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.
Times: 'She was, indeed, Rylance told us, one of the first graduates of Brunel University’s MA course in “Shakespeare Authorship Studies”... The Brunel course “examines the historical construction of Shakespeare as a cultural icon and ‘sacred cow’ ” as well as promising to “examine and consider the suggested alternatives to Shakespeare as author with a completely open mind”. It surely cannot be long before Brunel also offers an MA in 9/11 studies, where the various candidates for being the “real” attackers of the World Trade Centre are examined by arts postgraduates.'
Times: 'Presiding over all is the twinkling, charismatic personality of Mark Rylance, the first artistic director at the Globe and the leading figure in the global anti-Stratfordian movement, dedicated to casting doubt on Shakespeare’s authorship and to discovering the real Bard’s identity.'
'Belle de jour displayed a double life, a back and forth between two spaces, compartmentalized yet symmetrical... In Belle toujours, the boxes remain, vestiges of the past compartmentalization, but the double life no longer is. Life has unified itself onto a single plane, in a Paris which resembles a cemetery for brothels.'
Seconded! (Although I imagine John & co. already know it needs restoring. Besides, it's fairly quiet here at present, and I imagine it'll stay so until major problems - e.g. that comments on tag pages don't yet appear - get squashed.)
Additionally, adding initial capitals to words in the page titles now means that both of those pages will appear in the browser's title bar as Lymphatic, even though the site otherwise distinguishes between them.
Zeitgeist comments are linked to anchors that don't exist: comment-somenumber rather than comment-word--somenumber or comment-body-word--somenumber. (Actually, anchors come with a cost anyway: they make it harder to tell from the link colour which comments you've read already.)
I'm afraid I'm going to have to disqualify LOtUSFLOW3R, KRLA and BARX, on the grounds that none of them can be represented only with the characters 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, D, E and F (plus an optional leading $ or 0x, or trailing h). See the Wiki page linked in the description if that made no apparent sense.
The pun in the leading example doesn't make sense until you visit the source site and discover it's an imagined cross between a collie and a malamute; I'd incorrectly assumed it was a weak pun on mutt.
Of course we can be Wordies on Wordnik. Let's say that Doctor Wordnik imbibed a certain potion and now exhibits the Mister Wordie personality at times: Doctor Wordnik is a suave yet slightly serious soul who devotes his life to learnedly helping people sort through meanings and collect etymologies, while Mister Wordie is the charming but disorganised and slightly crazy personality who just likes to hang around poking fun at Vexamples.
(I also dislike '-nikkers', because it sounds exactly like knickers, which is wholly misleading.)
'Some of the younger sufferers can be diagnosed as having "separation anxiety", leaving them distressed at parting from their parents at the school gate. But some psychologists say this is more about refusal, not phobia - a true school phobic will experience a reaction even if their parents are present.
'"Other children could be classified as having a social phobia to do with performance aspects of school - reading out loud or changing for PE," says Mr Blagg.'
This is unusual: no examples at all, and I'm 'the first person to look up this word on Wordnik'. Yet apparently I can expect to see this word about once a year. (I wonder whether this is a sign that the Great Vexample Purge has commenced.)
'It was a variation on a wonderful 17-year old joke by Michael Heseltine from back before the 1992 election, when he taunted Labour leaders Neil Kinnock and John Smith for trying to woo the financial community with a series of lunches and dinners in the City of London - what became known as the prawn cocktail offensive.'
The headline example says: The other amuses were a shot of artichoke soup with hibiscus foam and a slice of salmon belly with scallion sauce. According to the O.E.D.amuse can be a noun (obs., rare), but it's defined as pre-occupation, musing, meditation.
Vexamples was doing okay for the first few words... Eighty-seven percent of owned cats are spayed or neutered LOCATION: A HOUSE SOMEWHERE IN NEW JERSEY, USA Cat owner standing with hands on head surveying the damage -- having conversation with self.
The change from /people/profile/membername to /people/membername has broken some links from Wordie: see my comment from about nine months ago about ordinary.madness, which was linked to href="/people/profile/ordinary.madness" and therefore pointed to wordie.org/people/profile/ordinary.madness, the profile URL, but now points to wordnik.com/people/profile/ordinary.madness, which Wordnik thinks should be the profile of someone named profile.
As a tag, this is spaceout when followed to its own page, but not when it appears on gosh; I'm guessing this is a tag from Wordnik Original, since e.g. product placement seems to be working as a classic Wordie tag.
The awkward part is thinking up suitably scintillating things to say when there are so many surnames, online handles and product names in the database. Random word searches are less fun than on Wordie Classic, to be honest, although watching the left-hand Zeitgeist column go by is sometimes a workable substitute.
Agreed; we've lost some of that lovely interaction between the two. (For example, I had to ponder whether to put a comedy tag on diecast and let someone come across it however much later, or whether to try to work it into something worth a comment.) Maybe John could be prevailed upon to add tags back into the comment pages, in proper Wordie style.
Couldn't we have the whole quotation, Vexamples? As it is, if we want to find out what 'BABES GET THEIR MOUTHS AND PUSSIES PLOWED WITH' we'll have to visit girls-going-pee.com/desperate_pee/peeing/, and, you know, some of us might be at work...
I'm not sure I like these private profiles that even logged-in people can't see, largely because the standard Wordie method of talking directly to someone (to say things like 'this might interest you' or 'stop the spam or suffer the Wordie Treatment') is to leave a profile comment. An elective class of members who can't be greeted like that feels rather un-Wordie.
If people don't want their profiles to be scrutinised, couldn't they just not fill them in? Or are people's lists of lists, tags and favourites now considered sensitive information? In which case maybe finer-grained privacy options would do the trick, for when someone feels like making a 'Gay BDSM slang unique to Leeds, U.K.' list.
This isn't particularly important compared to getting fully working comments on list and tag pages, but if you look at the . newly added to Wordie Paradox, you'll see it apparently has a comment left over from Wordie Classic. Currently this comment can't be seen, because . redirects to a random word page. .. traverses to the home page, while ... and above semi-work; their sub-pages aren't accessible. It's nice to discover a Wordnik Paradox, but I don't like to think of any poor Wordie comments getting lost in the wilderness without the care of their independent flockmaster.
Vexamples turns libellous: Karlyc -- I hear you're hiding that you're secretly a pedophile who brainwashed that woman who was a paid worker for the McCain cabal into carving a B on her face while you frog-marched to neo-nazi propaganda aimed at taking down the next president of the united states.
Where does Vexamples get them from? From the mind of Count O'Blather, the creator of The Crims, comes WHORE, an epic journey that takes you from the origin and evolution of a nascent 'lady of the night' through the development of serious drug addiction and sexual slavery all the way to an ignominious white chalk mark photo-op in a dumpster off Times Square.
I wonder whether the dictionary definitions should be fixed above the examples, to make it clear when a word is absent from our dictionaries even if it has respectable-looking usage examples. Not that this one does have a respectable-looking top example: '...im prod also to say my friens who i showed this wonderful seies to read the midnight sun draft and has been asking me to, too but i refuse because i can only imagine the devistation...'
The hexadecimal stuff is just your common-or-garden character encoding problem, but the big BANANA seems different: click on its mangled form and all you get is a page saying 'Disallowed key characters in global data.' Hopefully we'll get it back soon.