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I thought this article, while not word relate, about German nationalism was interesting: Link
 
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The author hints that part of Germany's ability to begin living down its past is by becoming part of a greater whole; one can begin thinking of German industry & efficiency in other than stereotypical terms, applied as a corrective within the Euro Union.

I imagine integrating its self-image got a head start through reunification. As a young adult in the 1970's I knew an ordinary middle-class W German family well, & the W German attitude at the time seemed to be 'forget the past' & maybe don't even believe it. I was struck visiting E Berlin how the war seemed to have just happened, there. In contrast to W. Berlin's renovations, bldg facades at the border purposely preserved badly-strafed facades, & soviet memorials to mms lost to the nazis proliferated. (I was even told that the Brandenburg Gate's chariot was reversed by the soviets so the horse's asses faced west, but later learned better. The soviets did however remove its Iron Cross.) It must have been difficult for E Germans to forget much in that atmosphere, & perhaps combining the 2 postwar cultures assisted in developing the current 'face-the-facts' attitude described in the article.

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"That's something to welcome, because it has come about the right way: not by forgetting or excusing the horrors of the past but by coming to grips with them. It's hard to think of any people who have gone to greater lengths to acknowledge the crimes committed by their forebears or to remember the victims."

The United States should pay attention and follow suit. Far too many US flag fliers have no idea how this country came to be. It was NOT all noble and glorious!

B35, was someone in your family a diplomat?


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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Bethree, nicely said, but I have to say it is hard to forget when you know many families who have been obliterated, while the common man in Germany often looked away. Not all of them did, but many.

Still, I don't believe in holding grudges as long as history doesn't repeat itself.
 
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What I meant was the refusal to acknowledge-- which the W Germans seemed to do for decades; I was speculating that the E Germans could not as easily indulge in denial. Of course you are right there is no forgetting of such things. I found the article a little too gushy about how wonderfully remorseful the German people are, but I hope the author's analysis is correct-- history is nowhere more likely to repeat itself among those who repress, don't discuss, & even deny their past.
 
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I was speculating that the E Germans could not as easily indulge in denial.

The German Democratic Republic had an official denial policy. All of the ex-fascists ended up in the capitalist west (in the Federal Republic of Germany), while all of the good guys ended up in the East. For the record, the wall was there to keep the refugees from capitalism from flooding into the workers' paradise. That was the official story anyway.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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the wall was there to keep the refugees from capitalism from flooding into the workers' paradise.

That didn't explain why it was necessary to shoot the slackers trying to get out.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by zmježd:
For the record, the wall was there to keep the refugees from capitalism from flooding into the workers' paradise.


Very like the DMZ in Korea which, so I was told, in all seriousness, by a North Korean Official, was built by the Americans to stop the people they oppress in South Korea from fleeing to join their North Korean brothers in their workers' paradise.

Of course I never met a South Korean who views the prospect of reunification under North Korean rule with anything but utter horror.
 
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I never met a South Korean who views the prospect of reunification under North Korean rule with anything but utter horror.

When I lived in Germany in '85, I never met a single person, old, young, left, or right, who thought that unification was even a remote possibility. "Not in our lifetime" was the usual refrain I heard.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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That was an amazing time. No one would have thought that the Republican president at the time (I am purposely avoiding his name Wink) would have had so much to do with the wall coming down.
 
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No one would have thought that the Republican president at the time (I am purposely avoiding his name ) would have had so much to do with the wall coming down.

Did he really do it, or just take the credit? I think the society there had more to do with the change.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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Here is the speech. Don't worry. I am a liberal Democrat. It's just that sometimes the other side of the aisle does something right; not often, but sometimes. Wink
 
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Our comments show to what extent American political rhetoric is polarized at present. The history outlined in the speech shows that US policy in general (whichever party was in power) helped bring down the wall. I doubt if history will remember it was a Republican administration that saw the soviet state fall, any more than it will remember it as a Democratic administration that saw the wall built. (And perhaps both parties of '50's helped build it thro their demonization of communism)
 
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Perhaps you're right, B35, but there's always a lag between policy institution and policy effect.
The Russian Communist Party collapsed because Gorbachev restricted booze sales. That led to a severe drop in state income. With all those now sober people seeing what a mess the country was in, it's no wonder things fell apart!

Now you know why the US "War on Drugs" is such a sham: Keep 'em doped up or locked up and you can get away with anything you want! Big Grin


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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An article in the Saturday NYT called "That's No Phone-- That's My Tracker" says the word we use to name our gadgets should be chosen carefully.

quote:
Everyone is struggling to find the right tag, because “cellphone” and “smartphone” are inadequate. This is not a semantic game. Names matter, quite a bit. In politics and advertising, framing is regarded as key because what you call something influences what you think about it...
...If we are naïve to think of them as phones, what should we call them? ...a law professor... argues that they are robots for which we — the proud owners — are merely the hands and feet. 'They see everything, they’re aware of our position, our relationship to other human beings and other robots, they mediate an information stream around us.'
 
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A recent news story said police are rountinely checking the cellphones of those they stop for information. So we should call them by their proper name, "Stoolpigeons."


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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I was surprised to hear on NPR that iPads, Kindles, and the like, will completely change the publishing industry because they will now know how long people take to read books, if they read the introduction, what chapters are more interesting (time spent on them), etc. From that publishers may decide what kind of books are written, etc. It was very interesting, but a bit scary.

Would Shakespeare had been written if we had iPads?
 
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hm, I think perhaps we should call both iphones & kindles 'stoopigeons' Wink

I wonder how it would affect sales of book-readers if we all started calling them 'marketing devices'?
 
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It makes me not want to use those e-readers.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
It makes me not want to use those e-readers.

Has anyone yet worked out just how many trees we are now saving with the dramatic drop in printing on paper?

I rarely buy books now; I download them to my Kindle and can carry 2,500 of them in my pocket. Very handy for travelling.


Richard English
 
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Has anyone yet worked out just how many trees we are now saving with the dramatic drop in printing on paper?

Or how many precious unrenewable metals are used to mmake an electronic device?


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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Originally posted by Proofreader:
So we should call them by their proper name, "Stoolpigeons."
"Stool" as in excrement? Just where did that term come from? (Stoolpigeon, that is.)

Geoff, whose mobile telephone ONLY sends and receives voices. No stock market reports, no GPS, no teleportation of graven images, no recording of anything, just distant voices - and some aren't even already in my head!


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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Just where did that term come from? (Stoolpigeon, that is.)

The two dictionaries I consulted suggested that it came from a practice to tie a pigeon to a stool to attract another pigeon. Used first in early 19th century.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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I assume the stool in question is the kind one sits on and not the kind one deposits while sitting on a cleft stool? Sorry, Z, but the image of a disgusted pigeon tied to a turd has left tears in my eyes from laughter! OY!!!


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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it came from a practice to tie a pigeon to a stool to attract another pigeon.

Which proves Darwin was right since any pigeon with tis own stool is obviously affluent and will attract female pigeons in droves.

Relative to cellphone surveillance by police, there is a case of child abuse, with death resulting, on trial here. The defendant claims police searched his text messages without a warrant, thus making his confession based on their search unusable by the prosecution.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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I liked this article about Skinner's "The Story of Ain't" and how the third edition of Webster's New International Dictionary seemed to bring on the rage of the prescriptivists. Has anyone read Skinner's book? For those of us who are interested in words and language, it sounds wonderful.
 
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Which Language Rules to Flout. Or Flaunt?

Prescriptivist and descriptivist battle it out and end up largely agreeing. But I don't agree with Garner that descriptivists are just now starting to abandon their "anything goes" attitude:

quote:
So you and I are getting closer together. But we’re not there yet. Your “meta‑rule” is flawed. You say: “When a proposed rule and actual usage conflict, the proposed rule is false, and actual usage should be our guide.” You can always find actual usage that contradicts any proposed linguistic ruling — and actual usage that contradicts other actual usages. The big problem with traditional descriptivism is that any evidence validates the usage. But descriptivists like you are (rightly) retreating from that position.

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the third edition of Webster's New International Dictionary seemed to bring on the rage of the prescriptivists.

It was the publication of the third edition that basically sounded the war between the Pees and the Dees. Fun fact: the American Heritage Dictionary (now largely descriptive) was started as an "antidote" to the third Webster's.

I don't agree with Garner that descriptivists are just now starting to abandon their "anything goes" attitude.

Yes, most have realized long ago that this was nothing but a straw-man.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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I have thought of prescriptivism as being more in the older generation. Have you? I am therefore surprised that my oldest daughter seems to be a raging presciptivist. She was pointing out that her younger sister had a grammatical error in her email. I pored over that email, not finding what that error could have possibly been. Older daughter said, "She didn't capitalize "mom!" Oy vey.

[Indeed, I did not explain to her that capitalization is not a grammatical error.]
 
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I liked this article in the NY Times about the em-dash.
quote:
In Dickinson’s original manuscript of her poem that begins “Before I got my eye put out,” she punctuated the third stanza this way:

The meadows—mine–
The mountains—mine–
All forests—stintless stars–
As much of noon, as I could take–
Between my finite eyes–

Until very recently, Dickinson’s editors tended to convert her dashes into more standard punctuation marks, with distressingly homogenized results. Thus the 1924 edition of her work renders the above stanza this way:

The meadows mine, the mountains mine,—
All forests, stintless stars,
As much of noon as I could take
Between my finite eyes.
Can you believe that "editors" changed Emily Dickinson's work?
 
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Can you believe that "editors" changed Emily Dickinson's work?

Yes, that's pretty much what editors do. If they do it to Shakespeare, they can do it to anybody.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Is that not Bowdlerizing?


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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Is that not Bowdlerizing?

Nope. Bowdlerizing happens after the editing. (Academic) Editors do all sorts of editing of the texts of Shakespeare's. First one has to decide which edition of a text one is going to edit. For example many of the plays are taken from the First Folio (1623) (link). Spelling is modernized and punctuation is converted to modern standards. The text of Hamlet in the First Folio is not the first one that was printed. There is an earlier version called the Bad Quarto because its text differs radically from that of the First Folio. (there's also another edition between the Bad Quarto and the First Folio, called the Good Quarto, but it also differs (link). Next comes the serious editing. Typesetter's mistakes are commonly corrected. Because the First Folio is such an important text, it has been studied extensively. Most of the extant copies are in the Folger Library in the USA. Even individual copies of the First Folio differ from one another because proofreading pages happened while printing with the uncorrected page still took place. When the page was corrected, then the typesetting was corrected and more copies of a folio (basically 4 pages) were printed. Because paper was an expensive commodity the pre-corrected pages were not discarded, but bound into copies of the book being printed.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Also "to Bowdlerize" is to remove what one cnsiders offensive wording, rather than to correct grammar or errors.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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I don't know if this is real or not but supposedly the Daily Mail was threatened with an investigation regarding false stories they printed and at the bottom of page two they wrote this:

[b]Clarifications & corrections [/n]

OUR EDITION yesterday included a number of articles about immigration, property prices, benefit cheats, political correctness, the EU, crime, things your takes are spent on, ethnic minorities, and various substances which cause and/or cure cancer.
We have been asked to point out that all these stories were in fact utter bollocks and consisted of misinterpreted statistics, vague rumours, and stuff we just made up on the spot.
We hope by printing this tiny corrections column on page 2 that the Leveson Inquiry will leave us alone to carry on selling loads of papers to those who are gullible enough to believe anything we say.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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I love it! All the newspapers should have that statement. The misinterpretation of statistics is one thing (everyone needs to read, "How to Lie with Statistics"), but what really gets me are the out and out lies. There is no misinterpretation there.
 
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I don't know if this is real or not
Not.

However, the Daily Mail is notorious for printing stories like those in the list and not retracting them. They eventually, under great pressure, started printing retractions of the most egregious falsehoods that they'd been caught out in, in small print at the foot of page two, as mentioned.

When they started doing it, they made quite a bit of fuss announcing it - you'd have thought that they were the first newspaper ever to have published a corrections column.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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I found this article about false tweets interesting because it sounds like the fool who tweeted the falsehoods about the east coast storm could be prosecuted.
 
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The laws about libel, like the laws about copyright, have been overtaken by new communications technology. Existing laws simply do not work.

I do not pretend to know what the answer is, but I am sure the fertile brains of the legal profession will come up with something.

Now, if they could come up with a legal way in which those inundated with Spam could get back at the Spammers - that would be a law I would fully support.


Richard English
 
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Agreed about the spammers, but not about existing laws. They do work with Internet types of violations, and are used all the time. I see it routinely in health care social media violations, and I am not just talking about HIPAA laws (for the Americans).
 
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I agree the laws are used - but they are often not adequate. For example, a libel which is posted anonymously and then goes viral is almost impossible to stop.

There is a case right now where Lord McAlpine was accused of child abuse and, even those his accuser has admitted he was mistaken, the accusation is all over the social media. Lord McAlpine's solicitor himself admitted that it will be "very difficult" to have all the accusations removed from the online media. I have no idea how the UK's libel laws will deal with this one.


Richard English
 
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I found this article about false tweets interesting

The Tribune won't let me read it without my joining some group.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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Sorry, proof. Try this.
 
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During World War II, those tweets would have been considered "Fifth Column" activity by enemy agents. At a time of local (or national) disaster, there is no place for "pranks" like that.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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But then there's the other side of the story. Oppression


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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Freedom of speech - like other freedoms - is a fine thing. But there must be boundaries. Where the expression or use of such freedom is likely to injure another person, then controls need to be in place to ensure that this doesn't happen.

In Britain, where the freedom to express whatever views one might hold is a cherished right, it is a particularly tricky problem. How can one permit such freedom whilst, at the same time, avoiding injury to others? And this is not a new problem or, indeed, a problem that has been created by the new medial.

What has changed is the ease with which people can abuse their freedom of action and the ease with which they can hide from the consequences of their behaviour.

As I wrote elsewhere, the law has not yet caught up with the changes wrought by the new media and, until it does, we will certainly have all kinds of anomolies as the authorities try to deal with offences, perpetrated by those using 21st century technology, with 19th century laws. But I think it important to make examples of people who do transgress, if only to make it clear that those posing anonymously using twitter and other sites where a nom-de-plum can be used, cannot expect to avoid the consequences of their actions.


Richard English
 
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If I make a public comment about someone or something, no matter how egregious others may think it, I don't expect a policeman to take me into custody. The aggrieved person can sue me in civil court if they wish but the government should not intrude into a public (or especially a private) discussion.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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It depends on the country. In the UK defamation has been only a civil offence since 12 January 2010 when the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 came into force. Prior to that there was the offence of criminal defamation. A criminal defamation offence was defined by law as the publication of inaccurate information which devalues the reputation of another. The offence was almost never prosecuted.

Some countries still have the offence of criminal defamation, and one of the main reasons why it was abolished in the UK the view that our own retention of the archaic criminal offence of defamation justified its use by foreign countries to prosecute and imprison journalists, and to restrict free speech.


Richard English
 
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This article about how the urbanites elected Obama had an interesting discussion of the word "city." America's psychological vocabulary, it says, makes city synonymous with alien, given our melting pot origins. It is an interesting point. The article further hypothesizes that's not true of Europe, where cities are "...handmaidens of civilizations, storehouses of arts, gracious hosts to the good life."

Thoughts?
 
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In the UK the word city has a fairly specific meaning - which has nothing at all to do with the population or size.

Until quite recently a conurbation could only be a city if it had a cathedral - which meant that some cities were actually very small. The Cities of Southwark, Westminster and London are actually now simply districts of London which happen to have cathedrals. Of course, at one time they were separate conurbations - but that has not been the case for centuries.

Nowadays the requirement for a ciy to have a cathedral has gone, with the result that some large conurbations, hitherto only towns, have become cities. However, the decision as to whether or not a UK conurbation can become a city is made by the monarch - presently Queen Elizabeth.

This is different from most of the rest of the world - including the USA - where any large conurbation may be called a city.

There is a good article about the way in which British cities vary from other countries' cities here - http://www.ukcities.co.uk/definitions/


Richard English
 
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