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Ascension day …Arbitraging risk … “… push the pram a lot.” 26th of May, 2006 POST·MERIDIEM 05:37

Gestern war es Christi Himmelfahrt, ein Fest wegen der körperlichen Rückkehr Jesus zu Himmel. Auf Englisch “Ascension Thursday” gennant, es schien mir ganz interessant dass so ein kleines Fest in protestantischem Berlin gefeiert wird; auch hier weißt man nicht so genau warum es noch immer ein Fest bleibt, vermutlich weil es auch Vatertag ist. Egal, es war Feiertag, ich bin zu Hause geblieben, gelesen, habe ein bisschen programmiert, ein gläschen Wein getrunken, bin früh eingeschlafen. Das Leben ist nicht schlecht, finde ich.

Jóska asked me a few days ago what exactly a hedge fund was; I said it was an investment fund where the risk of investing in one firm was offset by buying an option to sell other shares at some point in the future at a given price (which will make you money if the price of the shares goes down relative to that price), effectively betting on the market and against it at the same time. He didn’t quite believe me—of the various investments he was looking into, „Hedgefonds“ was the riskiest of the various vehicles he was looking into.

So I went and looked it up the other day on Wikipedia. And, as you would expect of field of human activity where the US has hefty representation, it’s dealt with in depth, together with the rest of finance and stocks. http://​en.​wikipedia.​org/​wiki/​Hedge_Fund , yay Wikipedia. My understanding of the term from its constituents was correct, but there’s been semantic development since it was coined, so now it doesn’t imply any technique in particular.

Word of the day: „selig“ is German for “blessed,” as in beatification; it can also mean “happy,” in general, and this was the meaning of sælig  in English a thousand years ago. In an example of the kind of careening semantic development that you come across when you look at how words in English and German are linked, it’s spelled ‘silly’ today and means something quite different.

So: "bloody" as in "The bloody car won’t start" vs "bloede" as in "Das bloede Auto geht nicht"? Certainly not medieval but still fun.

Bah, the OED doesn’t date the English word in that usage earlier than about 1670. Interestingly, the Grimms give an Anglo-Saxon version of the German word, bleáðe, which isn’t to be found in the OED. Maybe it survived in dialectal form and contributed to the popularity of ‘bloody’ in that usage later.

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