Archive for WTF

Contraceptive printing room

Gianni Wan sent in this bizarre translation:

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Expletive undeleted

Either the NYT has changed its policies, or some editor was asleep at the beeper and let  this through by mistake — "Raptors Drop Expletive and Game to Nets in Playoff Opener", NYT 4/19/2014:

Sparked by a stinging expletive the NBA playoffs got off to an explosive start as the Brooklyn Nets landed the first blow in a suddenly bitter Eastern Conference first round match-up with a 94-87 win over the Toronto Raptors on Saturday.  Out of the playoffs since 2008, Toronto's return to the postseason was both eventful and controversial, upping the ante in the best-of-seven series.  

With A list celebrities, including rappers Drake, Jay-Z and Beyonce, occupying courtside seats, an embarrassing technical malfunction and a jaw-dropping expletive delivered by Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri to thousands of frenzied supporters at a pre-game pep rally, the first game of the NBA postseason offered a little bit over everything.

Despite topping the Atlantic Division and setting a franchise record with 48 victories, the Raptors have had a harder time winning respect than games. Meanwhile the Nets dropped four of their last five contests, including a 29-point loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in their season finale, to cement a Toronto match-up.

 The Nets denied any suggestion of subterfuge but Ujiri made his position crystal clear, shouting "Fuck Brooklyn!" at a fan rally outside Air Canada Center prior to the start of Game One.

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A zeugmatic crash blossom to torment Mets fans

As if New York Mets fans don't have to suffer enough, what with the five straight losing seasons and the embarrassing bullpen meltdown in yesterday's home opener, this headline (tweeted by Mark Fishkin) appeared in today's Wall Street Journal:

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Guide for Authors, Editors, Printers, and Loch Fishers

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Really lost in translation

Ray Girvan ("Ibong Adarna: Google Mistranslate", 2/17/2014) documents one of the more bizarre machine-translation oddities in recent years:

Ibong Adarna is the title of a massively popular epic fantasy in the mythology and culture of the Philippines; it originally went under the snappy title of Corrido ng Pinagdaanang Buhay nang Tatlong Principeng, Magcacapatid na Anac nang haring Fernando at nang Reina Valeriana sa Caharian ng Berbania ("Corrido of the Traveled/Travailed Life of Three Princes, Sibling Children of King Fernando and Queen Valeriana of the Kingdom of Berbania"). Despite the Spanish names, it evidently pre-dates the Spanish Era in the Philippines.

You should read Ray's post for more background on the history, form, and significance of this work, whose title means "The Adarna Bird".  Because somehow — mischance? malice? — Google Translate came up with this:

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Department of redundant solecisms department

A justly flabbergasted reader sent me a link to the web page at for H-Y Jeong et al. (Eds.), Advanced in Computer Science and its Applications, 2013. In return for $469 (paper) or $369 (ebook), you'll get a work whose publisher describes it as follows:

The theme of CSA is focused on the various aspects of computer science and its applications for advances in computer science and its applications and provides an opportunity for academic and industry professionals to discuss the latest issues and progress in the area of computer science and its applications. Therefore this book will be include the various theories and practical applications in computer science and its applications.

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A letter from the future

This arrived in my snail-mailbox a few days ago:

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Indo-Egyptian mystery

Lameen Souag, "A little mystery: an unidentified Indic language in the Genizah collection", Jabal al-Lughat 10/14/2013:

In 1896, Cambridge bought a huge archive of documents from a synagogue in Cairo, starting as early as the 11th century: the Genizah collection. Most of them are in Arabic in the Hebrew script – or just in Hebrew – but the rest cover a wide variety of languages. One of them should be an interesting puzzle for any readers familiar with South Asian languages: the fragment below is obviously in Devanagari or some derivative, but so far no one has been able to determine what language it is written in or what it says. Given the trade connections revealed by the letters, it would probably have come from Kerala, or maybe later on Bombay, but there are no guarantees…

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Too much Victor Mair

I've been reading way too much Victor Mair. In the restaurant of my hotel in London I just saw an English girl wearing a T-shirt on which it said this:


And I immediately thought, who is Ho Pe?

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Xenoglossy & the psychiatrists

I just learned that the American Psychiatric Association, at their annual meeting last month, had a Media Workshop on "A Case of Xenoglossy and the Nature of Consciousness", where the organizer, a psychiatrist named Samuel Sandweiss, claimed that he had a patient back in 1983 (!) who spontaneously uttered profound philosophical remarks in a mixture of Sanskrit and Pali.  And here I had been fondly imagining that my 1996 encyclopedia article `Xenoglossy' had succeeded in demolishing claims that some people can speak languages they have not had an opportunity to learn in their current lifetime.   But Sandweiss's proposal — unlike those of the late Ian Stevenson, also a psychiatrist and the best-known promoter of purported cases of xenoglossy — apparently doesn't involve reincarnation; it sounds more like channeling, as if a bodiless entity took over the patient's brain to utter profundities in an ancient(ish) Indic mishmash (as verified…supposedly…by experts in Sanskrit and Pali).  Sheesh.   Surely not all psychiatrists are so credulous, but what's with the APA's highlighting this event as a Media Workshop?

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Rep. Gohmert's asparagus

Luke Johnson, "Louie Gohmert Goes Off On Eric Holder At House Hearing", Huffington Post 5/16/2013:

A visibly infuriated Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) tore into Attorney General Eric Holder after his time expired in a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday.  [...]

"I cannot have a witness challenge my character," said Gohmert, as the chairman told him again that his time had expired. Gohmert continued talking as other members of the committee asked him to observe hearing rules and suspend.

Gohmert asked again for a point of personal privilege and said that Holder was "wrong on the things that I asserted as fact." The other members of the committee disputed that his contention was a point of personal privilege.

"The attorney general will not cast aspersions on my asparagus," said Gohmert, in a malapropism for the ages.

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"Citizen Hearing On Disclosure: April 29 To May 3, 2013 – Washington, DC":

An event with historical implications will be held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC from April 29 to May 3, 2013. At that time as many as forty researchers and military/agency witnesses will testify for thirty hours over five days before former members of the United States Congress. [...]

The Citizen Hearing on Disclosure of an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race will attempt to accomplish what the Congress has failed to do for forty-five years – seek out the facts surrounding the most important issue of this or any other time.

For this reason the motto for the Citizen Hearing on Disclosure is "If the Congress won't do its job, the people will."

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Haha right

Apparently awakened early this morning by a stray cosmic ray, a mainframe somewhere in the depths of the University of Pennsylvania Health System sent me this email:

Subject: Required Training Expiration Notification


These items on your Knowledge Link Learning Plan may need your attention as soon due or overdue:

POCT: Bedside Glucose Testing – UPHS (HS.10010.ITEM.POCT112A)
due on 7/31/1990

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Spam comment of the month

Here's one that Akismet missed, so I got to read it before deleting it by hand:

What a data of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious knowledge on the topic of unexpected emotions.

What indeed. I conjecture that this was written by one of Iain Banks's more gnomic aliens — an Oct, say.

Update 3/4/2013 — today's harvest includes

grammer is difficult for some prople, they need to do is to speak much more with many people, that will help them more better, when they are grower, learn will be easy

which is not as morphologically creative, but has a certain raffish charm.

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A glazed panel in the absence of manifestations

From E.L. at The Guardian:

I saw this sign (photo attached) at the Guardian offices in London and, as a frequent (albeit non-linguist) reader of the site, I thought Language Log might be able to assist. I'm genuinely baffled as to its meaning. It may be something to do with being careful about walking into see-through barriers – our building is a very modern steel-and-glass affair, but the big windows are all safely marked with visibility flashes or logos, and there hasn't been a problem in the four years since it opened, as far as I know. The best we could come up with on the subs' desk was that it might mean something like 'Caution: this sign has a glass panel on the front that is hard to see if there is no poster behind it'.

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