Archive for the ‘silly’ Category

Freedom Fries

by wil — Jul 10, 2011

Remember “freedom fries“? Stanford Psychology Professor Lera Boroditsky has a funny bit in her super-interesting Long Now lecture, “How Language Shapes Thought”, where she discusses the ridiculous naming convention:

There’s a reason that these kinds of substitutions don’t work, and it’s because they’re based on wrong theory about how cognition and language relate to one another. So, words that you can simply replace one for the other in the language are synonyms. So if two words can equally go well into any phrase, that means they’re — they have the same meaning — they are synonyms. And so when you make that kind of replacement, what you’re saying is “french” is synonymous with “freedom”. So “french fries” are “freedom fries”, “french toast” is “freedom toast”, “french poodles” are “freedom poodles”, “french kissing” is “freedom kissing”, and then you have “freedom manicures”. What shall we call France then? “Freedom Land”? French would be the “language of freedom”? It’s setting up the wrong kind of mapping. So, what I want to suggest is if we understand, really how language and thought interact in the mind, we can even be nationalistic in a more effective manner. So if we really want to annoy the French, I say take all the things that the French hate, and call them French. That will really annoy them. For example, ketchup becomes “french sauce”, McDonald’s will be the “French Cafe”, shorts will be “french pants”, mimosas will be “french cocktails”, Disneyland will be “France”, Americans will be “French people”, the English language will be called “French”, and so on. That will get them!

You can listen to the entire lecture as an mp3 on the Long Now site.

Nerdy humor

by wil — Dec 18, 2010


Via xkcd


by wil — Dec 4, 2010


If you’re not that familiar with Harry Potter, you might not know what a portkey is, but it doesn’t really matter what a portkey is. What matters is that there are people in this world who proudly display their love of fantasy novels. Nerds, FTW!

Also seen: a bumper sticker that read, “Preserve the sanctity of marriage. Ban celebrity marriages.”