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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Is it called Chinglish?

On the tube today I sat next to a family from China. From body language I thought they were a couple with her Mum and Dad. Mum was wearing a chic (I'm not really sure what chic means: perhaps I should have just said tailored with no sleeves) black summer dress and lots of jewellery. On the dress in big gold letters it said "Judging The Street Fashion 80s Will Back". It struck me as odd, because I mean it was gibberish but I kind of knew what it sort of meant. English is a fantastic language.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Crime and punishment

I must have still been asleep, but I'm sure I heard someone on the radio this morning reporting on the newly-released crime figures and expressing surprise that crime appeared to be going down "yet the prisons are bulging". Clearly they don't teach logic as part of media studies courses nowdays. It's a shame, because I also heard on the radio that there are twice as many people doing media studies at university than there are people doing engineering (amazingly, there are also more people studying philosophy than engineering: I mean, I can understand doing media studies in the hope that you';; end up getting paid a fortune for not doing very much for the BBC, but philosophy?). The figures (start tracking them down here) also show that murder is down 12% while attempted murder is up 20+%. Clearly, even our murderers are second rate (and getting worse). Cue favourite line from Robocop: "Attempted murder! It's not like he killed anybody.".

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Black sheep (no!)

I'm reading "Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets" (Nassim Nicholas Taleb) at the moment. It's not as good as I thought it would be from the reviews, but it's mildly interesting. He keeps going on about the "black swan" effect (that no matter how many white swans you see, that doesn't mean there are no black swans). Hence I was genuinely amazed when I saw a black swan on the River Cam today... BlackSwan