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

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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

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Secret history of the poop emoji

The 2007 project to bring emoji to Android -- and thence to the Web -- involved an epic battle over the inclusion of the much-loved "pile of poop" emoji, whose significance to the Japanese market was poorly understood by various reactionary elements at Google. Read the rest

UK military slang from Afghanistan

"ALLY Term for a battlefield fashionista - desirables include having a beard, using a different rifle, carrying vast amounts of ammunition, being dusty and having obscene amounts of tattoos and hair. Special forces are automatically Ally." Read the rest

Awesome! "Epic" is declining in use (except at CNN)


Good news! The most overused word of 2013 is clearly in decline. Epic became synonymous with dudebro culture thanks to web phenomena like Epic Meal Time and epic fail, leading marketers to pounce on the word in hopes of reaching the demographic. That explains why CNN has it twice on their front page this morning, like a dad trying to connect with his son. Read the rest

Let’s Learn Japanese – an illustrated dictionary with over 1500 Japanese words

For anyone learning how to speak Japanese, this is a fun illustrated “picture dictionary” with over 1500 words that will help build up your Japanese vocabulary. Designed like some of Richard Scarry’s classic books (What Do People Do All Day, Best Word Book Ever…) Let’s Learn Japanese is filled with colorful scenes, each with a theme such as the doctor’s office, the supermarket, colors, the zoo, clothing, etc, and each theme offers dozens of related, illustrated words.

At the end of the book there is an English-Japanese and a Japanese-English glossary and index so that you can look up a specific word when needed. I originally bought this for my husband and I to brush up on our vocabulary before making a trip to Japan, but now my daughter, who is interested in Japanese, pores over the pages as if she’s reading one of her favorite comic books.

Let’s Learn Japanese: Picture Dictionary

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Where wolves fuck

My friend Patrick Ball turned me on to a wonderful piece of Serbian idiom: "Vukojebina," which literally means "where wolves fuck," but is used to denote any out-of-the-way place. Read the rest

Localizing an operating system for a language with no high-tech vocabulary

When Senegalese Mozillan Ibrahima Sarr translated Firefox OS into Fulah, he had to coin an entire technological vocabulary, so "crash" became "hookii" (a cow falling over but not dying). Read the rest

Ten untranslatable words

Ella Frances Sanders illustrates words held to be untranslatable, to English equivalents, from their native languages.

How to write like a 17th century doctor

Mark CK researched doctor's journals and writings from the 17th and 18th centuries while working on a book about pirate surgeons and reports back with a guide to writing in the style of the day, which involves a lot of bad Latin, irregular spelling, and extra letters used as emphasis. Read the rest

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