Friday, April 27, 2001

A View on the Limits of Time-Binding

We can be knowledgeable with other men's knowledge
but we cannot be wise with other men's wisdom.
-Michel Montaigne, essayist (1533-1592)

Thursday, April 26, 2001

The Latest in Time-Binding--Information Use by the "N-Generation"

From a review of Don Tapscott's book Growing Up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation "To those of us born into the Baby-boomer generation, technology and the information age are seen as challenging obstacles for us to overcome in order to survive in today's world. To the net generation, technology is merely an extension of self and is used to explore one's world to the fullest. N-Geners are born into an age of interactive digital media. They have an active role in seeking information, making connections, forming opinions, and nurturing relationships."

Monday, April 23, 2001

The Multi-Ordinal Internet...

Weblogging the Web...From the WebVoice Weblog of Olivier Travers:
"Always updated lists... of layoffs
Isn't it ironic that publishers start using the capacity to keep web content always-up-to-date mostly to track... web start-up failures?
Hoover's - Dot-Com Deathwatch List and Business Boneyard
MSNBC - Layoff List
The Standard - Layoff Tracker, Flop Tracker
WSJ - Dot-Com Layoffs and Shutdowns"

A Quote

So difficult it is to show the various meanings and imperfections of words when we have nothing else but words to do it with.

-John Locke, philosopher (1632-1704)

Who defines a word, anyway?

"When James Michener submitted his book `Hawaii' to Random House, the editor, Albert Erskine, objected to the word `squushy', saying it was not in the dictionary'. When Michener insisted that he would not change the word, the editor replied: `This is the third argument I've had this year about the same word. The first was with Robert Penn Warren; the second was with William Faulkner; and now you... And so we'll put `squushy' into our Random House Dictionary. He had overlooked the word in the Merriam-Webster of 1934, but even so a copy-editor had the arrogance to challenge outstanding writers like Warren, Faulkner, and Michener."
[Allan Walker Read, Approaches to Lexicography and Semantics, Current Trends in Linguistics, 1970, p. 149]

Wednesday, April 18, 2001

True-------1/2 True-----False?

How would a general semanticist answer the questions in this listening effectiveness test?
How effectively do you listen?

New look at an 'old' technology

From Glimpse Number 28 June 1984
"Attaching stickers with company trademarks to individual bananas, avocados and melons is not the ultimate method of marking fruit. Las fall in Momori prefecture, Japan apples carried company names while still ripening on the trees. Special transparent, adhesive films were attached to individual apples, stopping them from coloring in the sections printed to block sunlight. Year before last about 40,000 such apples were photoprinted.
Glimpse Update Marketing: Putting a logo on your lunch.(Brief Article)

Tuesday, April 17, 2001

Some Fear National Languages are Threatened

NY Times, April 16, 2001
HALWIL, Switzerland � Throughout Europe, English is growing in use and acceptability. Beyond the schoolhouse here, European universities, particularly in northern Europe, are giving courses in science, philosophy and business in English. Even some companies, like the French telecommunications giant Alcatel � state owned until 1982 � now use English as their internal language. But the growing use of English is not going down easily everywhere. In one European Union survey, 70 percent of those surveyed agreed with the proposition that "everyone should speak English." But nearly as many said their own language needed to be protected...."If you start to eliminate the intellectual community and the economic community, you can eventually kill off a language." Traditionally Germans have been proud of their language's ability to absorb new words. But lately the tide seems to be turning. In one recent poll, 53 percent of those asked said they opposed the use of English words. Yet English marches on. It is now the most widely spoken second language in Europe. According to a European Union poll, released in February, more than 40 percent of Europeans surveyed say they "know" English as their second language. Add to that the 16 percent of European Union members who speak English as a first language, and already more than half of the union's citizens believe that they are conversant in English. Some experts say the language has become so prevalent that it is increasingly being thought of not as a foreign language, but as a basic skill like mathematics. Polls show that there is a sizable difference of opinion between Switzerland's majority German speakers and the smaller number of French speakers. In one survey by Le Matin, 62 percent of the French-speaking Swiss polled said teaching English should be a priority, while the proportion rose to 73 percent among German speakers. But the difference grew when people were asked whether English should be taught before a second national language. While just over half of German speakers supported the idea, 71 percent of French speakers opposed it.

Saturday, April 14, 2001

What People Do with Symbols and Signs

One side: Wall Street Journal Article About Canadian Cigarette Warning Labels
And the other:
Graphic new cigarette pack warnings are spawning a cottage industry Health Canada never intended. Some companies are manufacturing cardboard covers smokers can use to replace the colour images of rotting gums and teeth, lung cancer and heart disease now on certain brands. The mock covers, available in Nova Scotia for about a week, depict images far less grisly than the Health Canada images and warnings, which by law must take up 50 per cent of each pack. One mock cover - manufactured by a Quebec company called Cigarette Cover - shows a yellow smiley face with the caption It's Cool! Others by that company depict a flower below the caption Bla Bla Bla . . . Bla Bla!; a smiling sun with the words Wind, Fire, Earth, Water; a skull and crossbones with the caption Smoking Preserves Meat; and a picture of a marijuana plant with the warning Marijuana is not a Safe Alternative to Cigarettes. March 1, 2001 The Halifax Herald Limited

More Tobacco News--This Map "is not" the Territory
AT THE MOVIES: Rene Zellweger on Bridget Jones (From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Interviewer: Are you a smoker yourself?
Zellweger: No!
Interviewer: So what were you smoking in the movie?
Zellweger: I was smoking poopy-doody sticks. They were the worst-smelling, obnoxiously vile, revolting friend eliminators I've ever experienced. They were relationship killers. I don't know what they were, they were so noxious. In a room full of 200 extras at the Tate Modern (museum), no one blinked an eye until I lit up.

Thursday, April 12, 2001

The Future of Language?

The computer industry is famed for its overuse of acronyms, but now seems to be embracing haplology too. Two terms which are receiving a lot of attention at the moment are internationalization and localization. These relate to the authoring of software in foreign (i.e. non English) locales. It seems that these words are too much of a mouthful for everyday use in the computer industry. Internationalization is commonly written as �I18N� (pronounced �I eighteen N�), since there are 18 letters between the I and the N. Following a similar logic, localization is written as �L10N� (pronounced �L ten N�). Software that has been internationalized is even said to have been �I18N�d�. Who are the proponents of these terms? Look no further than the World Wide Web Consortium, who by following a slightly different logic, have even condensed their acronym to �W3C�!

I0f t2s t3d c7s, t2n w3e w2l w0e b0e? (If this trend continues, then where will we be?)

Bathroom Use (1) is not Bathroom Use(2)?

This report reminds us that a term like "bathroom" does not have a single or even a few definitions (and therefore uses)...
Two Weeks in the Bathroom?

Wednesday, April 11, 2001

What's in a Name?

The Dutch legislature voted April 11 to decriminalize euthanasia. How much of what we feel about this event results from the words used to discuss it? Some viewpoints:
Telegraph--Historic vote makes mercy killings legal
Netherlands Voluntary Euthanasia Society
Daily Telegraph Editorial--The Death of Reason
A Different View...

Tuesday, April 03, 2001

Trademark, Symbol and Rumor

From Glimpse Number 32, June 1985:
Procter & Gamble, the largest advertiser in the United States, is removing its moon-and-stars trademark from its products. After a five-year effort to dispel rumors that the trademark is a symbol of Satanism and Devil worship--an effort that included the hiring of two investigative agencies, the use of the company's mainframe computer to help track down the rumors, and the filing of libel suits--Procter & Gamble has decided to eliminate the trademark as the packages for its products are redesigned. A company spokesman said that defending Procter & Gamble from the rumors cost "in the hundreds of thousands of dollars." And while there is no way to measure the rumors' impact on the consumers, "we're sure it has affected sales." The spokesman added that the company "will continue to fight the situation on all fronts."
UPDATE: P&G didn't give up their trademark after all!
Check out these P&G Trademark Facts

Monday, April 02, 2001

What People Do with Signs and Symbols

The previous one having died of lung cancer, Marlboro casts about for a new symbol for the new millenium...
New Marlboro "Man"?!

A No Man Show

From Glimpse Number 29, September 1984:
Once accused of sending an inpersonator to fill one of his speaking engagements, artist Andy Warhol had this to say about the new, $350,000 computerized Andy Warhol robot: "It's just grea-a-a-a-t. We can send it around to talk shows. Iwon't have to go." The robot is slated to star in a production called "Andy Warhol's Overexposed: A No Man Show."
UPDATE: Still No Show

What People Do with Signs and Symbols

From Glimpse Number 29, Sept 1984:
"Ontario's Ornithological Symbol
A newsclipping furnished by Kurt Fuerst tells of a controversy in a recent meeting of Ontario, Canada's legislature in which the argument centered on the blue jay. The problem was choosing the province's official bird. Ross McClellan, a member of the provincial parliament representing the National Democratic Party, called the bird 'a misbegotten, thieving, poison-colored scavenger' and said it was chosen only because its plumage matches the official Tory color. But the general manager of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists, Mike Singleton, said the federation isn't opposed to the blue, jay, although it thinks the grey jay would have been a better choice because it's found widely throughout Ontario and the blue jay is limited to the south. Conservative Jim Pollock, who introduced the private member's bill, stuck by his guns, and the legislature passed in principle the Avian Emblem Act, making the blue jay the province's ornithological symbol. Pollock said the blue jay is an ideal provincial emblem becuase it's common, recognizable and colorful."
Glimpse Update: Emblems and Symbols - Common Loon