, Sandy B., Fragano Ledgister,

Thanks. There is no place like home. And now home is also furnished with toilet stool, shower stool, walker & crutches as I learn to function with an immobilised knee.

I had a go at cooking my first meal at home last night. It was Udon noodles with chicken & shiitake in a broth with miso, and though it took several times longer than normal to make a simple meal like this, it tasted great & the sense of accomplishment was so satisfying.

I'm gaining a deeper understanding of what people with mobility issues have to deal with every day (it's one thing to think about it on an intellectual level, but actually experiencing it is a whole other thing).

#991 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2017, 11:49 PM:

The siding is all off, and mostly replaced, and there's good news and bad. The good news is that the only damage was to the siding itself and the flashing. The bad news is there was some sort of miscommunication and the new siding was put on vertically instead of horizontally, to match the rest of the house. Not yet clear who's going to pay to get that put right.

And as Stefan said, it's cooler today, but the smoke from the BC fires is even worse. Feels like a nasty allergic reaction amped up to 11.

#992 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2017, 12:38 AM:

Soon Lee @ 990 ...
Thanks. There is no place like home. And now home is also furnished with toilet stool, shower stool, walker & crutches as I learn to function with an immobilised knee.

I empathize strongly, and hope that you don't have the misfortune of a flight of stairs between kitchen and bathroom :(

#993 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August