## Literary opinions

Today's xkcd:

Mouseover title: "If I really focus, I can distinguish between John Steinbeck and John Updike, or between Gore Vidal and Vidal Sassoon, but not both at once."

Read the rest of this entry »

The latest xkcd:

Read the rest of this entry »

## Qualifying fluency

The current xkcd:

Mouseover title: "[20 minutes later] ", hi.""

Read the rest of this entry »

## (Linear) A/B testing

To understand today's xkcd, you need to know what A/B Testing is, what Linear A and Linear B are, what Aksara Kawi is, what JavaScript and some of its subtypes are, …

Mouseover title: "We wrote our site in Linear A rather than Aksara Kawi because browser testing showed that Crete script rendered faster than Java script."

Read the rest of this entry »

## Trolling

Following up on the previous post, see Emma Grey Ellis, "Nobody knows what 'troll' means anymore — least of all Mueller", Wired 4/26/2019:

GREETINGS, TROLLS OF Reddit! Tell me: What's a troll?

"Memester that hates normies," says suicideposter.

"Someone who only interacts for reactions," says _logic_victim.

"Lives under a bridge, votes Republican," says TW1971. ("no u," replies Popcap101z, taking the bait, baiting the hook, or both. I can't be sure.)

"I prefer not to apply labels to myself," says MyFriend_BobSacamano. (Lulz.)

Asking a troll to define trolling is a bit like asking a terrorist to define terrorism. The question backfires; it invites prevarication and propaganda. But in the past few years, an answer has become increasingly necessary—and elusive. Without one, can we clearly distinguish teasing from hate speech?

Read the rest of this entry »

## Rhetorical trope of the week

Today's xkcd:

Mouseover title: "Listen, I'm not a fan of the Spanish Inquisition OR predatory multi-level marketing schemes…"

Read the rest of this entry »

## Itchy Feet webcomic on Asian scripts

This is from 2013, but it's been making the rounds on Facebook…

(Source)

Read the rest of this entry »

## Communicating with cats and dogs

On twitter a few days ago:

Back in 2010, I went in search of the earliest examples of cartoon cursing characters — those playful typographical symbols that have been called "grawlixes" (a term coined by "Beetle Bailey" creator Mort Walker) but which I prefer calling "obscenicons." I detailed my quest in two Language Log posts: "Obscenicons a century ago" and "More on the early days of obscenicons." (The posts were later adapted for Slate's Lexicon Valley blog: "How Did @#$%&! Come to Represent Profanity?") I was able to find obscenicons going all the way back to Dec. 14, 1902 in Rudolph Dirks' pioneering comic strip "The Katzenjammer Kids," followed shortly thereafter by Gene Carr's "Lady Bountiful" comic starting in Feb. 1903. I was pleased to learn that my obscenicon posts inspired Phil Edwards of Vox to do his own searching on newspaper databases, and the results can be seen in an entertaining new video, "How #$@!% became shorthand for cursing." Turns out obscenicons can be pushed back even further, to 1901.