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A "dumb copy editor" story from George Lakoff

Language Log -- A “dumb copy editor” story from George Lakoff
I guess you need to know that the book by Lakoff and Johnson called Metaphors We Live By, published in 1980 by the University of Chicago Press, was a huge seller for them, and is now famous around the world, virtually a classic. And you need to know that many, many Americans still live in terror of a rule invented by an essayist called John Dryden who died well over 300 years ago. The copy editor used on the Lakoff & Johnson book was a senior editor for the Press, and he recommended large numbers of changes in grammar and style. The first of the changes concerned the first four words of the book — its title. And yes, you guessed it; those of you who are saying under your breath "Oh no, he didn't…", you are ahead of me, because he did. Lakoff swears this is true. The man actually proposed that the title should be changed to Metaphors By Which We Live. No stranding of prepositions at the University of Chicago!

July 06, 2009

Recommended Listening: "Exhalation" by Ted Chiang

Escape Pod -- EP194: Exhalation We often break sci-fi into...

"This Much I Know" by AC Grayling, philosopher

This much I know: AC Grayling, philosopher, 60, London | Life and style | The Observer A selection of quotes.
A human lifespan is less than a thousand months long. You need to make some time to think how to live it. The democracy of blogging and tweeting is absolutely terrific in one way. It is also the most effective producer of rubbish and insult and falsehood we have yet invented. I am putting together a secular bible. My Genesis is when the apple falls on Newton's head. My mother was a straight-up-and-down racist of a very marked kind. She used to laugh at the shopping lists the cook would try to copy out. It would never have occurred to her to teach him to read. I would imagine Jesus was a kind of Jewish reformer. If you were looking for an equivalent to the figure you dimly perceive through the gospels it would probably be a Richard Dawkins. Christian churches and Muslim groups have no more right to have their say than women's institutes or trades unions. The government has actively encouraged faith-based education, and therefore given a megaphone to religious voices and fundamentalists. Life is all about relationships. By all means sit cross-legged on top of a mountain occasionally. But don't do it for very long.

The oldest bible in the world now online and free

World's oldest bible goes online | World news | The Guardian
The oldest bible in the world, the Codex Sinaiticus, written in Greek in the fourth century but now scattered between the British Library, Germany, Russia and St Catherine's monastery in Egypt's Sinai desert, will be reassembled online today in a L1m scholarship exercise. Nobody alive has seen all the pages together in one place. The pages of the codex, described as "a jewel beyond price" by Scot McKendrick, head of western manuscripts at the British Library, which has the largest part, have been scattered for over 150 years. From today, scholars or the merely curious anywhere in the world will be able to search all the surviving text, down to thumbnail-sized fragments found at St Catherine's, free online. The pages can be searched in facsimile, transcribed or translated. The digital photography is of such high resolution that insect bites and scars of some of hundreds of animals whose hides became the vellum pages can be seen. . . .

Parents are freaking out over Tender Morsels

Parents alarmed over sex assault in children's novel | Books | The Observer Apparently the book is a savage retelling of Snow White/Rose Red that opens with a gang rape and involves a love story between a young girl and a bear. Some parents are freaking out over the content, while somehow forgetting that childrens' stories have always been like this.
The word "slut" appears in the first line of Margo Lanagan's new book, Tender Morsels. The next few paragraphs describe an unsettling sex scene between a witch and a dwarf. For some parents this will simply be an upfront way of indicating the challenging content of an interesting novel for young people, for others it will signal the end of children's literature. The novel, published this month by Random House, is a lurid reworking of Grimm's Snow White and Rose Red fairytale and also contains a gang rape and a frank description of a miscarriage. Within the book industry, the new title from the Australian author is already being described as uncompromising and controversial. Publication of Tender Morsels in this country is leading to renewed calls for a clearer system to let parents know about the nature of the books that their children are reading. Anne Fine, a former children's laureate, said: "If you look at online reviews, nearly all the parents think it is quite unsuitable. Many of the children loved the book but among the girls, a lot of them found it frightening or even repulsive. . . .

July 01, 2009

Torchwood the audio plays

BBC - Radio 4 - Torchwood - Download the Plays Available for free download for a limited time. *Thanks, Dorian*