sylvar: (Default)
"WEBINAR ATTENDEES WILL RECEIVE: A valuable 'Logging Solution Vendor Questionnaire' which provides poignant questions to ask all potential logging solution vendors."

Uh huh. "OK, I got your response to my RFP, but I have some more questions to ask you. What syslog level would be appropriate for cries for attention from a senescent but loving parent?"
sylvar: (Default)
Not that I particularly want to help the ad industry, but people, please:

When you're buying Google AdWords to sell airfare and accomodations in Turkey, for heaven's sake, use "-thanksgiving"!

There aren't enough Y's in all the Scrabble boards in all the world to properly spell DOYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY...
sylvar: (Default)
This Indonesian/English post about Harry Potter fascinates me. Just watching the languages switch back and forth, trying to guess meanings, etc.

The N-Word

Mar. 30th, 2007 10:26 am
sylvar: (Default)

Stephen Colbert interviewing Jabari Asim, author of The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn't, and Why:

Colbert: First question. Did you want to name the book The N-Word and they said, "No, you have to call it The N-Word"? Or, did you say, "I want to name this book The N-Word," and they assumed you meant, you know, The N-Word, when in fact you meant The N-Word?

Asim: I think I suggested calling it The N-Word and they thought it was a good idea to play it safe and call it The N-Word.

Colbert: OK. This raises another interesting subject to me, is that the N-word has become so anonymous [sic] with the N-word, uh, is saying the N-word pretty much like saying the N-word? Because, I would never say the N-word, but I don't want somebody to think I'm saying the N-word by saying the N-word. You know what I mean? Because I would never say that word that begins with the letter after M.

link (via Language Log)

sylvar: (Default)
I'm going through the Sunday coupons.  I found an ad for popcorn that says their brand is So delicious, even Jerome "The Bus" Bettis can't resist!.

Which makes me wonder what I'm missing...

  • Jerome "The Bus" Bettis has the same sort of reaction to eating corn that I do, but he eats their popcorn anyway because he can't resist.

  • Jerome "The Bus" Bettis is known by his teammates as a man with great self-discipline, a man who believes that snacking leads to bad consequences, but even he can't resist this sort of snack.
  • The photograph of a smiling football player is not Jerome Bettis; "Jerome Bettis" really is the team's bus, so it only consumes corn in the form of ethanol fuel, but the smiling football player has stuffed popcorn into the gas tank, and the bus was unable to resist.  I'm not sure why the smiling football player is smiling about this.  Maybe he's from the other team.  Maybe he's stupid, and proud of himself for having fed the bus some popcorn all by himself.
It's gotta be something like this.  Otherwise, why the hell would they say So delicious, even Jerome "The Bus" Bettis can't resist?  Are we supposed to be able to understand this claim?  Or are they just dumber than a bus with a tank full of popcorn and hoping that we are too?
sylvar: (Default)
I've been assisting [profile] turtlebat23 with her applications to grad school; I am, after all, a librarian, so I've been identifying articles that would interest her.  In the process of doing that, I've learned a bit about philosophy myself.

One thing I've learned is that philosophers use language in a very peculiar way.  They tend to redefine existing terms, define new phrases, and expend great effort in avoiding any possible misunderstanding.  Most philosophers, for example, would feel quite at home with a sentence like this:
"By 'want' I am going to mean a electrochemical state in the brain of A corresponding to which the indeterminate but possible future condition at time t of having fries with that is judged, whether explicitly or without deliberating, by A to be preferable to the possible future condition at t of not having fries with that, without regard to whether the possession or consumption of fries would be beneficial to A's health, whether the portion which A may have reason to believe would be served in the former possible future condition would be compatible with either or both Aristotelian moderation and Singerian concern for unnecessary consumption by the affluent, or whether there is truly something of intrinsic value in the value size, and without regard to whether A is truly free to decide whether or not to have fries with that, or (on a higher-order evaluation) to determine A's own desire to desire, not desire, or be indifferent to the prospect of having fries with that."
Another thing I've learned is that although philosophers have been Thinking About Ponderous Stuff for a very long time, they seem to have decided only relatively recently to try to underpin their work by creating a foundation (or, for you Kantians in the room, a Grundlegung) on which the rest of their deductions can safely rest.  And as far as I can tell, there's remarkably little that has been really accepted by almost everyone as having been conclusively demonstrated; many philosophers would agree that it would be permissible if not downright obligatory to mislead a terrorist in order to save a million lives, though some (notably Immanuel Kant) believe(d) that lying was never morally permissible, even under comparable circumstances.  The only sensible response I'm aware of to the problem of foundational knowledge is Gödel's incompleteness theorems, and tenure committees probably aren't interested in hearing that it's mathematically impossible to establish that we know (simpliciter, as they say) anything -- that it's turtles all the way.  Which is probably why people keep trying to do it anyway.

For that matter, there are some surprising topics which seem not to have been settled at all.  Hyperintelligent beings are deeply interested in whether, and how, color exists -- what it really means to say that a particular rose is red when viewed by a bog-standard human being in ordinary sunlight: is redness a property of the rose?  This seems straightforward to me: the rose has the inherent quality of absorbing some wavelengths of electromagnetic energy and reflecting others, to (and at) various degrees, and human observers who have sensed various complex waveforms with similar characteristics have pigeonholed that cluster of experiences as 'redness'.  Perhaps there's something I'm failing to understand here.

When I realized this week that I was getting interested in philosophy, [info]turtlebat23 thought that it would be great if I got a PhD in it too.  But I convinced her that it would be tricky trying to get both of us employed at the same time, in the same location, in a field with so few jobs available.  Instead, I'll probably try to pick up as much philosophy as I can so that I can be a great research assistant and editor.  It won't be my Real Job, but it'll be fun.

Speaking of that Real Job, it's long since time for me to go to sleep.  I should be walking into the office about seven hours from now.
sylvar: (Default)


Printed to the right of the chopsticks: Translation: I can't use chopsticks. Because of this, MY FACE BURNS WITH SHAME!!... can I please have a fork?
sylvar: (Monty Python: Argument)
I've noticed in Cornbread Nation 1: The Best of Southern Food Writing that some food historians use receipt for recipe.

So why is this? Is it just because receipt is an older word? Is it because it shows up more often in their primary sources? Or is it mainly a shibboleth so that food historians can recognize each other?
sylvar: (Buffyverse: Giles: Hmmm.)
I don't know what this means, but I know it contains a typo:

"pour croire à Lamarck, me disait-on aux Etats-Unis, if faut vraiment être Français."

I'm pretty sure that should be il faut. Why? I don't really know...

And now back to being a volunteer research assistant. 17 citations explored, 34 yet to explore. Thank heavens I'm only doing a first-order retrieval and not recursing down into this stuff...
sylvar: (Buffyverse: Giles: Hmmm.)
Overheard in Radio Blowfish #20 (NSFW):

  • Sex porn: a retronym for actual pornography, in contrast to food porn or political porn. "So in addition to being good sex porn, it's also pretty good furniture porn."

  • Santa Monica license plate: a lower back tattoo, apparently common among women in Santa Monica

sylvar: (Italian gargoyle)
A Digg story describes Cynewulf as a griefer. The WarCry article they link to calls Cynewulf a noob-ganker, "ganking other players as they first appear."

Huh? What did this guy do, exactly? Is it something like camping at a respawn? And if so, wouldn't a sensibly designed game prevent people from getting killed as soon as they log in for the first time? (I mean, unless the game is a "let's all dance on the surface of the sun" MMORPG created as a joke.)

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