Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Archive for the ‘Language Use’ Category

Dummies Guide To Mass Murderers

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-07-24

Unless you are part of that demographic-to-be-ignored, the latte-sipping bleeding-hearts, both left and small-l-liberal, here is a quick guide to labels and policies regarding mass murderers, or assassins of your own prime minister:

Demographic: Swarthy Moslem White Lefty Latte Sipper White Christian Anti-Moslem Righty Swarthy Ultra Orthodox Jew Righty
Psychology: Evil Mad Mad Mad
Your Ideology: Evil Mad and Dangerous Irrelevant because of insanity Irrelevant because of insanity
Punishment: Execute or incarcerate forever without trial Criminally insane ward in a prison Criminally insane ward in a prison Imprison
Others in the demographic: Kick them out of the country, don’t let any more in, or subject them to security agencies bullying. Make them shut up, and especially don’t let them speak in schools or mass media.. The Right Stuff Patriots
Assumption next atrocity is from the demographic: 99% 1% 0% 0%
Assumption the demographic’s policies will destroy civilization: 100% 100% 0% 0%


Personally, I’d classify all four as mad, and where frank psychosis is incomplete, the evil results come from improper education, incitement by others in the same demographic, and twisted readings of the texts of the ideology.

In other words, things that could be largely prevented by a combination of decent community mental health services, and an education system that gives fair exposition of all texts used by nutters as pretexts for action, stressing the humanity in those texts, and showing how the inhumane parts should be deprecated.

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Posted in Australia, International, Language Use, Law, Media, Politics, Society, Theology and Religion | 1 Comment »

Easter Mondegreen

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-04-23

O Eggsy Day – Quit all this piggin’ ’til Monday!

And yes folks, with Zombie Dei, take good care of your brains.

Tattoo of Jesus Zombie

Brains ... Brains ... I want to eat your brains

Posted in Humor, Language Use | Leave a Comment »

Dumb marketing or dumb market

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-02-06

On the back of today’s Age "Sunday Life" fluff liftout is an ad that made my jaw drop – mentions St Valentine’s day, romantic picture of a couple walking under blossoming trees, picture of the products (jewellery)…

… but the brand name… "Pandora"!

Ever heard the common phrase "Opening up a Pandora’s Box"?

I wondered if the person suggesting that name was an idiot, a cynic after a very ugly marriage, or thought it a nice sound while assessing the wealthy demographics as untutored… or probably two out of three.

The message for the guy buying the ring? "The girl might have a lot going for her, apart from trustworthiness – things will get really ugly with the worst things happening – things so bad you’d never heard of them before – and there won’t be even a glimmer of hope."

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Posted in Economics and Business, Education, History, Humor, Language Use | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Gilgamesh hits over 1000

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-09-05

While not realizing it recently, one of my favorite and most effort-intensive posts, a discussion of Gilgamesh and an extremely short rendering, has climbed over 1000 reads.

The reads come in bursts, with each burst having similar searches, but searches different for each burst ("gilgamesh moral lessons", " gilgamesh enkidu friendship", etc), that I reckon the bursts reflect some school assignment somewhere in the world.

So… if you don’t know of Gilgamesh and it’s importance in the history of literature, the history of histories, and indeed, where it fits in the history of words being written, give the post a quick read.  If you do know Gilgamesh, pointers to what you see as the weakest parts of my rendering would be helpful… I’d still like to make it better.

So, for a tucked-out-of-the-way blog like this one, having a post that took some effort to put together, that just keeps doing the job it was designed to, is quite gratifying.  If I’ve given people a little of the feel of this important epic, some basic history, and lots of links that have helped people, that single post has made this entire blog has been worthwhile..

Posted in History, Language Use | 1 Comment »

Great bill that might end up a dog’s (or cougar’s) breakfast

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-02-08

The evil cackling you hear in the background is me thinking about how many harmless people could be locked away for up to three years if Nick Xenophon’s proposed legislation, with laudable aims, gets through.  Ain’t I a nice guy giving losers the chance to raise their concerns to government, and maybe keep their loser activities from becoming criminal?

The Senate Inquiry into the Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2010 got me wondering how many Australian women approaching or over "a certain age" (whatever that is) will have to delete their facebook and or myspace profiles, and start again with a new profile created from scratch, unless female behaviour has changed radically in the last 15 years or so.

Oh well, it’s an easy way to get rid of all the silly groups and pages they have joined!

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Posted in Australia, Language Use, Legislation, Politics | 2 Comments »

Modern Chinese Government – Confucian or Legalist?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-02-05

The cloak of Confucian authority has been used previously by Lee’s Singapore, and increasingly China, as justification for authoritarianism, promoting misconceptions in Western cultures, and possibly a subtext in the forthcoming movie about Confucius.

Many parts of "The Analects of Confucius" are quietly subversive, as I’ll show by quotes that confound the common charges against Confucius of being an authoritarian superstitious pedant.  Legalism is the true fist in the thin Confucian glove worn by Chinese leaders.  Both schools stress strong government for order in society, but have opposite approaches.

Legalism demands consistent application of harsh criminal sanctions to promote a cohesive society through fear, while Confucius demanded firm yet gentle leadership of a cultivated population, bringing harmony through education in virtue, as shown by the following:

If the people be led by laws, and uniformity sought to be given them by punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment, but have no sense of shame. 
If they be led by virtue, and uniformity sought to be given them by the rules of propriety, they will have the sense of shame, and moreover will become good.

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Posted in China, Civil rights, Ethics, Language Use, Philosophy, Politics, Society | Tagged: | 11 Comments »

KRudd edurcashunal standurds FAIL

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-12-01

The KRudd "Education Revolution" is perhaps driven by the spelling standards of those pumping out his media releases… or maybe he isn’t a control freak after all if headlines like the following get through.

How many eyes run over his media releases before being put up at the official ALP website?  It must be easier to stop such a glaring error than an important number about our economy!

For both images, click to get a larger version in all there horibull gloury.

First, the list of media releases from (which will change tomorrow, I’d imagine).

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Posted in Australia, Humor, Information Management, Language Use, Media, Politics | 1 Comment »

6.0 + 0.1 = 7 according to Microsoft

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-10-29

Microsoft doesn’t add up… 6.0 + 0.1 = 7.

It’s not surprising that as a self-proclaimed unix bigot, I won’t be rushing to install Windows 7.

That’s because I think Vista isn’t that bad, and the greater convenience touted on security matters ("fewer annoying popups") in "Seven" is oxymoronic.  My Microsoft partition will stay Vista.

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Posted in Economics and Business, Information Management, Language Use | 5 Comments »

Gubernator Gaffe – Or Goody?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-10-29

A veto note from the Gubernator, 
replete with a profanity 
not immediately obvious,  
intentional or highly coincidental? 
Enjoy the links below.

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Posted in Humor, Language Use, USA | Leave a Comment »

Human Rights – a regressive step in my lefty view

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-10-26

With the possibility of a Human Rights instrument going through the federal parliament, while lefty me thinks overall it would be a good thing, I happen to think that it is a regressive concept.

I’d argue for "Sapient Rights", not "Human Rights".

I’d go into this in more detail if I hadn’t already covered it reasonably well in a post written before this blog was as well-known: "‘Human Rights’ : a regressive concept" (2008-05-04).

Pushing it perhaps to the extreme, think of the impact of the difference between Human and Sapient Rights while recalling movies like "The Day the Earth Stood Still", "2001", and even junk like "Independence Day".

Would we want "Little Green Men" to only have "Little Green Men Rights" in their legal code, or would we be happier with "Sapient Rights"?

…and the way we’re going on planetary policy, you’ve got to wonder if we’d qualify even then!

Posted in Australia, Civil rights, Ethics, Language Use, Law, Politics, Society | Leave a Comment »

Vic Gov RSS shouts – it’s all they can do

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-08-31

At first I thought the Victorian Government Media Releases RSS feed (, was simply ugly and unreadable because of the shouting all caps.

But then I realized it is a perfect fit with Joh Brumby’s government.

Don’t do good policy – just shout loudly enough about how great you are so everyone gets bored.

And just about everyone with half an education in typography knows that all-caps shouting becomes ever less readable compared to lower-case letters as the length of the text gets longer… yeah, don’t do anything to make it easier for people to find the interesting stuff and read the fine print.


Posted in Information Management, Language Use, Politics, Victoria | Leave a Comment »

The wonton gospel?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-08-27

Can anybody help me here?  What version of John 1:1 has the best provenance?  To what does the wonton refer?  Why doesn’t John weigh in with three or even five tons?

All I can find is the following:

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Posted in Language Use, Theology and Religion | 1 Comment »

Python, Brian, grammar, accents, and the fall of Empires

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-07-20

"Monty Python’s contribution to Classics" (2009-07-20) from LatinTeach has video clips of the classicist’s favorite parts of their Python’s most intellectually incisive movie: "Romans Go Home" (where the centurion forces the protester to "do lines" after taking him through the correct grammar in the manner of the stereotypical Latin teacher) and "What have the Romans ever done for us?"

"To go" is always a pain to learn.  It’s almost guaranteed to be irregular (even in English, the past participle is "went", and a smart toddler will naturally used "goed" instead).  The most used verbs tend to be short and irregular.

Do any readers know of a language where "to go", or especially "to be" are regular?

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Posted in History, International, Language Use, Society | Leave a Comment »


Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-07-18

With gagging of public servants and school principals in Victoria, all the while Joh Brumby saying he is committed to transparency and free speech, I’ve decided that we are moving away from plutocracy, into a new political order:

Hypocracy (n) Rule by the lowest of the low.

Posted in Australia, Language Use, Politics, Victoria | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Best scientific paper title of the year?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-06-14

C.P. Snow would giggle and be pleased.  OK, he might groan as well.

Subtitled "Continuous Melatonin Treatment Maintains Youthful Rhythmic Activity in Aging Crocidura russula" is a paper on how melatonin (which among other things, is very involved in body clocks) affects a small mammal that looks a bit like a mouse.

The title (and link) over the fold (so you can think about it for a minute and take a guess).

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Posted in Biology and Health, Humor, Language Use | 1 Comment »

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