Today’s web perambulations

An Introduction to Korean

I really didn’t know how tres cool Korean is. They have the most beautiful, elegant alphabetic system I’ve seen. It’s not like the chinese or japanese kanji where you have to memorize thousands of symbols. It’s actually a cleanly defined set of alphabetic letters that are combined into syllables. (I’d say the only drawback is the ugly sans-serif font, with which it seems most Korean is written, but there are actually elegant serif fonts that make it look so much nicer than the usual blocky signage.) I’ve always wanted to learn japanese, but now I’m wondering if playing with korean first wouldn’t be a good idea.

Language Door

And on the subject of languages, I found this, which is very close by to where I work. Woo hoo! So now maybe I can start working more seriously on the languages I want to learn, besides perhaps also taking courses in languages before going travelling — eg picking up one Italian class before I go to Rome later this year. *bounce*

The Historical Grammar of the Old English Language

Still on the language kick, I thought this overview of Old English was a pretty interesting read even for the average lay person. Modern day english is a result of the mix of Old English with Norman French, and it’s fascinating to see what changed. The verbs in particular are interesting, you’ll see how the verbs in OE are more complex, like many other indo-european languages, when conjugating them (I see, you see, he sees, we see, they see) in contrast to modern english’s simplicity (see list 🙂 ). In general, when two languages collide the way OE and NF did, you’ll get some really interesting results. At the same time, though, we increased our tenses: OE had only two tenses and we have rather a few more these days…

Why X Marks the Gender

I find genetics endlessly fascinating, and I’ve been following the current study of the human genome over the last couple of years. This is an interesting article about how women’s X chromosomes are more varied and active than men’s X chromosomes. The complexity of all this is fascinating.

The Da Vinci Code

I really must sit down and read this sometime, although I have read Angels and Demons by the same author (and I intend to go and visit the sculptures and places mentioned in that book when I go to Rome). What amazes me is how seriously this book is taken. Don’t get me wrong, it sounds like a great rip roaring fun read and I think I’ll enjoy it. But as a serious “true history” of the catholic church?


Still, reports like this Da Vinci Code fever grips Genoa just leave me with my head shaking. First you have one group of people who are basically credulous and not well informed, so are inclined to believe this stuff on the face value of it, and second you have the church which takes this kind of guilessness on the part of some of their flock to be a serious issue to address. So then you see spectacles like this where a book that’s basically a fun fluffy redress of some of the older unimportant gnostic texts and clearly written for amusement value, is being taken so seriously….

Announcing the “natural family”

And then here I’m left banging my head against the wall. Who the fuck CARES??? If people want to be together, what interest could anyone else not in that relationship POSSIBLY have????
I’m not even going to get into how the entire concept that the “nuclear family” model is such a MYTH — of a family type that’s never existed in significant numbers. Go read A History of Private Life (starting with From Pagan Rome to Byzantium and continuing for seven or nine more volumes) sometime to see a much better overview of what “family” has been through the ages…

Congress looks at steroids in baseball

And yet another candidate for the WHY WHY WHY award, is this supremely silly congressional investigation into steroid usage in baseball.


We have: war in Iraq, events in Lebanon, potential accords between Israel & Palestine, potential issues with Iran and Syria, saber rattling by North Korea, humanitarian efforts in Indonesia, Sinn Fein and the IRA, among hundreds of other issues. And if you want to argue a domestic agenda, let’s try Alaskan drilling, bankruptcy law, Social Security “reform” and hundreds of other items that are of true national concern.

If the steroid usage is illegal, let the appropriate law enforcement investigate. That’s what departments and agencies are for, to carry out the directives of the legislative branch! Or if it’s a question of ethics, let the baseball industry investigate and police, and let the general public vote with their feet.

Why, why, why are we wasting congressional resources on this idiocy??

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