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Comment Re:Russia Playing Catch Up To Corporations (Score 1) 106

In contrast, here in Australia, a smart man replaced an idiot. Unfortunately the smart man is cowardly and unable to stand up to the idiot’s colleagues, so despite much hope in the electorate (the not-nutcase-right part of it anyway), the government is basically the same but with a better-looking prime minister who doesn’t eat raw onions.

Comment Lua (Score 1) 414

I learned Lua programming macros and then addons for World of Warcraft. I’ve found it’s the only language I don’t have to pretty much relearn every time I use it (programming tasks are infrequent for me). Since then I’ve done some pretty sophisticated stuff with it, so the toy became a tool.

Comment Being in crowds (Score 4, Interesting) 184

I went to see Melbourne’s fireworks on New Year’s Eve 1999 going into 2000. We arrived early and got a good viewing spot on Southbank Promenade. When it was all over and the crowd started moving, there were people pressing on every side, and we had no control over where we were moving. Until you’re near the edge you just have to go where the crowd is going.

Everyone was calm and patient, as I imagine they are 99.999% of the time at the Hajj. But from the BBC article:

With temperatures around 46C, two massive lines of pilgrims converged on each other at right angles at an intersection close to the five-storey Jamarat Bridge in Mina, a large valley about 5km (3 miles) from Mecca.

(This is nowhere near the Kaaba, where pilgrims circle around the stone, and where a lot of crowd-control research has been done.) At light densities, columns of people can cross easily and elegantly, such as at a pedestrian crossing. At high densities, it would become physically impossible to make (push) one’s way through a column moving at right angles, with this happening just as people lose their autonomy. With pressure coming in from behind it would become deadly.

Submission + - The Man Who Invents Languages For A Living

An anonymous reader writes: David J. Peterson is fluent in eight languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Esperanto, Arabic and American Sign Language, but it is the languages he's created that gives him noteriety. He created Dothraki, Giant, and High Valyrian for Game of Thrones, Shiväisith for Thor: The Dark World, and four different languages for the TV show Defiance. Peterson recently sat down with NPR to talk about inventing languages for a living, and offers some advice on how to make your own.

Comment Re: Mickey Mouse copyirght extenstions... (Score 1) 183

Corporations seem to become behemoths whose only creative activity is related to money-making and tax-avoidance. As a corporation, âoeowningâ the rights to creative work done in the nineteenth century is only made meaningful by the among of money it brings in. If bringing in money on a large scale gives you your jollies, this is your path to enlightenment.

Comment Re:Eight is not enough (Score 1) 111

A year studying 20th-century music and doing serial music exercises in composition class prepared me well to listen to twelve-tone music. If I’m in the mood and I concentrate, I can quite enjoy an atonal piece. But in the end I grew to love renaissance music most, which is best described as pre-tonal (and definitely heptatonic).

Comment Re:Thai music is heptatonic (Score 1) 111

As far as I know, Thai music divides the octave into seven equally-spaced steps (7-tone equal temperament), then only uses five of them. So it’s a strange-sounding (to Westerners) pentatonic scale. Western music divides the octave into twelve equal intervals, but only uses seven of these in the scale that forms most of our music, which is basically heptatonic.

Experienced choral singers know that an F sharp is actually different from G flat, but that’s another thing altogether.

Comment Julian ockegheim (Score 1) 191

During my wife’s pregnancy, Julian was the only boy’s name we both didn’t mind. The baby turned out to be a girl (we wanted an old-school surprise), but if we have a boy in the future there’s a good chance he would be my favourite Julian.

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