Nature of Man
… nothing that happens to Man is ever natural

22 November 2006, Wednesday

Meta Linguistic Imperfections of the Second Order, Part 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mordred @ 14:19

(Read part 1 here).

The reader is now asked to consider the meaning of this post’s title in a formal context.
Does it mean:
Meta ((linguistic imperfections) (of the second order))

Linguistic imperfections which are caused by other linguistic imperfections, which affect ALL linguistic imperfections caused by other linguistic imperfections

Meta (linguistic (imperfections of the second order))

Imperfections that are caused by other imperfections (in this case of a linguistic nature), that affect all linguistic imperfections (of the second order)

(Meta linguistic) (imperfections of the second order)

Imperfections that are caused by other imperfections, which affect all linguistic imperfections

(Meta (linguistic imperfections)) (of the second order)

Are you still reading this? This combination actually doesn’t make sense. As opposed to the others, yeah.

((Meta linguistic) imperfections) (of the second order)

Imperfections in the grammar (metalanguage) that affect some other imperfections in the grammar

I hereby move that complex phrases used in formal language (like laws and lesser rules) should use parentheses to clearly denote the syntactic parts of each sentence. An even better control over semantics (meaning) would be achieved if a non-natural human language was used, or a natural language was used in a strict and formal way, which can then be parsed by a computer program, that can detect logical inconsistancies or possible fallacies.

If you think that’s bollocks, and the example presented is superficial, try your teeth at these two:

Konan took the heaviest iron sword of magic and fire.
(How many items did he take? How many elemental properties did the sword have? Of what kind of iron was the sword made? (Hint: Fe58, which is the heaviest isotope, or Fe56 which is the most common?)

A person who enter a web-site with a web-browser or a computer program without authorisation is sentenced from 2 to 5 years in jail.
How many interpretations can you spot here?

The Bulgarian readers are also reminded of the Vanko-1 case, where the accused had his sentence severely reduced because of a “linguistic error” in the law, stating that forcing multiple women (and in one case a minor) to prostitute gets the higher penalty only if the “forcing” is carried with drugs. All other methods get you 1-3 years.
Hacking into a computer system (not clearly defined in .bg law) may get you the same sentence if it’s the second offense.

20 November 2006, Monday

Meta Linguistic Imperfections of the Second Order, Part 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mordred @ 19:29

My pedantic logically inclined left hemisphere has often noticed people misusing the prefix “meta~”, usually meaning “of the second order” (For Bulgarian readers: мета- и “от втори ред”).

“Of the second order” is used when a concept is applied to one or several instances of the same concept:

In mathematics second order function is a function that operates on some functions and has a function as a result.
A language of the second order would be a language build on top of one or several languages (for example Pig Latin)
A joke of the second order would be a joke which is using another joke.

Meta bears the meaning of a concept applied to all instances of the same concept (all instances within the restraints of the concept, of course, not all in the Universum).

A “metalanguage” would be a language that can define any other language (this is known to the masses as “grammar” :)
A “metajoke” is a joke that encompasses all jokes.
A meta-”walk into a bar”-joke would be:

An Englishman, an Irishman, and a Scotsman walk into a bar.
The bartender turns to them, takes one look, and says “What is this - some kind of a joke?”

Of course in informal speech, everything goes as far as it makes you understood, and the fine distinction between ’some’ and ‘all’ is usually not important in everyday talks, except you’re a manic nitpick.

16 November 2006, Thursday

The Ink is the Life

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mordred @ 10:38

(via Gizmodo)

This reminds me of an old essay of mine, Legends of long forgotten yoghurt jars. Imagine water being more expensive than oil — well, no wonder, what you in fact give your money for is the plastic bottle (which you promtly throw away, or at best - recycle (на български) ).

It happens again here, this time in reverse. There is this carrot juice, costing about 240 units per litre. It comes in a glass container with non-standard cap, which means you can’t reuse it, because the cap smells of carrots and bananas (yeah, it’s a carrot-banana juice, just like your Granny used to make it…). You also can’t return it to the store, as they just don’t take them. So, not only you get another junk package you have to throw/recycle, but this time it’s made of glass (i.e. more expensive), it requires more energy to transport and is recycled as anonymous glass, which means it passes an unnecessary cycle of melting/recasting which again raises its cost and lowers the environmental gains from recycling.

Btw, Frost promtly gave the answer to the carrot theory of the wanderer — Poland has been declared a prime producer of carrots in the EU, and this is what stands behind these ad campaigns.

If you decide to go and make your own carrot juice (the right thing IMO), make sure to rinse them thoroughly, or you’re gonna drink hair bleach.

10 November 2006, Friday

Pencils and Nails

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mordred @ 18:11

Everything we create and everything we perceive is bound to be intepreted through our experience.
Therefore the greatest artist is the one that can escape from the known to the maximum extent possible, while the greatest beholder is the one that can see beauty in the most ordinary things.
Or maybe not.
The important thing is to know that there is beauty in this world.

6 November 2006, Monday

Cute Overload: Bunnies

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mordred @ 18:02

Okay, I admit, the two previous posts were too graphic, here’s a picture of a very sorry bunny that agreed to take the blame :)

And there is more from whence that came from! Cute Overload is a great name for it!

Come, bunnies, push those nasty images in the other post down!

There are other animals in the other categories as well!

And here’s a beautiful bunny from Bulgaria:

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