Activity from languagehat

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400yo Map of Nahuatl Lineage in Southern Puebla, Mexico
> All of this may seem to be some esoteric imagery, and the "map" a mere artistic endeavor, but works like these were essentially legal documents in the early colonial period of New Spain.

Yup, and I was startled when I looked at the map to realize it looked almost exactly like the (often stunningly beautiful) maps reproduced in Valerie Kivelson's Cartographies of Tsardom: The Land and Its Meanings in Seventeenth-Century… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 6:07 AM on November 23, 2017

Bus! No!
> Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

No cursing! What's become of you, Glasgow? I don't even recognize you any more!
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 5:45 AM on November 21, 2017

His iron-clad fleet flowed forward
Cambrai is also the home of cambric.
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 5:39 AM on November 21, 2017

Everything but the clouds
That was really interesting, thanks. I don't play video games or care all that much about conceptual art (or whatever you call "Super Mario Clouds"), and I don't normally watch twenty-minute videos, but I enjoyed that a lot, because LeMieux makes everything clear even to someone as ignorant as I. It is definitely not a "semi-stoned ramble" (did you watch the whole thing, or just give up after the odd beginning, which irritated me as well?). Arcangel lied about how he made… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 8:56 AM on November 20, 2017
Tell you what, why don't you try it yourself rather than accuse the author of deception on absolutely no evidence except your vague suspicion?
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 10:24 AM on November 20, 2017
> And here, languagehat, I went and changed the coin into a bunch of zeroes and confirmed that scroll still works.

Thanks! Sorry if I sounded, er, grumpy, but you did seem to be shooting from the hip. I respect your evident knowledge and ability.
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 3:39 PM on November 20, 2017
That's quite interesting. Point:
Paolo Pedercini
🌹‏Verified account @molleindustria
15h15 hours ago

Cory has been exhibiting it as video, made an ironic "hacker" documentation of it, made a career around his defiance of media art formalism. It's pretty clear that he doesn't see the work as software or cartridge hack but as a visual piece with a good story wrapped around it.
Sarah… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 5:37 AM on November 21, 2017

potus45 spinoff threads and "rehashing/retreading"
I have no useful thoughts on the big picture thing, but for what it's worth I agree with the desirability of a dedicated Franken thread. It's not just one more sexual assault incident.
posted to MetaTalk by languagehat at 10:30 AM on November 20, 2017

What's an effective feminist organization for holiday donations?
OK, I guess I'm going with Emily's List, so I've marked that as best answer. Thanks, all!
posted to Ask MetaFilter by languagehat at 5:45 PM on November 18, 2017
Well, I'll almost certainly be doing this again next year, and I'm guessing this thread will be useful to others as well, so feel free to add suggestions!
posted to Ask MetaFilter by languagehat at 9:03 AM on November 20, 2017

MetaFilter is moving to https as a default
Does this mean we can have the Markov comment generator back?
posted to MetaTalk by languagehat at 8:56 AM on November 17, 2017
> languagehat, MarkovFilter has been running again for...? a while? Maybe not on purpose?

Yay! Thank you for that, and thank the internet deities who have restored it. (If you don't remember it: try it, you'll like it!)
posted to MetaTalk by languagehat at 9:26 AM on November 18, 2017

I've Got This (don't I?)
I agree with headnsouth. It's an unfortunate situation, but it's ridiculous to say "What awful people your friends are!" It's natural to get used to a pleasant situation and expect it to continue. If you come in to work ten minutes late for months and your boss never says a word, you will naturally feel aggrieved if your boss suddenly chews you out for it, and rightly so—if it was important, it should have been mentioned much earlier. If you give your cat a treat around the… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by languagehat at 9:08 AM on November 18, 2017

On the Record
> I have a weird feeling Nickelodeon’s own Dan Schneider will be next.

> I don't care what you did at the time, but knowing what you know now, if you were in that exact same situation tonight, what would you do?

I don't think speculating about who might be next is helpful (isn't it enough to deal with the ones we know about?), and I don't think putting fellow MeFites on the hot seat and asking them to prove themselves is helpful.
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 9:17 AM on November 10, 2017
> I like him and I think he deserves his Grand Master status, and I also and unequivocally think he did a really shitty thing to Connie Willis up there on stage, and deserved the criticism he got for it.

Do you really think that's the only "shitty thing" he's done? If so, I submit you're being strongly influenced by your friendship (just like all those other friends and associates of abusers). I've heard stuff about Harlan for half a… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 1:25 PM on November 14, 2017
> I was not aware I was required to make an accounting and editorial comment regarding every shitty thing he might have done.

Good lord. OK, if you're that defensive about him, never mind. Go on talking about "one shitty thing." But be aware you sound exactly like all those other people trying to get away with as little condemnation of their errant pals as they can.
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 5:16 PM on November 14, 2017
> Not for nothing man,but I know Harlan, I've been groped by Harlan, and Scalzi isn't responsible for Harlan, and attempts to paint scalzi with Harlans brush are not fair or reasonable.

Huh? Nobody's painting jscalzi with Harlan's brush; people are trying to point out that, while it's perfectly possible that Harlan has been a great guy with jscalzi and jscalzi continues to find him likable (which I can completely understand), it's not especially… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 9:24 AM on November 15, 2017

Half of the class are women? Is women?
You are correct. If the entities involved are discrete, like the women in the class, they make up a plural group: half of the class are. If we're talking about a chunk that's divided into smaller chunks, those chunks are singular: half of the apple is.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by languagehat at 1:09 PM on November 14, 2017 marked best answer
> US English and UK English might be different here.

No, this is not geographical, it's a matter of someone trying to use simplistic logic where it doesn't apply. This paragraph from Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage (the best usage book around) cites both US and UK sources:
A few commentators—among them Sellers 1975, Longman 1984, Chambers 1985, and Corder 1981—discuss… [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by languagehat at 1:20 PM on November 14, 2017

Thumbs up
Worth it just for the Whitehouse anecdote, which is one of the best courtroom stories I've read. Thanks for the post!
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 7:29 AM on November 14, 2017

The Boys in the Picture
That's a great story; thanks for the post.
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 6:25 AM on November 14, 2017

Russian Revolution Centenary
> The House of Government : a saga of the Russian Revolution

A superb book that I recently finished and plan to make the centerpiece of my Year in Reading report at The Millions. It's very long, but earns its length; you will think it's going off on excessive tangents, but he pulls it all together by the end. Also, lots of great photos, maps, etc. If you have any interest in the USSR, particularly the Stalinist period, read it. (I expect to be… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 10:42 AM on November 7, 2017
> Did you read the article? She cut basically every corner she possibly could to get to the horseshoe theory thesis that lets her pretend that Jeremy Corbyn and Steve Bannon are ideological fellow-travelers.

Yeah, it wasn't a good article and I'm not defending it—just pushing back against the idea that it makes her somehow illegitimate as a scholar. Lots of good scholars have written dumb shit for newspaper op-eds.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 11:40 AM on November 7, 2017
> Hey languagehat - any opinions of Kotkin's Stalin bio (thus far) vs. Simon Montefiore's Young Stalin/Court of the Red Tsar, if you've read those?

Kotkin is far, far better. Montefiore is a fun read but I wouldn't trust him on details; he's way too interested in telling a good story. Kotkin doesn't care about telling a good story and is willing to bore you in the interest of making sure you understand exactly what was happening and why at a given… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 2:19 PM on November 7, 2017
> But you surely recognize how well Notes From Underground fits into the grand tradition of Sad Ineffectual Middle-Aged Middle-Class White Man literature that's catnip for a certain class of critic.

I... guess? I mean, it would never have occurred to me to look at it that way. It seems to me like saying the Mona Lisa is catnip for guys who like that kind of face, or the Odyssey is catnip for sailors. Maybe so, but...
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 2:21 PM on November 7, 2017
> The biography of Stalin to read is Deutscher's, if you can get it.

Is this a joke? That book was published in 1949, while Stalin was still alive. Deutscher died in 1967. Whatever Deutscher's merits (I own and enjoy his biography of Trotsky), the idea that his book is anything but a musty relic is absurd. Seriously, Kotkin is for now the definitive work; he's taken the latest finds from the archives into account and knows everything there is… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 7:02 AM on November 8, 2017
OK, calling it "a musty relic" was over the top; he's a good writer and his Stalin bio is certainly worth reading once you've got a handle on Stalin's life from somebody more recent. If you personally find it to be your favorite bio, great, but surely you recognize that a personal preference is not an objective standard, and your personal favorite is not necessarily the thing you should be recommending to anyone who wants to know about Stalin. Surely you realize that a whole lot has… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 3:05 PM on November 8, 2017
> And Volkogonov's book is certainly not the Stailn biography to recommend to a new reader

Yeah, fair enough. There just isn't a reasonably sized, up-to-date bio of Stalin that isn't tainted by partisanship on one side or another.
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 9:00 AM on November 9, 2017
In fact, why shouldn't someone read Deutscher's bio first? It's well written and will probably interest the reader enough they'll go on to other books. Sorry, I was caught up in Kotkin enthusiasm to the point I was reflexively trashing the competition!
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 10:22 AM on November 9, 2017
That's an amazing story; thanks for posting it!
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 8:04 AM on November 13, 2017

My wife and I were just out for a walk, and a passing neighbor said "You just got a package delivered!" We waved and thanked him, but thought he must be confusing us for somebody else, because we hadn't seen the mail truck go by. But when we got back to our house, I opened the mailbox just to check, and sure enough there was a package. A heavy package. Addressed to me. And it turned out to be the brand-new second volume of Stephen Kotkin's Stalin biography, with a nice note from… [more]
posted to MetaTalk by languagehat at 12:52 PM on November 11, 2017

cortex + donuts = 🌈
I generally don't watch videos that last more than a few minutes, but I watched the whole thing. Josh/cortex is an excellent public speaker who mixes tempos, registers, and cursing so as to hold your interest and keep you engaged. And by the end I actually felt better about the site. Thanks for posting it, bendy, and thanks for giving the talk and for being you, 'tex. (Towards the end I had a vision of you as a Wise Old Man, still cursing and being inspiring. Keep on truckin'!)
posted to MetaTalk by languagehat at 5:30 PM on November 7, 2017

Muggles become Μύγαλοι [Mugaloi]Greek for field-mice, quite appropriate
> Bad.

I.e., traditional. Just because it's not as accurate as possible a reproduction of what we now think Ancient Greek sounded like doesn't mean it's "bad," or "terribly-pronounced." You do realize, I trust, that if you went back to ancient Athens the locals would find your accent just as hilarious as his? Accuracy is relative, and any Ancient Greek is good Ancient Greek in this fallen world as far as I'm concerned.
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 9:38 AM on November 7, 2017

John John
> I am kind of surprised not to see any comments here: it's a very interesting story.

Too many links, maybe? I almost ignored the post for that reason, but clicked on the final link (which I presume is the main one, and would have been the only one if I'd been posting it) and was enchanted.

> Everything about him seems light. He seems like the sort of guy you'd take on a butterfly collecting expedition, not the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 9:23 AM on November 7, 2017

Best of the Web?
This is a remarkably passive-aggressive "get off my lawn" post followed up by a series of passive-aggressive "why are you all being mean to me, I'm just sayin'" comments, and like poffin boffin I don't see the point in taking it too seriously. Nobody's going to get off your lawn; get used to it.
posted to MetaTalk by languagehat at 7:47 AM on November 4, 2017
> I think one negative change in more recent times is how quickly there are people assuming the worst of any comment or word choice that sounds dubious, this assumption about connotations of word choice being universal and that if you use certain words or phrases you must be, say, a Trump supporter, because everyone knows only they would say certain things.

I heartily agree, and in the old days I might have made a post about it, but what would be… [more]
posted to MetaTalk by languagehat at 6:38 AM on November 5, 2017
> Huh, I view this as a positive change- it's forcing people to examine their own words and word usage, it's encouraging people to use more words to describe their thoughts instead of just putting vague and unclear comments out there, it's making it clear that the onus is on the commenter to be understood. I don't think there's anything wrong with assuming the worst (or rather, "assuming the worst" is no worse than "assuming the best") as long as you allow for the… [more]
posted to MetaTalk by languagehat at 9:25 AM on November 5, 2017
I have no idea why you're assuming the worst about me (assuming that I only want to spend "online time only with people who think exactly alike" seems pretty "worst" to me) after saying that we shouldn't assume the worst in other MeFites.

I don't think it's the "worst"—there are many, many worse things than a desire to hang out with people like oneself, and in fact it's a basic element of human nature—but if… [more]
posted to MetaTalk by languagehat at 10:44 AM on November 5, 2017
> For what it's worth I greatly enjoy the fact that the site has embraced "SJW" principles. It's what made me feel comfortable going from a lurker to a participant. But we have definitely not lost our tendency to be absolute assholes to each other, even if our collective politics have mostly improved.

I agree on all counts.
posted to MetaTalk by languagehat at 11:42 AM on November 5, 2017

On the way to the funeral, he delivered a pizza.
> a dickhole old white guy who is wholly unremarkable save for literally being a dick

And for making such great pizza that people are willing to put up with his dickishness. Don't forget that part.
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 7:24 AM on November 4, 2017

The most theatrically corrupt city in America
> I think that's smartassery on the part of, not the original use of ass.

Zay: I walked back down from the City Room, heading to my desk, and we had a row of desks down the middle and it was called “Murderers Row” because columnists—the stars—sat in that row. And as I walked past them, they looked up at me—they were obviously reading the papers that had just come out—and they smiled and gave me a thumbs-up. And I thought,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 8:01 AM on November 3, 2017

Book cataloging app for iPhone
You need the LibraryThing App. I've been using it for months and it still seems like magic: point my iPhone at the book's barcode, wait for the beep, and presto, it's entered into my catalogue!
posted to Ask MetaFilter by languagehat at 7:48 AM on October 29, 2017

To this day I’ve never met a scarier human being
> I loved Fear back in the day—what thrilling music!—but I would never have gone to one of their shows. I am a bourgeois coward.

Holy shit, you guys, I was just looking through an old journal and discovered I did go to one of their shows, at the Peppermint Lounge in early 1982—presumably the one immortalized here! Guess I wasn't as much of a bourgeois coward back then.
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 10:58 AM on October 27, 2017

Spy unmasked by throwing out National Geographics?
> I'm pretty sure it was just a clever bit of comedy, a throwaway line.

Yeah, that's one of those things that make a good joke but should not be taken seriously. Come on, lots and lots of people throw out old magazines, including Nat Geo, and always did.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by languagehat at 7:55 AM on October 27, 2017

What is the point of a bibliography if I use endnotes?
It really pisses me off when scholarly books don't have a bibliography. I don't want to have to go searching through fifty pages of notes to see whether you used a certain book.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by languagehat at 7:53 AM on October 27, 2017

A short history of Japanese horror movies
A nice roundup that includes a clip from an 1899 movie!
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 5:48 PM on October 26, 2017

Special Event: 2017 MLB baseball playoffs: World Series
Wish I could have seen the game, but I was at Blade Runner 2049, which was almost as entertaining. Go Astros!
posted to FanFare by languagehat at 8:33 AM on October 26, 2017

“Crunch trades short-term gains for long-term suffering,”
It's normal in the ad biz too—that's one reason I became a freelancer, making a third the money but keeping my sanity and getting to make my own hours. Getting a free car-service ride home at 2 AM was not worth it. When will American workers stop accepting that they have to do whatever management wants in order to maximize profits (and not even getting a share of the profits)? Bring back the Wobblies!
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 8:18 AM on October 26, 2017

and I have one last nightmare about my last dream.
> He was a man who was pregnant, of course, so that made him more powerful.

That's my favorite so far, but there are a bunch of good ones. What's fascinating to me is that the AI prose is so much better than the human. Whenever I click through to see the collaborations, I groan when I start on the human-composed follow-ups; they're badly written and obvious. The AI stuff is fresh, compact, surprising. That's it, I'm turning over literature to the AIs.
posted to MetaFilter by languagehat at 8:09 AM on October 26, 2017

Special Event: 2017 MLB baseball playoffs, American and National Leagues
I have to say, as much as I dislike the Dodgers, Kershaw deserved to win that game. A superb pitcher at the top of his form. (And my wife reminded me that she's a Dodgers fan from their Brooklyn/Jackie Robinson days, so I can't be too upset if they win since it will give her mild pleasure even though she's not much of a baseball fan.)
posted to FanFare by languagehat at 6:51 AM on October 25, 2017

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