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A catalog of this year’s risky articles #2010

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Programming Hands

Risk is something which can be difficult to evaluate for the average person, there is a lot of work which goes in to learning not to do the two things that people usually do when they are confronted with risk:

  1. Ignore
  2. Overreact

It looks like every man and his dog needs to have a Facebook page, even banks…

It has been almost 1.5 weeks since Google’s FeedBurner removed the Frie…

Some days ago I tweeted to Prosper, a personal loan marketplace, whether they…

I don’t really think most people get “it” when it comes to …

Just noticed that Google Translate translates the name of the Dutch social ne…

I find a 400 plus page manual of office policies and job descriptions for eac…

In the last two days I’ve not been posting so much, and focussing on up…

I started playing with Google Scribe and wanted to see if patterns emerged so…

I have my Google account set up with English as the preferred language, my br…

For the last 2 years LinkedIn has been running a bad poor IT management depar…

When I just started I too had trouble with getting all the items I required t…

On August 11th 2007 I exceeded my GMail quota, I blogged about it here. At th…

Brian Szymanski send a reply to me concerning another bank implementing SMS b…

I don’t understand why url expansion after url shortening is such an is…

I just read an article Web Coupons Know Lots About You, and They Tell in the …

This morning/night China’s networks were sending rerouting messages to …

The lack of trained and experienced computer security people working in small…

Last week I saw an episode of a popular Dutch Ombudsman program Kassa, they r…

After seeing a program about a lifecoach trying to find the time to get his p…

Image source Radio Nederland Wereldomroep


New Word: “Calque”

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is my new word, I found it while writing a previous blog. “Calque or loan translation is the borrowing of a phrase from a foreign language by the literal translation of the original word or phrase. The new word or phrase may retain the original meaning or evolve to have a different meaning.” “‘Loan translation’ is itself a calque of German Lehnübersetzung.Deus Ex Machina is and example of calque, it come from the Greek “apo mechanēs theos“.

An English example I took from is “flea market” which calques the French “marché aux puces“, although I wonder which the Dutch “vlooienmarkt” calques.

The Wikipedia user Ravenswood made a good comment on the Talk page:

Some […] seem to be phrases that would be the same in another language with or without borrowing (such as “liver sausage” — it’s a sausage made out of liver, what else would you call it?)

I found another uncited definition

calque, n. a loan translation, esp. one resulting from bilingual interference in which the internal structure of a borrowed word or phrase is maintained but its morphemes are replaced by those of the native language1

Another example not given in the Wikipedia entry could be the French ‘supermarché’, which calques English ‘supermarket’. (Ironic as ‘market’ is said to come from ‘marché’.) However the French ‘Médecins sans Frontière‘ (an NGO) is not calqued by the English ‘Doctors without Borders‘ and the Dutch ‘Artsen zonder Grenzen‘, as it is not a common phrase, it’s the proper name of an organization.

You can find a list of calques on . Can you think of any more?

Originally posted here.

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Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

June 30, 2010 at 9:42 am

Locard’s MacGuffin Theory #television

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TV is great, and I watch lots of it while playing on the computer, whether that’s researching a blog or real work. I love the workings of the mind and the workings of science. Which is why I like CSI, Bones and Numb3rs. The latter one annoys me often by using Mathmatics as the Deus Ex Machina, not that the former two are any better with their liberal use of the MacGuffin. CSI and Bones have the advantage of “Locard’s Exchange Principle” to produce the MacGuffin.

Wherever he steps, whatever he touches, whatever he leaves, even unconsciously, will serve as a silent witness against him. Not only his fingerprints or his footprints, but his hair, the fibers from his clothes, the glass he breaks, the tool mark he leaves, the paint he scratches, the blood or semen he deposits or collects. All of these and more, bear mute witness against him. This is evidence that does not forget. It is not confused by the excitement of the moment. It is not absent because human witnesses are. It is factual evidence. Physical evidence cannot be wrong, it cannot perjure itself, it cannot be wholly absent. Only human failure to find it, study and understand it, can diminish its value.” – Professor Edmond Locard*

Alfred Hitchcock gave the example of a MacGuffin thus:

It might be a Scottish name, taken from a story about two men in a train. One man says, ‘What’s that package up there in the baggage rack?’ And the other answers, ‘Oh that’s a McGuffin.’ The first one asks ‘What’s a McGuffin?’ ‘Well’ the other man says, ‘It’s an apparatus for trapping lions in the Scottish Highlands.’ The first man says, ‘But there are no lions in the Scottish Highlands,’ and the other one answers ‘Well, then that’s no McGuffin!’ So you see, a McGuffin is nothing at all.

Originally posted here.

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Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

June 20, 2010 at 10:16 am

Just Finished Reading “Eats, Shoots & Leaves” #books

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Eats, Shoots & Leaves

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation is another book my mother gave me. It wasn’t a hint, she had received an extra copy and gave it to me.

I thought the book was fun, it taught me a lot about where I make mistakes in punctuation. It should really be taught at school, I can’t remember ever being taught how to correctly use a semicolon or a dash. (Did you spot me split that infinitive? Hack!)

So how would you grade me? 🙂

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Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

March 5, 2009 at 3:19 pm


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Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

July 15, 2008 at 8:03 am

Posted in linguistics

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