Tag Archives: language

George Carlin on language of politics

An evening pause: With the election less than a week away, I think this comedy speech by George Carlin sums up the fundamental dishonesty of the modern Washington establishment politician, from both parties. And though he is quite funny, I couldn’t help thinking of what Robert Heinlein said: “We laugh because it hurts.”

Let me also add that when we vote next week I think it most important to consider which politicians most remind you of the dishonest corrupt liars Carlin so ably describes. That should help you realize who you shouldn’t vote for.

Hat tip Frank Kelly.

Why the English language is odd

Link here.

The writer outlines the history of English and how the many different languages that contributed to it caused it to be so different from most other languages. Some of the oddities he notes are quite fascinating because we English-speakers take them so much for granted. He only hints, however, at what is probably the English language’s greatest gift — its gigantic vocabulary resulting from its remarkable ability to absorb new words — which probably comes from that same polyglot history.

Using modern technology scientists think they have a chance of decoding the oldest known undeciphered writing.

Using modern technology scientists think they have a chance of decoding the oldest known undeciphered writing.

In a room high up in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, above the Egyptian mummies and fragments of early civilisations, a big black dome is clicking away and flashing out light. This device, part sci-fi, part-DIY, is providing the most detailed and high quality images ever taken of these elusive symbols cut into clay tablets. This is Indiana Jones with software. It’s being used to help decode a writing system called proto-Elamite, used between around 3200BC and 2900BC in a region now in the south west of modern Iran.