Why I am an atheist – Kausik Datta »« Hitch is not in heaven

Comments

  1. says

    theophontes,

    Sad it didn’t happen a few days earlier – for obvious reasons.

    Why? What happened a couple days ago?

    Your nym doesn’t make any sense to me, I have to say, what is it supposed to say?
    Also, as in Dutch, all diminuatives are neuter, so it should be “schwingendes Tierchen”. But what’s a Bärtierchen anyways, what a Bärchen couldn’t be?

  2. ibyea says

    @Janine
    That blog makes me think, if he weren’t in position of power as a dictator, would he have been a nicer human being, or would he have been just as much as an asshole and would have unleashed his psychopathy on a much smaller amount of people? I don’t know why I thought that, but I did. :)

  3. janine says

    I cannot even begin to answer that, ibyea. How much of a person’s character is innate and how much is formed by the circumstances of a life? But I will say this, it seems that a common mistake that many people make when they imagine being an other person, they put themself in their place instead of imagining how they would have turned if they were born under those circumstances.

    For example, I have ancestors who were slave owners. It is easy for me, coming of age after the civil rights battles of the 1960’s, to say that I would condemn the practice. But what if I were born in the 1830’s in Tennessee and raised in the environment? Would I have embraced slavery as something good? Would I accept it and feel just a bit guilty about keeping people in bondage? Would I reject my birthright and disown my family? I have no idea. I would like to think that I would be ethical in my actions and try to free these people but I cannot honestly say this.

    Changing the subject, I was highly amused that in most of those photos, there were a lot of sycophants standing around.

  4. theophontes, Hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitaneschwingendesbärtierchen says

    @ pelamun

    Why? What happened a couple days ago?

    Christopher Hitchens (who actually went to North Korea to investigate) was a vocal and vociferous critic of the regime and of Kim Jong Il in particular.

    what is it supposed to say?

    Hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitane Wielding Tardigrade.

    I would just add -tje in Dutch (which unfortunately appears to be plain “tardigrade”) for the diminutive, so that “bärtierchen” sounds like more fun.

    Hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitane or CL-20, is an extremely powerful and unstable explosive (they mix it with TNT to make it less unstable, and are hoping to use it as a rocket propellant).

    I am tickled pink at the idea of this microscopic, cuddly little creature wielding the stuff. All the more so if I can find a language that will let me compress the name into one word.

  5. consciousness razor says

    - it took quite some time for Latins (? what’s the English word for inhabitants of Latinum) to get the vote.

    Wiki says Latins or Latini, who lived in Latium. It was very complicated, but there’s this from the article on Latin rights:

    The Latin right was an intermediate step in obtaining full-fledged Roman citizenship. In the days of the Republic, those holding the Latin right had most of the liberties of citizens except the right to vote.

    I don’t think there was a later expansion of voting rights which applied only to Latins. Gradually, more and more people got full Roman citizenship and all that entailed, but the best example I can think of are the Marian reforms. That was more about raising a larger, professional, standing army, rather than some democratic sentiment. The Romans were concerned about having an army full of barbarian foreigners, but they needed someone to die for them, so the solution was to promise them citizenship, thus they were no longer “foreigners.”

  6. theophontes, Hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitaneschwingendesbärtierchen says

    @ Chas

    But god is found only within ourselves. (There is no metaphysical being that stands outside of reality.) This would mean that Mary got herself pregnant.

    No, not “knocked up” or anything like that, …. literally by herself. Like sharks and stuff. Linky: Female Shark Gets Pregnant on Her Own, No Male Required. Sad that jeebus was born before medical science was advanced enough to document this properly. (What is two millennia – and a few million lost souls – in god-years anyway?)

  7. says

    theophontes,

    I never knew what tardigrades were, in any language. This is a deficit I could no longer overlook. So the German name would indeed be either Bärtierchen or Wasserbär. (Japanese would be Tamamushi, “ball bug”, the Chinese used is “water bear bug 水熊虫”)

    Hexanitroisowurtzitan

    But “wield” is hard. You can’t construe it like this in German, I’m sorry.

    You might have to use “verwenden” (use)

    “hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes Bärtierchen”, though “Hexanitroisowurtzitan verwendendes Bärtierchen” would probably now be better (spelling reform you know).

    I thought about Japanese or Chinese, but you’d still end up with phrases rather than compounds, I’m afraid…

  8. says

    CR,

    makes sense. I also read that it is assumed that the cursus honorum used to be exclusive to the nobility, but was then gradually opened up (also the tribunus plebis, of course). I mean they later had all these homines novi in the senate, like Cicero and what have you…

  9. chigau (違う) says

    Do you think a “Vegan Hand and Body Bar” is for use on vegans or is made of vegans?
    It appears to be soap.
    It might be food.

  10. says

    I did say democratic-ISH, note thevery important ISH. There were elections. Sure, it was highly limited, and the patricians grabbed ever more for themselves, but it was still not a hereditary monarchy and every free male citizen, even plebians, had a vote on at least some part of the government. Technically, Rome was a republic with elected leaders between the kings and the Caesars (about 500BC-44BC) but the decline started well before the assassination of Gaius Julius.

    @Janine, I had no idea! I have googled and am now partially enlightened but still not entirely clear about the tie-in with the confederate south. I got the John Wilkes Booth use, so I can imagine where it might go. To me it’s about the assassination of Gaius Julius Caesar – and by extension, dictators, monarchs etc. It expresses Marcus Junius Bruto’s republican sentiments.

    Perhaps in a non-classical forum I should stick with “Nae King! Nae Quin! Nae Laird! Nae Master!” :)

  11. theophontes, Hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitaneschwingendesbärtierchen says

    @ CR

    but they needed someone to die for them, so the solution was to promise them citizenship, thus they were no longer “foreigners.”

    Beats dying (daily and despondently by degrees) in a strawberry field in SoCal with no hope of citizenship… evah … or am I just being cynical?

    @ pelamun

    Sorry to bug you. Quick linguistic question. IIRC there is a special word for words with two syllables and stress on the second. These apparantly are very good for brand names for products – think of: MuJi (Japanese homeware) or Coca Cola (double whammy). Do you know more about this?

  12. ibyea says

    @Janine
    I think the reason the sycophants are standing around is that they are tours of having the workers show the stuff they made and how greatful they are for Kim Jong Il’s instructions (blatant lies, of course) and leadership, and that they are all doing it for him. The sycophants are there to kiss his ass, of course. But yes, the pictures are amusing.

  13. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ pelamun

    hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes Bärtierchen (old skool is kool)

    {theophontes strikes gavel on desktop, loudly} *BANG*

    Sold!

    (I like “verwendendes”, it reminds me of Dutch – “verwend ventje” ie: “spoiled kid”. Now imagine THAT wielding CL-20!)

    You now have one very happy tardigrade on TET. :D

  14. says

    Alethea,

    I noted the ISH part. I just don’t agree. I guess I put my focus on the disenfranchisement of the plebs during the early period of the republic. (Also compared to the Athenian democracy)

    Tarquinius was overthrown in 509 BCE, it took until 367 BCE for al offices to be theoretically opened up to the plebs. Being allowed to stand for tribunus plebis and aedilis plebis doesn’t really cut it.

    Though granted there are a lot of unknowns about the early Republican period, our understanding could be misguided.

    On a side note: the issues also remind me of the struggle for democracy in the German Free Cities (Hamburg, Bremen, Lübeck etc). Here, you also had a nominally elected leadership, but a patrician class outmaneuvring the plebes.

    theophontes,

    this can be called iamb, or iambic word, I guess, though I rarely use these terms. But the examples given don’t really have iambic stress pattern in English? Maybe Muji I don’t know how it’s stressed in English, in Japanese it’d be Mujirushi anyway…

  15. says

    also, care to add an article?

    if it’s definite “das”, the adjective ending has to be changed to “weak”, i.e. -e, if it’s indefinite “ein”, then it’s strong, “-es”

  16. says

    hehe, verwend ventje, “verwöhntes Gör”

    re the Kim Jong-Il photos: I fail to see the difference to photos of any national leader, democratic or dictatorial, touring some kind of facility. I mean if you look for it, you could probably find pictures like that of Obama, or Merkel, or Putin or Emperor Akihito…

  17. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ pelamun

    if it’s definite “das”, the adjective ending has to be changed to “weak”, i.e. -e, if it’s indefinite “ein”, then it’s strong, “-es”

    This goes way over my head. (I am a “Wasserbär of very little brain” as Christopher Robin will tell you.)

  18. janine says

    Alethea H. Claw, I understand the historical significance. After all, John Wilkes Booth was a Shakespearean actor. He could not resist a dramatic flourish with an historical tie in. But I doubt that most people in the US who use that term either know or do not care where it came from. In this corner of the world, it ties you in with the Lost Cause, Southern Pride, Southern Heritage and the fight against the tyrant, Lincoln and Northern Aggression.

    In other words, in the US, people who use that term are white racists.

  19. says

    theophontes,

    this is because English and Dutch have given up adjective inflection (oh the horror, how could they!). Or Dutch only retains it for indefinite common gender nouns in the singular:

    een mooi boek (neuter) “a nice book”
    een mooie pen (common gender) “a nice pen”

    definite should get you:
    het mooi boek, de mooi pen

    But originally, adjectives would agree with the nouns they’re modifying (like in Romance), but would have different paradigms called STRONG and WEAK.

    In German:

    STRONG
    all genders different in the singular: -er for masc., -e for fem., -es for neut.

    masc. ein groß-er Mann (a big man)
    fem. eine groß-e Frau (a big woman)
    neut. ein groß-es Haus (a big house)

    in the plural it’s all -e
    (groß-e Männer, groß-e Frauen, groß-e Häuser)

    You’d get the strong pattern with indefinite articles. With definite articles, you’d get the weak pattern:

    WEAK:

    all genders -e in the singular

    masc. der groß-e Mann (the big man)
    fem. die groß-e Frau (the big woman)
    neut. das groß-e Haus (the big house)

    in the plural it’s all -en
    (die groß-en Männer, die groß-en Frauen, die groß-en Häuser)

    North Germanic has similar patterns, too:

    Swedish:

    STRONG:
    different for each gender, 0 for common gender, -t for neut.

    common: en stor-0 man (a big man) (“0″ means NO ending)
    neut: ett stor-t hus (a big house)

    in the plural it’s -a
    (stor-a män, stor-a hus)

    WEAK:

    all -a

    common: den stor-a mannen (the big man)
    neut: det stor-a huset (the big house)

    in the plural it’s -a
    (de stor-a männen, de stor-a husen)

    Adjective inflection in Germanic seems to be one of the trickier grammar topics, and one of the more neglected ones. In my days as GSL T.A., I’ve noticed that many foreign students otherwise quite fluent in German never quite mastered it.

  20. says

    I would be wary of any article claiming that a certain type of stress pattern would be good for product names. Languages are much too diverse that you could have a universal prosodical pattern which would work anywhere.

  21. hotshoe says

    think of: MuJi (Japanese homeware) or Coca Cola (double whammy). Do you know more about this?

    What makes you think that Coca Cola has emphasis on the second syllable ? I’ve never heard anyone in the US pronounce it that way – it’s stressed on the first syllable. For generic colas, it can be pronounced kohl’ ə, with the schwa rather than an “a” (not according to the pronunciation given in the dictionary, but that’s how I hear it said around here.)

  22. says

    Janine, thanks for letting me know. I shall be careful to avoid it now – that’s definitely not at all what I intended!

    Theophontes, I think you’re being too persnickety. It’s not like “ISH” has some super precise meaning. And not like the ancient Greek democracies were very democratic either. Proto-democracy? Partial, pseudo, call it what you will. Anyway, my key point: NOT monarchy. Elected, non-permanent leaders. Monarchy deeply frowned on even hundreds of years later. To the extent that even when they acquired monarchs, they still had to name them something else.

    Yes, yes, the electorate was limited in a highly unsatisfactory way to modern minds. But frankly, you need plenty of money whether you’re talking cursus honorum or US elections, and gerrymandering the size of tribes vs electorates to favour the rich is also pretty conceptually similar.

    And in other news, chocolate is good for you. Honest guv. It’s SCIENCE! http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2011/12/15/3390951.htm

  23. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ hotshoe

    What makes you think that Coca Cola has emphasis on the second syllable ?

    You’re right. It is me overthinking the thing (and I am pretty tone deaf to begin with).

    Here is another linky: Three criteria of a good brand name.

    (How I got into this. I ran into a friend yesterday, who is starting a new business. She has taken a xtian expression and compressed it down to something that sounds like a rotten tomato striking a priest on the head. “What the fuck has jeebus got to do with selling plastic cooler bags? That sounds awful! Lose the imaginary friend and I can help you.”)

  24. ibyea says

    @pelanum
    And let me guess, in German, there are more exceptions to the rule than there are example to those rules. :) Okay, I really don’t know that, but that is how I felt when I took German in high school a few years ago.

  25. says

    Alethea,

    I think you mean me. Well, I know less about the Athenian democracy, and it might well be that it had similar problems (it seems that until the Solonian reforms, Athens was more of an oligarchy).

    But there is a key difference to the US-style money politics and systematic exclusion from office of plebs, similar to what I argued in the monarchy debate with Walton: that the highest offices are open to anyone has a huge symbolic value.

    Any American citizen can theoretically become president.
    No Roman plebeian could become consul prior to 367 BCE.

  26. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ Alethea

    Theophontes, I think you’re being too persnickety.

    Oh Pooh! I got called out. But: “Pingelig_Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen” is getting rather long. (I don’t want to break TET … again.)

    On a more serious note, I agree with the “NOT monarchy” bit. I would go with “proportional representation within a constitutional republic”.

    No Pharyngufoodie story to report back on, because I am stuck in Shenzhen for the whole week, trying to sort out my visa. (Korean nori roll for lunch does not need a song and dance.)

  27. says

    ibyea,

    no exceptions. Once you’ve mastered the rules for all three genders and four cases (I only showed the example for the nominative case to keep it simple), it’s always the same.

    However, there are indeclinable adjectives in both German and Swedish.

  28. says

    btw, theophontes, is pingelig also Dutch?

    In Germany, Konrad Adenauer has been credited with helping this word from his Cologne dialect become more known nationally.

  29. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ pelamun

    Or Dutch only retains it for indefinite common gender nouns in the singular:

    I found those hard enough. I went from speaking Afrikaans to Dutch. I found Dutch to be terribly persnickety and ended up failing the Dutch entrance exam for university. Fortunately my entrance was decided by an interview with a board of professors, who where rather taken by my Nederlikaans.

    ……

    German: Where I also have a terrible time, is: Ihre, Ihr, deine, dein, die, das, eure, euer, sein etc, etc, etc (head asplode)

  30. ibyea says

    @Theophontes
    Another part of German where I had a terrible time was trying to pronounce the ‘r’. My throat felt a bit sore after a while.

  31. says

    I found Dutch to be terribly persnickety

    and in certain phrases, and especially in educated speech, the old masc-fem. difference creeps in, but increasingly younger Dutch speakers are said to no longer make these difference, they don’t even know anymore if it’s ten dood or ter dood. (And I’m told the masc./fem. difference is even more alive in Flanders.)

    German: Where I also have a terrible time, is: Ihre, Ihr, deine, dein, die, das, eure, euer, sein etc, etc, etc (head asplode)

    I think the problem is the polyfunctionality of so many forms (“ihr” can be possessive nom.sg.masc./neut. of 3rd p. sg. fem., also polite 2nd p. pronoun (“Ihr”), also gen. and dat. of 3rd.p.sg.fem. pron.). The only solution is rote learning. You have to learn it by rote so that if you get a call at 3am at night, you could still recite the different forms. For instance the def. article:

    case masc fem neut / pl.
    nominative: der die das / die
    genitive: des der des /der
    dative: dem der dem / den
    accusaive: den die den / den

    you see a lot of repetition, like der, die, den. That can be quite confusing to the beginner. Only solution: rote learning.

  32. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ pelamun

    btw, theophontes, is pingelig also Dutch?

    Close. haggling, rather than picky.

  33. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ ibyea

    the “r”

    You should hear a full throated “Swartland” (in the Cape, South Africa) accent at full throttle!

    Dis ‘n tRRRilling vannie kleintongekie heeeel agteRRRRRR innie keel!

    Interesting aside. When my father was a wee lad, he ran into General Smuts as my oma (grandmother) pushed the pram containing my uncle. He stopped and looked at the kids and said to my oma: “The younger geneRRRRation is gRRRowing up!” (He retained the accent even in English apparently.)

  34. says

    but there are several Rs to choose from in German.

    Granted, the French one is used in standard German (though there are phonetic variants), but the alveolar trill can be found in some regional accents too. Just listen to Hitler’s speeches.

    (But never forget to vocalise your Rs syllable-finally, like in BrE. Chinese students had trouble differentiating the two types of schwa [ɐ] and [ə] in forms such as “dieser” v. “diese”)

  35. says

    But never forget to vocalise your Rs syllable-finally

    Lest I get clobbered by David: there are dialects which might not vocalise syllable-final Rs, or only optionally so. I don’t remember if Hitler vocalised his final Rs…

  36. John Morales says

    In local news: Mammals’ tusked ancestor roamed Australia.

    Scientists say rare fossils found in Tasmania’s south-east prove that an ancient species of mammal did exist in Australia.

    The dicynodont was an early ancestor of modern-day mammals and lived about 250 million years ago.

    Roughly the size of a cow, the plant-eating animal had two tusks and a horny beak.

    Queensland Museum palaeontologist Andrew Rozefelds says they lived on every continent, including Antarctica.

    [...]

    University of Tasmania sedimentologist Stuart Ball, who dated the fossils, says the remains are from the early Triassic period.

    They predate the dinosaurs by at least 30 million years.

  37. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ pelamun

    The only solution is rote learning. You have to learn it by rote … Only solution: rote learning.

    I haz a sad :'(

    I tend to pick up languages by osmosis. I am currently listening to http://www.chantefrance.com – I just let the words wash over me.

    I can read German quite well (if sober) and speak it quite well (if drunk).

    @ John M.

    They predate the dinosaurs by at least 30 million years.

    Holy Cow!

  38. says

    Argh! Sorry to both Pelamun & Theophontes. I have no defense, except that I was sneaking quick pharyngubreaks in between bits of work and lost track. Not even any grog to confuse me :(

    So, Pelamun, IMO any democracy that has already excluded women and slaves can’t possibly be a proper democracy. Whether you chuck plebians into the group or not doesn’t make such a difference to me – whether pre or post 367 BCE, a consulship still wasn’t open to people like me! Same as with the Greeks. I’m not quite clear how you’re drawing a distinction – elected representatives or direct election of leaders both seem democratic from my point of view. We don’t vote direct for our PM in Australia, but I still think we’re a democracy. There may be some technicality that I’m missing, I’m no political scientist.

    I do agree with you on the point “that the highest offices are open to anyone has a huge symbolic value” – certainly that’s one of the reasons I’m a republican. In Australian terms, of course, where being a Republican is good and being a Liberal is bad :)

    Theophontes: A song for you! And here are the lyrics!

  39. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ Alethea

    A song for you!

    No youtube in Teh Ebil Empire ™ …

    And here are the lyrics!

    I haz a happy :D

    (I need to get that midi file so that people can hear my theme-tune while I lurk the internets. Perhaps with drums, so they know they are dealing with a weaponised tardigrade.)

  40. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ Alethea

    Problem loading page, …. Problem loading page, ….Problem loading page, ….Problem loading page, ….Problem loading page, ….Problem loading page, ….

    Nope, tried everything. Teh Ebil Empire ™ is ebil. Or tardigrades really are subversive.
    (I shall have to email the linky to myself and play it over the weekend.)

  41. says

    Morning
    Good news: my kidneys are fine
    Bad news: I have a little bit of everything and am condemmed to suffer until it’s over.

    I think the problem is the polyfunctionality of so many forms

    Oh yes, this isn’t only a problem when learning German, but also when teaching foreign languages to German speakers.
    “Sie” is another terrible one, people routinely end up with the wrong pronoun in Spanish.
    I usually try to get people understand what 1st/2nd/3rd person mean.

    Lest I get clobbered by David: there are dialects which might not vocalise syllable-final Rs, or only optionally so.

    None of those exist in the Saaaaland.

  42. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Do you think a “Vegan Hand and Body Bar” is for use on vegans or is made of vegans?

    I have been pondering a similar mystery:

    How the f* do “Christian Supply Stores” stay in business when the market is so flooded with Christians already? I mean, sure, there is a good “Christian Supply” but is there any **demand** for Christians?

    I don’t see any… Certainly not in my immediate vicinity. (Which would be my bed at this point, so **definitely** no need for Christians here!)

  43. birgerjohansson says

    For Pharyngulites in USA and Canada: Bookcloseouts.com has
    a s ale of wall calendars.

    “Pearls Before Swine: 2012 Wall Calendar” http://www.bookcloseouts.com/Store/Details/Pearls-Before-Swine-2012-Wall-Calendar/_/R-9781449404499B -The cynical rat is how I imagine my fellow paryngulites are like.
    — — —
    “House: 2012 Wall Calendar” http://www.bookcloseouts.com/Store/Details/House-2012-Wall-Calendar/_/R-9781449404161B Dr. Gregory House is my hero. I want to develop my rudeness to his level.
    — — —
    “Outhouses 2012 Wall Calendar (16 Month Calendar)” http://www.bookcloseouts.com/Store/Details/Outhouses-2012-Wall-Calendar-16-Month-Calendar/_/R-9781592588039B
    — — —
    “Meerkats 2012 Wall Calendar (16 Month Calendar)” http://www.bookcloseouts.com/Store/Details/Meerkats-2012-Wall-Calendar-16-Month-Calendar/_/R-9781592589746B Cuuuute!

    -They have a “Bears” wall calendar too. Ursines, I mean.

  44. walton says

    Let’s face it, fuck all is going to change with Kim Jung-Il’s death and Kim Jung-Un’s ascension to power. He’ll live on because no one’s life in North Korea is going to get any better.

    (Would it be distasteful of me to mention that this is an excellent argument against hereditary monarchies?)

    Er, North Korea is not a hereditary monarchy. A tyranny with an effectively-hereditary leader is not the same thing as a monarchy. There’s a difference.

    (If you wanted an argument against monarchy, Saudi Arabia, Brunei or or Oman would likely prove your point better. Though those have nothing in common with the kind of limited monarchy I advocated above.)

  45. walton says

    So, Pelamun, IMO any democracy that has already excluded women and slaves can’t possibly be a proper democracy.

    “Democracies” have always been exclusionary; people who are not considered to be part of the polis don’t get a say, however affected they are by political decisions. Consider, for instance, that almost every country bars non-nationals (including those who have lived in the country for years, and including vulnerable migrant worker populations) from voting or participating in politics. (As a result of which most Western countries have godawful and racist immigration policies: since the people affected the worst by these policies don’t get a say in the decision, whereas the racists, who are unfortunately numerous, do.)

  46. Ariaflame says

    @185 walton, I grew up about 7km from there. I learned to kayak there as well. Bloody cold. Midges not a year round problem, and for picturesque Loch Lomond wasn’t that far away.

    In comment to other things on the thread, which I mostly missed commenting on at the time due to being asleep or then Christmas shopping.

    Yes, Pog mo shon (pronounced as given by Giliell @355) is also the scottish gaelic for kiss my ass. It’s the only gàidhlig my mother ever knew. I know more now but only started learning after I left Scotland. There is someone over here though that has it as a bumper sticker. Oh how I laughed.

    I was told once that if you start at the west coast of Ireland and move eastwards the language gradually morphs into the scottish variant, though the orthography split may have diverged it a bit more.

    David Marjanović – Having a thesis match the original proposal is I suspect more rare than not.

    It took me six months I think to read the Silmarillion, which may be because I made the error of approaching it as if it were a novel. I’ve never managed to face it again.

    OK. I think I’m more or less up to date now. Until I hit refresh.

  47. walton says

    Dammit it all. I choose the wrong family to be born to. I should be fucking entitled to these powers.

    Why would you want them? Being a head of state is hardly a barrel of laughs.

  48. carlie says

    Huh. Speaking of calendars, I just realized I need to turn my wall calendar over to December. That might be a record.

  49. Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says

    The dicynodont was an early ancestor of modern-day mammals and lived about 250 million years ago.

    Cool. Considering that, at the time, Australia was connected to southern Africa (and the Karoo is a great place to find dicynodonts), I am not surprised. But it is always nice to see even more evidence added to the mountain supporting evolution, plate tectonics, and other sciences;

    I mean, sure, there is a good “Christian Supply” but is there any **demand** for Christians?

    Especially when one considers the population declines in large predator populations.

    IMO any democracy that has already excluded women and slaves can’t possibly be a proper democracy.

    Here in the United States, we exclude from the franchise those under the age of 18, some states exclude ex-cons, all states exclude those in prison, al states, de facto, exclude large portions of the poor — those who move frequently, those who are homeless, those who cannot physiclaly get to ta polling location — and modern conservatives are desperately trying to limit the franchise even more through restrictive and onerous voter fraud prevention laws.

  50. birgerjohansson says

    Voting is a right, not a privilege that can be taken away for arbitrary reasons. Fucking plutocracy.
    — — — — —
    Ariaflame: “Giliell was @335. Doh”

    But Dornier was 335 first. If you want a mnemonic to keep track of comments, think of the Luftwaffe numerical designations. Example: 177 = An unreliable long-range bomber more dangerous to the crew than to the enemy. Actually, it makes me think of some feline animal…
    The Laughing Coyote @ 217 = Another Dornier.
    163: Rocket-propelled point-defence aircraft. “Repellent’ indeed!

  51. says

    The 2nd syllable stress for advertizing should didn’t work out very well for the Chevy Nova in Spanish speaking countries.
    ++++++++++++++
    Caine, what a great cuttlefish ornament.
    ++++++++++++++
    Happy Saturday Oggie!
    ++++++++++++++
    “Careful with that axe, Eugene” was the very 1st thing I read this morning, thank you Janine!
    ++++++++++++++
    I use several enunciations of ‘R’s. But then I speak Pirate, stewardess, arrr.
    ++++++++++++++
    Just like instantrimshot.com, everyone needs a permanent link to http://www.devastatingexplosions.com/

  52. ChasCPeterson says

    What makes you think that Coca Cola has emphasis on the second syllable ? I’ve never heard anyone in the US pronounce it that way – it’s stressed on the first syllable.

    Indeed. So much so that in some parts of the US (Alabama, in my experience), the pronunciation is Co’Cola, with equal stress on both ‘co’s. (as opposed to ‘coke’ which means, generically, any carbonated soft drink: What kinda coke you want? 7-Up?)

  53. Predator Handshake says

    I just don’t understand the work ethic of this other lab in my department.

    I’m in charge of our fluorescent microscope which happens to sit in my lab but is available for use by other labs. When another lab needs to do imaging, I help them with it because it can be…finicky.

    This week has all the trappings of a “slow” week. Starting Friday, everyone gets paid time off until the new year. This other lab’s PI wants his technician to come by at 10 PM one night this week to do imaging. WHY??? I cannot imagine any protocol they could be using that would require a schedule like that.

    The other problem is that I’m working through a language barrier so I’m having trouble explaining nicely that I don’t want to have people in my lab after hours.

  54. ChasCPeterson says

    I fail to see the difference to photos of any national leader, democratic or dictatorial, touring some kind of facility.

    Sure, but it’s the sheer quantity and sameness of this collection that makes it funny. As well as the other people in the photos.

    Scientists say rare fossils found in Tasmania’s south-east prove that an ancient species of mammal did exist in Australia.

    gah. Not a mammal (as correctly pointed out in the next sentence).

    They predate the dinosaurs by at least 30 million years.

    But there were lots of contemporary archosaurs, just not technically dinosaurs.

  55. says

    Somebody please tell me, how to you say “kiss my ass” in Irish? I thought I knew, but I tried it on an Irish friend and they were not in accord with my presumed knowledge.

    Says the Pft!:

    The Pogues were founded in Kings Cross,[3] a district of North London, in 1982 as Pogue Mahone—pogue mahone being the Anglicisation of the Irish póg mo thóin, meaning “kiss my arse”.[4]

  56. says

    Though perhaps I’m being over sensitive. Either way; my point was that Obama is the best candidate in the last elections and maybe the current I don’t think that should stifle the criticism of him. In fact I think it’s important to put his fuck ups on the record in primaries and polling so that the Democrats hopefully shift more towards their base.

  57. Richard Austin says

    Caught up (with TET, if not my holiday shopping (which includes birthday presents for people, one on the 24th and one on the 26th (yay for parentheticals!))), and I have to say: one incarnation of TET with quotes from both M:TG and RAW, both of which I recognized without looking them, up, makes a Monday happier.

  58. Richard Austin says

    Carlie:

    Still haven’t named her; we made a list and everyone checked their favorites, and it appears Grace (as a pun on her color gray) is the only one the entire family likes.

    Given her proclivities, I’d say Mistoffelees (changes to Miss Toffelees, if you prefer).

  59. says

    ChasCPeterson #568

    (as opposed to ‘coke’ which means, generically, any carbonated soft drink: What kinda coke you want? 7-Up?)

    From the movie “Slither”:

    Where is the Mr. Pibb? I told your secretary to pack Mr. Pibb. It’s the only coke I like. Goddamn Brenda exploding like a water balloon, worms driving my friends around like they’re goddamn skin-cars, people are spitting acid at me, turning you into cottage cheese, and now there’s no fucking goddamn Mr. Pibb?

  60. walton says

    Walton
    Come on, they started a bit late with their monarchy in North Korea, and a bit less glamourous, but just because you dislike them doesn’t disqualify them

    Neither of those considerations has anything to do with it. Monarchies can be created anew in modern times (Belgium in 1831, Jordan in 1921, the short-lived Albanian monarchy in 1928, Saudi Arabia in 1932, and so on.) And there are plenty of monarchies I dislike. Many of the Gulf monarchies are brutal authoritarian régimes; I do not deny that they are also monarchies.

    Rather, my point is that North Korea is not a monarchy. It just isn’t. Hereditary succession is neither necessary nor sufficient for a state to be a monarchy. (The Vatican is a monarchy, but the papacy is not and has never been hereditary; and there have been other elective monarchies in history, such as Poland for part of its history. Conversely, there have been hereditary heads of state in history who were not monarchs, such as the Stadholder of the United Provinces of the Netherlands from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, or the Lord Protector in Cromwellian England.) The word “monarchy” has a meaning, and North Korea does not satisfy it.

  61. Cannabinaceae says

    Thanks to all for the Irish arse kissing advice – that is what I had thought I was saying, but even after practicing with internet-available mp3s, things still didn’t work out.

    I think I’ll be seeing Frank again next summer in Glacier, so I will give it another try.

  62. Cannabinaceae says

    Anybody who can’t “roll” their Rs (in the front of the mouth rather than the guttural style) may be able to teach themselves by repeating the nonce-word “totterday” over and over.

  63. says

    Gah, my cold isn’t gonna go away, it seems :(

    Alethea,

    So, Pelamun, IMO any democracy that has already excluded women and slaves can’t possibly be a proper democracy. Whether you chuck plebians into the group or not doesn’t make such a difference to me – whether pre or post 367 BCE, a consulship still wasn’t open to people like me! Same as with the Greeks. I’m not quite clear how you’re drawing a distinction – elected representatives or direct election of leaders both seem democratic from my point of view. We don’t vote direct for our PM in Australia, but I still think we’re a democracy.

    Women and slaves excluded: totally agree. But I wasn’t the one calling it democratic, -ISH or otherwise :P

    Well you don’t elect the PM, but you elect the MPs electing her, and you would be eligible to become PM.

    Theophontes,

    I haz a sad :’(

    I tend to pick up languages by osmosis. I am currently listening to http://www.chantefrance.com – I just let the words wash over me.

    Unfortunately, for Chinese, you’d need even more rote learning, what with the tones and the characters etc. Than FSM for Anki.

    walton,

    what’s your rationale for excluding North Korea from Happy Monarchy Land? I don’t see it, to me it’s like how Catholics look down on the Yehova’s Witnesses because they’ve been around so much longer…

  64. says

    And don’t give me that “words have meanings” answer – a little bit more – give me generally accepted criteria for a monarchy, and why N.K. doesn’t fulfill them….

    There are scholars like the sociologist Aidan Foster-Carter calling N.K. “communist monarchy”, and similar things have been said abotu Syria – good enough for me…

  65. walton says

    what’s your rationale for excluding North Korea from Happy Monarchy Land? I don’t see it, to me it’s like how Catholics look down on the Yehova’s Witnesses because they’ve been around so much longer…

    It’s nothing at all to do with having been around longer. The Jordanian monarchy was created in 1921, and the short-lived Albanian monarchy in 1928. The “Central African Empire” lasted three years from 1976 to 1979 (and was a disastrous homicidal régime ruled by a madman, incidentally, so I’m certainly not cherry-picking my examples to portray monarchy in a good light). All of these are or were undoubtedly monarchies, despite being of recent vintage. Conversely, the Stadholder of the Netherlands, from the sixteenth century to the eighteenth century, was not a monarch, but the hereditary head of state of a republic.

    Of course, it’s very difficult to decide on this basis precisely how we should define “monarchy”. (It obviously doesn’t bear its literal meaning, the “rule of one”; otherwise “constitutional monarchy” would be a self-contradictory concept.) The only really objective and incontrovertible definition is that a monarchy is a state whose head of state is described in law as a monarch, but this is rather circular. More broadly, I suppose one could say that a monarch – whether styled as a King, Emperor, Grand Duke, Prince, Sultan, etc. – is distinct because he or she is in some legal and constitutional sense set apart from his or her subjects; a monarch is not simply a citizen who holds a public office in the state (as a president is), but rather the symbolic embodiment of the state.

    (Of course this is blurred in practice, with “popular monarchies” like Belgium where the constitution expressly vests ultimate power in the people, and, conversely, with republics like Samoa. where the head of state (the O le Ao o le Malo) is elected and is not legally described as a monarch, but is always a member of the noble chiefly class and has many of the trappings of monarchy, being addressed as “His Highness”.)

    But on any account, it’s clear that North Korea is not a monarchy. There is no legal or constitutional office in North Korea which approximates to that of a king or queen. Kim Jong-Il did not even hold the same constitutional office that Kim Il-Sung did; the latter was declared to be “Eternal President” even after his death, with no one else being elected to the office of President, while Kim Jong-Il was simply “Chairman of the National Defence Commission” (and thus head of the armed forces) and General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea. Kim Jong-il wasn’t even the official head of state: the responsibilities of the head of state (such as receiving ambassadors) are vested in the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, Kim Yong-nam. Nor was he legally the head of government, that post being held by the Premier, Choe Yong-rim. (This arrangement was largely an imitation of the Stalin-era Soviet system, with the real leader hiding behind a plethora of different figurehead offices.) So it’s certainly not a monarchy, any more than any other dictatorship is a monarchy.

  66. says

    I dispute this

    But on any account, it’s clear that North Korea is not a monarchy. There is no legal or constitutional office in North Korea which approximates to that of a king or queen.

    As Aidan Foster-Carter makes clear this is because N.K. is officially communist, and thus it wouldn’t allow to create an office that is clearly called “King”. There is one that comes close, though, the “Chairman of the Central Military Kommission”. All three Kims were in that post. This is also reminiscent of the Chinese Communist Party dynamics under Jiang Zemin.

    If you read analyses of communist political systems, say Ken Lieberthal’s “Governing China”, it becomes clear that the official political structures matter much less anyway. If the real power is wielded in succession by a single family, this fully qualifies as a communist monarchy in my book.

  67. walton says

    If you read analyses of communist political systems, say Ken Lieberthal’s “Governing China”, it becomes clear that the official political structures matter much less anyway.

    Of course that’s true. But de facto is not de jure; the difference between a monarchy and a republic is a matter of constitutional law and formal status, not actual social practice. (This is clearly implied in the way we use the term in everyday conversation. Otherwise most of the European monarchies would be more accurately described as republics with hereditary figurehead heads of state, as in the term “crowned republic”: yet we continue to call them monarchies, which suggests that the test for what is and isn’t a “monarchy” must necessarily be a matter of form rather than substance.)

  68. says

    this really reminds me of “Gaddhafi is but a simple colonel”…

    No, the European monarchies are quite comparable in terms of the personality cult given them. And for a long time Kim Jong-Il was thought to be nothing more than a figurehead, as are some people saying about Kim Jong-Un now.

    I understand your argument now, but I still disagree with it.

  69. says

    What the fuck did I ever do to you to get you on my ass about everything?

    Probably disagreeing with me. What else do I bug you about? I’ll wager it’s never in the cases when I agree with you — I’ve seen you make pretty good comments when the MRAs show up — but of course, you won’t notice when I’m not bugging you.

    Either way; my point was that Obama is the best candidate in the last elections and maybe the current; I don’t think that should stifle the criticism of him.

    Your point in the above comment was that if someone insists that you must vote strategically in all elections, volunteer several hours per year, and donate some of your money before they’ll take your complaints as not-whining, then they’re demanding perfection from you.

    I disagree.

    What should be obvious, Ing, is that I want Obama to win this election and I will argue against anything that I think might hurt his chances. I would seriously consider voting for Ming the Merciless if he ran as a Democrat.

    In fact I think it’s important to put his fuck ups on the record in primaries and polling so that the Democrats hopefully shift more towards their base.

    I disagree, since well-contested primaries against the incumbent president demonstrably hurt the incumbent’s chances in the general election.

    It’s likely worthwhile to support the furthest-left candidate in congressional primaries, which would for sure shift the Democrats toward the left.

    Like I said before, you may well get your chance to vote against him in the primaries. But I hope there’s no candidate more serious than LaRouche.

  70. walton says

    No, the European monarchies are quite comparable in terms of the personality cult given them.

    I don’t understand what you mean here. Of course it’s entirely coherent to say that the definition of “monarchy” should be substantive rather than formal, and that it means literally “the rule of one”; so that any state which is in practice ruled by a single, usually hereditary, leader is a monarchy, irrespective of what it says in its constitution. And that’s what I understand you to be saying.

    But in that case, most of the world’s “constitutional monarchies” are not, in fact, monarchies. England is not, in fact, ruled by the Queen. Belgium is not ruled by King Albert. Luxembourg is not ruled by Grand Duke Henri. In all these countries, the political system is largely indistinguishable from that of a parliamentary republic, except that the mostly-figurehead head of state is hereditary rather than elective. Hence why these countries are sometimes referred to as “crowned republics”.

    Conversely, many other states which we ordinarily describe as republics would have to be classified as monarchies. After all, it’s indisputable that monarchy doesn’t have to be hereditary (the Vatican is a monarchy, for instance). So any country where the state is in fact controlled by a single dictator, and his or her family and hangers-on, would have to be described as a monarchy. This would be very odd, because we’d end up describing places like Cuba, Syria, or Egypt under Mubarak as “monarchies”, while denying that Belgium and Luxembourg are “monarchies”.

    That’s why I think this definition is useless. Hereditary leadership cannot be the criterion of what is and isn’t a monarchy, since some monarchies are not hereditary. And once one strips that part away, your definition has to boil down to “countries controlled in practice by a single leader are monarchies”, which means we have to change the definition of “monarchy” dramatically from the way we use it in practice.

  71. says

    walton,

    don’t shift the goalposts, we were discussing hereditary monarchies, not elective ones like the Vatican or the HRE. In the case of a hereditary monarchy that isn’t officially one, I’d wait until two, or more safely, three generations have been in power successively.

    In semantics, there is something called family resemblances, as examplified by Wittgenstein for defining the word “game”.

    I would submit that a similar case can be made for “monarchy”.

  72. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Dhorvath 598: You have shown me something with a Christmas theme that I don’t hate. There ought to be a prize for you. Imma listen to Slayer all afternoon, now. Thanks.

  73. says

    I’d also call the Vatican more of a theocracy rather than a monarchy. Otherwise you’d have to call Iran a monarchy too.

    As the pope is elected by the College of Cardinals, the Supreme Leader is elected by the Assembly of Experts.

    According to your logic, you’d have to call Iran a monarchy too, no?

  74. says

    to me, an elective monarchy still has to have a hereditary element in that the voters or the votees derive their position from hereditary succession, this would hold true for the HRE, the Polish kingdom, the Malaysian head of state, etc.

    The papacy is an anomaly because this used to be the case, many bishoprics were of a feudal nature, after all, but nowadays I don’t think it would qualify as a monarchy. The RMC sees itself in the succession of various Roman empires and thus claims the title of Roman monarchy for itself, so by family resemblance, they’d still get recognition for that.

  75. walton says

    don’t shift the goalposts, we were discussing hereditary monarchies, not elective ones like the Vatican or the HRE.

    I’m not shifting the goalposts. As far as I understood it, we were discussing the respective definitions of the terms “monarchy” and “republic”: in order to have a coherent argument over whether North Korea is a monarchy, we need a definition of what the term “monarchy” means. If we’re trying to come up with a definition of the word “monarchy” which accurately describes the actual use of that word in law and politics, we have to find a definition that accounts for both hereditary and non-hereditary monarchies. The Vatican is universally acknowledged to be a monarchy, as is Malaysia, both of which are elective monarchies.

    to me, an elective monarchy still has to have a hereditary element in that the voters or the votees derive their position from hereditary succession, this would hold true for the HRE, the Polish kingdom, the Malaysian head of state, etc.

    That’s almost always been true, yes, but I’d dispute whether it’s a part of the definition of elective monarchy. (And of course there are countries which follow a similar pattern, where the head of state is chosen by and/or from among a hereditarily-defined elite – Fiji, for instance, and Samoa – but which are classified as republics rather than monarchies.)

    Poland is a funny example: the elected head of state was called a king, but the state was called the “Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth”. As I understand it, the word translated as “commonwealth” would more usually be translated in modern Polish as “republic” (though I don’t speak Polish, and could be misremembering that tidbit of information).

    According to your logic, you’d have to call Iran a monarchy too, no?

    No. My argument is that a country which calls itself a monarchy, and/or which styles its head of state with a traditional monarchical title, is a monarchy. This is, I think, the only criterion which actually fits the way we use the term “monarchy” in practice. The Vatican explicitly describes itself as an “absolute monarchy”, and is universally acknowledged as one. Iran, by contrast, describes itself as a republic.

    In semantics, there is something called family resemblances, as examplified by Wittgenstein for defining the word “game”.

    I would submit that a similar case can be made for “monarchy”.

    Now this is interesting. If you’re suggesting that monarchy is a group of related concepts, rather than a single concept with a single definition – which I think may very well be true – then that solves the dilemmas we’ve been discussing. (But in that case, I’m not sure it’s all that useful for us to debate whether North Korea is a monarchy, since the answer would be “yes, and no, depending what you mean by “monarchy””.)

  76. says

    I’m not shifting the goalposts. As far as I understood it, we were discussing the respective definitions of the terms “monarchy” and “republic”: in order to have a coherent argument over whether North Korea is a monarchy, we need a definition of what the term “monarchy” means.

    We were discussing “hereditary monarchy”, or that’s what I thought. Note that most people here did include the qualifier “hereditary” when referring to N.K., that in itself an indicator that it’s not the most stereotypical of monarchies.

    Samoa has been “de-classified” as a monarchy now because it opened up its kingship to everyone. Before, it was an elective monarchy.

    The Vatican explicitly describes itself as an “absolute monarchy”, and is universally acknowledged as one. Iran, by contrast, describes itself as a republic.

    And since when should we take what the RMC says at face value? For me it barely qualifies, but I do acknowledge that many people call it one, and am aware of it.

    Now this is interesting. If you’re suggesting that monarchy is a group of related concepts, rather than a single concept with a single definition – which I think may very well be true – then that solves the dilemmas we’ve been discussing. (But in that case, I’m not sure it’s all that useful for us to debate whether North Korea is a monarchy, since the answer would be “yes, and no, depending what you mean by “monarchy””.)

    Yes, that’s what I was saying from the beginning, not very eloquently apparently. Because you were telling people something wasn’t clearly a monarchy, and my linguist’s answer is, like in many cases, “it depends”.

  77. says

    the papacy and the supreme leadership, are both tied to being male, and to being a religious scholar recognised by the religious establishment (membership in CoC, or AoE). That makes it different from the stereotypical monarchy where the eligibility of becoming monarch is tied to your ancestry.

    The religious scholar element is what makes them theocracies (though this is not the only criterion for a theocracy). I doubt that the Vatican or Iran would call themselves one officially, but that doesn’t make them less of one…

  78. walton says

    Yes, that’s what I was saying from the beginning, not very eloquently apparently. Because you were telling people something wasn’t clearly a monarchy, and my linguist’s answer is, like in many cases, “it depends”.

    Yep. Well, in that case, you’re right, and I’ll qualify my assertion accordingly. North Korea is clearly not a monarchy according to the formal legal understanding of “monarchy”, which is what we most often mean in everyday discourse when we talk about “monarchy”. If, however, one adopts a substantive rather than a formal definition of “monarchy”, defining “monarchy” as a system of political power-relations in which all or most power is held in practice by a single leader and his or her family and hangers-on, then North Korea could be called a monarchy. (And, conversely, many of the states ordinarily called “monarchies” would not fit into this definition, although some, like Saudi Arabia, certainly would.)

    One could conduct the same exercise with “republic”, of course, drawing an analytical distinction between “republic” in the trivial everyday sense of “a state without a monarch”, and “republic” in the more substantive sense in which that term is used in political theory. (Syria, for instance, is a republic in the former sense, but clearly not in the latter sense.)

    So I was starting from the point of view of everyday conversation, in which we typically assume “monarchy” and “republic” to be mutually exclusive and exhaustive terms; we define “monarchy” as a state that calls itself a monarchy, and/or whose head of state has a traditional monarchical title; and we define “republic” as any country that is not a monarchy. But obviously you are right that these are not the only possible definitions, nor necessarily particularly useful ones.

  79. ChasCPeterson says

    Horseperson status is not determined by parliamentary procedure, nor has it anything to do with sensuality, compassion, or feminism. The Horsemen were so dubbed because they wrote books about atheism that a lot of people read. Ms. Christina has evidently published one book, “the erotic novella Bending” (‘kipedia). Not really the same thing.

  80. Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says

    Currently have some avian theropod marinating in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt. Broiled chicken diavolo.

    That’s right. I forgot about the exam. Was it as bad as you feared, Walton?

  81. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Apparently, there is a god and he really, really, REALLY wants to humiliate me at my brother’s wedding.

    You see, I am the only single bridesmaid. I will be the only one there without a date. Which means, I will be the only one available for the humiliating bouquet toss ritual.

    And, just to put some icing on the Humiliate the Spinster* game – ALL of the groomsmen are related me. And only one is not single.

    So, dear Horde, Spinter Bridesmaid gets to be basically the only woman in the room subjected to the bouquet toss and someone related to me will catch the garter.

    FML is what I’m saying.

    * – 33 is past the expiration date, right? ;)

    For those of you who might remember the first round of drama about the bachelorette party – I decided not to get the “psychic” reading. I can’t justify paying that much money to some scam artist just for the sake of getting along. Plus, another one of the bridesmaids (the uber religious one) isn’t partaking either. Score.

  82. walton says

    Hey Walton, how’d the test go and when will you know for sure? (Sorry if I missed an earlier remark on it. I teal deered a lot today;-)

    It went quite badly, but probably not badly enough to fail. I won’t know for sure for a while. Now I have a paper to finish and hand in tomorrow, and then I’m finally done for the semester. Thank FSM.

  83. Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says

    Illuminata:

    Have a double-chocolate grog on me.

    (And, please note, I am refraining from Appalachia inbreeding jokes. Not going to go there.)

  84. says

    You know, I’m not really a big fan of the four horseman thing — it was a catchy title for a one-time thing, but I’m not so keen on the way people take it to imply that we have an anointed Committee of Four leading the movement.

    I’d like to see Dawkins et al. pull a Buffy and announce that as of now, the powers of the Horsemen have fallen on the shoulders of every atheist on the planet.

  85. Dhorvath, OM says

    Illuminata, that sounds the pits. I hate this notion that people aren’t complete unless married and it’s attendant rituals. The bouquet should end it’s evening in a pitcher or a compost, not as part of some farcical game of chance. I am so sorry that it’s going to affect what could have been a better evening for you.

  86. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Illuminata:

    Have a double-chocolate grog on me

    Had to expand the flavors to something other than fruit. Chocolate is there, but still having trouble with the bacon grog though. Getting close on the chili grog; the flames from the test subjects are impressive.

  87. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Dhvorath – I hate the bouquet/garter toss because of the women desperate/man terrified game that seems to be played out at every wedding. Women are supposed to claw each other for the bouquet – men are supposed to part like the red sea to avoid the garter.

    HAHA! Sexist stereotypes all around!

    Initially, it was fine because we thought there would be a few single women there, and I could suddenly take up smoking and disappear for the whole charade. This is not the case however.

    I hate the single = obviously desperate trope. I think I will take up smoking. LOL

  88. Cannabinaceae says

    Ah, Brother Ogg, you accidentally remind me that I have to get some chicky-wickens into the flow for being roasted for the Rellies come Wednesday or Thursday. Butterflied, brined, and air-dried, as with my turkeys.

    I was thinking of substituting maple syrup for the brine’s sugar component, or perhaps going 1/2 and 1/2 with cane sugar, as these particular Rellies are constantly giving us pints of Grade B and we’re kind of loaded up with the stuff at the moment, not having had any pancake feasts recently.

    I just made a New Orleans style gumbo, as adapted by Cook’s Country, which involves a “hands off” roux – lightly toast the flour in your dutch oven, whisk in your oil, then cook in the oven (they say 350F for 45 minutes but that doesn’t really do the trick; I think you need to up the temp to get to the “old penny” color). I’ve made the flaming napalm version of the roux before – want to see the scar? – so I really like this trick.

    Plus, I must make some pecan sandies, since we have kind of a backlog of pecans at the moment as well. Essentially the only baking I do, for some obscure reason.

  89. says

    Pelamun, I think you need to supply some definitions of democracy as well as monarchy! If the Roman republic didn’t qualify, even after extension to the plebeians, then who does? The US? UK? Australia? Did they in 1900?

    Has elections for office: check.

    Not restricting the franchise? Clearly not relevant enough – the ancient Greeks who named the concept had a restricted franchise, as did most western democracies until some time in the early-mid 20th century. Most had restrictions not just by sex, but also by property holding.

    One person one vote? Technically I think this matters, even if in representative democracies this has been much gerrymandered. Just as plebeian tribes were much bigger than patrician tribes.

    All offices open to all citizens? Not so for UK/Aus: monarch. Not so for US: the president can only be natural born, not a naturalised immigrant. (Ancient Rome: plebeian-only tribunes, but you could get adopted. Plebeians could be senators.)

    Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses? Well, it certainly wasn’t from some moistened bint lobbing a sword. Nor did it derive by inheritance from daddy, or even a magical wolf-mother. SPQR. Res Publica. You may wish to reply SPQR, but I give you the UK House of Lords.

    So yeah, republican Rome was a huge standout from pretty much any other government method around at the time, and indeed until very recent times. (Greeks excepted.) And what makes it stand out are specifically its democratic features. Call it a proto-democracy or democracy-ish or quasi-democracy or whatever you will.

  90. says

    no Alethea,

    Rome was NOT the stand-out you make it out to be. Many many Teuton tribes had assemblies of free men deciding matters, it’s called Thing in the Norse tradition, but something like this existed even earlier.

    Even Tacitus writes about this in his “Germania”…. I fail to see how the early Roman model was more open than the popular assemblies of the Teuton tribes…

  91. Weed Monkey says

    Brother Ogvorbis, by passillas you mean them dried chilacas, poblanos or maybe something else? Capsicum vocabulary can be very misleading even within one language.

  92. says

    They key passage from Tacitus:

    De minoribus rebus principes consultant, de maioribus omnes, ita tamen, ut ea quoque, quorum penes plebem arbitrium est, apud principes praetractentur.

    (English translation: “About minor matters the chiefs deliberate, about the more important the whole tribe. Yet even when the final decision rests with the people, the affair is always thoroughly discussed by the chiefs. “)

    Sure, these assemblies were manipulated by the chiefs, but that happens in modern democracies too…

  93. Stevarious says

    Hey all,

    So I am (regrettably) in a rather stupid argument with the infamous David Marshall over on John Loftus’ blog. Does anyone have handy a link or two to a post or two where PZ says something legitimately nice about a person who happens to be a christian? I know there’s been a number of times but I’m at work and just don’t have time to go hunting for links.

  94. says

    Walton, while I hope you are studying, I would like to mention that, in the short time we’ve communicated with each other, I would lay money that you did better than you think you did on that exam.

    Perhaps it is projection, but I see a part of myself in your struggles. I would get panicked, know I didn’t do enough prep, and yet if it was important to me I always did well.

    I’d like to mention 2 things about my experiences that may not apply to you or others:

    1) I look around me and on a good day I think, ‘if these people can do it, I can do it.’

    2) Eventually, as I succeeded more, people took it for granted I would succeed, and I resented that they took for granted what I worked hard to achieve. And these were the folks who supported me.

    There really is no pleasing me;-)

  95. Sili says

    er, which way to Pharyngulate, Sili?

    Can’t you make up your own mind? Or do you need to be shorn, sheople?

  96. says

    @love moderately

    Thank you for replying more respectfully.

    Again we’re not in disagreement. Remember though that I’m in a place where it going Red would be very surprising. I’m undecided if it isn’t a good move or not to vote in the primary against Obama if there is a more left candidate. I have remained independent but am going to register for the next primaries upon advice given here.

    On that news there’s a rumor that is very bittersweet. A Congresscritter that is very very good may be scouted for a position outside of legislation. I’m familiar with the institution in question and it is in need of new leadership and change and he would probably be a very good fit and do a lot of good. On the other hand though he is one of the congress critters I like a lot and the idea of his seat going to someone else, even someone in his party is worrying me.

    —————————————-

    Well that didn’t last long. Boss has resumed harassment behavior. I’ve gone to just reporting stuff right away to the Union who seems to be getting increasingly annoyed (with them)

  97. says

    So I am (regrettably) in a rather stupid argument with the infamous David Marshall over on John Loftus’ blog. Does anyone have handy a link or two to a post or two where PZ says something legitimately nice about a person who happens to be a christian? I know there’s been a number of times but I’m at work and just don’t have time to go hunting for links.

    I think there was a “Christians are not stupid” post on the old blog.

    ——————————————-

    Oh almost forgot. Union says they’re suspicious that some of the work related problems are being actively orchestrated. They suspect that orders are being given to intentionally cut off communication with me and make working difficult.

  98. says

    Justin Bieber talks about Santa and God:

    “My mom always told me there wasn’t a Santa,” Bieber says in a new interview with AOL Music. “This was her logic: She thought if I grew up knowing about Santa then finding out he wasn’t real, that it would be like she was lying to me. And then when she told me about God, I maybe wouldn’t believe her.”

    Justin bought the God myth hook line and sinker.

    http://global.christianpost.com/news/justin-bieber-never-believed-in-santa-claus-cites-moms-christian-beliefs-65158/

  99. Nutmeg says

    @ Illuminata

    Have some shortbread from another only-single-woman-in-the-group. I’m contemplating breaking a leg to avoid next summer’s batch of weddings. At least I’ve escaped being a bridesmaid. (I’d be a terrible bridesmaid. There’s no way I could sustain faked enthusiasm for that long.)

    It would be great if people would stop trying to set us singles up with anyone else who happens to be single and a suitable gender. I don’t particularly want to date anyone right now – is that so hard for people to understand?

    /bitterness over single friends all suddenly partnering up

  100. Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says

    Brother Ogvorbis, by passillas you mean them dried chilacas, poblanos or maybe something else?

    Not sure. They are dried and are coloured a dark mahogany, are long and narrow, and have a vaguely raisin taste to them.

    er, which way to Pharyngulate, Sili?

    Can’t you make up your own mind? Or do you need to be shorn, sheople?

    Well, usually when we are asked to Pharyngulate a poll, the answer is rather obvious. It was a little tough for me — I like facial hair (have some myself) but the mustachios are a little cheesy. I voted ‘keep it.’

    Oh almost forgot. Union says they’re suspicious that some of the work related problems are being actively orchestrated. They suspect that orders are being given to intentionally cut off communication with me and make working difficult.

    I think you have just reached lawyer territory. Seriously. Talk with your union rep and ask if they either have a lawyer on retainer or could suggest one.

  101. Weed Monkey says

    Brother Ogvorbis:

    They are dried and are coloured a dark mahogany, are long and narrow, and have a vaguely raisin taste to them.

    From what I’ve heard that might indeed be chilacas – and it sounds indeed delicious with chocolate. Thanks for the information.

    Here in Finland growing chilies and being a chilihead has all of the sudden become a new minor fad. I do like hot food but I’ll try to stay away from silliness like naga morich eating championships.

  102. Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says

    Weed Monkey:

    No problem. Their dried mushrooms are also excellent.

  103. David Marjanović says

    I can find examples in many other countries where one party or one coalition nominally held power for long periods of time:

    – the iron grip of the Democratic [Party] on the [House] (1954-1995)
    – the Grand Coalition in Austria (1945-1966, 1987-2000, 2007-)
    – the magic formula eternal coalition in Switzerland

    so why would just Japan be “odd”, and those other three not?

    Heh. The other three are odd. I can’t explain the US case (it might somehow be caused by the two-party system, but all I can do is speculate – other than reading up on it, that is), and Switzerland can be incredibly conservative. Austria’s oddness comes from the deeply traumatizing civil mini-war of 1934 coupled with, again, conservativism which may be traced back to the utterly crushed revolution of 1848.

    The Three Austrian Arguments: das war schon immer so, das war noch nie so, da könnte ja jeder kommen (they sound better in dialect).

    Even though the DPJ hasn’t been all that great, it’s far from certain that the LDP will be able to get back to power, the electorate is fed up with them. A number of new parties are proliferating right now, these are exciting times in Japanese politics.

    Good!

    공화국의 영원한 주석
    The Eternal Chairman of the Republic

    is Kim Il-Sung’s official title now

    …and “chairman” is just the literal translation of “president” here, right?

    (Happens elsewhere. BCSM provides a nice display of Indo-European unity by using predsednik.)

    A “king” was [ipso] facto evil, but a dictator was just some dude in the job of telling people what to do.

    In emergency situations (ne quid res publica detrimenti caperet, so that the public affair* wouldn’t catch any damage), and only for half a year.

    …till Caesar, and I think Sulla before him, got himself made dictator for life.

    * The state – explicitly not the private affair of a king.

    Do I qualify as the longest word/name in German?

    *Buddha’s mild smile*

    The corrected form, with lowercase h, is the cutest name I’ve ever encountered, though. I’m now imagining a water bear that walks around wielding tiny charges of ridiculously powerful military explosive and looking terminally cute in the process. ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ (Don’t click on the pictures. Wait for them to change.)

    For the longest German word, start from the Rindfleischüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz (Beef Surveillance Task Transfer Act) of Germany and see where it takes you. In bold the meaningless parts that only serve to glue the parts of the word together – that’s the reason for saying it’s actually a single word in the German language and not just in the German orthography. It has a Wikipedia article that I’m too lazy to look up right now; the name is actually branched, and I forgot how.

    “Hexanitro[hexaza!]isowurtzitan verwendendes Bärtierchen” would probably now be better (spelling reform you know).

    That’s the stupidest part of the entire spelling reform, going against a decades-long trend. Fortunately it’s among the things that the powers that be made optional at the last minute.

    I thought about Japanese or Chinese, but you’d still end up with phrases rather than compounds, I’m afraid…

    *lightbulb*

    Instead of “using”, how about “user”? A CL-20 user tardigrade? Then it works!

    Hexanitrohexazaisowurtzitanverwenderbärtierchen!

    Sounds contrived & artificial, though. What does everyone think?

    Adjective inflection in Germanic seems to be one of the trickier grammar topics, and one of the more neglected ones. In my days as GSL T.A., I’ve noticed that many foreign students otherwise quite fluent in German never quite mastered it.

    That’s the reason why I’m so glad I already speak German so I don’t need to learn it. So many combinations of case + number + gender + strong/weak, so few different endings distributed at near-random over them, and several of them sound the same depending on surrounding consonants…

    The strong/weak thing is more complicated than pelamun explained, because there’s a third pattern. Let’s put mit “with” in front of his examples, because it requires the dative case:

    Definite article – weak:

    Singular:

    mit dem großen Mann
    mit der großen Frau
    mit dem großen Haus

    Plural:

    mit den großen Männern
    mit den großen Frauen
    mit den großen Häusern

    Indefinite article – weak, and the indefinite article has strong declension:

    Singular:

    mit einem großen Mann
    mit einer großen Frau
    mit einem großen Haus

    Plural, where (like in English) there is no indefinite article:

    mit großen Männern
    mit großen Frauen
    mit großen Häusern

    No article (which means I have to choose example nouns that go without articles) – strong in the singular, weak in the plural:

    Singular:

    mit großem Mut “with great courage”
    mit großer Kraft “with great force/power”
    mit großem Wissen “with great knowledge”

    Plural: see above.

    Now for the really fun part: substitute groß “big/great” by grob “coarse, crude, brutal…”. Turns out grobem and groben are pronounced the same, with syllabic [m] at the end, because [bm] is much easier than [bn]. These are cases where native speakers become uncertain how to spell things.

    Oh, and, all of this is not limited to literary Standard German or something. My dialect has all of these features, except it’s not written, lacks the genitive case, and has replaced the plural of the dative with the plural of the accusative.

    And let me guess, in German, there are more exceptions to the rule than there are example to those rules. :)

    Oh no. I can’t think of a single exception to the rules of adjective declension. The problems are “only” the ones listed above.

    But there is a key difference to the US-style money politics and systematic exclusion from office of plebs, similar to what I argued in the monarchy debate with Walton: that the highest offices are open to anyone has a huge symbolic value.

    Any American citizen [who was born as such] can theoretically become president.
    No Roman plebeian could become consul prior to 367 BCE.

    In this respect, it’s important that the Roman emperors never regulated their succession. All the way to 1453, any citizen could theoretically become emperor.

    And Odo(w)akar, the king of the Skires who deposed the last West Roman emperor in 476, was not a citizen, so he was not able to become emperor. He knew it, so he didn’t try. He sent the insignia to East Rome and simply asked to be recognized as king of Italy.

    Big difference to China where the Jurchen, Mongol and Manchu dynasties simply continued the status quo for another couple centuries.

    However, there are indeclinable adjectives in both German and Swedish.

    …though German tries pretty hard to either make them declinable or just not use them in contexts where they’d need to be declined.

    Another part of German where I had a terrible time was trying to pronounce the ‘r’. My throat felt a bit sore after a while.

    Try the not-too-northern-German one, the uvular trill, which is the original Parisian one. Rrrrrrrrien, rrrrrrrrrien de rrrrrrrrien, rrrrrrrrien, je ne rrrrrrrrregrrrrrrrrette rrrrrrrien… Last year I amazed a minivan full of Chinese by performing that sound with my jaws wide open. =8-)

    There are also places where you can get away with, roughly, the Korean one.

    you see a lot of repetition, like der, die, den.

    Again very few forms used to fill up all the cells of a large spreadsheet of possibilities.

    how Dutch sounds to German ears

    “Like German with gags built in. German in funny mode.”

    Granted, the French one is used in standard German (though there are phonetic variants), but the alveolar trill can be found in some regional accents too. Just listen to Hitler’s speeches.

    Strangely, that guy used the Swiss one (apical, like those of Spanish or Russian). Conservative Austrian and Bavarian accents use the Italian one (laminal). I suppose it was an affectation to compensate for the bad microphones of the time, or something. ~:-| His trrrrrrills often were very long, too, no doubt to convey emotion.

    Chinese students had trouble differentiating the two types of schwa [ɐ] and [ə] in forms such as “dieser” v. “diese”

    [ə] doesn’t even exist in all Standard German accents. :-)

    (If we’re picky, it probably doesn’t exist in any of them. The sounds I’ve heard Germans use are [ɵ] and [ɘ]!)

    Some people, like Merkel, have merged [ɐ] into [aː]. And at least some of those people use [ɐ] for “[ə]“, which triggers things like gender confusion in uninformed listeners (I’ll look for a link sometime… maybe just google jeder der Scherben).

    Lest I get clobbered by David: there are dialects which might not vocalise syllable-final Rs, or only optionally so. I don’t remember if Hitler vocalised his final Rs…

    He did; people in and around Switzerland don’t. And the people who were moved from Upper Austria to a few villages in western Ukraine in the 18th century don’t either.

    There are people somewhere in western Germany who are partially rhotic. They pronounce /r/ in front of consonants when preceded by a short vowel, or something. ~:-| Wikipedia discussion sez there are people for whom hart and zart don’t rhyme for this reason – for me they do ([haːt], [tsaːt]); I don’t even know which one is supposed to have the short vowel!

    Scientists say rare fossils found in Tasmania’s south-east prove that an ancient species of mammal did exist in Australia.

    *howl* Dicynodonts are neither mammals nor ancestors of mammals. The mammals are simply their closest living relatives.

    And dicynodonts were contemporaneous with dinosaurs for the former’s last 30 million years…!

    I tend to pick up languages by osmosis. I am currently listening to http://www.chantefrance.com – I just let the words wash over me.

    Ha! Spoken and written French don’t even have the same grammar!

    ‘Star Wars’ Chosen As Religion In Czech Republic On New Census

    Unsurprising that the godless Czechs tolerate that. :-)

    Waclaw Havel

    Václav.

    With a veeeeeeeeeeery long [aː].

    póg mo thóin

    Oh, so it ends in [nʲ]! That’s important information! :-)

    Anybody who can’t “roll” their Rs (in the front of the mouth rather than the guttural style) may be able to teach themselves by repeating the nonce-word “totterday” over and over.

    I can’t see how. The American flap isn’t a trill and doesn’t sound much like one. “Now witness the power of this fully armed and opedational battle station” was an epic fail.

    It’s the closest sound American English has to offer, but it’s not the same.

    this really reminds me of “Gaddhafi is but a simple colonel”…

    (…who awarded himself the rank of general.)

    I would seriously consider voting for Ming the Merciless if he ran as a Democrat.

    I would seriously consider running away screaming if Ming the Merciless ran as a Democrat. :-) I mean, do not try to imagine who the Reptilians would field against him!!!

    As I understand it, the word translated as “commonwealth” would more usually be translated in modern Polish as “republic”

    Rzeczpospolita? Yes.

    the papacy and the supreme leadership, are both tied to being male, and to being a religious scholar recognised by the religious establishment (membership in CoC, or AoE).

    Not even. In theory, any male Catholic can be elected pope. I think this has happened to a few hermits who were considered saintly enough.

    Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses? Well, it certainly wasn’t from some moistened bint lobbing a sword.

    For some time it was by acclamation from masses with swords, though.

  104. carlie says

    So I took the effin’ boucle and tried to make a scarf for the friend who gave it to me, and made it way too wide, and then gave up about a quarter of the way through and switched it to a cowl so I could actually get it done. You can’t really do patterns with that yarn, so I went with a simple striped garter (switching which side was the knit side for each stripe) in a Fibonacci series. Now to find a couple of buttons, and hopefully it will turn out ok. Woo-hoo!

  105. says

    David,

    공화국의 영원한 주석
    The Eternal Chairman of the Republic

    is Kim Il-Sung’s official title now

    …and “chairman” is just the literal translation of “president” here, right?

    I’d call it calque rather than literal translation, but NO.

    In the CJK languages, a “bourgeois” way of saying “president” exists, but they weren’t chosen by the Communist systems.

    總統 zong3tong3 (C) (for instance the Taiwanese President)
    大統領 daitôryô (J) daethongryeong (K)

    Korean patterns with Japanese here, which is quite common.

    Big difference to China where the Jurchen, Mongol and Manchu dynasties simply continued the status quo for another couple centuries.

    Huh? There are many dynasties in China started by peasants, even though a noble class was already in existence by the Zhou period. The Han dynasty, even the Ming dynasty. I’d have to look up the others. I was always under the impression that due to its quick succession of different dynasties, Chinese class line were more open than others.

    Also, China has had cases of truly powerful empresses, above all Wu Zetian. and unlike the Japanese empresses who always had a regent governing for them, they were in control.

    mit den großen Männern etc.

    Don’t scare people off. I have too much of a fever-induced headache to look at it, but you might be conflating weak and strong here because you chose a preposition which in the plural has the same ending for weak and strong. But plural weak is always -en, irrespective of case and gender. Plural forms are lifesavers for the German learner!

    Here’s the entire table:

    STRONG
    MASC FEM NEUT
    NOM er, e, es
    GEN es, er, es
    DAT em, er, em
    ACC en, es, es

    PLURAL
    NOM e
    GEN er
    DAT en
    ACC e

    (the only time where weak singular is split by gender is accusative, with masc different from fem and neut)
    WEAK
    MASC FEM NEUT
    NOM e, e, e
    GEN en, en, en
    DAT en, en, en
    AKK en, e, e

    PLURAL
    all cases/genders: -en

    …though German tries pretty hard to either make them declinable or just not use them in contexts where they’d need to be declined.

    Really? I was thinking of cases like “extra” or “prima”..

    Eine prima Sache – die prima Sache

    these are colloquial terms but I don’t know if there’s a correlation..

  106. walton says

    No, not contrived, nope, not a bit, in fact I’m going to name my first born that.

    Well, it’s probably no worse than What the Hell’s That Cow Doing In Here Poorchick (known to his friends as “Moocow”), of Lancre. Or the late king, My-God-He’s-Heavy I of Lancre.

    And then there are the Omnian hortatory names, like Visit-The-Infidel-With-Explanatory-Pamphlets.*

    (*Based on real-life Puritan hortatory names: Unless-Jesus-Christ-Hadst-Died-For-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned Barebone. Known to his acquaintances* as Praise-God Barebone.)

    (*I’d have said “friends”, but I’m not sure he had any.)

  107. says

    president in Korean: spelt 대통령, but pronounced daethongnyeong. Sorry..

    (Strange things happen to Sino-Korean readings which correspond to l-initials in Mandarin and Sino-Japanese. Mr Lee is actually pronounceed Mr Ee, though I’m told this is a South Korean pecularity, as opposed to North Korean)

  108. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ Pelamun

    Anki

    Thanks for the tip. It installs from within linux via their repositories with a simple click. Now to find the time to look into it …

    (Completely aside: What would your Chinese friends think of this: Lease out North Korea. My communist buds thought I was joking when I first raised it. I will ask again.)

    @ David M.

    Instead of “using”, how about “user”? A CL-20 user tardigrade? Then it works!

    Hey! Wait,wait,wait! What happened to “wielding”? How did we ever get to “user”? Is this what the dictionaries refer to with “TET-drift”?

    The sense should be: “To handle a weapon with skill and ease.” 2. To exercise authority effectively (this is a weaponised tardigrade for gawd’s sake) .

    @ Sailor

    No, not contrived, nope, not a bit, in fact I’m going to name my first born that.

    Yes, it is a beautiful name. If you have twins, you could name the other:
    Sue Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Zeus Wolfe­schlegelstein­hausenberger­dorffvoraltern­waren­gewissenhaft­schaferswessen­schafewaren­wohlgepflege­und­sorgfaltigkeit­beschutzen­von­angreifen­durch­ihrraubgierigfeinde­welche­voraltern­zwolftausend­jahres­vorandieerscheinen­wander­ersteer­dem­enschderraumschiff­gebrauchlicht­als­sein­ursprung­von­kraftgestart­sein­lange­fahrt­hinzwischen­sternartigraum­auf­der­suchenach­diestern­welche­gehabt­bewohnbar­planeten­kreise­drehen­sich­und­wohin­der­neurasse­von­verstandigmen­schlichkeit­konnte­fortplanzen­und­sicher­freuen­anlebens­langlich­freude­und­ruhe­mit­nicht­ein­furcht­vor­angreifen­von­anderer­intelligent­geschopfs­von­hinzwischen­sternartigraum, Senior.

  109. says

    theophontes,

    and the great thing about Anki is that other people share their decks, which you then can adapt for your purposes. So you can get a deck with 8,000+ Chinese basic vocabulary sorted by HSK level, or a deck with the basic character set (or I created one myself using a plugin which would automatically add the readings and meaning to it).

    Anki can be a great tool in memorising any subject matter, you just need to remember to use it regularly….

    If you’re typing random German compound words, here’s one which was actually the title of a novel

    Der satanarchäolügenialkohöllische Wunschpunsch

    Though it’s more of a portmanteau worm rather than a compound..

  110. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ pelamun

    While you are about:

    I was watching Pearl TV (the English TV channel for the Pearl delta). They had a feature on the protests in Wukan. It is quite a substantial thing. They are openly accusing the local authorities of working with corrupt developers and are demanding an investigation into the death of their jailed representative. They are having a major protest rally tomorrow.

    I will be in Xiamen, but will report back with what is on the news here.

    It might pop up here: Pearl.

  111. says

    I’m amazed that any channel based in China would air it. Deutsche Welle (德国之声), VoA (美国之音) and that FLG-newspaper might have been reporting on it, but not inside the country. That is huge.

    I’m still hoping my favourite Chinese newspaper (南方周末) will report on it, but I won’t hold my breath…