Why people don't like the word "moist"

When I was younger, I had a friend who frequently expressed her hatred for the word "moist." It wasn't until the Internet that I understood this to be a commonly-despised word. Read the rest

Space Oddity meets Up-Goer Five

Alaska Robotics perform a very special cover of Space Oddity in constrained-vocabulary phrasing that restates the lyrics using only the 100 most common English words, in the style of Randall "XKCD" Munroe's Thing Explainer/Up-Goer Five. (via Vi Hart) Read the rest

Heavy Metal band-name generator

The internet’s official heavy metal band name generator: pretty good names, with a brilliant presentation. What webfonts are for! (Thanks, Eirik!) Read the rest

Randall "XKCD" Munroe's next book: THING EXPLAINER

Coming this November (pre-order here), Thing Explainer expands the premise of Up Goer Five, Munroe's blueprint of the Saturn Five rocket that restricted its vocabulary to the thousand most common English words. Read the rest

Leetspeak, circa 1901

The telegraph operators of the early 20th century had a rich vocabulary of wrist-saving abbreviations they used among themselves: "Is tt exa tr et?" ("Is that extra there yet?") Read the rest

English is weird

Put the word "only" between any two words of this sentence: "She told him that she loved him." Read the rest

Clean Reader is a free speech issue

My latest Guardian column, Allow Clean Reader to swap 'bad' words in books – it's a matter of free speech expands on last week's editorial about the controversial ebook reader, which lets readers mangle the books they read by programatically swapping swear-words for milder alternatives. Read the rest

New ideas to address games' language barriers

There are many ways to address the insularity and perceived inaccessibility of game creation. We continually insist that games are a massive global phenomenon, but many best practices are only available to the Western, English-speaking world.

Rami Ismail is out to change that. Dutch studio Vlambeer, where he works, is prolific with the hits: Just check out Nuclear Throne, Luftrausers, Ridiculous Fishing or Super Crate Box on whatever device you happen to own, for some of today's greatest arcade experiences.

Ismail is also a tireless developer advocate, constantly traveling the world to work with indies and students, and frequently releasing free tools to help them create and promote themselves. Last week, he announced his latest much-needed initiative: The upcoming Gamedev.world, an effort to collect game design learnings and resources in one place -- where they will then be translated into many languages:

gamedev.world is a curated repository of content foundational to creating the discourse and conversation about game design, all aspects of development, and game theory and culture. Every piece of content will then be translated into a number of languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Simplified Chinese and, as the intiative expands, more languages around the world.
Ismail frequently speaks about the limiting effect language issues can have on our discipline -- I once watched him teach a small room full of curious conference attendees how to read and say an Arabic phrase within minutes, whereas multimillion-dollar commercial shooters set in the Middle East can't get the words on the signs right in their "realistic" settings. Read the rest

Learn the sign language for "screengrab" and "SMH"

Online mag Hopes & Fears asked an educator in American Sign Language and his young assistant to demonstrate various internet jargon such as "emoji" and "photobomb". Each demo is captured in a short video loop. SMH portrays all the disgust involved in shaking one's head at something really stupid; Screengrab involves a nice gesture that enacts the mechanism of a phone display flashing in one's hand.

Since there's no central authority for such neologisms, some signs were ones used among friends while others were reached by consensus among members of the Deaf community online.

Read the rest

Twitterbot generates North Korean patriotic slogans with Markov chains

The 300 weird patriotic slogans that North Korea released last week had the stilted feel of machine-generated text. Read the rest

Court has to a law's diagram tortured sentence structure in order to rule

It's been 50 years since Congress passed 18USC§924, but it still remains an enigmatic, insane hairball of unparseable subordinate clauses and impossible twists and turns. Read the rest

Wikipedian corrects 15,000+ instances of "comprised of"

Bryan "Griaffedata" Henderson is on a mission to change every instance of "comprised of" to "composed of" or "consists of" -- and he's written a manifesto on the subject. Read the rest

Scientific American and fansubbers help video spread in Hungary

Dean from Amara writes, "Editors at Scientific American noticed they were getting a TON of hits on the video What Happens to Your Body after You Die? To their surprise, the majority of the views were originating in Hungary." Read the rest

Map of how French genders countries of the world


Redditor afrofagne created an interesting map of how countries are gendered in French globally. Some interesting patterns: Read the rest

Barbaric, backwards ancestor worship

The fetishization of "correct" English -- which is to say, white, wealthy English -- is in direct opposition to everything that makes English such a glorious drunkard's debauch of a language. Read the rest

Chinese government wants to ban puns

Chinese media regulators have called on broadcasters to end the widespread, longstanding practice of using puns, idiom and wordplay in everyday communications, advertisement, jokes, and political speech. Read the rest

Wall Street phishers show how dangerous good syntax and a good pitch can be

Major Wall Street institutions were cracked wide open by a phishing scam from FIN4, a hacker group that, unlike its competition, can write convincingly and employs some basic smarts about why people open attachments. Read the rest

More posts