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2004-09-24 15:04

Smrgspost

1. From the hilarious (if you are, as I am, I) section on Nation och Sprk

I Grekland frsokte man terskapa ett "rent" sprk, som skulle terknyta till den klassiska grekiskam och befrias frn turkisk pverkan. Men detta sprkformen katharevousa kndes frmmande och alltfr litterr fr de flesta, och de hll fast vid sin traditionella grekiska (dimotiki).

In Greece an attempt was made to reshape a "pure" language, which would be recoupled with classical Greek and and freed from Turkish influence. But the resulting language (katharevousa) felt foreign and rather literary to most people, and they stuck with their traditional Greek (dimotiki).

(op. so very cit.)

("I dunno, Dimitrios, I can't make head or tail of these new-fangled ancient traditions. What's wrong with good old-fashioned degenerate modern rubbish, I should like to know?")

2. Lizard brains!

Appliquer les neurosciences au marketing? Dans leur livre Selling to the old brain, deux chercheurs franais expliquent comment la connaissance du fonctionnement du cerveau permet d'accrotre l'efficacit de la communication commerciale.

Apply neuroscience to marketing? In their book Selling to the old brain, two Frenchy-French researcheurs explain how the understanding of the functioning of the brain can improve the effectiveness of advertising.

We want lizard brains! We want lizard brains! Brainsssssss! Lizzzzard brainsss! Can we have some lizzzarrd brainssss, Patrick Renvois, pleeeezzzz? They're so spicy!

Le cerveau reptilien est tellement primitif qu'il ne ragit qu' six stimuli, dtaille-t-il; ce sont eux qui permettent de maximaliser la probabilit de vente d'un produit.

"The lizard brain is so primitive that it reacts to only six (6) stimuli", he explains, "it is they which permit to maximalise the probability of selling a product."

(Le psycho pour le marketing makes the lizard brain look like Proust, of course. "Depuis longtemps j'ai mang des cerveaux reptiliens, yum yum, a bonne heure. Ils sont tellement pics!")

[via]

3. Online dating pitfalls

Oh dear:

C________, 35: Jag tnder inte p ngon som skriver fel

C________, 35: Bad writing is a real turn-off

Sigh. I just wish Aftonbladet's premium online personals whatsit had some way of filtering out wimmins who are in the habit of playing golffoopball, which are distress common. And I have about as much use for a "glad och positiv tjej" (the most common kind, by a country mile) as she would surely have for me.

4. I like autumn

But come next week we will be afflicted with a new batch of childrens, all of which will feel it their moral duty to stand, in groups, blocking corridors I want to walk down, oblivious of the nuisance they are causing. At least I'm in something of a cul de sac, now, so there shouldn't be so many droning on about their social lives for the twenty minutes it takes for them to twig that their tutor (unlike me) won't notice they're there unless they knock on the door.

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2004-09-24 12:17

Positivisme, a negative view of

It is in fact Auguste Comte's system of positivisme:

I Comtes system bildar matematiken grunden, drefter flja i stiganda skala mekanik, astronomi, fysik, kemi, biologi. Varje vetenskap bygger p denna som str lgre ner p skalan. Slutpunkten, den vetenskap som i sig skall innefatta all de andra vetenskapa, kaller han sociologi, lran om samhllet. Med "social fakta" som bas kan man skapa en vetenskap om och fr samhllet

Comte's system sees mathematics as the foundation, after which mechanics, astronomy, physics, chemistry and biology follow in a rising scale. Each science builds on those lower in the scale. The end point, the science that includes within it all other sciences, he called sociology, the study of society. With "social facts" as a base one can develop a science of, and for, society.

Idernas historier, Sten Hgns

It's not the bit about sociology that bothers me, it's the ideological conception of science as a Grand Epistemological Tower. I hate that, and I hate that it still permeates much of the pro-science propaganda one sees around. (It is far from uncommon to see persons explicitly bigging up a notionally Popperian view of science, but implicitly deeply in thrall to Comte's Tower.)

Note, incidentally, that this kind of utvecklingslra dominated the second half of the 18--s and had counterparts in misconceptions of evolution (the "ladder" view that Steven J Gould spent so much time railing against) and philology.

Also, prinsess Alexandra wearing, as is her custom, a hat at the folkthing ("It's a folk thing! (TM)")

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2004-09-24 10:14

Oxbridges East and West considered harmful

I'm sometimes asked which I like best
Of Oxbridge East and Oxbridge West;
In fact I don't care in the least
For Oxbridge West or Oxbridge East.

Blind Spacefish Slim, MA (Erewhon)

Today is Idernas historier day at the 'bladet, and we shall be quoting mostly from Sten Hgns's book of that title. Firstly, on the Birmingham Lunar Society, which did a great deal to foment the industrial revolution. (It met on full moons so that persons could see to get home afterwards, hence the name.) There were one or two atheistes among them, but:

De flesta var dock s kallade dissenters eller non-conformists, allts frikyrkliga - flera bland dem kvkare. Frikyrkliga persona var uteslutna frn de engelska universiteten. Men fr den som hade naturvetenskapligen intressen var de egentligen inte ngon strre frlust. Oxford och Cambridge hade p 1700-talet inte mycket att erbjuda inom vetenskaperna.

Most were however so-called "dissenters" or "non-conformists", i.e., free church members - several of them were Quakers. Free church members were excluded from English universities. But for those interested in science this wasn't a great loss. Oxford and Cambridge didn't have much to offer in the way of science in the 17--s.

And don't get me started on the priority dispute between Newton and Leibniz that turned Engleesh mathematics into a sterile backwater disconnected from developments on the Continent; a situation which persisted for a couple of centuries.

(Anglophone "philosophy" in the 19--s as the Farce Remix, anyone?)

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2004-09-23 14:52

Trop belle pour toi, smelly prins

Prinsess Alexandra, that is, of Denmark:

Kanske var hon fr smart, vacker och glamors fr prins Joachim, skriver Point du Vue i sin Danmarksspecial.

Maybe she was just too duktig, beautiful and glamors for prins Joachim, writes Point de Vue in its Denmarkspecial.

Sigh; I can't get Point de Vue anymore even if I want to, which I admit I sometimes do.

Still, I wish it to be publically known that I do not wilt in the face of levels duktighet, beauty and glamorsity that would crush - crush! - many a mere prins.

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2004-09-23 samwidge (utc+1)

Salami harder (or at least fatter)

Those perfidious Danishes are flooding the Norwegish markets with inferior cheap and fatty sossidge products!

Fet dansk salamiplse truer norske arbeidsplasser, mener Kjttbransjens Landsforbund.

P kort tid har det danske plegget spist seg kraftig inn p det norske salamimarkedet.

Fat Danish salami sossidges threaten Norwegish workplaces, claims the Meatindustry's Nationalassociation.

In a short time has the Danish on-top-of-bread-puttable-stuff eaten vigorously into the Norwegish salamimarket.

The Meatindustry Nationalassociation is firmly of the opinion that It Didn't Ought To Be Allowed, you will be astonished to hear.

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2004-09-23 09:55

Traumanalyse, slightly cheesy

I have a dream, a fantasy
To help me through reality
And my destination makes it worth the while
Pushing through the darkness still another mile
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I'll cross the stream - I have a dream
I'll cross the stream - I have a dream

"I have a dream", ABBA

Jeremy "Riffmeister" Rifkin, air guistariste extraodinaire and intellektyool about town, do you have a dream, too?

Le rve europen est fond sur l'inclusion, la diversit culturelle, la qualit de la vie, le dveloppement durable, les droits sociaux, les droits de l'homme universels. Le rve amricain est d'avantage bas sur l'individualisme et l'accumulation de la richesse.

The Yoorpean dream is founded on inclusion, cultural diversity, quality of life, sustainable development, social rights, universal human rights. The American dream is based more on individualisme and the accumulation of wealth.

France, as Mr G. de Gaule once pointed out, has 246 distinct kinds of cheese. Am I the only one to think Mr Rifkind's dream suggests that he tried all of them before bed one night?

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2004-09-22 hometime (utc+1)

My folks went to Pils ["Plz"] and all I got was this caseload of yummy l

Hoorah!

Plutselig er den tom, den krystallklare halvliteren med Urquell-l som sto foran oss.

Kanskje ikke s rart, det var her, i Plzen, vest i Tsjekkia, at den moderne pilsnerens vugge sto for godt over 150 r siden.

Suddenly it is empty, the krystall klear half litre of Urquell-l in front of us.

Maybe not so unusual, it was here, in Plz in Czechia, that the modern pilsner somethinged over 150 years ago.

Is that all? Anyway, it's l, and you can drink it there, since that is after all where it tends to be, and Norwegish authorities are very careful not to let free-loading Foreign l in to sponge on their benefit system, which is why all their l is rubbish.

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2004-09-22 13:36

Smrgspost goes Oktoberfest!

1. Serving suggestion, slightly resistable

All right then, what is the point of the Oktoberfest?

Just nu firas vrldens strsta lkalas, Oktoberfest, i Mnchen.
Frst om tolv dagar r festen ver - s n r det inte fr sent att gra de sex miljoner beskarna sllskap.

Just nu the world's biggest l fest, the Oktoberfest, is being fested in Munich. The party isn't over for twelve (12) days - so it isn't too late to keep the six million (6,000,000) guests company.

I like l, for sure, but my experience of Germany suggested that it was not in especially short supply at any time of year, so wherefore these crazy seasonal bingenings?

2. Serving suggestion, very resistable indeed

Is there a garment both less flattering and less attractive in its own right than lederhosen? But hope is at hand:

Unfortunately for fans of the snazzy leather duds, the Bavarian Livery Association is threatening to boycott this year's Oktoberfest to protest the state government's decision to end subsidies for the wearers of lederhosen and other traditional clothing such as dirndl dresses.

(Deutsche Welle Welle Welle Uh has a whole Oktoberfestspeziale which we are now shamelessly plundering.)

3. Silly sausages!

The EU, in its boundless munificence, provides no fewer than three (3) distinct forms of protected designation:

A PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) covers the term used to describe foodstuffs which are produced, processed and prepared in a given geographical area using recognised know-how.

In the case of the PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) the geographical link must occur in at least one of the stages of production, processing or preparation. Furthermore, the product can benefit from a good reputation.

A TSG (Traditional Speciality Guaranteed) does not refer to the origin but highlights traditional character, either in the composition or means of production.

But none of these, apparently, are good enough for the Munich White Sausage, that mighty Munichean Sausage of Whiteness:

[The Association for the Protection of the Munich White Sausage] has filed a copyright application with the patent office, saying that calling sausages produced beyond Munich county borders amounted to defrauding consumers.

I hope something got lost in the translation there, because if you attempted to file a copyright application with the patent office, they are surely going to file it in the Round File of Doom. (I am not an intellectual property lawyer, for sure, but you don't need one to know that copyrights and patents are quite different things.)

Patent Office officials will likely take several months to decide on the issue, according to a spokesperson. They can rely on a survey commissioned by the Bavarian ministry of agriculture, in which 48 percent of Germans believed Munich white sausage came from the city and its surrounding areas. Should the patent office decide in favor of one of the applications, the German ministry of justice and the European Commission still have to sign off on them.

Similar protection of local delicacies has already been approved in the past: Nuremberg's Bratwurst has to come from the city. Dresdner Stollen, a popular Christmas bread, must be made in that eastern German city.

OK, a clue at last. Nrnberger Bratwrste/ Nrnberger Rostbratwrste is indeed a PGI. (Say hello to the Spreewlder Gurken while you're there.) But there's no sign there of the Dresdner Stollen under Bread, pastry, cakes, confectionery, biscuits and other baker's wares.

You crazy Germans, you are me also crazy driving!

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2004-09-22 10:40

Latin ear

Courrier International, as any schoolchild kno, is a digest of news stories from non-French meeja that have been all Frenched up so as to provide a picture or snapshot of our increasingly global world, hoorah!

The nice thing about Courrier International online, is that it links its sources, so that we have the usual story about the Vatican's Latinistes' witless attempt to pretend their flabby and verbose circumlocutions make Latin a language in which one could speak about contemporary life, if only anyone spoke it at all:

En latin du XXIe sicle, blue-jeans se dit bracae linteae caeruleae, un terroriste est un tromocrates et une minijupe [miniskirt] se nomme joliment tunicula minima. Les latinistes du Vatican ont galement jet un coup d'oeil sous cette dernire, et ils y ont dcouvert un parvum subligaculum (une petite culotte [probably "hot pants", unless "knickers" really is a new concept to Vatican Latinistes.]). Mais tout cela n'est rien ct de la traduction latine qu'ils ont trouve pour la pizza : si cette succulente invention de la cuisine italienne avait exist du temps de l'empereur Auguste, ce dernier aurait-il raffol de la placenta compressa ?

Still, tradition demands we ask, no entry for "morning after pill", Vatican Latinistes?

We also have the German, replete with whenceicity.

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2004-09-21 16:55

Why I am so very parallelised

The main university computer room has melted. There will be further

implications, it is safe to say, but in the meantime, I have no email.

In a parallel development, my exciting new parallel (parallel!) code

has taken its first hesitant steps, and will shortly be ready to run

on the Big Computer in the main university computer room, which has

melted.

They couldn't run a $*@$ing bath*, our central IT persons, with one

rather overworked exception.

* Nor can I - I've moved flat, back to the 2nd Edition of my old flat,

and it doesn't have a bath anymore. I can make clean in showers, for

sure, but now I have to learn to shave standing up, before this

stubble gets squatters' rights.

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2004-09-21 16:55

Why I am so very parallelised

The main university computer room has melted. There will be further implications, it is safe to say, but in the meantime, I have no email.

In a parallel development, my exciting new parallel (parallel!) code has taken its first hesitant steps, and will shortly be ready to run on the Big Computer in the main university computer room, which has melted.

They couldn't run a $*@$ing bath*, our central IT persons, with one rather overworked exception.

* Nor can I - I've moved flat, back to the 2nd Edition of my old flat, and it doesn't have a bath anymore. I can make clean in showers, for sure, but now I have to learn to shave standing up, before this stubble gets squatters' rights.

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2004-09-21 13:44

Smrgspost

1. Downtime

The local swerver was scheduled to be down, which is more than I can say for email.

2. Vaughny!

The cricket's on, and even if it's just some one-day malarkey, it's still England (not "Eng-ger-lund" in cricket, thanks) vs. the Invincible Upsidedownians of Straya. And Vaughn's bolwed, as he too seldom does, himself, to good effect. (10-0-42-2 against Straya!)

3. Mette-Marit arranges a diversion

No bad prinsess news in Norway, for sure:

Kronprinsesse Mette-Marit la tirsdag formiddag ned grunnsteinen til det nye Radiumhospitalet og var til stede under feiringen av Radiumhospitalets Institutt for kreftforskning sitt 50-rs jubileum.

On Tuesday morning Kronprinsess Mette-Marit laid the foundation stone for a new Radiumhospital, and was stede for the celebration of the Radiumhospitalets Institutt for Crab Research's 50th jubilee.

(In Germany there were adverts all over festooned with solemn-looking celebrities saying as how anyone could get crabs, but the crab research institute was doing its level best. I eventually figured out they meant cancer, but I didn't quite get around to not sniggering in the limited time at my disposal.)

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2004-09-21 morning (utc+1)

EU translation crisis (again)

I read a better version of this story in Courrier International, but the Guardian is linkabler. The EU is struggling to fill the many new translation and interpreting posts that expansion has created:

Patrick Twidle, responsible for recruiting interpreters at the parliament, said that despite a massive recruitment campaign and monthly salaries starting at 2,500 he had failed to fill 400 new positions.

That's non-trivial gravy, for sure.

Worst off are civil servants and politicians from the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Slovenia. Jaromir Kohlicek, a Czech Euro MP, is unable to address the parliamentary commission on transport and tourism, of which he is a member: 'The documents we receive ahead of meetings generally contain only one page in Czech - the agenda. Everything else takes place in English or German.'

The documents aren't translated into Czech, "therefore" he can't address the commission in Czech? This sequence lacks sequitation, for sure. But I'm just sulking because I don't know enough Czech, Lithuania or Slovenian to get at the gravy. (I have instructional materials for all of the above, of course.)

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2004-09-20 15:46

Oh dear

It is salutary to remember that the majority of English mother tongue applicants for translation posts in the European Commission fail because of the poor quality of their English.

Thinking Translation, Hervey and Higgins.

I'm at a loss to know what evening class to take instead of Swedish (which isn't running) this year, or rather next term, since Mr Open and Mr University are likely to eat all my spare time after that, but I'm not at all keen to do a English writing course, however remedial.

(Many of the University's more tempting courses are scheduled for 1130 to 1300 or some such nonsense. Sigh.)

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2004-09-20 13:19

Vignette, slightly too good not to pass on

Pascal Riche, one of Lib's persons in the FDRUSA, encounters a Boston taxi driver with a Polish accent and opinions somewhat outside the usual spectrum even for taxi drivers, who proverbially fail to lack opinions:

"Ah, Libration! C'est plutt gauche, non?" Oui, enfin, un peu moins qu'avant quand mme. "Sartre l'a fond, non? Le problme de Sartre, c'est qu'il a mal lu Heidegger."

Ah, Libration! It's rather left wing, isn't it?" Yes, but not as much as it used to be. "Sartre founded it, no? The problem with Sartre is that he read Heidegger badly."

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2004-09-20 oh (utc+1)

Prinsess gossip

Kronprinsessmary of Denmark has a nice time:

She told The Age she was "having a lovely trip" and was in fine health and spirits.

She is also, apparently, dressed in a curtain, so we reserve judgement on her judgement. Meanwhile, a trick question:

Prinsesse Mrtha Louise og Ari Behn venter barn. Hva tror du det blir?

Prinsess Mrtha Louise is expecting a bebis. What do you think it will be?

In fact, it will not be a prins and nor will it be a prinsess, since the prinsess M-L resigned from Royal Highnessness a while back, to concentrate on her flourishing career as a doer of whatever it is she does.

[Interior design assistance from Anna Louise, Upsidedownian Extraordinaire]

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2004-09-20 09:59

Golffoopball

Golffoopball is played with a small ball, kicked with a variey of articial feets, and teeny-weeny goals. The ball is only ever kicked from a static position, and no defenders are allowed; the scoring system is based on the number of kicks required to score a goal.

It is the most boring dialect of foopball ever perpetrated, and the margin by which it is so is far from small. (It's been all over Radio Foopball, hlas, but it seems to have stopped now, hoorah!)

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