Learn Japanese the geeky way - consider it as a sort of functional programming language, with it's own API of nested functions that can be combined to form syntactically correct speech.
This article appeals to me on just so many levels.
Let's start off with one of the most basic Japanese words of all: na-i, which means "does not exist", pronounced "nigh". It's sort of like the "zero" in some Japanese-language version of abstract arithmetic. The cool thing about nai and all the other words in its whole class is that it is a complete sentence standing all by itself. It is not only a valid sentence but occurs all the time in everyday conversation.
How can that be? You have to say what does not exist, right? Well, in Japanese, you do not. Just think of the subject as a kind of optional parameter to the nai() function call. So what is the default, then? Whatever it needs to be. So nai could just as easily mean "there's nothing in the fridge" as "God does not exist."
Bonus points for reminding me about
Backus-Naur Form - a metasyntactical language that was the bane of my fucking life in second year Computer Science BSc.
What part of this don't you understand? If two blades is good, and three blades is better, obviously five blades would make us the best fucking razor that ever existed. Comprende? We didn't claw our way to the top of the razor game by clinging to the two-blade industry standard. We got here by taking chances. Well, five blades is the biggest chance of all.
Larry David (of Curb your enthusiasm fame) on how, like Dubya, he enlisted in the National Guard duringthe Vietnam War.
Then in the summer we would go away to camp for two weeks. It felt more like three. I wondered if I'd ever see my parakeet again. We slept on cots and ate in the International House of Pancakes. I learned the first night that IHOP's not the place to order fish. When the two weeks were up, I came home a changed man. I would often burst into tears for no apparent reason and suffered recurring nightmares about drowning in blueberry syrup. If I hadn't been so strapped for cash, I would've sought the aid of a psychiatrist.
Wired has a summary of the arguments concerning Dan Geer's assertation that Microsoft's dominance of the IT market creates a 'monoculture' which is vulnerable to a single trheat. The article contains several rebuttals to the theory (mostly from Microsoft, q'uelle surprise) but these ignore the facts of the matter. Every couple of weeks, some dingbat will release another email-born virus onto the Internet and Microsoft machines will roll over onto their backs, exposing their flabby underbellies in a desperate attampt to play with it. Linux/Unix/Mac boxes have vulnerabilities too, but they are different vulnerabilities. Obviously there are attacks that will bring down MS/*nix and Mac alike (such as denial of service onslaughts) but pretending that diversity isn't a useful trait is just silly.
Scientists persuade viruses to assist in the manufacture of nanowire as well as other inorganic materials with magnetic or semiconducting properties.
Peptides are inserted into a virus cell, causing the cell to attract zinc sulphide or cadmium sulphide which crystallises into nanowire. The virus is then burned away, leaving the complete nanowire in its place.
As has been reported by almost every blog in the Blogosphere, an American Airlines pilot decided to chat to his passengers about religion and asked all Christians on board to evangelize to the non-believers. What I liked was this marvellous example of corporate language-monging as reported by the BBC news site. :
"It falls along the lines of a personal level of sharing that may not be appropriate for one of our employees to do while on the job"
In Ray Bradbury's Farenheit 451 the great books of the past are protected from the totalitarian censors by the 'Book People' who memorize their contents.
Berenson was so fascinated that at lunch one day at I Totti he said, "Why not a sequel to 'Fahrenheit 451' in which all the great books are remembered by the Wilderness People and are finally reprinted from memory. What then?
"Wouldn't it be," he continued, "that all would be misremembered, none would come forth in their original garb? Wouldn't they be longer, shorter, taller, fatter, disfigured, or more beautiful?
"Instead of angels in the alcove, might they be gargoyles off the roof?"
I was so fired by Berenson's suggestion that I wrote an outline, thinking, Oh God, if only I had the genius to know some of the really great books of history and rewrite them, pretending to be my future Book People, trying to recall the details of an incredible literature.
I never did this.
But coming upon my note and remembering Berenson 50 years later I thought, Why not outline Berenson's idea and urge my readers to follow and do the same