Friday, August 17, 2012

Round up of the interwebs And More Again




I had a German visitor at work this week. As I was leaving the building, fully expecting him to not understand my banter, I said, "All the activity out there is because our new CEO is visiting next week. They're all out there painting the vegetation green." He didn't say "Eh?" or the German equivalent. He said, "Yes, we do this in Germany also. Paint the vegetation green."

Our So Cal home town is having a rodeo on Saturday and Sunday, so I will have to wear my cowboy hat. STB promises there will be "both kinds of music".  That is, country AND western.

I was speaking with the Germans about the metric system – which is not in use at all, except in scientific communities, in the US. I couldn't for the life of me remember what the deal was in the UK. I know people still weigh themselves in stones (14 pounds), and that distances are in miles, and food is in kilogrammes, though I'd guess most people still think in pounds. I have no idea what's taught in schools.  I was reading an article from the Old Days yesterday and it mentioned that someone paid 15/- for something, which I internally vocalized, quite naturally, as "fifteen shillings". It occurred to me later on in the article – when something was 18/6 – that most people reading the article today would most likely have to stop and work out that this was eighteen shillings and sixpence. Of course any reference in there to LSD would probably not be read smoothly as "pounds, shillings and pence".   Today I came across an article mentioning an amazing find of a dimetrodon fossil in Canada . This is a beast which predates decimalization in all three countries mentioned, which may be why the following interesting measurement set was used:
“This one we think is a juvenile, a baby, so about two to three feet in length, tip to tail, and 30 to 40 pounds,” she said. “But some of these guys could grow up to 4.7 metres in length and up to 300 pounds. From the Globe and Mail.
Uh oh. Peromyscus, my totem animal, has killed a man. It used to be bad enough with the Lyme Disease, but the Hanta Virus is catching up fast.  Hanta Virus Claims First Ever Fatality in Yosemite National Park.   (Apparently we carry Erlichiosis and Babesiosis as well. It's a wonder there's any of us left at all.)
According to the CDC, there are four North American rodents that carry hantavirus: the deer mouse, cotton rat, rice rat, and white-footed mouse.Both the deer mouse and the cotton rat usually live in rural areas, but can also be found in cities when conditions are right, such as easy availability of food, water and shelter, the CDC said.
An NY Times article about writing attracted my attention. It's called Where Do Sentences Come From? but for some reason completely fails to address the question.  However, the author, who rejoices in the name Verlyn Klinkenborg did write a fascinating sentence of his or her own:
So let’s demystify the origin of sentences. Think of it this way. You almost surely have a voice inside your head. At present, it’s an untrained voice. It natters along quite happily, constructing delayed ripostes and hypothetical conversations.
Which of course I do, and that's exactly what it does. It spends all day explaining what I could have said that would have been funny, planning out what to say if I ever met $Hero, and, um, thinking about the best way to describe in writing what I'm currently seeing. Which is why Verlyn lost me when zie tried to help me train my 'untrained voice':
Now try turning a thought into a sentence. This is harder than it seems because first you have to find a thought. They may seem scarce because nothing in your education has suggested that your thoughts are worth paying attention to. Again and again I see in students, no matter how sophisticated they are, a fear of the dark, cavernous place called the mind. They turn to it as though it were a mailbox. [...] The more you do this, the easier it will be to remember the sentences you want to keep. Better yet, you’ll know that you can replace any sentence you lose with one that’s just as good.
Do other people really have to practice this? Or just Verlyn's students?

In the comments there was this:
There's a problem with this approach. It confuses speaking with writing. And it privileges speaking over writing. The voice in your head tells you something very different than the marks on a piece of paper or the images on your computer screen. Writing, arguably, predates speaking. that is, there was likely a shared graphics before there was a shared phonetics giving voice to those graphic marks.
Which I found fascinating. Is it really possible that painting marks came before speech? I think it might be – and it's a wonderful strange world to think about. The comment was answered by Miss Ingthepoint, a regular commentator.
Actually there is no human society in which writing predated speech. Speech predates writing for a very long time, for the writing to be invented to record it for posterity.
That's not what the commenter said.

Here's a picture of Jack White playing a "B" show in a laundromat in Portland.  The "chick" that people are asking about in the comments is Ruby Amanfu, a singer in his band.



And here's a competition to design a dress for his supermodel ex-wife, Karen Elson. Here's my entry. I don't think I'll win anything.

Photobucket

The Grauniad decided that a History of Fanfiction was in order, now that Fifty Shades of Grey is a multi-million seller.  The piece seems to include plenty of long words and not a lot of the usual Graun typos, so it looks legitimate on the surface,  but each actual statement either seems wrong or actually is wrong.
 By the late 1980s there had been a glut of Mary Sues fictionally beaming themselves up on to the Starship Enterprise, and true fans started to view the sub-genre plots as insidious. Interestingly, by outshining the heroes Mary Sues reveal a lurking contempt on behalf of their fan writers towards the original characters.
Well, no…

Lo and behold (or Low and Behold, as they say on the internets), Making Light made mincemeat of it. That's what you get from a blog that has professional editors and Big Name Fans as owners, and a commentariat comprising just about everybody in SF Fandom from about 1952 on (the date of publication of The Enchanted Duplicator, about which the Guardian gets much wrong).

Here's the Raconteurs in concert in 2006 with Level. This came up in conversation on a message board today for the bit where Jack and Brendan try to push each other over (starts around 1:09):


And here's an interview with Alison Mosshart of the Kills at Outside Lands, interviewed by the Rock It Out Blog.

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