Archive for Humor

Chinese characters formed from letters of the alphabet

Tim Cousins sent in this photograph of a sign in a local mall in Dalian, northeast China.

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Lorem China

Brian Krebs, "Lorem Ipsum: Of Good & Evil, Google & China", Krebs on Security 8/14/2014:

Imagine discovering a secret language spoken only online by a knowledgeable and learned few. Over a period of weeks, as you begin to tease out the meaning of this curious tongue and ponder its purpose, the language appears to shift in subtle but fantastic ways, remaking itself daily before your eyes. And just when you are poised to share your findings with the rest of the world, the entire thing vanishes.

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The Latinometer

From David Frauenfelder:

Here’s an item from the land of language: the "Latinometer".

Have you seen it? You enter text into the query box, it analyzes how Latinate your English vocabulary is, and then tells you whether you sound “concrete,” educated, pretentious, or mendacious. The more Latin-derived terms in your text, the more likely you are to be a liar.

Your most recent Language Log post scored 53% on the Latinometer, pretentious, and dangerously close to the “You are probably lying” zone.   I still don’t know if the author, a Latin professor, is trying to be ironic.

Somebody needs to do a LL post on this. I find it utterly ridiculous, and I’m a Latin teacher. Or maybe I find it ridiculous because I’m a Latin teacher. I wonder what a linguist would say?

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Another British-to-English phrase book

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Kiss kiss / BER: Chinese photoshop victim

David Moser sent this photo to me about five years ago and I'm only now getting around to unearthing it from the masses of files scattered over my desktop:

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Honesty about leadership

The Dilbert strip continues to make me laugh out loud almost every morning. If you missed the day when the boss asked Dilbert for an "honest assessment" of his leadership, go back to it and catch up. Dilbert's 30-minute response to this invitation ended with the words "like being stabbed by an angry clown while drowning in a septic tank." Simile of the week, for sure. I wonder if anyone told Microsoft's Satya Nadella anything similar in the past few days.

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Word Crimes

For his new album Mandatory Fun, Weird Al Yankovic has crafted the ultimate peever's anthem: "Word Crimes," to the tune of last summer's big hit, "Blurred Lines."

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Helpful label

This is spreading widely on the internets:

The lack of circumstantial details makes me suspect it's a fake, but it's still an amusing one.

Update — As X notes in the comments,  it's not fake as in "created by photoshop", but it IS fake in the sense of being added as an ironic joke by a company known for such things.

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We have a winner

Has there ever been a less effective spam email than this?

This must be part of a psychometric experiment meant to calibrate the features that predict response rates, with this version being way out on the low-predicted-response end of all the dimensions…

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Neologizer wanted

Paul Ford, "It is Impossible to Believe How Mindblowing These Amazing New Jobs Are!", The Message 5/30/2014 ("Our venture-funded vertical-driven content prosumer phablet platisher is rapidly growing and we need to add some Ninja Rockstar Content Associates A.S.A.P. See below for a list of open positions!"). One of the openings:

Are you a native full-stack visiongineer who lives to marketech platishforms? Then come work with us as an in-house NEOLOGIZER and reimaginatorialize the verbalsphere! If you are a slang-slinger who is equahome in brandegy and advertorial, a total expert in brandtech and techvertoribrand, and a first-class synergymnast, then this will be your rockupation! Throw ginfluence mingles and webutante balls, the world is your joyster. The percandidate will have at least five years working as a ideator and envisionary or equiperience.

 Some of the better nonce blends I've come across recently: derptastrophe, triangutards. You?


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Spam comment of the month

Among the approximately 15,000 spam comments directed at LL over the past 24 hours, this is one of the few that made it past the filters to be dealt with by human moderation:

Ginger ultimately struck North Carolina on September 30 as a chinese culture massive disappointment.

The resulting embryo is afterward transported to tissue may occur, either acutely or chronically, over hundreds of times, sometimes with a little more.

I killed it anyway, of course, but I think it deserves some recognition.

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Philosophical arguments about methodology

From Anthony Chemero, Radical Embodied Cognitive Science:

Imagine the scene: An academic conference. Two cognitive scientists, casual but friendly acquaintances, are chatting in a hotel bar.'

"So, what are you working on now?"

"I've been doing some stuff with [insert one of: ecological psychology, connectionist networks, dynamical modeling, embodied cognition, situated robotics, etc.]."

"But [insert name(s) here] already showed that that approach is hopeless. The paper was published in …"

"Yeah, yeah. I've read that one. I don't buy it at all. [Reinsert name(s) here] doesn't really get it. You see …"

If you're reading this, you've probably taken part in a conversation like this. In fact, nearly everyone working in cognitive science is working on an approach that someone else has shown to be hopeless, usually by an argument that is more or less purely philosophical. This is especially true of the not quite mainstream approaches listed above, the approaches that constitute the core of radical embodied cognitive science, the view I will describe and defend in this book. But it is also true for more mainstream computational cognitive science (e.g., Miller, Galanter, and Pribram 1960). We all know about the arguments that purport to show that our research can never succeed; indeed, nearly every book written by a philosopher begins with an argument that the competing approaches are hopeless. Yet, for some reason, we persist. Somehow we're only convinced by the philosophical arguments that everyone else's approaches are hopeless.

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My posts will be erratic over the next couple of weeks

Erratic in time, anyhow — maybe no more erratic than usual in terms of content.

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"We're updating our novel-length Terms of Service?"

Yesterday I got an email from, under the heading "We're updating our Terms of Service". It starts this way:

Hi Mark,

Our business and our community have grown, so we are updating our Terms of Service, Host Guarantee Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. These changes will be effective for all users on April 30, 2014. When you use our site on or after that day, we will ask you to agree to the new terms.

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Wantan soup for überman hubby

Here is a handwritten note left by a man for his wife:

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