Explaining Linguistic Diversity: reviews of two books that look at the world's languages from two different viewpoints: their evolutionary diversity and their intrinsic commonalities. [via wood s lot]
The Two Doofuses or Why Type Safety and the Garbage Collector Really Exist: Why it pays to read your field's textbooks.
See also: The UCSD P-System Museum
[via Lambda the Ultimate]
Let it not be said that people in the United States did nothing when their government declared a war without limit and instituted stark new measures of repression.
The signers of this statement call on the people of the U.S. to resist the policies and overall political direction that have emerged since September 11, 2001, and which pose grave dangers to the people of the world.
Punctuation absorbs more of my thought than seems healthy for a man who pretends to be well adjusted. The subject is naturally attractive to all with character structures of the sort Freud dubbed anal, and I readily confess to belong to that sect. We anal folk keep neat houses, are always on time, and know all the do's and don't's, including those of punctuation. Good punctuation, we feel, makes for clean thought. A mania for punctuation is also an occupational hazard for almost any teacher, as hundreds of our hours are given over to correcting the vagrant punctuation of our students.
[via Follow Me Here]
America: Broken As Designed: Looking at our country through the eyes of an engineer.
The most significant test of any system is how it handles unanticipated situations. A well-designed and implemented system is one which can continue to operate correctly (i.e. one which continues to embody its design principles and function according to its specifications) in a situation which was not considered in its creation. A system which does not must be considered flawed, either in design or implementation.
While those of here who are scientists and engineers use this principle of evaluation daily in our work, it's likely that few of us (and probably even fewer in the general population) have applied this principle to the State(s) in which we live. Since the United States, in its current form, is over two hundred years old (and one of its designers, Thomas Jefferson himself, advocated such a review every twenty years), a public review of how well it has proceeded is long overdue.