Flash game: Blocks With Letters On

March 8, 2010

Have an afternoon you don’t need any more? Spend it playing Blocks with Letters On, shifting around little blocks to spell out words. Fun Flash game with delightful Britshy little animation as a reward for each level. It gets pretty tricky- I’m currently stuck at level 32. Also available for the iPhone. Get ready to ignore all your friends at the bar.

Oh, looks like I can’t link directly to the game. Hit Puzzle/Quiz (47) on the right side, then the game will be on the left about 6 options down.


That was pretty satisfying. Mostly because now I can put some pants on and leave the apartment again.


Gay vs. Homosexual: Words Matter

February 16, 2010

If you poll Americans about how they feel about military service being open to people of different sexual orientations, some will respond differently depending on whether you use the term “homosexual” or the words “gay men and lesibans”.

I’ve also read interesting commentary about very subtly coded language biases in journalism, when news outlets choose to say things like “this person was killed” or “this person died”. Same phenomenon being described, but the words can frame the story- and suggest who to blame- pretty differently. Worth thinking about if you write or consume factual content- a lot of biases can be buried in seemingly-neutral copywriting.

I’d be really interested to see a poll where these same Americans are asked to “name a famous homosexual” and “name a famous gay man or lesbian”. Wonder how divergent the answers would be?

How to disagree on the Internet

January 2, 2010

Paul Graham has identified a hierarchy of disagreement styles, starting with the lowest form of “name-calling”, and moving up the ladder to “clear refutation of the writer’s central point”:

Most intellectual dishonesty is unintentional. Someone arguing against the tone of something he disagrees with may believe he’s really saying something. Zooming out and seeing his current position on the disagreement hierarchy may inspire him to try moving up to counterargument or refutation.

It’s a good read: online here.

Einstein Baby

December 7, 2009

E equals MC Hammer

Apparently, when Albert Einstein was a child, he was a lake talker, which worried his parents. Finally, one day at supper, he spoke his first words: “Die Suppe ist zu heiss.” (The soup is too hot.)

His parents were greatly relieved, and asked him why he hadn’t spoken up to that time. The answer came back: “Bisher war Alles in Ordnung.” (Until now, everything was in order.)

Via MeFi.

Neon Signs Gone Wrong

November 18, 2009

Here’s a hospital emergency room with an appropriately burnt-out sign:

I'm hurt

That one’s featured in a NYT article– thanks to Juliet for the tip.

More appropriate neon burn-outs. My favourite is this one:

People flock to this place for the rump roast.

German: sissy

November 7, 2009

How darest du callst ich ein German sissy. Ich is Austrian.

The German language has this charming habit of mashing countless adjectives onto its nouns, forming nearly illegible compound words. So instead of a short string of nice, simple words working as a team to convey an idea, like, say, “beef-labelling law”, you get a monstrosity like

Look, I can’t even fit it onto a single line.

Rind=beef, fleisch=meat, etikettierungs=labelling, über=over, wachungs=watching, auf=on, gaben=task, über=over, tragungs=giving, gesetz=law.

The beefmeatlabellingoverwatchfortaskovergivinglaw.

So when the German language wants you to know it thinks you’re a sissy, it doesn’t pull any punches. You could be a:

Boxershortsbügler = A boxershorts-ironer.

s-bahn-in-fahrtrichtung-sitzer – An in-the-direction-of-travel-sitter
(In other words, an insufferably special snowflake who must face forward on the train to avoid motion-sickness from looking out the window in the wrong direction. I’m one of these, I confess. I might barf.)

Frauenversteher – A women-understanderer. (WOW.)

Here are some more German words for sissy at Resolute Vagrant.

Lamebook: The Fresh Prince of not really getting into a hot air balloon.

October 21, 2009

Lamebook is a compendium of lame (anonymized) stuff from Facebook. I like the poetically epic nature of the following exchange about a little balloon boy named Falcon Heene, whose parents (somewhat recognizable from their appearances on a reality show called Wife Swap) seem to have asked him to hide in the attic while they alarmed the nation with tales that he’d drifted away in a giant hot air balloon, a balloon they’d made by hand because they’re storm chasers who believe in the end times.

Sheesh. Some people will do anything for a little attention. Hey Heene family, your dignity called. Oh wait you don’t have any. Let me give you guys a little advice. The best way to get attention is to write about your recent weight gain or post uggers photos of yourself without any makeup or tell jumbled stories about being peed on and then put it on the internet using your real name. Duh.

Hey crap, I just drooled on my jacket. I should take a picture of that and tweet about it a few times. Sorry, what was I saying? Oh yeah, Lamebook. Here:

(From Lamebook)

(From Lamebook)

Click the image to read it a little bigger.
And click here to read more Lamebook.
Thanks to Van Dine for the tip.