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OCTOBER, 2006 → ← DECEMBER, 2006

A „Jagdmotorboot,“ now, that’s an interesting idea. 29th of November, 2006 POST·MERIDIEM 02:47

„Atom, Ätzkohlenstoff, Bohnensuppe, Closetrolle, Chloroformtopf, Drogerie, Eis, Fensterbogen, Großonkel, Hausbesitzer, Insel, Jagdmotorboot, Klosterhof, Limonade, Motor, Notar, Oh Otto, Ökonomie, Pathologie, Qualdorfer Forst, Revolver, Sausewind, Ton, Uniform, Überrockknopf, Ventilator, Windmotor, Ohne Merkwort, Yorker Kohlkopf, Zollvorsteher.“

Ich lerne gerade Morsecode — aus Spaß — und auf Deutsch gibt es die Liste oben um es zu merken; jede Silbe, die ein O enthält steht für einen strich (— ), jede andere Silbe für einen Punkt ( . ). Und es funktioniert ganz gut; habe die Liste heute morgen erlernt, während meiner Pendelfahrt. Brauche aber jemanden anders mit wem ich es üben kann. Hat jemand Lust? --/./.-../-../.    --/../----!

Wort des Tages: „Ätzkohlenstoff“ ist eine Art Kohlenstoff, womit man ätzen kann.

Walk of shame … Mmm, creamy … RMS & dynamic scope 21st of November, 2006 POST·MERIDIEM 01:32

The Editors, on blogging drunk:

Good morning, Sifu. My name is the Bitter Blinding Sun of The Dawn After. I want you to collect your things, mumble your goodbyes, and, ’neath my baleful gaze, begin that long, lonely, and profoundly shameful walk home. While you are walking, I’d like to propose a fun little fanfic contest the The Web’s Least Grateful Readers participate in […]

(Yes, yes, it’s much funnier if you’ve read the post in question before The Editors’ followup. Still, I think it is particularly funny, independent of that.)

Trevor ap Simon, on a Barcelona restaurant:

Bill Poser picks up the London Times story about the Black Mountains Smokery in Powys being ordered by trading standards to rename its Welsh Dragon sausages “Welsh Dragon Pork Sausages” to avoid disappointing lovers of the hot and spicy. God knows what they’d make of the new delicatessen or restaurant or whatever on Margarit in Barcelona’s Poble Sec district, which goes by the name of Onan.

That is a particularly ludicrous judgement from the UK trading standards people.

Stallman, early eighties, on Emacs Lisp and dynamic scope:

‘… his exact reply was that lexical scope was too inefficient.’

Now, dynamic scope—that is, the sort of scope that a language implements when this is always true:

(defun ζέτα ()
  "Just a simple function—ignore that its name is in Greek."
  (+ r 0))
 
(let ((r (random)))
  (assert (eq (ζέτα) r)))
is today noted for its inefficiency. With lexical scope—as in C—unless you’ve taken the address of a local variable and passed it to a called function, you can reasonably assume that the called function will not have modified variables local to the current function by side effect, because looking up through the stack is not supported by the language definition. With dynamic scope, not only can you not make that assumption, you don’t know your local variables aren’t modifying by side-effect local variables in an outer function, so basically every variable assignment that was typed by the programmer must be done at runtime.

Morphological suffix of the day: –обод is a Tajik suffix meaning ‘place, city, house, populated’ and is part of lots of place names in Central Asia, Persia and the Subcontinent; of the latter see Hyderabad, Islamabad.

Last comment from Aidan Kehoe on the 21st of November at 14:16
Jesus, that was a soft-headed post, wasn’t it? The first paragraph I quoted was not remotely the funniest of the destination page, and my Lisp example is unreadable to anyone without experience in the language. Here’s it in C (note, this will intentionally not compile):

int
zeta (void)
{
    return r + 0;
}

int main (void) { int r = rand(); assert (r == zeta()); return 0; }

[No older comments for this entry.]

Rancid chip-fat (where ‘chip’ means ‘french-fry.’) 16th of November, 2006 ANTE·MERIDIEM 12:41

Reading a couple* of incidental web pages lately, I started musing on women and how they interact with the world†. And then Dervala comes up in my feed reader, describing her peers at school:

‘… we tested our collective worldview through a fog of rancid chip-fat and condensation, we adjudicated that having sex might be okay as long as you were in college, really in love, and had been together for x months or years — where x took as long to solve for as the quadratic equations in our copybooks.’
And it occurs to me that I probably didn’t miss much in school.

Which is interesting. I enjoyed the last few years of secondary school; today, I’m not over-certain of why, but I remember randomly smiling while I was walking down corridors, I remember early sixth and fifth year spent working on musicals or plays, essentially hanging out with socially-adept people for two afternoons a week. I suppose part of it—certainly sixth year—was focusing on something I was good at; part of it too was that the inventive jeers that were the norm earlier were something I was then good at, and able to respond to in kind (apparently one of the main results of streaming in my year and school was to improve the quality of insults in the streamed classes, which—since it’s not something that came that naturally to me, and it’s not I normally find useful today—is a life skill that I can accord to the Irish standard educational system, up there with reading, the words of various worthwhile poems, a good understanding of latitude and longitude, calculus, Irish, and so on.)

But one thing that depressed me was, despite a mixed-sex school, that I didn’t have any sort of girlfriend there, and never saw any realistic prospects for it. And in my head, the important thing about a girlfriend was sex—personal interaction with female classmates was distancing and slightly uncomfortable, and I got on a thousand percent better with my male fellow-classmates, even those interested mainly in cars, so why else would one start something?—and without that happening, for me then, it would have been a total waste of time.

[Which is] (← see the cutesy repetition, whee!) the main reason why I have no real understanding today of how Irish women—and, unfairly, I mean comfortable-with-heels-and-makeup women’s women here, because understanding engineers and those who roughly think in male patterns is minimal extra work if you already understand men—function as romantic partners, and why I probably never will. Best work harder on the foreigners then. It helps immensely that sex is not remotely so central in my head today, yes.

Word of the day: ‚die Tide‘ is German for tide, and is cognate with both English ‘tide’ and German ‚die Zeit‘—the word itself in this meaning is from Platt, like lots of terms in German that involve serious expanses of water.

* Blog written by a woman who died of cancer, so posthumous criticism is unlikely to be welcome over there.

Actual details of that not the contents of this post, in case you’re wondering.

Last comment from Aidan Kehoe on the 16th of November at 15:23
By the way, this - (C = 2ΠR, C/D = Π. What is D/R ?) - is EVIL.

Nah, D/R × 9 × 37 is EVIL. Anyway, you managed it, right? And I’m sure it wasn’t because all the questions and their answers have been in your inbox for months :-) .

[Three older comments for this entry.]

Kuckucksuhren in Baku, Ingo Petz 5th of November, 2006 POST·MERIDIEM 02:20

Kuckucksuhren in Baku, Ingo Petz, 253 Seiten. Petz ist journalist, Wessie, hat Slawistik an der Uni studiert, wohnt in Friedrichshain. Der ist nach Aserbaidschan gefahren, offensichtlich um dieses Buch zu recherchieren, und hat zwei Monate da verbracht, bei dem Geburtsort Richard Sorges.

Ich mag den Mensch nicht besonders; er hat die Reise unternommen ohne feste Pläne, hat nicht mal versucht die Grundlagen der Sprache zu lernen (OK, Aserbaidschanisch ist keine Weltsprache, aber es ist eng mit Türkisch verwandt, also es wäre nicht nutzlos in Deutschland), amüsierte sich ständig mit Taxifahrer weil er nichts zu tun hatte — ich meine, was? Taxifahrer, die im Normalfall eine Karikatur der Bevölkerung sind, wenn nicht Einwanderer?

Das Land scheint grausam und ein wenig deprimierend, genauso wie das Leben von Igor Stein, der letzte Volksdeutsche des Gebiets, ein Mensch der sich ständig säuft, da es nichts interessanteres in seinem Dorf zu tun gibt. Der Titel des Buches kommt von seinem Wohnzimmer, ein Raum voller Souvenirs aus einem der Geschichte angehörend Deutschland. Unser Korrespondent macht nichts interessantes, schreibt trotzdem sorgfältig über seine Langeweile, und am Ende erklärt sich als mit dem Land begeistert. Ein komischer Kerl.

Wort des Tages: Ташаккур ist Tadschikisch für ‚Danke‘, und besteht auch auf Aserbaidschanisch.