Archive for January, 2004

2004.01.31

Categorically Speaking

I’m subscribed to the Blosxom Mailing List and a recent entry mentioned an entries_template plugin that I’d never heard of. I went to Pomin Wu’s website to see what else he’d done. I soon discovered it is in Chinese with a smattering of English so most of it is unintelligible to me. I did see, however, one of the more brilliant schemes for categories I’ve run into yet.

Pomin Wu has created a subject/verb/(object) category system that is clever, simple, and coherent. For example he has a category called “me” where he sometimes talks about “drinking” and in one case specifically about “coffee”. How simple! /me/drinking/coffee! Much simpler and more specific than where I would probably file something like that, such as /journal/life or possibly /private/life/fun or something.

Further examples are /me/eating, computer/blogging/blosxom, /me/fancying, and /realworld/adopting. You can see them all in the popup menu on the right side of his site.

Simple, elegant and linguistic even. Kudos to you, Pomin Wu!

Comments Off on Categorically Speaking | Catergorized: geek

2004.01.31

Tariana Grammar Notes

bOING bOING today pointed me to an interview with linguist Alexandra Aikhenvald, found here. The interview deals with languages that are fading into obscurity and why maintaining at least a record of these languages is important.

Of interest to me, however, in gathering ideas for building a language was this note on the grammar of Tariana.

What’s your favourite example of a big difference between languages?

In English I can tell my son: “Today I talked to Adrian”, and he won’t ask: “How do you know you talked to Adrian?” But in some languages, including Tariana, you always have to put a little suffix onto your verb saying how you know something – we call it “evidentiality”. I would have to say: “I talked to Adrian, non-visual,” if we had talked on the phone. And if my son told someone else, he would say: “She talked to Adrian, visual, reported.” In that language, if you don’t say how you know things, they think you are a liar.

It sounds like some method to employ with the language I’m planning for the Lekthis people.

Best quote in the interview, though, which has nothing to do with actual linguistics is this at the very end when Ms. Aikhenvald is asked what language she dreams in: “If I dream of Tariana, they speak Tariana. Sometimes I dream of Estonia, and they speak Estonian. In my nightmares, people speak to me and I understand, but I can’t answer…”

Comments Off on Tariana Grammar Notes | Catergorized: worldbuilding

2004.01.29

World History Outline

This is a general historical outline for a world building project of mine. Read the rest of this entry…

Comments Off on World History Outline | Catergorized: worldbuilding

2004.01.29

Installing Blosxom’s Login Plugin

I’ve written a tutorial on how to install and configure the login plugin for Blosxom.

UPDATE 2006.09.29: Though originally published here, this article has since moved to The Unofficial Blosxom Users Group.

4 Comments | Catergorized: geek

2004.01.29

Extrapolating the Future, Part Two

It’s a well known method of divining the future to look at historical and current trends and extrapolate where these trends might go. This is my second prediction for the future of the world we call home.

FACT

North Korea has been rattling it’s tin shield again (and again and again). First they pulled out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. “No, we not try to make a nuclear weapons,” said Kim Jong Il. “Oh, okay, we try,” he said under fluttering eyelids. It was finally up to China, North Korea’s only -and barely that- friend, to lay the smackdown on Kim Jong Il who still wants to have a nuke of his own. “I hear all cool dictators have nukes. George Bush has nukes.”

PREDICTION

Kim Jong Il loves two things… 1) His Daffy Duck Collection, 2) Threatening the World, and 3) did we mention the Daffy Duck Collection? North Korea will continue to scream and kick till they suprise even themselves and accidently set off a nuke in Pyongyang. They will promptly blame America for this, invade South Korea, unite the Korean Peninsula and become a peace loving democracy. Kim Jong Il will finally win a Nobel Peace Prize.

COROLLARY

The Swiss go nuts. The Honorable Kaspar Villiger is deposed in a bloody military coup led by a health guru named Olaf Gunther Narple. He immidiately closes the Swiss banks and uses the money to purchase Luxembourg, Libya, Laos, Italy, Croatia, Bolivia, Crete, France and San Francisco. After softening up targets with low yield nukes purchased from American arms dealers they use their beachheads and mercenaries from Asia and the French Foreign Legion to start invading the various continents. Within two years the world has fallen to Switzerland, and the Great Benevolent Olaf the First renames our planet Olafia. In America a small group of Jolt Cola drinkers starts a revolution.

Comments Off on Extrapolating the Future, Part Two | Catergorized: thoughts

2004.01.29

The Corporation

Diagnosis: the institutional embodiment of laissez-faire capitalism fully meets the diagnostic criteria of a psychopath.There’s a new documentary out by director Mark Achbar, writer Joel Bakan, and director Jennifer Abbott called simply, The Corporation. This is from their synopsis page.

Considering the odd legal fiction that deems a corporation a “person” in the eyes of the law, the feature documentary employees a checklist, based on actual diagnostic criteria of the World Health Organization and DSM IV, the standard tool of psychiatrists and psychologists. What emerges is a disturbing diagnosis.

Self-interested, amoral, callous and deceitful, a corporation’s operational principles make it anti-social. It breaches social and legal standards to get its way even while it mimics the human qualities of empathy, caring and altruism. It suffers no guilt. Diagnosis: the institutional embodiment of laissez-faire capitalism fully meets the diagnostic criteria of a psychopath.

I wonder if a corporation, considered by law a “person”, can be dealt with as a “person” instead of a “corporation”; if they are truly psychopathic entities, can a (somehow legally defined) “relative” institutionalize them? Wouldn’t that be a grand day?

Definately a documentary I want to see.

Comments Off on The Corporation | Catergorized: life  movies

2004.01.28

Mass Graves

No matter what you think about the US invasion of Iraq, Saddam Hussein was a bastard of a magnatude not seen in decades. This site shows just one of the many results if the atrocities commited under his rule. WARNING: some of the images are quite graphic, and all are quite powerful.

Mass Graves in Iraq

His pain is one that (thankfully) few people here in America have ever known.

Comments Off on Mass Graves | Catergorized: photos  political

2004.01.28

Only the Second Thing

In my opinion Microsoft has only really done one thing right, and that is Excel. Not that they were first, or the most robust, but it is a tool that you can easily get info into and out of and that works without tons of proprietary crap.

Today I looked at the Terraserver they are hosting and i guess I’ll admit that in a very limited way they’ve finally got a second thing right. Minimal advertising, simple navigation, and a few gimmicks. Of course MapQuest will allow you to look at an “aerial photo” which is pretty much the same and even in color to a certain resolution.

Comments Off on Only the Second Thing | Catergorized: geek

2004.01.28

Patent Reform

I’ve been saying it for a while, but now even the Washington Post is saying it: the United States Patent System needs to be reformed.

Sadly for me, the most enlightening bit in the article is that there’s actually a patent out there for putting diapers on birds. What nutjob bothers with that?

1 Comment | Catergorized: rights  thoughts

2004.01.28

Adding Dates to Comments

Fletcher, as I read on Jason’s site, has done some minor hacking to the original writeback plugin so we can add a date field in the comments and so email addresses are encoded to be human readable but almost impossible for spam email harvesters. Here’s how I added it to sp.ookee.com. Read the rest of this entry…

4 Comments | Catergorized: geek
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