Autonomous Trap 001
“What you’re looking at is a salt circle, a traditional form of protection—from within or without—in magical practice. In this case it’s being used to arrest an autonomous vehicle—a self-driving car, which relies on machine vision and processing to guide it. By quickly deploying the expected form of road markings—in this case, a No Entry glyph—we can confuse the car’s vision system into believing it’s surrounded by no entry points, and entrap it.”
using salt circle motor runes to trap driving AI is the most cyberpunk thing I’ve ever seen
It’s easy to find words that distinguish between other voiced/voiceless pairs in English - bus and buzz, fine and vine - but the two sounds represented by the “th” sequence in English are rarer and harder to learn, especially since English uses the same spelling for both of them.
A lot of people give up and just use near-minimal pairs like “think” and “this”, or “theta” and “they”, but there are actually a few true minimal pairs that you can use:
thigh - thy
ether - either
thistle - this’ll
It’s worth noting that function words in English, like pronouns, prepositions, and determiners, tend to have ð, while content words, especially nouns, tend to have θ.
Theta θ and eth ð are also found in the following noun/verb minimal pairs, at least for many dialects:
wreath - wreathe(I put a wreath on the door / I wreathe the door)
teeth - teethe(my teeth / the baby is teething)
loath - loathe(I’m loath to do it / I loathe doing it)
sheath - sheathe(in a sheath / to sheathe one’s sword)
sooth - soothe(for sooth! / to soothe someone)
Here the vowels differ, but the theta θ to eth ð, noun to verb relationship is preserved:
cloth - clothe(wear cloth / clothe oneself)
bath - bathe(take a bath / bathe the baby)
breath - breathe(take a breath / breathe deeply)
Make sure to try them at full volume, not whispering, because whispering involves turning off your vocal cords (which is why you can whisper when they’re inflamed with laryngitis).
These sounds are called dental fricatives or interdental fricatives, because the sound is produced by a thin stream of air friction where the tongue is at (dental) or between (interdental) the teeth. In the International Phonetic Alphabet, the voiceless interdental fricative, theta, is written θ, and the voiced interdental fricative, eth, is written ð.
As a bonus, here’s a minimal pair for ʒ and ð, thanks to recent developments in clothing technology: pleasure and pleather.
marzipanandminutiae: feels-for-the-fictional: satanpositive: Roses are red, that much is true, but...
Roses are red, that much is true, but violets are purple, not fucking blue.
I have been waiting for this post all my life.
They are indeed purple,
But one thing you’ve missed:
The concept of “purple”
Didn’t always exist.
Some cultures lack names
For a color, you see.
Hence good old Homer
And his “wine-dark sea.”
A usage so quaint,
A phrasing so old,
For verses of romance
Is sheer fucking gold.
So roses are red.
Violets once were called blue.
I’m hugely pedantic
But what else is new?
It’s for the same reason
(To continue this thread)
Why people with orange hair
Are known as redheads
It’s rare that a language
Would suffer the lack
Of basic distinctions
Like red, white, and black
But studies have shown
That the colours are linked
Later words that develop
Are orange, purple, pink
It may seem obscure
This colour typology
But you do the same
When you’re sorting the laundry
OoOOoOoo!! Tad Williams!
Steven R. Boyett and Ken Mitchroney, FATA MORGANA (Blackstone Publishing, Hardcover, $26.99) on Saturday, June 10th at 3:00pm
Writers With Drinks with authors Denise Benavides, Robyn Bennis, Christina DiEdoardo, Glen David Gold, and Mark Oshiro at the Make Out Room on Saturday, June 10th at 7:30pm
Richard Kadrey, THE KILL SOCIETY (Harper Voyager, Hardcover, $25.99) and Ellen Klages, WICKED WONDERS (Tachyon Publications, Trade Paperback, $15.95) on Sunday, June 11th at 3:00pm
Dan Wells, NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE (Tor Books, Hardcover, $27.99; Trade Paperback, $14.99) on Sunday, June 11th at 5:00pm
SF in SF with authors Steve Boyett & Ken Mitchroney at The American Bookbinders Museum on Sunday, June 11th at 6:30pm
Michael Johnston, SOLERI (Tor Books, Hardcover, $27.99) on Tuesday, June 13th at 5:00pm
Daryl Gregory, SPOONBENDERS (Knopf, Hardcover, $26.95) on Wednesday, June 28th at 6:00pm
Tad Williams, THE WITCHWOOD CROWN (DAW, Hardcover, $30.00) on Saturday, July 1st at 3:00pm
S.B. Divya, RUNTIME (Tor.com Trade Paperback, $11.99) on Thursday, July 6th at 7:00pm
Dana Fredsti, SPAWN OF LILITH (Titan, Trade Paperback, $14.95) on Saturday, July 8th at 3:00pm
Sarah Kuhn, HEROINE WORSHIP (DAW, Trade Paperback, $15.00) on Sunday, July 9th at 3:00pm
SF in SF with authors Curtis Chen & Megan O'Keefe at The American Bookbinders Museum on Sunday, July 9th at 6:30pm
G.L. Carriger, THE SUMAGE SOLUTION on Saturday, July 15th at 3:00pm
Casey Karp, THE RAGTIME TRAVELER on Sunday, July 16th at 3:00 pm
David D. Levine, ARABELLA AND THE BATTLE OF VENUS on Saturday, July 22nd at 3:00pm
Steven R. Boyett and Ken Mitchroney, FATA MORGANA (Blackstone Publishing, Hardcover, $26.99) on Saturday, June 10th at 3:00pm - Please join us to meet authors Steven R, Boyett and Ken Mitchroney, who will be showing off their amazing new novel FATA MORGANA! From the publisher: "At the height of the air war in Europe, Captain Joe Farley and the baseball-loving, wisecracking crew of the B-17 Flying Fortress Fata Morgana are in the middle of a harrowing bombing mission over East Germany when everything goes sideways. The bombs are still falling and flak is still exploding all around the 20-ton bomber as it is knocked like a bathtub duck into another world. Suddenly stranded with the final outcasts of a desolated world, Captain Farley navigates a maze of treachery and wonder -- and finds a love seemingly decreed by fate -- as his bomber becomes a pawn in a centuries-old conflict between remnants of advanced but decaying civilizations. Caught among these bitter enemies, a vast power that has brought them here for its own purposes, and a terrifying living weapon bent on their destruction, the crew must use every bit of their formidable inventiveness and courage to survive."
Writers With Drinks with authors Denise Benavides, Robyn Bennis, Christina DiEdoardo, Glen David Gold, and Mark Oshiro at the Make Out Room (3225 22nd Street) on Saturday, June 10th at 7:30pm - Writers With Drinks is the most awesome spoken-word variety show in the world, hosted by Charlie Jane Anders, and we're always happy to participate! The amazing lineup this month includes authors Denise Benavides, Robyn Bennis (The Guns Above), Christina DiEdoardo (Lanza's Mob: The Mafia and San Francisco), Glen David Gold (Carter Beats the Devil, Sunnyside), and Mark Oshiro (Mark Reads Harry Potter). Cost: $5 to $20, no-one turned away for lack of funds. All proceeds benefit local non-profits. Doors open at 6:30 and Borderlands will be on hand to sell books.
Richard Kadrey, THE KILL SOCIETY (Harper Voyager, Hardcover, $25.99) and Ellen Klages, WICKED WONDERS (Tachyon Publications, Trade Paperback, $15.95) on Sunday, June 11th at 3:00pm - We're delighted to welcome these authors who have almost nothing in common except the fact that they're both awesome! Richard Kadrey will be showing off his latest gritty noir Sandman Slim, THE KILL SOCIETY, and Ellen will be debuting a kick-ass new collection of short stories from her wild and versatile imagination, WICKED WONDERS. We hope you'll join us for an odd-couple event that promises to be huge fun!
Dan Wells, NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE (Tor Books, Hardcover, $27.99; Trade Paperback, $14.99) on Sunday, June 11th at 5:00pm - Dan Wells returns to Borderlands to mark the release of the sixth book in the John Cleaver series. As the publisher states: "'Hi. My name is John Cleaver, and I hunt monsters. I used to do it alone, and then for a while I did it with a team of government specialists, and then the monsters found us and killed almost everyone, and now I hunt them alone again. This is my story.' In this thrilling installment in the John Wayne Cleaver series, Dan Wells brings his beloved antihero into a final confrontation with the Withered. NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE is a conclusion that is both completely compelling and completely unexpected." We'll also be screening the movie of "I Am Not a Serial Killer"! Join us for what is sure to be an incredibly entertaining event.
SF in SF with authors Steve Boyett & Ken Mitchroney at The American Bookbinders Museum on Sunday, June 11th at 6:30pm - (Suggested donation $10, no one turned away for lack of funds.) Doors and bar at 5:30 pm, event begins at 6:30 pm. We're so happy to participate in the Science Fiction in San Francisco reading series! The authors will read a selection from their work, followed by Q&A from the audience moderated by author Terry Bisson. The authors will schmooze & sign books after. Books available for sale courtesy of Borderlands Books. Seating is limited, so first come, first seated. Bar proceeds benefit the American Bookbinders Museum. Phone (night of event) 415-572-1015. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Johnston, SOLERI (Tor Books, Hardcover, $27.99) on Tuesday, June 13th at 5:00pm - We're happy to welcome Michael Johnston for an informal signing in the bookstore! SOLERI is Michael's debut, and this is the fascinating description from the publisher: "Vast in scope and intricate in conception, SOLERI is the story of a rebellious king, his ambitious daughters, his lost son, and their secrets and struggles for dynastic supremacy. Rooted in the history of ancient Egypt, the novel is the result of a decade of research and is inspired by the Johnson’s passion for and study of art history, his previous career in architecture, and the story of King Lear. And at its heart, it's the story of a family, albeit a massively dysfunctional one told on a grand canvas." Join us to meet this up-and-coming author!
Daryl Gregory, SPOONBENDERS (Knopf, Hardcover, $26.95) on Wednesday, June 28th at 6:00pm - We're always happy to welcome the versatile and talented Daryl Gregory to Borderlands! His new novel is SPOONBENDERS, a loving and weird generation-spanning chronicle of the Telemachus family, "known for performing inexplicable feats on talk shows and late-night television. Teddy, a master conman, heads up a clan who possess gifts he only fakes: there's Maureen, who can astral project; Irene, the human lie detector; Frankie, gifted with telekinesis; and Buddy, the clairvoyant. But when, one night, the magic fails to materialize, the family withdraws to Chicago where they live in shame for years. Until: As they find themselves facing a troika of threats (CIA, mafia, unrelenting skeptic), Matty, grandson of the family patriarch, discovers a bit of the old Telemachus magic in himself. Now, they must put past obstacles behind them and unite like never before. But will it be enough to bring The Amazing Telemachus Family back to its amazing life?" We hope you'll join us to meet Daryl and explore this incredible new novel!
Tad Williams, THE WITCHWOOD CROWN (DAW, Hardcover, $30.00) on Saturday, July 1st at 3:00pm - We're very pleased to welcome Tad Williams to Borderlands, as he returns to the beloved world of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn! From the publisher: "More than thirty years have passed since the events of the earlier novels, and the world has reached a critical turning point once again. The realm is threatened by divisive forces, even as old allies are lost, and others are lured down darker paths. Perhaps most terrifying of all, the Norns -- the long-vanquished elvish foe -- are stirring once again, preparing to reclaim the mortal-ruled lands that once were theirs. . . . " Don't miss this opportunity to meet a genre superstar and check out this (re)start to an amazing series!
S.B. Divya, RUNTIME (Tor.com Trade Paperback, $11.99) on Thursday, July 6th at 7:00pm - We're delighted to welcome 2016 Nebula Award finalist S.B. Divya for an informal signing at Borderlands! Her novella is called RUNTIME, and here's the summary from the publisher: "The Minerva Sierra Challenge is a grueling spectacle, the cyborg's Tour de France. Rich thrill-seekers with corporate sponsorships, extensive support teams, and top-of-the-line exoskeletal and internal augmentations pit themselves against the elements in a day-long race across the Sierra Nevada. Marmeg Guinto doesn't have funding, and she doesn't have support. She cobbled her gear together from parts she found in rich people's garbage and spent the money her mother wanted her to use for nursing school to enter the race. But the Minerva Challenge is the only chance she has at a better life for herself and her younger brothers, and she's ready to risk it all." We hope you'll join us to meet this up and coming author!
Dana Fredsti, SPAWN OF LILITH (Titan, Trade Paperback, $14.95) on Saturday, July 8th at 3:00pm - We're happy to welcome local author and Borderlands sponsor Dana Fredsti, who will be showing off SPAWN OF LILITH! In this new novel, according to Dana's site, ". . . successful actress and stuntwoman Lee Striga finds herself with an unwanted second job: demon hunter, paying off an ancient family debt in order to free her ancestor, Lilith, Mother of Demons, imprisoned centuries ago by a vengeful god". Dana's books are always great fun, and you're missing out if you miss this one!
Sarah Kuhn, HEROINE WORSHIP (DAW, Trade Paperback, $15.00) on Sunday, July 9th at 3:00pm - We're thrilled to welcome Sarah Kuhn back to Borderlands! We loved HEROINE COMPLEX, and now Sarah is back with a kick-ass followup, HEROINE WORSHIP: "Once upon a time, Aveda Jupiter (aka Annie Chang) was demon-infested San Francisco’s most beloved superheroine, a beacon of hope and strength and really awesome outfits. But all that changed the day she agreed to share the spotlight with her best friend and former assistant Evie Tanaka -- who's now a badass, fire-wielding superheroine in her own right. They were supposed to be a dynamic duo, but more and more, Aveda finds herself shoved into the sidekick role. Where, it must be said, she is not at all comfortable. It doesn’t help that Aveda’s finally being forced to deal with fallout from her diva behavior -- and the fact that she’s been a less than stellar friend to Evie. Or that Scott Cameron -- the man Aveda’s loved for nearly a decade -- is suddenly giving her the cold shoulder after what seemed to be some promising steps toward friendship. Or that the city has been demon-free for three months in the wake of Evie and Aveda’s apocalypse-preventing battle against the evil forces of the Otherworld, leaving Aveda without the one thing she craves most in life: a mission." We hope you'll join us to follow the saga of these super-heroines!
SF in SF with authors Curtis Chen & Megan O'Keefe at The American Bookbinders Museum on Sunday, July 9th at 6:30pm - ((Suggested donation $10, no one turned away for lack of funds.) Doors and bar at 5:30 pm, event begins at 6:30 pm. We're so happy to participate in the Science Fiction in San Francisco reading series! The authors will read a selection from their work, followed by Q&A from the audience moderated by author Terry Bisson. The authors will schmooze & sign books after. Books available for sale courtesy of Borderlands Books. Seating is limited, so first come, first seated. Bar proceeds benefit the American Bookbinders Museum. Phone (night of event) 415-572-1015. Questions? Email email@example.com.)
G.L. Carriger, THE SUMAGE SOLUTION on Saturday, July 15th at 3:00pm - We're happy to welcome Gail Carriger back to Borderlands, for the start of a sweetly smutty new series! From the press release: "NYT bestseller Gail Carriger, writing as G. L. Carriger, presents an offbeat gay romance in which a sexy werewolf with a white knight complex meets a bad boy mage with an attitude problem. Sparks (and other things) fly. Max fails everything -- magic, relationships, life. So he works for DURPS (the DMV for supernatural creatures) as a sumage, cleaning up other mages' messes. The job sucks and he's in no mood to cope with redneck biker werewolves. Unfortunately, there's something oddly appealing about the huge, muscled Beta visiting his office for processing. Bryan AKA Biff (yeah, he knows) is gay but he’s not out. There's a good chance Max might be reason enough to leave the closet, if he can only get the man to go on a date. Everyone knows werewolves hate mages, but Bryan is determined to prove everyone wrong, even the mage in question."
Casey Karp, THE RAGTIME TRAVELER on Sunday, July 16th at 3:00 pm - We're happy to host local author Casey Karp to Borderlands! Casey has brilliantly completed THE RAGTIME TRAVELLER, the fourth book in Larry Karp's Ragtime Mystery series. In this thrilling installment, time travel helps solve the murder! From the publisher: "It takes one moment in 2016 for ragtime music expert Alan Chandler to go from sitting in his hotel room in Sedalia, Missouri, to standing beside the King of Ragtime-Scott Joplin-at his upright piano in 1899. Chandler suddenly finds himself more than one hundred years earlier inside the famous Maple Leaf Club with its gas chandeliers, massive walnut bar, gaming tables, and pals surrounding the noted pianist and composer. 'What in the hell is going on? Am I dreaming?' Clearly something unexpected is going on for Chandler in the fourth and final Ragtime Mystery by father and son Larry Karp and Casey Karp. A longtime friend Mickey Potash phones Chandler, top ragtime performer and national expert on Joplin, to say that a duffel filled with Joplin's handwritten music has surfaced. Chandler and his grandson, Tom, race from Seattle to Sedalia to evaluate what may be the most important find in popular American music. Potash shows them initial pages which look authentic, but before they can get the duffel hidden in a padlocked closet, he is tortured and murdered. The duffel is stolen. Disappointment encourages a resurgence of symptoms in Chandler’s Stage 4 cancer. He's determined to validate the music before time runs out. Tom, and later his wife, Miriam, help him. Another murder complicates their investigation. The trail to the duffel is crowded: Jackson and Saramae, two young people with journalism in their blood, want to solve the crime, as do homicide detectives and antique shopkeepers. Not surprisingly, the roots of the lost music lie in past emotional conflict, now tangled in genealogical warfare." You can read an excerpt from the novel here: https://poisonedpenpress.com/books/ragtime-traveler-ragtime-mystery-4/. Casey Karp will be discussing ragtime music and the new novel!
David D. Levine, ARABELLA AND THE BATTLE OF VENUS on Saturday, July 22nd at 3:00pm - We're happy to welcome David Levine to Borderlands, where he'll be showing off a brand-new adventure in the ongoing story of the swashbuckling Arabella Ashby! From the publisher's website: "Arabella's wedding plans to marry Captain Singh of the Honorable Mars Trading Company are interrupted when her fiance' is captured by the French and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp on swampy Venus. Now, Arabella must find passage to an enemy-controlled planet in the middle of a war, bribe or fight her way past vicious guards, and rescue her Captain. To do this she must enlist the help of the dashing privateer, Daniel Fox of the Touchstone and build her own clockwork navigational automaton in order to get to Venus before the dread French general, Joseph Fouche', the Executioner of Lyon. Once on Venus, Arabella, Singh, and Fox soon discover that Napoleon has designed a secret weapon, one that could subjugate the entire galaxy if they can't discover a way to stop Fouche', and the entire French army, from completing their emperor's mandate." You can read Chapter 1 here: http://www.tor.com/2017/06/19/excerpts-david-levine-arabella-and-the-battle-of-venus/
"We normally decide how to pronounce an unfamiliar word by drawing analogies with English words we..."
We normally decide how to pronounce an unfamiliar word by drawing analogies with English words we already know. For example, we knew how to pronounce “-ly” from words like “slowly,” so it isn’t too hard to figure out how to pronounce “bigly.”
But sometimes this approach runs into problems. In this case, there just aren’t any common English words ending in -efe. A wild-card search on the very comprehensive dictionary aggregator OneLook yielded the following list of words: jefe, fefe, efe, hefe, okeefe, hogrefe, keefe, reprefe, tefe and kefe. Pretty obscurefe.
So we have to search further afield. Maybe we go for the Spanish word “jefe,” meaning “boss.” Maybe we look to a different vowel, as in “fife” or “cafe.” Maybe we look to other spellings of the /f/ sound at the end of a word, like “ff” as in “fluff,” “gaffe” and “coiffe.”
The problem is that none of these is a close analogue, making it unsurprising that several Twitter polls have found that people are strongly split. But it looks like the lack of -fefe endings won’t remain true for long. People have started smashing covfefe together with other words to refer to the covfefe meme. There now exists the “threadfefe” (a thread about covfefe), an “exorfefe” (an exorcist of the word covfefe), a “presifefe” (president) and the slogan “If u think you’re above covfefe you’re part of the probfefe.””
- I wrote about the linguistics of why it’s hard to say covfefe for the Washington Post.
I want to design a website exclusively in these colors....
So if you’ve ever picked out paint, you know that every infinitesimally different shade of blue, beige, and gray has its own descriptive, attractive name. Tuscan sunrise, blushing pear, Tradewind, etc… There are in fact people who invent these names for a living. But given that the human eye can see millions of distinct colors, sooner or later we’re going to run out of good names. Can AI help?
For this experiment, I gave the neural network a list of about 7,700 Sherwin-Williams paint colors along with their RGB values. (RGB = red, green, and blue color values) Could the neural network learn to invent new paint colors and give them attractive names?
One way I have of checking on the neural network’s progress during training is to ask it to produce some output using the lowest-creativity setting. Then the neural network plays it safe, and we can get an idea of what it has learned for sure.
By the first checkpoint, the neural network has learned to produce valid RGB values - these are colors, all right, and you could technically paint your walls with them. It’s a little farther behind the curve on the names, although it does seem to be attempting a combination of the colors brown, blue, and gray.
By the second checkpoint, the neural network can properly spell green and gray. It doesn’t seem to actually know what color they are, however.
Let’s check in with what the more-creative setting is producing.
Later in the training process, the neural network is about as well-trained as it’s going to be (perhaps with different parameters, it could have done a bit better - a lot of neural network training involves choosing the right training parameters). By this point, it’s able to figure out some of the basic colors, like white, red, and grey:
Although not reliably.
In fact, looking at the neural network’s output as a whole, it is evident that:
- The neural network really likes brown, beige, and grey.
- The neural network has really really bad ideas for paint names.
The neural network figuring out white and red is tantalizingly close to how the first colour distinction that human languages tend to develop is between light and dark and red, although grey is one of the latest colour distinctions to show up. I wonder if you could tweak the parameters such that the neural network would learn to split colours in the same order that human languages do (or in a radically different trajectory).
!! that is such a flattering dress for C. Amazing!
oh god, so good because I've just started to notice the sandwich thing on my radar lately
Sometimes people ask the best questions on Reddit:
What does Yoda’s syntax look like in non-English versions of Star Wars? For those who aren’t familiar with Star Wars (all two of you), Yoda is an alien who, when speaking English, uses what seems to be an OSV syntax instead of the traditional SVO syntax.
So how do foreign translations of the script handle this? I am particularly interested in what it looks like in non-SVO languages. Are there any translations where Yoda’s incorrect syntax is emulated by using an English-like syntax? Or are other languages’ syntax so free that mistakes in the use of case or verb conjugations must instead be used to emulate Yoda’s “alien” speech?
And some answers so far:
Czech: Free word order. Yoda speaks consistently in SOV. Interestingly enough, putting an object before a verb does sound unusual to most speakers of Czech.
Estonian: Free word order language. Yoda retains the English OSV order. This is grammatical in Estonian, but does make it seem as though Yoda is constantly stressing the object phrase as the main point of his statements. This gives his speech an unusual quality.
French: An SVO language. Yoda speaks in OSV.
German: A SVO or SOV language. Yoda brings the Object to the front (OSV), like in English.
Hungarian: A free word order language. There is nothing unusual about Yoda’s speech.
Italian: An SVO language. Yoda speaks in OSV. Note: OSV is also the syntax used in the Italian of the less-proficient speakers of Italian from the region of Sardinia.
Japanese: An SOV language. Yoda seems to use a more or less correct syntax, with a more archaic vocabulary.
Korean: An SOV language. Nothing is unusual about Yoda’s grammar.
Norwegian: An SVO language. Yoda speaks in OSV.
Romanian: An SVO language. Yoda speaks in OSV. He also places adjectives before the noun instead of after the noun, and uses an archaic form of the future tense.
Spanish: An SVO language. Yoda speaks in OSV.
Turkish: An SOV language. Yoda speaks in OSV. Note: This order is also used in classical Ottoman poetry, so the syntax may have been chosen in order to emphasize Yoda’s wisdom or age.
"Gretchen: It’s unlikely that you’d get a language that only has three colour terms and those terms..."
Gretchen: It’s unlikely that you’d get a language that only has three colour terms and those terms are turquoise, orange, and pink.
Lauren: Yeah, because that’s not covering a lot. I mean, it might be covering a lot of the colour space in your wardrobe but not for all speakers.
Gretchen: Admittedly there is a lot of turquoise in my wardrobe.
Lauren: So it’s not surprising that late stage colours like pink and orange have really clear and recent etymologies in English compared to something like red or green or white. I remember when I learned this stuff in undergrad a friend of mine in the class just would not believe that you could cover brown, purple, and grey in one colour. She was just like “how could you have one word that covers all of those three??” And then one day she came to class and she was so excited and was like, “look, look at the scarf that I bought!” And it was true, you couldn’t tell, in certain contexts it looked brown and some contexts it looked purple and in some contexts it looked grey and that was her, like, theoretical proof those colours were close enough that it made sense to put them in one word.
Gretchen: Well the scarf actually brings us into an interesting point about why languages developed colour terms, which is that there’s often some relationship between produced goods whether that’s dyed fabrics or gemstones or other types of processed goods that people make into specific colours. Because if you’re thinking about the sky for example, you know, we say all the time the sky is blue, but it’s really not necessary to specify that the sky is blue. You can say the sky is dark or light, the sky is cloudy or clear, and if it’s clear and its light of course it’s blue! What other colour is it going to be? Or you can say something like the tree is living or the tree is dying, you don’t necessarily need to specify the tree is is green or that it’s red. In nature a lot of things only really come in one specific colour. Whereas once you start making cars you don’t say this car is ripe or it’s not ripe, or this car is cloudy or it’s clear, or this dress that you’re going to make is ripe or unripe or that this basket that you’re weaving is dyed a particular colour. Once you start dying stuff in colours it becomes more useful to talk about a finer variations or if you send someone to buy for you a particular thing in particular colour may want to specify exactly what that colours going be once you start colouring stuff artificially.
Lauren: So certain technological innovations can give rise to the necessity for finer distinctions and colour terms.
Gretchen: And some colour terms are etymologically linked to specific things that created those colours. Purple, for example, is linked to the name of the particular mollusc that was used to make purple dye back around ancient Greece.
Gretchen: I came across a women in Eastern Europe where specifically the older women had more colour terms related to traditional dyeing methodology for textiles, whereas the younger women had become disconnected from traditional dyeing terminology for textiles and could no longer identify words like madder and russet and stuff like this that are used in traditional terms – they tended to use more industrialised colour terms. This seems to be one of those “if you use it you get more words for it” areas, like with any specialised domain.
Lauren: Yeah, there’s a professional vocabulary distinction to be made there as well. I do remember reading something, and again we’re into uncited anec-data here, but I do remember reading something that said professionals can discriminate with more technical words, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they see more colours than people who don’t have these professional words. So you might give people two similar colour chips. And someone who does fabric work will say “that’s magenta and that’s russet,” whereas someone who doesn’t have to discriminate will be like, “Well, this one’s rustier and this one’s richer red.” They can still see the difference. It’s not like not having the word prevents you. Or, people who I’m friends with in Nepal who predominantly speak a language that doesn’t have a blue-green distinction, they still see the distinction, they still prefer fabric in one colour over another one.
Gretchen: Yeah, if you’re painting your bedroom yellow, you’re not going to be like, “I dunno, all yellows look the same to me” – you probably care whether it’s like a lemon yellow or a butter yellow or a golden yellow.”
- Excerpt from Episode 5 of Lingthusiasm: Colour words around the world and inside your brain. Listen to the full episode, read the transcript, or check out the show notes for links to further reading.
After a month of brainstorming and indecision, I decided to make an applique quilt for my assigned partner (one of my older sisters) using scraps arranged in the shape of an elephant. For my pattern, I printed up a large-scale elephant at the copy shop for about $4. I traced the elephant outline directly onto my fusible backing then cut the fusible into several pieces corresponding with distinct parts of the elephant (trunk, legs, tail, etc). Then I chose some coordinating fabrics in pink and orange, cut them into random shapes for the main body and curved pieces for the trunk. The pieces were then carefully fused to the glue side of the fusible web. I tried to arrange the fabric pieces so that darker and lighter tones demarcated specific parts of the elephant to give it a more defined shape. I think I mostly succeeded with that.
Once all the fusing was complete, I removed the paper backing and fused the individual pieces to a piece of Kona (burgundy, I think). I pieced a backing using more of the Kona and some pieced strips using more of the fabric from the front. After putting all the pieces together and basting, I had to figure out how to quilt everything without going nuts. I decided to quilt over all the raw edges using free-motion techniques to avoid all the needle-down rotating stuff. It was my first time doing free motion (I hadn't yet done the watercolor quilting workshop at Handcraft Studio School) and it turned out pretty good. I also zig-zag stitched all around the elephant to give even more definition to the shape when viewed on the reverse.
The finished piece is a lap-sized quilt bound with more of the lovely orange and pink flower fabric used in the applique. For some extras, I included a fat quarter of a strawberry print fabric, some adorable wood buttons, jelly beans, a gift card, and paper flowers. I know my sister will enjoy it all!
Ah, dang, this was written before I kind of raced ahead of my planned goal dates. The release date for The Audacity Gambit is April 26th and links to preorder and see the cover are here.
I knew that the simple image of an arbour on fire wasn’t going to be the right thing for the final cover for The Audacity Gambit, but I wasn’t quite sure how to balance the imagery I wanted and the right look of a sort-of-New-Adult-Fantasy-novel. If I was someone who did more planning outside my head, here’s where I’d show you some cool thumbnails of concepts.
But, that’s not the kind of person that I am, not for this sort of thing. I basically let things sit and ferment in my head for a while, until the base of an idea bubbled to the surface. What about flowers? Not like, rich oil painted florals or photos thick with petals grabbed from stock image sources. What I thought of were the kind of flowers I saw on decorative items in houses growing up. Simple petals done with simpler strokes, they were often more the idea of a specific flower than an accurate one.
Called “tole painting” in my grandma’s time and “one-stroke” by the time I was seeing shows about it on PBS, it’s a kind of decorative painting that has graced the sides of many a useless item in a house aspiring to country kitsch. Like many things, its value and history is diluted with a popularity and overproduction that caused it to be labelled “tacky.” But the same strokes were used to decorate enamelled boxes in the Victorian era as the ones on empty milk can catch-alls in the 90s. And today, the same strokes are used to amazing effect on nail art.
Besides, they were something I knew I could do and my strange little personal library had resources.
YouTube does too (I particularly like this channel) and I spent some time reading and watching, practising the pleasantly simple movements. And, because I am always one to plunge into a new technique with little forethought, I pulled out paper and started painting the cover with literally no plan.
It absolutely should not have worked out as well as it did. I should have thought about the proportions of the cover, how I wanted to work text into it, where the dang arbour on fire was going to go. But I didn’t. I just painted.
Mind you, I’ve been painting in one form or another for most of my life and spent a good chunk of high school apprenticed to a mural painter, so it’s not like I was going in completely blind. I was just relying on twenty years of practise to create good instinct. Which I guess is, in itself, good instinct.
The final painting was basically what I’d seen in my head and I cannot explain to you how rare that is, even when you’re doing something you have done for years and years. There’s always some variable that comes up and alters what you were picturing, giving you a perfectly good end result but never exactly the thing you pictured.
After I scanned the painting and laid it into the cover template, I was almost angry with how well it turned out (the folks at my Patreon have got a peek), but I feel like how nicely it came together was an absolute gift. Plus, I got to try a painting technique I’ve wanted to try for years, so that was a nice bonus.
The post Designing The Cover for The Audacity Gambit: Painting appeared first on B.Zedan.
I feel like I know some people this would be great for
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Your linguist name is your name but in IPA.
sounds like something Netflix could/would pick up...
While cycling today I had the most random thought: that it would be cool if a larger fraction of the populace were as interested in linguistics as I am, because then we could have TV documentaries like “Top 10 Most Extreme Phonologies” (which would have to include Hawaiian, Ubykh, and of course Pirahã).
“The Grice Is Right: Come on down and figure out which Gricean Maxims are relevant!”
“Girls: An extensive docu-drama of young women’s linguistic innovation from around the world”
“The X-bar Files”
Last weekend I took part in a fun workshop at Handcraft Studio School in El Cerrito. Watercolor quilting. Yes, watercolor quilting. It was so much fun! We learned how to use special fabric dye to create an abstract watercolor painting on 10" squares of fabric. Then we made a quilt sandwich and learned how to free-motion quilt using the painting as inspiration. Some people did abstract quilting and some people made recognizable images, but they were all wonderful.
I chose to stick to a single color in a couple shades, since I'm not too great at color mixing on the fly. It was perfect, though, because it allowed me to really focus on the patterns that emerged from the paint and find interesting ways to emphasize certain shapes and lines. The quilting on the back is just as interesting as the quilting on the front (maybe even more so since my paintings aren't that interesting).
Ashley, the instructor, is a professional quilter who teaches classes on Creativebug that are great for learning to make quilts. In the workshop, she gave some tips on how to free-motion quilt without having to buy all the fancy tools, and recommended a few tools that she wouldn't want to do without. She said the watercolor quilting class will appear on Creativebug sometime this year, so that is definitely something to be excited about! I'll need some reminders for sure.
Just a small creature this week. I’m not sure he’d be much use at hunting dragons, he looks to me more like a spaniel who thinks he’s fierce.
I made two changes from the original ms, the first being the colour. I moved away from the original blue because he’s trotting along underneath a big blue horse, and that would have been too much blue. The second was that on the principle of blank space is a very bad thing in medieval art, I put a flower on the end of his tail. Although I’m not so sure it’s a flower, it could be a decorative version of those spiky clubs some dinosaurs had on the end of their tails?
Don’t ask me the name of the dinosaur though, it could have been Gilbert for all I know…
So, here it is. Version one of a new pattern I'm designing. Despite all its imperfections and mistakes, I'm happy with the way it turned out. The design uses a few very basic block designs, including "lazy angle," half square triangle, and whatever that clipped corner square is called. My intention was to create a cloud hovering over a gradient sky, and I included both solids and prints to create dimension and interest. Since this was mostly a learning/practice project to perfect the design, I'll mostly talk about its flaws (though you're free to admire its glowing qualities as well).
First off, the gradient went too light at the bottom left corner, making the cloud too difficult to see. The easy fix, of course, is to start darker. The next glaring mistake was in my initial mental calculation for how to cut and assemble the clipped-corner-square blocks. After talking it over with my math teacher husband, I made a line graph that quickly and easily solved my problem, so version two will have perfectly matched seams. Lastly, I ran out of one of the fabrics I had selected, which threw off my gradient in the top left corner and required a bit of muddling to get right again. Next time, buy more fabric!
One thing I'm completely happy with is the quilting design. The simple wavy lines, overlapping in random spots, adds some movement, like wind, so I can almost imagine the cloud can move across the fabric background. I also love, love, love the bright yellow fabric print I chose for the binding. It pops so nicely with the blue and aqua shades and adds a feeling of sunshine coming through the clouds.
I think my next version will be a larger, maybe lap-size, quilt with a repeating cloud motif or just larger-scale single cloud. Either way, it's a design I love that I will pursue as soon as I wrap up a few more projects in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, I think this mini will become a thank-you gift for a woman who was, in a way, an integral part in the creation of this piece. I hope she likes it as much as I do!
Another article unnecessarily criticizing filler words, this time in the New York Times; another blog post debunking it, this time by Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein. Excerpt of the blog post:
Among the many types of discourse markers are a subset sometimes known as verbalized pauses. People who are not linguists also call them “filler words” and “verbal crutches,” but those terms are misleading.
Why don’t we just get rid of them, the NYT article asks. After all, “verbal fillers that can make you sound, you know, nervous or not so smart.”
These kinds of pauses do give us time to think of what we’ll say next — but that’s not all they do. Compare the examples below with and without the discourse markers.
They allow us to soften disagreement or criticism by making it somewhat more polite.
- The thing is, she worked really hard.
- Um, it’s my not my favorite.
They emphasize whatever it is we’re going to say next.
- My teacher is, like, a total nutjob.
They allow us to introduce delicate topics.
- Sooooo, um, how are things at home?
- Have you, ah, thought any more about counseling?
They communicate subtle nuances of emotional stance.
- I’m feeling, you know, not too bad about that exam.
They allow us to indicate our degree of certainty.
- I must have had, like, seven hundred pages of reading to do.
- She was, I think, pretty pissed off.
As you can see, these discourse markers do an immense amount of important social and emotional work for us. They add nuance and richness to our speech. In fact, we can’t be socially appropriate human beings without them. Even if we got rid of particular markers — if we stopped saying um and so and like — we’d just end up using new ones in their place. […]
Mele writes: “Speakers who are well known in their professions but overuse verbal pauses are still perceived as credible because they have built a reputation. Audience members will chalk up those habits to just the way they talk, Ms. Marshall said. … But newcomers who use as many interjections as seasoned professionals will be seen as less credible because they do not have the years of experience.”
Yet he stops short of the obvious conclusion: there’s nothing wrong with using these words. The only people who are critiqued for using them are already low-status, and this critique helps maintain the low status of certain people and groups.
Given the chance, butterflies will eat blood. Blood contains all manner of minerals and nutrients that are beneficial for most living organisms. It also contains a significant amount of sodium and glucose, two essential dietary blocks for most butterflies. Both of these are also found in fruit. It also contains a significant amount of sodium and glucose, two essential dietary blocks for most butterflies. Both of these are also found in fruit.
blue-mug:In my linguistics class we were talking about “insertion” which is basically when you say a...
In my linguistics class we were talking about “insertion” which is basically when you say a word and pronounce an extra letter or sound even though it’s not written in the word itself, to which my professor used the example of “hamster” because when you say it you pronounce a “p” even though it’s not written and this group of guys were going through an existential crisis because they couldn’t believe they said hamster with a “p” and one kid began to question everything in his life and it was beautiful
My favourite example along these lines is the hidden nasal sounds in English that you don’t even realize you’re producing. Everyone knows about /m/ and /n/ because they have distinct letters, but there’s also a sound that’s often written “ng” and yet not actually pronounced as n+g. For example, “ng” in “finger” is pronounced like “n+g” but “ng” in “singer” is a totally distinct sound (known as “engma” and written /ŋ/ in the IPA).
Even more obscurely, /m/ is normally produced with a closure of the two lips, but when it’s found before /f/ or /v/, it gets pronounced with the teeth on the lips instead, just like /f/ and /v/ are, as in “comfort” or “symphony”. The IPA symbol for this is /ɱ/, and I don’t think it technically has a fun name, but I call it “emfma” by analogy with “engma” and every linguist I’ve said it to has understood me.
what linguistics actually is: god i love the consonant-vowel structure in polynesian languages
remember when lol meant “laughing out loud” instead of “this is to indicate that this brief text isn’t hostile”
remember when lol meant “this brief text isn’t hostile” instead of “this brief text is in fact horrendously hostile and very passive aggressive”
There’s a linguistics paper about lol that explains both of these meanings!