Rainbow snail

A new species of snail has been identified in eastern Taiwan. They're calling it Aegista diversifamilia as a way of remembering "the struggle for the recognition of same-sex marriage rights."  The tie-in is that the snail is hermaphroditic.  But this is really nothing new to snail-lovers, since the great majority of pulmonate snails, opisthobranchs, and slugs are hermaphrodites.

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Grater, grader, whatever

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."

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Department of Redundancy Department alert!

Haters of redundancy, get ready to bristle at this email announcement I received today:

Please note that the 7th floor common room in the Dugald Stewart Building will be closed today from 10:30am until 1pm due to an event taking place.

An event taking place? But isn't taking place the only thing that events can do? Isn't taking place their whole thing, the only property they have in common? We have a redundancy here!

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Biscriptal juxtaposition in Chinese, part 2

When Tom Mazanec came home from Fudan University in Shanghai a few nights ago, he found this leaflet in a baggie hanging on his door:


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Get the rope, Bill

It's been a while since we featured a Partially Clips comic — here's the most recent one:

 

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Inches

The headline above this page at TheHill.com says Warren inches away from Obama. And Bob Ayers, who pointed it out to me, was surprised that anyone would judge Elizabeth Warren to be that close to Obama on the issues, since they disagree quite a bit. I agree with Bob: I also read the sentence that way (the wrong way) at first. But if you read the text you soon see that they must have meant inches as a 3rd-person-singular verb, not a plural noun, and that reverses the key entailment. She isn't a mere few inches away from the president; she is edging away from him.

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"Voiceprints" again

"Millions of voiceprints quietly being harvested as latest identification tool", The Guardian (AP), 10/13/2014:

Over the telephone, in jail and online, a new digital bounty is being harvested: the human voice.  

Businesses and governments around the world increasingly are turning to voice biometrics, or voiceprints, to pay pensions, collect taxes, track criminals and replace passwords.

The article lists some successful applications:

Barclays plc recently experimented with voiceprinting as an identification for its wealthiest clients. It was so successful that Barclays is rolling it out to the rest of its 12 million retail banking customers.  

“The general feeling is that voice biometrics will be the de facto standard in the next two or three years,” said Iain Hanlon, a Barclays executive.  

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Troublesome characters

The People's Daily microblog account posted this list over the recent National Day holidays:

"Yī dú jiù cuò de 50 gè dìmíng 一读就错的50个地名" ("Fifty place names you're sure to misread")

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More fun with Facebook: THE

The script that I used to make that course assignment about Facebook pronouns ("Sex, age, and pronouns on Facebook", 9/19/2014; "More fun with Facebook pronouns", 9/27/2014) can trivially be focused on any other words — so here's "the":

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For want of an apostrophe…

Via Lisa McLendon, aka Madam Grammar, comes this unfortunately (un)punctuated headline currently on Drudge Report:

Hackers threaten to show teenagers intimate photos

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Intelligibility and the language / dialect problem

From Anschel Schaffer-Cohen:

I'm an avid Language Log reader, and as an amateur student of language politics I'm always fascinated by your discussions of language vs. dialect vs. topolect, and the role played by mutual intelligibility. As such, I was fascinated to see this quote show up in my Facebook newsfeed:


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Stronzo Bestiale, Galadriel Mirkwood, Crosley Shelvador, …

"The true story of Stronzo Bestiale", Parolacce 10/5/2014:

Would you read a paper written by Stronzo Bestiale (Total Asshole)? A dose of mistrust would be justified: the name says it all. Yet, in 1987, professor Bestiale, supposedly a physicist in Palermo, Sicily, authored major papers in prestigious scientific peer reviewed journals such as the  Journal of Statistical Physics, the Journal of Chemical Physics and the proceedings of a meeting of American Physical Society in Monterey.

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X is the Y of Z: Infectious Death Cult Edition

The MedPage Today Tweet of the Week:

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The magical fecundity of the Japanese verb suru ("to do") and verb ending -ru

The Agency for Cultural Affairs' annual survey on Japanese usage is out. This year's results as reported in the media:

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Overtone singing

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