Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Fixing things

July 9, 2017

Yesterday’s Mother Goose and Grimm, featuring the computer dogs (the bull terrier Grimm at the keyboard, the Boston terrier Ralph advising him):


To understand this strip, you need to know about keyboard shortcuts on a Mac computer, in particular the combination

Command-Z: Undo the previous command. You can then press Command-Shift-Z to Redo, reversing the undo command.

⌘-Z undoes, or reverses, keyboard actions. In the cartoon, the dimwitted Ralph suggests using this computer key combination to reverse events in general — in this case, the falling of the lamp to the floor and the breaking that resulted from the fall. ⌘-Z will fix it!

If only.



May 21, 2017

Two recent cartoons, a One Big Happy in which the grandmother copes with black street speech with an app for her audience; and a Doonesbury in which marijuana companies tailor their products and their advertising for gay and black audiences.


The Z with the ‘za

May 10, 2017

Caught on the streets of Palo Alto yesterday, a food delivery truck from this company:


The one I saw had a snappier slogan, something along the lines of “World’s Only Cooked-On-The-Road Pizza”.  And then there was the name: as a Z-person, I’m keenly alert to words beginning with Z. In any case, our robot overlords are now making pizzas in trucks. Right here in Silicon Valley.


For want of an A, the world was saved

May 9, 2017

The latest xkcd cartoon, #1834 Lunch Order:

You say launch order, I say lunch order; let’s call the whole thing off

Body works

March 5, 2017

(Frank talk about the male body, but no sex in this particular posting. Use your judgment.)

Four body items that have come my way recently: bouncing penises and testicles (and other intimate views of the body) in a new computer game; mussels as vaginal symbols; axillary delights; and anal art.

This is Part I: Dangly Bits.


The little man with the laundry

February 28, 2017

Another item from my blog backlog file, this time a delightful (and informative and perceptive) piece in the Economist’s special year-end issue (of 12/24/16), “Mankind in miniature: A simple, oddly modern, oddly mystical machine”, illustrated here:


A hand-carved little man

The piece (unsigned, as is standard in the Economist) begins:

The clothespeg [AmE clothespin] has an ancient look. The simplest sort, with rounded head and body carved from a single piece of wood, might have come from an Egyptian tomb or a Mesoamerican midden. Their shape is vaguely anthropomorphic, like a forked mandrake root (“dolly peg” is the name in commerce), suggesting an offering to the gods of fertility, or of nature. It would be no surprise to find one in an Iron Age settlement, still attached to an Iron Age loincloth.

Odd, then, that the first such peg is not recorded until the early 19th century.


Understanding the comics

February 22, 2017

Once again, I return to the question of what you have to know to understand a comic strip or a cartoon, with two recent cartoons in my comics feed, a Rhymes With Orange and a Bizarro; in both, understanding requires that you supply a word that isn’t in the text of the cartoon:




Mathematical Principles of Natural Fig Snacks

January 15, 2017

A recent One Big Happy has Joe cutting corners on a book report:


Classic kid behavior.


Squirrel Girl

January 13, 2017

From linguist friends on Facebook, this cartoon, of obvious linguistic interest:


This is the strip Squirrel Girl, in the Marvel Comics universe.


Gloomy tech days at the NYT

November 10, 2016

[11/12/16: Update on the NYTMagazine/Wesley Morris matter. By the time I got around to looking for Morris’s excellent piece “Last Taboo” on-line, my searches were shunted to another Morris piece, “Uncommon Ground” (to appear in print tomorrow). I posted about this; Ned Deily discovered that though he had been able to get to “Last Taboo”, he was now also diverted away from it; and Ned unearthed the Wayback Machine evidence for the piece on-line earlier. At least one reader reported no problem with the links, and not long after I posted, things were fixed for everyone. Alarm no more.

Meanwhile, I tried to get in touch with Morris about the problem, but saw no way to do it. Ned, ever helpful, reported that the NYT had a page listing Morris’s articles for them, and on it there was an Email Author button. So there was; it doesn’t give you an address, but directs messages to Morris out of public view. Unfortunately, the software returned the message

We could not process your request, please try again later. Sorry for the inconvenience.

— 25 times over two days. My patience is now officially exhausted. To hell with it.

Score card: one software glitch fixed, one apparently still flourishing.]

Now, back to my previous posting.]