Solipsism Gradient

Rainer Brockerhoff’s blog

Browsing Posts tagged Humor

Re: nPod, hm

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Michael Tsai links back to my previous post and to lots of other great comments. I particularly recommend Brent Simmon‘s analysis. And of course John Gruber‘s take is hors concours.

For a long time I’ve read, peripherally, the phrase “English as she is spoke”, but only recently I found out that there actually is a book by that name. Here’s the book description from one of the links above:

In 1855, when José da Fonseca and Pedro Carolino wrote an English phrasebook for Portuguese students, they faced just one problem: they didn’t know any English. Even worse, they didn’t own an English-to-Portuguese dictionary. What they did have, though, was a Portuguese-to-French dictionary, and a French-to-English dictionary. The linguistic train wreck that ensued is a classic of unintentional humor, now revived in the first newly selected edition in a century. Armed with Fonseca and Carolino’s guide, a Portuguese traveler can insult a barber (“What news tell me? All hairs dresser are newsmonger”), complain about the orchestra (“It is a noise which to cleve the head”), go hunting (“let aim it! let make fire him”), and consult a handy selection of truly mystifying “Idiotisms and Proverbs.”

Here are some gems from the “Proverbs” section:

Take the occasion for the hairs.

To do a wink to some body.

So many go the jar to spring, than at last rest there.

To craunch the marmoset.

To buy cat in pocket.

And here’s some more information and an explanation for the whole thing. It seems that the much-maligned José da Fonseca was simply the author of a competently-written French phrasebook for Portuguese speakers, and that the otherwise unknown Pedro Carolino simply translated the French phrases word-for-word into English from a dictionary. A footnote says:

The Proverbs and Idiotisms deserve a quick note, here, since they inspire a special wonder in the reader who knows a little Portuguese or Spanish. Fonseca’s virtues and Carolino’s flaws butt heads in this portion of the book. Fonseca made a point of translating Portuguese figures of speech into French not by rendering them word for word, but by giving a French idiom of equivalent sense; but Carolino, in his turn, simply substituted English words for the French.

Indeed, most of the samples make some sense when you retranslate them word-for-word into French… fascinating.

I’ve been following news about the evolution vs. creationism/ID debate with fascinated/horrified disbelief… until a few years ago I wouldn’t have believed that it’s even an issue!

Anyway, I think the best thing to come out of this whole mess is the flying spaghetti monster and its worshippers, the Pastafarians. Here’s my favorite logo for the FSM so far, designed for boing boing by Jim Leftwich:

Let’s hope that the FSM creation theory is given due attention as a perfectly valid alternative to other “creation theories”. RAmen.

Magazine meme

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The Presurfer (and several others) pointed at this nice “make your own magazine” facility. So here we go:

The image is by jvzeuss73, by the way. Great photo.


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One of the great features of the early issued of Macmania Magazine used to be the “Macintoshico” center page – cartoons satirizing some feature of the Mac. Somehow they became sparser and sparser over the years, but the last issue featured this brilliant comeback, which I’ve translated for your appreciation:

Click on the thumbnail above to go to the full comic (warning: it’s about 800K!)

I hasten to add that I sat in the 10th row during Steve’s last keynote and I didn’t feel weird at all… icon_wink.gif

Golly gee…

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Says this article:

A WEST NYACK, N.Y. MAN was found dead at his computer apparently the victim of trying to keep up with too many professional forums. Childress H. Wanamaker, 54, an account executive at a New York-based new media company, died of starvation according to the West Nyack coroner’s office. Wanamaker’s emaciated body was found by Loraine, his wife of 26 years, who told MediaPost she had been bringing her husband meals on plastic trays for weeks, but that he never took the time to eat them.

“He was glued to his computer 24/7,” she said tearfully. “He was so afraid he was going to miss an opportunity to contribute a comment or start a discussion, that he just stopped eating.”

In what must be a record, Wanamaker was linked into to over 15,250 other community members, many of whom he exchanged notes with daily. He also contributed to 375 blogs and was expected to start an online column about the impact of interactive communications on health, when he died.

I was quite believing this until this last sentence. Hm.

Still, I’d better prune some of the 244 items off my RSS subscription list. Better safe than sorry!

April Fools

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Well, the whole April Fools shtick has gone a little stale in recent years. The BBC “spaghetti harvest” episode is now 48 years old and still unsurpassed. But for a science fiction fan, this one is very good:

At exactly 1:07 PM GMT on March 31, 2005, noted science fiction author Charles Stross ceased his existence as a baseline human being and entered an unknowable posthuman condition.

…”Charlie was teetering on the precipice of transhumanism for the whole last year,” said his friend and collaborator Cory Doctorow. “His lifestyle and cerebral/neurological capabilities had been ramped up through intensive ideation and selective smart-drug use to an exquisite pitch just short of the Singularity. When he laid his hands on that sweet, sweet hunk of hardware, it provided the critical mass of complexification necessary to tip him over fully into the Extropian ideal condition.”

Thanks to the Boing Boing folks for the link!

The Solipsism Gradient is reviewed at PageBoost:

“I just saw /bb/viewtopic.php. First-rate.


It must have taken a decade to perfect the page. The URL has 39 characters. This length scores best in usability studies. Seeing Solipsism Gradient, I’m simply so inspired. What a splendid page! The color scheme is impressive.

If only my aunt would have a cool page like that. Well, I expected the creator to achieve only the best. Simply stunning. The page contains 669 links, a stable amount. There are 106,092 characters in the code, which is a swell length for the Firefox browser. The HTML is highly accessible. What a wonderful, wonderful web page.”

— Max Williamson, Daily URL

You too can have your weblog reviewed! Thanks to John Walkenbach for this.

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