My posting this morning on three references to putative sex / gender differences caused Facebook to put me through a captcha test to get the thing posted — I presume because of the word sex in the text. Then people began reporting that FB had been labeling this posting (and two previous ones) as potential spam, in a bizarre use of the word spam, since the objection would have to be to the content of the postings (not to bulk mailing of unsolicited messages, especially advertising, which I certainly can’t be accused of doing: people get FB postings from me by virtue of having mutually friended me).
Archive for the ‘This blogging life’ Category
Every so often I report on the march of comments spam, which is quite remarkable. Back in 2011, there were about 100,000 spam comments on this blog. At the time this was about 27 times the legitimate comments. This week we passed 300,000 spam comments, and the ratio to legitimate comments was about 44:1. Oi.
WordPress tells me that I now have 100 “followers”, people who get notifications of each of my postings on this blog. Amazing, in a way, especially since only a few of these are friends or colleagues.While I have my dark moments in thinking about my net life, there are also gratifying moments. (That goes along with being a teacher.)
Back at the beginning of this month, an invitation (with the header “3Q Twinterview”) in e-mail:
I’m sorry to bother you at a busy time of the year, but I wondered if you’d be interested in taking part in a really very short Twitter interview? I run the language/linguistics Twitter/Facebook pages for UCLan (http://fb.com/LangLingUCLan and http://twitter.com/LangLingUCLan) and for 2013, I’m starting a monthly Mini Bios feature where I ask a famous linguist three questions and tweet the answers. If you are interested, there is one catch: due to the limitations of Twitter, each answer would need to be around fifty words, maximum.
Something of a nightmare prospect for me. Not just an interview, but one with extraordinarily tight space limitations. I do have a Twitter account, but have never used it, so that’s a graceful way out of this exercise.
I get huge amounts of spam, both in e-mail and in blog comments, so I mostly don’t even look at the stuff. But here’s one (lightly edited to remove links) that caught my eye as I was deleting spam from my mail:
The Better Business Bureau has been recorded the above mentioned plaint from one of your users as regards their business relations with you. The information about the consumer’s uneasiness are available at the link below. Please give attention to this issue and notify us about your glance as soon as possible.
We amiably ask you to click and review the [Grievance Report] to respond on this grievance.
We awaits to your prompt rebound.
It has been coming in multiple copies, with small variations in form. The text looks like it’s inexpertly translated from another language, but whether that effect is inadvertent or intentional I cannot tell.
I am, however, considering using “We awaits to your prompt rebound” in my own writing, or possibly working it into a piece of light verse.
Two pieces of mail to AZBlog, both telling me that I’d said some expression E was an X but that it was really a Y instead. I stand by my original claims, while adding that E is in fact both an X and a Y, though in two different senses:
conjunctive: E is an X and E is a Y, and those two claims are not incompatible;
disjunctive: what we’re calling E is in fact two different expressions, E1 and E2 (that is, E = E1 ∨ E2), which happen to be phonologically identical; E is “sometimes an X and sometimes a Y”, in that E1 is an X and E2 is a Y
Two recent mess-ups in my postings: my original comments on the latest One Big Happy (here), which crashingly missed the point of the strip, although that wasn’t subtle; and, going back a while, my labeling my new right hip the Platinum Wonder Hip, when in fact it turns out to be titanium. Different specific sources, though both errors probably go back to the circus of medical treatments.
Andy Rogers, in a Facebook comment today on “Commando no more“:
Waaaay too much information in the blog!
I have revised this posting to begin with the following warning:
[TMI Warning: The following posting contains information, opinion, or reflection that some readers might find uncomfortably or unwelcomely personal, private, or intimate in topic or content: too much information, as the saying goes. As a general observation, I’m willing to go almost anywhere in my postings, including some places that some readers don’t want to go.]
I will now go back and add this warning to other postings. I invite your suggestions, preferably by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, as to which postings should be so labeled.
In the Usenet newsgroup soc.motss, I used to preface my racier postings with a warning that they treated sexual activity in plain language, so that some readers might want to avoid them. The tenor of blogs has changed enough in the 30 years that have gone past that I now rarely issue this sort of warning, but I wonder if I should return to some version of the practice. (I put “adult” visual content on AZBlogX some time ago, along with creative writing — poetry, fiction, fictionalized autobiography — with “adult” verbal content, but much verbal content remains on my regular blog, as does some “borderline” visual material.) I welcome opinions on the matter, as comments on this posting.
From the 12/3/11 Economist, p. 43, in “Marijuana in California and Colorado: Highs and laws”:
In October, California’s four federal prosecutors threw the state (and drug-lovers everywhere in the country) into confusion when they announced their intention aggressively to go after landlords who rent their buildings to dispensaries of medical marijuana, and even after newspapers, radio and television stations who accept advertising from sellers of the weed.
The placement of the adverb aggressively (which modifies the VP in go after… that follows) before the infinitive marker to struck me as awkward, suggesting (momentarily) that the intention was aggressive, that is, that the prosecutors intended something aggressively. This brief potential ambiguity in the scope of aggressively isn’t problematic in itself, but if the writer had alternatives that are better stylistically, they’d have done better to go with one of them.
And there is a clearly better placement for aggressively: snuggled right up to the head V, go, of the VP it modifies (go after landlords …): the intention to aggressively go after landlords … Why not go for it?
Presumably because that involves the configuration misleadingly known as a “split infinitive”, against which some people bear an irrational prejudice. More on this in a moment. First, a note on why I’m resurrecting a quote from last year.