Friday, 2018 October 19, 13:54 — cartoons, neep-neep

there are domains and domains, a free hosting service for comic strips, changed its name (not long after it was founded) to; but the old name still works, as do and (I just learned) and Well, mostly.

Mostly it doesn’t matter whether you look at, or; you get the same content. But sometimes images don’t show unless the address is

What’s going on here? Apparently these domains are not transparent synonyms for each other; but why would they be (flawed) mirrors?

Saturday, 2018 February 24, 14:57 — cartoons

second-guessing by halves

Early strips of some webcomics carry the author’s much later comments. Christopher Baldwin (Bruno) and David Willis (Roomies!) are reposting old series that ended. David Morgan-Mar’s (Irregular Webcomic!) schedule these days is two new strips and five comments on old strips each week.

If it were me, I think I’d want to keep coming back to older strips, with ever decreasing frequency. Perhaps like this:

if n even:
    n /= 2
    comment on n
    while n even:
        n /= 2
        add n to backlog
    pick a number from backlog; remove it
    comment on that entry
Tuesday, 2017 June 20, 23:06 — cartoons

And so it reiterates

In the last couple of years I’ve looked at thousands of webcomics. Sometimes I wish I’d kept a list of those whose first page is captioned “It begins” or “So it begins” or “And so it begins.”

Saturday, 2017 May 27, 17:30 — heraldry, language, prose

less than fifty years later

I’ve read Heinlein’s Red Planet three times, starting at age seven or eight, and each time I soon forgot most of the plot. One thing that stuck with me was that the school’s new head signaled his evil by ordering the boys (at their own expense) to paint their space-helmets a uniform brown, in place of tiger stripes and other fanciful personalizations; I think that helped trigger my early interest in heraldry!

Another random bit that stuck with me is the place-name Charax, which I took to be a crude approximation to the Martian name, said to be very hard for humans to pronounce with its “triple gutturals”. Today I learned that Charax was a Roman camp in Crimea.

Tuesday, 2017 May 23, 16:19 — cinema, language

questions of emphasis

In Sherlock episode “The Lying Detective”, the phrase serial killer is uttered many times, always stressing the first word – as if the second were a given, even when (for the speakers) any killings are hypothetical. That impaired my enjoyment of a generally well-written episode. (Well, much better-written than its neighbors.)

I’ve noticed the phenomenon before: when a phrase becomes a fixed lexeme, many people, perhaps most, are deaf to its components. For my ex, the phrase beef jerky was in such perfect union that she often said “turkey beef-jerky”. Not Always Right has occasional tales of restaurant workers and customers for whom the arbitrary name “bacon lettuce & tomato sandwich” does not imply the presence of bacon.

Friday, 2017 March 17, 21:31 — language, prose

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!

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.

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