Archive for Humor

Japlish t-shirt

Axel Schuessler's daughter is visiting Japan and saw in a store the shirt below:

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Zeugma of the week

SOLIDWORKS Education Edition:

We strongly reccomend [sic] that you do not purchase this software if you are not seeking a degree or a full time faculty member at a school, college or university.

 

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"DNA-based prediction of Nietzsche's voice"

An interesting paper was recently brought to my attention: Flavia Montaggio, Patricia Montaggio, & Imp Kerr, "DNA-based prediction of Nitzsche's voice", Investigative Genetics, Spring 2015. The abstract is pretty good:

This paper presents a protocol for the accurate prediction of an individual’s voice based on genotype data, specifically from single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We collected trace amounts of cellular material (Touch DNA) from books that belonged to the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900). DNA was extracted and amplified using DOP-PCR technique. Five different genomic DNAs were generated. Nietzsche’s genotype was singled out after comparison to genotype data from one living relative of the Nietzsche family. Nietzsche’s genotype data was analyzed using a DNA-based phenotyping assay, termed VoiceRator, that incorporates the 24 most informative voice SNPs based on their association with genes related to the phenotypic expression of the vocal tract and larynx structure and function. An SNP-based voice profile of Nietzsche was inferred. The profile data was converted into bio-measures that were used to 3D-print a vocal tract and larynx through which phonation was organically generated. A composite of seven Text-to-Speech simulations was made using a sound morphing software. The result is presented in audio format and illustrates the first attempt at simulating the voice of a deceased person.

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Erection in progress

Toni Tan sent in the following photograph:

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Claire Bowern on male lactation

Claire Bowern, whom I know best for her work on historical linguistics and Australian languages, turned up recently as the author of an Op-Ed at Talking Points Memo, "The Supreme Court Says Men Lactate, Too. So When Can They Start Breastfeeding?", 2/9/2015:

The Supreme Court has now established that it isn't sex discrimination to fire a woman because of breastfeeding, in part because men can lactate, too. Critics have met the ruling with disbelief, indignation and dismay.

I disagree. I think it's great news. Finally, we have federal legal recognition that men can take part in this fundamental part of newborn care. At times the present Supreme Court has seemed retrograde and unconcerned with reproductive rights (Hobby Lobby, anyone?), but in this case the Justices have forged ahead, outpacing even biology and culture. I haven't seen too many men in lactation classes (maybe they're such naturals, they don't need the classes) or publicly chestfeeding their kids, and the Daily Mail ran a story about the now sadly defunct "Project Breastfeeding"'s campaign to get more dads involved. Their slogan was "If I could, I would"— and now you can!

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LMFAO

The URL for Chris Christie's new political action committee has occasioned a certain amount of innocent merriment, because LeadershipMattersForAmerica.org naturally suggests the acronym LMFAO, normally interpreted as "laughing my fucking ass off":


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Biblical Philology: An Exhaustive Treatment

From Joshua Tyra:

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Dropping the H bomb

Sue Dunum, "Canadians Using 'Harper' as a Swear Word — 'Go Harper Yourself'", The Lapine 7/1/2014:

MONTREAL — The CBC is reporting today on a growing social media trend for Canadians to use Prime Minister Harper’s name as a cuss word.  

“Harper is being used as the new F Bomb,” CBC analyst Claude Perrault told news anchor Peter Mansbridge this morning.  

“‘Harper off’ is a big one we’re seeing used alot on Facebook and Twitter. Often in all caps when someone’s really angry…as in ‘HARPER OFF!’”

“Calling someone a ‘Harpering Harper’ to mean either ‘f****** b****’ or ‘f****** c***sucker’ is also trending big for new slang.”

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Reverse Debates

From the last year's Foundational Questions Institute conference, a String Theory supporter (Raphael Bousso) is asked to argue against String Theory on behalf of Loop Quantum Gravity, while one of the founders of Loop Quantum Gravity theory (Carlo Rovelli) takes the String Theory side, in opposition to his own point of view:

This works out well, making me wonder about analogous opposite-day debates in linguistics and allied areas.

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Maximizing Buzzword Compliance

From a "sponsor message" sent to me by the Chronicle of Higher Education "on behalf of Campus Management":

Institutions are facing a convergence of forces that, combined with an outdated technology infrastructure, have created the need for a new approach in education technology: the On Demand Model for Higher Education.

Discover the cornerstones of this innovative strategy, including how to enhance constituent engagement, provide more flexibility in academic delivery and financial aid, and leverage an agile infrastructure to grow and adapt in any market.

Hear from a panel of thought leaders as they discuss rising above technology challenges to empower dynamic models of engagement and delivery, and in turn positively impact growth, retention and financial security.

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Nut rage

The biggest news in South Korea these days is the macadamia nut tantrum that occurred on Korean Airlines last week.  Heather Cho, the eldest daughter of Korean Air Lines chairman Cho Yang-ho and herself a high-ranking executive at the airline (though since resigned), threw a monumental hissy fit when she was served macadamia nuts in a manner that she thought was not suitably elegant.  Amongst the usual media accounts of the incident, there was this statement from the UK Guardian:

Bloggers and the Korean press lambasted Cho for her arrogance, and took to social media to mock her for going “nuts”.

and reports of this tweet in Korean from an online shopping mall/auction site that makes a sort of punning reference to “that nut.”

Jeff Weinberg asks whether “nut” or “nuts” in Korean is used for “crazy person” or “crazy” as it’s used in English (and maybe primarily American English).

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The Price of Wisdom

Here's (some of) Google Street View for 7 Coulter Avenue in Ardmore PA:

Why am I showing this to you? Read on…

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It's not just puns that are being banned in China

Even non-linguists and those who are not China watchers could hardly escape the momentous announcement of the Chinese government last week that casual punning was being outlawed:

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