T.H.E.: 'A scary new word to emerge in our cover story is "hyper-bureaucracy", which describes "an out-of-control system" that emerges in the search for optimum efficiency and takes no account of the costs in time, energy and money that are needed to achieve it. It is a bureaucratic nightmare in which there is no end to the extra information that can be acquired. The monitoring of contact hours and how academics spend their time are examples of the type of bureaucracy that "eats up people and resources", according to Andrew Oswald, professor of economics at the University of Warwick.'
'As scores of historians have not failed to point out, this standard narrative is inherently implausible inasmuch as the medieval conception of the cosmos was less anthropocentric than diabolocentric, the earth being regarded as ‘the filth and mire of the world, the worst, lowest, most lifeless part of the universe, the bottom story of the house’ (Montaigne as quoted by Arthur Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being, op. cit., 102) and the actual centre of the universe being identified with hell.' (Intro. to Collapse V, p. 11 note.)
Boing Boing: 'Postmamboism is a portable theory that places music at the center of understanding and uses music to interrogate other fields of study... The term Postmamboism derives from the Kikongo word imbú, likely used in Cuba from the 16th century on, that is variously translated as "word," "law," "song," or "important matter," and which is pluralized as ma-imbú, or mambo. The prefix "post" is understood to mean not "what replaced," but "what happened after the world was transformed by."'
Charles Stross: 'Ever wondered why sometimes the names of characters in works of fiction are ... familiar? In the SF field there's a somewhat tongue-in-cheek tradition called Tuckerization (after SF author Wilson Tucker), whereby authors sometimes use the names of friends or acquaintances in their stories.'
Cheers for the tag clouds; but has somebody changed the wordnik.com/comments layout? I'm suddenly seeing the word newer displayed lower than usual because the column is too narrow for it, and a scrollbar on the right because the div the comments are in is slightly too short for its contents. Visible in Firefox and IE8.
Edit: oh, and it also now seems to start at comment 41, which is inconvenient for me since I have a shortcut directly to it instead of Zeitgeist (the latter being linked from every page, after all).
G.J. Chaitin: 'METABIOLOGY: a field parallel to biology, dealing with the random evolution of artificial software (computer programs) rather than natural software (DNA), and simple enough that it is possible to prove rigorous theorems or formulate heuristic arguments at the same high level of precision that is common in theoretical physics.'
foreignpolicy.com: 'Mutaa is a form of "temporary marriage" only acceptable within Shiite communities, one that allows couples to have religiously sanctioned sex for a limited period of time, without any commitments, and without the obligatory involvement of religious figures. In conservative Muslim societies known for their strict sense of propriety, mutaa offers an escape clause. The contract is very simple. The woman says: "I marry myself to you for a specific period of time and for a specified dowry" and the man says: "I accept." The period can range between one hour and a year, and is subject to renewal. A Muslim woman can only marry a Muslim man, but a Muslim man can temporarily marry a Muslim, Christian, or Jewish woman, as long as she is a divorcée or a widow. However, those interviewed for this article confirmed that Hezbollah-the "Party of God"-has allowed the practice to spread to virgins or girls who have never married before, as long as the permission of her guardian (father or paternal grandfather) is obtained.'
Cosmos and History: 'He had also coined the concept of a “psychoterratic” illness, one in which psychological symptoms are induced by land sickness: “the people of concern are still ‘at home’, but experience a ‘homesickness’ similar to that caused by nostalgia. What these people lack is solace or comfort derived from their present relationship to ‘home’, and so, a new form of psychoterratic illness needs to be defined. The word ‘solace’ relates to both psychological and physical contexts.”'
I had my stalkability feed turned off on Wordie.org, but I did make fairly frequent use of my commenting record. (Of course, I imagine comment and list searches are also on the to-do list.) As I remember it, the main use I found for the stalking feed was to see who'd dropped off the face of Wordie altogether and who was active but not commenting.
Well, they talk about the pros and cons of turning a hobby into a job...
I'm not going to split hairs over implicature, or what the aim of the merger was if Wordie is/was characterised by aimlessness; I thought I was actually saying something pretty moderate. Look, I can well understand if you just want to be the tech guy: send one of the others out to do the leadership stuff. But if you want to execute big plans...
It's the 'Jack of all trades, master of none problem', isn't it? I think they sincerely thought they could combine the best of both worlds, so I doubt the staff seriously look down on 'by-products'; but they're finding it harder than they imagined to get a fully-functioning site together, let alone one with a design clearly targetted at either purpose. (Witness my comments in various places about how parts of the site seem to ignore anything in the database that isn't a single word or hyphenated, which demotes some of the best Wordie pages to second class: I don't think anyone stroked a white cat when putting that into the design, it just happened to be built that way.)
Sorry if this is a bad place to jump into the meta-site discussion, PossibleUnderscore.
The Wordnik autocomplete is another part of the site that ignores strings in the database that contain whitespace, isn't it? All those fascinating pages, not so much hidden as brushed quietly out of ready view...
The achy spammy products are plenty on Wordnik and there are many who think achy spammers resemble colon cleansers, but they deserve much worse than that. These kinds of achy spam products will make the site's members irritated.
Today's spammers haven't come anywhere near the Mi-vox standard... *sigh* I miss the pre-migration days when accounts came with open 'So-and-so's Words' lists, and spammers would fail to notice that anyone could add suggestions to them...
Ditto for the URL tags one of the spammers made on Welcome and comprehensive: clicking on them produces unpredictable results (404 from a word page, the Fixing Things page from the spammer's profile page), but in general things break.
Atlas Obscura: 'In the small village of Gravendal in Dalarna, Sweden there is an old wooden water tube, leading water to the local electric power station. Because of it´s age, this tube is full of holes so water squirts out in various places, in wintertime it forms amazing ice sculptures in the trees nearby. Locally this phenomenon is called the "elk shower".'
I just tried to edit my comment on /people/midsamme, and the page briefly showed an 'unable to complete request' and then vanished completely; it wouldn't reload, although closing the tab and returning to the page via my link below worked normally until I made another editing attempt.
Actually, the O.E.D. lists a verb 'to destruct' (defined as equivalent to destroy) with destructed attested in an example from before 1638, but it does have the note: 'Quot. a1638 is an isolated use. The recent (chiefly U.S.) use in Rocketry is prob. in part a back-formation on DESTRUCTION.' So probably and in part you're right.
Learn English with Vexamples, and learn about technology at the same time!
Anyway: has anyone yet some across a page with whitespace in the word string while using the Random Word feature, or does it produce only single (and hyphenated) words? I'm beginning to suspect it's restricted in the same manner as Recently Viewed (though given the sheer size of the database now, it'll be hard to tell without confirmation from John & co.); and if it is, then it's clearly inferior to classic Wordie's.
I'll lay out some more chairs, shall I...? (Male, by the way.)
Lists can be sorted alphabetically as viewers wish; tags are public meta-data, though, so protocols tend to emerge around them (see OCSJTS). Trying to use a general-purpose tag like an initial letter indicator as an alternative means of organising one's own lists won't work, because nothing's stopping other people using the same tags (edit: okay, a per-user filter exists, but since tags display without attribution on word pages, their function is necessarily to provide information about the word); it only makes sense if you're going to embark on tagging the entire site in that way, and frankly it takes enough obsession just to tag all the plural nouns one comes across...
Mechanolatry, I didn't take VO's comment on your profile page (the one about "wondering" about tags) as any kind of personal attack. You probably weren't aware, being new (and welcome) around here, that lots of "regulars" have areas of expertise or interest. Reesetee's a nut for birds. I'm a nut for history. Whichbe likes ponies and demons. Sionnach and bilby like teasing each other. VanishedOne likes a lot of different stuff too, but he/she is also really interested in tags.
To answer the question you did NOT ask, but which I suspect is at the root of the one you did... Lots of new users find Wordie and have a grand time at first entering definitions for every word they list or can think of. Sometimes they don't really get the site, and wonder what they're supposed to do or where they can go for info (the answer is "nowhere," though faq can help). Sometimes they don't realize there are a dozen dictionary links on each page, plus a WordNet definition on most. Sometimes they don't read the page they're commenting on so they repeat things that were already said. Sometimes they use people's profiles here like the Wall on Facebook, and don't realize that on this site, most people prefer to keep an entire conversation on the same page. Sometimes they don't know that every comment they make scrolls by on the front page so everyone else can read it, which is not a big deal (of course) unless they enter a hundred mundane definitions in a row without noticing that other people are commenting on their stuff, or responding to the comments. Sometimes they don't realize that long URLs (for example) can bork up pages.
Nobody was trying to irritate you. My guess is that a couple folks saw you were new, and thought you might like a welcome message and some info.
P.S. VanishedOne, sorry we're flubbing up your profile. *big cheery grin*
Using the everyone superlative in this sense is a set-up. If any of us argue and say that we "aren't uptight," by arguing we still demonstrate that we are. Therefore, to *not* argue is an argument, but paradoxically it is also tacit acceptance. Likewise, your uptightness regarding "all of our" (since I obviously speak for every user on this site) uptightness is also an act of uptightness and therefore VanishedOne is your mirror, mechanolatry, that which responds to that which is done. Also: fart.
Heh, you are making sense, but it's neither of those things. Alizz is from Alice, which was a character of a 'novel' I wrote years ago, and Lain is just because I like it, and because it starts with the same letter as my real name. :)