joi, 28 octombrie 2010

The Railway Game, Clifford Dyment

"...Railway Amalgamation. This, now due in a few months' time, was the consequence of the Railways Act of 1921, which provided that the hundred-odd separate railway systems of Great Britain were to be re-formed into four big combines - the L.M.S.R., the L.N.E.R., the G.W.R. and the S.R. Each combine, as Mr. Belton explained to me, was to consist of Constituent Companies, that is, the larger lines in its territory, and Subsidiary Companies, the smaller lines. All these Companies, Constituent as well as Subsidiary, were to lose their identities in the digestive processes of four monster corporations. "

"Poor Hugh! He so wanted to be a normal young man - to be healthy and strong, able to work, to go courting, to get married, have a family. But I never went with him again to the house in the trees, because the next time we visited Newport Mon he was dead."

"One day in downcast mood I walked
Along the busy street,
Sick of my useless self - and then
A child's voice did me greet.

'Please, sir, I want to cross the road,'
The child to me did say;
'Please will you take me over, sir?'
I could not answer nay

Because the child looked up at me
Without a doubt that I
Was fit and fearless, being man
Standing six feet high.

So through the traffic I set out,
Small hand in large hand thrust -
A hopeless life in which a child
Had placed a perfect trust.

My eyes were wet with tears, though they
Weren't tears of grief, but glee-
For I felt strong because a child
Felt strong through being with me!"

duminică, 10 octombrie 2010

Philosophy makes a fun reading

"If two people genuinely disagreed about great issues, they would not find enough common ground to dispute specifics one by one. "
Representing and intervening: Introductory Topics in the Philosophy of Natural Science, Ian Hacking

"As psychologists have noted, people have a genetic ability to find order in phenomena which possess none at all. "
Interaction of philosophy and terminology, Larissa Alexeeva

joi, 7 octombrie 2010

When languages lose domains

I practically went through a Romanian university without ever learning the Romanian IT terms. There is not really an effort to translate all the terminology and most of the available books were in English. This is making the knowledge exchange a lot easier, but it also puts us in a position where we are only trying to keep up with the latest discoveries without making any significant contributions ourselves. What is more sad is that young people seem to find it difficult to be cool without replacing several perfectly translatable words with their English version in every day life conversations. We are simplifying our language, forgetting words and making Romanian less expressive, following the American model. I find myself in a position where the word "interesting" is sufficient to describe most of the situations, people and things that catch my eye. Only somebody with a different training was sensitive enough to notice my handicapped language.

"When sufficiently many individual researchers in the field have failed to make this domain conquest, the language community will suffer a domain loss with regard to its language usage. Such a domain loss with all its consequences is, however, probably unintentional. The favouring of the national language typical of earlier nationalistic periods was, at the end of the twentieth century, succeeded by a quasi-internationalization which, absurdly enough, has led to a momentary neglect of all languages apart from English. Discussing the consequences of the one-sided Anglification seems to be taboo; not even the consequent impaired competitiveness in relation to the Anglo-Saxon countries has so far yet changed the situation."

You can read the full article here.