Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Tnaq tasiq loziq na itan
One time when I was in college, in the early 70s, I was coming out of the high mountains in central Taiwan and met a group of Tayal coming back from shopping in town. Every one laughed when they saw me; something was going on. Towards the rear of the group was an old lady with traditional face tattoes ~ and very untraditional green eyes. We all laughed and they said, "See, her eyes are the same as yours!" Balay!
I never figured out if she had cataracts or her eyes were naturally green. She couldn't speak Mandarin, and I couldn't speak Tayal then, and anyway everybody was laughing too hard. Before I could figure it out, everybody waved and we went our separate ways.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Columbia guy: So my friend has this idea for our project to put generators on playground equipment that could let kids power the lights in the park. I told him my only problem with it is: what if we end up electrocuting the kids accidentally? That would be really bad.
--1 Train Overheard by: Nathan
Monday, November 23, 2009
一個很奇怪的現象：同一行，甚至同一嗜好的人，往往有共同點，而斯共同點，超越時空、國籍。大凡，律師文筆不好。臺灣律師文筆之差，早已證明。例如，英文的intellectual property rights，在臺灣居然將intellectual翻成「智慧」，多荒謬！智慧，是經過多少事、多少反省而修出的結晶，絕不同于人家發明新機器、寫書、作曲的智力或知識。Gilbert Hyatt發明microprocessor，非常聰明，但與「智慧」扯不上邊。
這就犯了第二條。英文字的詞性很清楚，中文則未必。為了顯示這是動詞，所以英文加字尾~ize；嚴格說，這種文筆本來就不漂亮，很多~ize字尾的字，極為笨拙，如finalize, pressurize, privatize, colorize, prioritize，都是極不優美的英文，少用為妙。但無論如何，英文確須詞性。若說詞性，「除」已表明動詞，所以「除罪化」的「化」，是多餘的。
Sunday, November 22, 2009
In the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, you may purchase an assault rifle, but you are not permitted to hang your laundry out to dry. The main logic behind that is that civilized neighbors should have enough money to buy a dryer, and anybody who wants to dry laundry in the sun, for an environmentally friendly, fresh smelling wash, must be trailer trash, so rules, regulations, and ordinances abound to prohibit such uncouth behavior. here:::
Don't ask me to explain it, it doesn't make any sense to me, either.
But it does bring to mind that golden moldie,
We had joy, we had fun, we had laundry in the sun~
Thursday, November 19, 2009
how long would the Golden Gate Bridge be if you measured it in Oreo cookies?
I know you've been sitting up late into the night wondering about this, allow me to inform you that the Golden Gate bridge is 28,800 Oreo cookies long. This is calculated on an average cookie size of 44mm diameter, and 8mm thick.
Thank dog that's answered! Now you may thank me for allowing you a good night's sleep, at last. Maybe you can dream about having 28,800 Oreos to eat. Burp.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Concerning polyphony (music with more than one musical part playing at a time), Daniel J Levitin says, "The Catholic Church banned music that contained polyphony, fearing it would cause people to doubt the unity of God."
Sounds superstitious? But then, consider that in our music now we have polyphony, quadrophony, harmony, and cacophony, people doubt not only the unity of god, but the existence of god.
So maybe they had a point. But I'll stick with polyphony, thanks a lot.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Friday, November 06, 2009
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
A couple of years ago, a tribal elder named Oro asked me, "Yugan, is the moon less bright than it was before?"
"How long ago do you mean, Oro? A couple million years ago, maybe."
"No, I feel that the moon is not as bright as it was when I was young. When I was young, I could walk from the Tribe to my hut at nighttime with only the moonlight, on mountain paths, through the jungle, and I could see fine, but I can't do that now. Maybe the moon isn't as bright as it was before."
"Ao, Oro, it may be age. When we read or look at things close up, we need reading glasses, because when you get older, your eyes don't absorb light as well as before."
"No, Yugan, my eyes are fine. I think the moon isn't as bright as it was before."
"That's only been a couple decades, the moonlight wouldn't change that quickly. I feel, now every night we have electric lights, maybe our eyes now are used to electric lights, so we can't see clearly without electric lights."
"Ao, balay, that makes sense! When I was young, we didn't have electricity, and I had never even seen a flashlight. Now there are electric lights everywhere. No wonder we can't see clearly at night."