Friday, 2017 March 17, 21:31 — language

a sort of conlang

I’m re-reading Strugatsky‘s Hard to Be a God. (I read it thirty-odd years ago and forgot nearly everything.) This is a newer translation, by Olena Bormashenko. At one point the protagonist eavesdrops on conspirators, who say:

“The chonted will shlake, and they’ll unbiggedly shump the margays with a hollow blackery. That’s twenty long heapers already. It’d be marky to knork the motleners. But the heapers are bedegging redderly. This is how we’ll heaten the rasten. That’s our struntle.”

“That’s tooky jelly.”

“This is our struntle. Denooting with us isn’t rastenly for your grawpers. It’s revided?”

Though I know only a few words of Russian, I would like to see the original of this passage!

Monday, 2017 February 20, 12:02 — language

the death of English, part MMXVII


Like much of the news that ekes its way out of the totalitarian state, the murder is equal parts scary, sad, and vaguely comical.

I don’t think I had seen this extension of eke before.

Once upon a time, eke meant ‘also’; a relic of that sense is the word nickname, from an eke-name. (The transfer of the n from the article to the root was, I guess, favored by the alliteration.)

The phrase eke out a living meant ‘to supplement a fixed stipend’, as in The village priest eked out his meager living (i.e., the pay he got as priest) by making and selling strawberry jam. I guess that sense went away when the noun living itself got a broader sense; if your ‘living’ is your whole income, however obtained, you don’t add to it.

So eke out (a living, or anything else) came to mean ‘obtain with difficulty’.

Information or water can be said to ‘find’ a way out of its container, but it seems a bit much to suggest that it does so with effort.

Wednesday, 2017 February 8, 20:20 — merch

Klein bagel, mark N

I’ve had other designs made in steel but not this one. (The sintering leaves the steel highly porous, so liquid bronze is brought in by capillary action to fill it; the result is about three parts steel to two parts bronze – if I understand right. Hence the color.) (Later: I was mistaken: the steel powder is not sintered but glued; the bronze presumably burns away the glue.)

While it was on its way to me, I thought of some improvements. ( . . more . . )

Saturday, 2017 January 7, 21:52 — economics, politics

what, more links?

Hm, the first two links here have been lying around for five years; guess I ought to shove them out.

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry on restructuring the banks

“Zomia”, a large region in Asia that was effectively stateless until recently

James Leroy Wilson on The Limits of Utilitarianism. The payoff is near the bottom.

Thursday, 2017 January 5, 22:36 — cinema, psychology

exporting transcendence

In the film and TV series Limitless, a drug makes the protagonist temporarily super-intelligent.

In the episodes I’ve seen, it’s not established whether any skills learned with the drug remain when it wears off. I imagine that you’d want to try to develop ways to improve your unenhanced intelligence; in other words, to teach your alter-ego to learn better.

Later: In the third episode he behaves so stupidly that I lost interest.

Thursday, 2017 January 5, 00:01 — blogdom

one way

Since I had this site changed to HTTPS by default, comments don’t work. I’ll, ah, look into it.

Sunday, 2017 January 1, 15:59 — spam

strange spurts

In a period of 41 seconds on December 21, this site got hits purportedly following links from 75 different pages on, 21 on, 21 on, 21 on, 20 on, 18 on *, 17 on, 16 on, 13 on, and 10 pages on 5 other sites.

And then in 33 seconds on December 26: 57 pages on, 21 on, 20 on, 14 on, 13 on, 11 on, 9 on, 8 on, 8 on, 7 on, and 63 pages on 38 other sites.

No site appears in both of these clusters. Some are obvious spammers; some are genuine blogs; fourteen are small Picasa galleries, with no outgoing links.

The requests came from 99 different addresses; again none are in both clusters.

Later: When I finished examining my referral log for December, I decided it’s no longer worthwhile, particularly since Google usually doesn’t tell me what the search string was.

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