- Website: http://ling.upenn.edu/~myl
Posts by Mark Liberman:
Bob Nightengale, "Forget 1985, these Royals on verge of their own history", USA Today 10/29/2014:
It's been a wild ride for these two teams. They had to win an elimination game as a wild-card entrant just to get into this dance. Now, one will be hoisting the World Series championship trophy.
The Royals certainly haven't proven they're not afraid of anyone not named Madison Bumgarner. Considering that he just threw 117 pitches in Game 5, Giants manager Bruce Bochy reiterated, that he will not be starting the game. He likely won't be available to pitch more than two, perhaps three innings of relief.
I'm not sure whether "The Royals certainly haven't proven they're not afraid of anyone not named Madison Bumgarner" comes out right or not, because I can't figure out what it's supposed to mean, much less whether it succeeds in meaning it. Either way, it belongs in our misnegation archive. Commenters are welcome to enlighten us all.
[h/t Jack Maloney]
I used to live in Moscow, where everyone has long been amused that Ikea chose to name a line of wine glasses "svalka". свалка can either mean a garbage dump or a dumpster.
I was very amused when I saw the name of the official Ikea ginger cookies at the location in Red Hook, Brooklyn.They're called "pepparkaka". Everyone who saw them did a double-take, and several people (adults and children) were joking about how the last thing they wanted to eat was peppered caca. Is there a word for this kind of fail? Wikipedia calls them brand blunders.
E.J. Fox and Mike Spies, "Who was America's most well-spoken president?", vocativ.com 10/10/2014:
Using the Flesch-Kincaid readability test—the most well-known reading comprehension algorithm—Vocativ analyzed over 600 presidential speeches, going back to George Washington. We measured syllables along with word and sentence counts, and gave each speech a numerical grade. For instance, a grade of four means the content is accessible to a fourth-grader, while a grade of 12 corresponds to that of a high school graduate, a 15 to that of a college graduate and a 21 or higher to that of a PhD. Ultimately, we drew five conclusions, each of which was analyzed by Jeff Shesol, a historian and former speechwriter for Bill Clinton.
On Friday, I gave a talk at the 46th Algonquian Conference. As the conference web page explains,
The 46th Algonquian Conference will be held in Uncasville, Connecticut, on the reservation of the Mohegan Tribal Nation. This is the first time in 46 years that the conference will be held on sovereign Native territory.
The 46th Algonquian Conference coincides with the 20th Anniversary of the Mohegan Tribe winning its sovereignty through federal recognition. The conference itself will be held in the Mohegan Sun Hotel and Convention Center at the Mohegan Sun Casino.
In our registration packet was a copy of Melissa Jayne Fawcett, The Lasting of the Mohegans, 1995.
From Nicholas Hill:
— Chris C. (@CubedLink) October 24, 2014
[h/t Amy de Buitléir]
I'm sorry that I can't provide info on where it came from originally (and for all I know, it's an oldie-but-goodie). I found it posted in a discussion group on Ravelry, which is a social networking site for knitters, spinners, weavers, and others who work with fiber.
John Templon, "No, Obama’s Pronouns Don’t Make Him A Narcissist", BuzzFeed News 10/19/2014:
Conservative commentators are fond of pointing to Barack Obama’s excessive use of the word “I” as evidence of the president’s narcissism. (“For God’s sake, he talks like the emperor Napoleon,” Charles Krauthammer complained recently.) But there’s one tiny problem with this line of reasoning. If you’re counting pronouns, Obama is maybe the least narcissistic president since 1945.
BuzzFeed News analyzed more than 2,000 presidential news conferences since 1929, looking for usage of first-person singular pronouns — “I,” “me,” “my,” “mine,” and “myself.” Just 2.5 percent of Obama’s total news-conference words fell into this category. Only Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt used them less often.
"Scientist discovers puppy-sized spider in rain forest", ABC 11 Eyewitness News 10/20/2014:
For all readers with arachnophobia, take a moment to collect yourself before proceeding further, because this spider will haunt your dreams.
Harvard Etymologist Piotr Naskrecki recently posted on his blog about an encounter in Guyana's rainforest with a South American Goliath birdeater, a spider so large it's the size of a small dog or puppy. According to Naskreski, "Their leg span approaches 30 cm (nearly a foot) and they weigh up to 170 g."
Ursula K. LeGuin, "Introducing Myself":
What it comes down to, I guess, is that I am just not manly. Like Ernest Hemingway was manly. The beard and the guns and the wives and the little short sentences. I do try. I have this sort of beardoid thing that keeps trying to grow, nine or ten hairs on my chin, sometimes even more; but what do I do with the hairs? I tweak them out. Would a man do that? Men don’t tweak. Men shave. Anyhow white men shave, being hairy, and I have even less choice about being white or not than I do about being a man or not. I am white whether I like being white or not. The doctors can do nothing for me. But I do my best not to be white, I guess, under the circumstances, since I don’t shave. I tweak. But it doesn’t mean anything because I don’t really have a real beard that amounts to anything. And I don’t have a gun and I don’t have even one wife and my sentences tend to go on and on and on, with all this syntax in them. Ernest Hemingway would have died rather than have syntax. Or semicolons. I use a whole lot of half-assed semicolons; there was one of them just now; that was a semicolon after “semicolons,” and another one after “now.”
Scott K. Johnson, "The Scablands: A scarred landscape as strange as fiction", ars technica 10/12/2014:
In 1922, Bretz tried to bring a group of students to the Cascades, but they were unable to make the last leg of the trip. Instead, they used their remaining time to poke around the Scablands near Spokane. The experience hooked him, and Bretz would return every year to further his research.
In the first couple summers, Bretz and his students mapped an impressive amount of territory, carefully surveying elevations and making observations of the many strange landforms they discovered. They made their way through a number of the dry valleys locally known as “coulees.” While these were plainly products of erosion, there were no streams to be seen. The surrounding region is composed of soft, rolling hills of silty soil, but the rocky coulees had been scraped clean of their sedimentary mantle.
Maddie York, "Why there are too many women doctors, women MPs, and women bosses", The Guardian 10/17/2014:
I am a subeditor at the Guardian. I am a woman. I am not a woman subeditor. But “woman” and its plural seem to be taking over the role of modifier, so that now, there is no such thing, as far as much of the media is concerned, as a female doctor, a female MP or a female chef. Instead you hear or read about a woman doctor, a woman MP and so on. [...]
As far as the Guardian style guide is concerned, it is simply wrong to use “woman” and “women” in this way, because, it says, they are not adjectives.
Laura Starecheski, "Can Changing How You Sound Help You Find Your Voice?", NPR All Things Considered 10/14/2014:
Just having a feminine voice means you're probably not as capable at your job.
At least, studies suggest, that's what many people in the United States think.
There's a gender bias in how Americans perceive feminine voices: as insecure, less competent and less trustworthy. This can be a problem — especially for women jockeying for power in male-dominated fields, like law.
Dan Hanzus, "Gruden on DJax: 'He wants to block, he just is little'", Around the NFL 10/16/2014:
The Washington Redskins did not sign DeSean Jackson to be a road-grater.
The 5-foot-10, 178-pound wide receiver gets paid to make big plays, not clear the way for them. But that didn't stop several D.C.-area media members from calling Jackson out for his apparent lack of effort in blocking situations during Sunday's loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
Perhaps the loudest voice came from former Redskins tight end Chris Cooley, who offered up a stinging critique of Jackson's game after some film study.
"Do not allow number 11 to ever be involved in blocking for screens, blocking for bubbles, picking for players in the pass game, (or) run plays to his side of the line of scrimmage," Cooley said, via the DC Sports Bog. "He WILL NOT TRY on them. Do not put him in those situations."
It's been a while since we featured a Partially Clips comic — here's the most recent one: