waider: (Default)
Cuil may be "an old Irish word for knowledge", but those of us who learned the language more recently (like, say, in the 20th century) will recognise it as meaning "rear". I've even found a dictionary which indicates that this meaning comes from old Irish. In fact, the only references I can find to it meaning "knowledge" are the word-for-word press release reprints from Cuil themselves.
Ah, but there's a catch. In one of the longer articles, the name is revealed to be "derived from a character named Finn McCuill in Celtic folklore" which is an entirely different thing. In this instance, Cuill is a misspelling of Cumhaill, and the name means, simply, "Fionn, son of Cumhall" (Irish tends to insert and remove the occasional vowel to keep you on your toes), which has this new search engine potentially named after... a female slave. Or maybe "keeping", which might make for an easier backstory for a search engine? In any case, I suspect I'll be continuing to use Google despite this "Cuil" new site (their intended pun, not mine).
waider: (Default)
Short description of news article in RTÉ's newsfeed: "A suspicious object ... turned out to be a hoax.". I'm picturing Michael Palin and John Cleese standing next to some sort of Rube Goldberg/Heath Robinson device with cranks, tubing, maybe some steam, etc. "What's this?" "It's a hoax, innit", and so on.
waider: (Default)
Many Irish placenames are more-or-less phonetic renditions in English of the original Irish; there are a few commonly recurring words, such as Baile (town), Cnoc (hill), Átha (ford), Béal (mouth, as in river), Cill (church), Dún (fort), Lí(o)s (fairy fort), Droichead (bridge) and Gort (ploughed field). Thus you get Ballina, which is Béal an Átha, or the ford at the mouth of the river; Drogheda, or Droichead Átha, the bridge on the ford; Lismore, being Líos Mór, a large fairy fort, and so on. The further west you go, the more you seem to encounter an endless stream of Ballythis (Bally being the general anglicisation of Baile) or Knockthat (ditto for Cnoc). This is most likely due to the fact that the land to the west being poorer, the English tended to push the Irish in that direction whenever possible (for example, Cromwell's famous threat to the Irish was something along the lines of "Go to Connaught, or go to Hell") so that they could have the good land for themselves, and in that land new towns sprang up with more English names. However, nothing quite matches the further reaches of the west of Ireland, particularly the pockets where Irish is still the native language, and the immediate surrounds of those areas; it's almost as if there's competition to see how many of the "standard" words can be put into an anglicised town name. Thus, you won't be hard pressed to find something along the lines of "The town of the bridge over the mouth of the river by the ford of the fort on the hill of the ploughed field that used be a fairy fort but now has a church", which, by my reckoning, should come out as Ballydrogheadballinadoonknockgortliskill.

If you get there, send me a postcard.

(For a more serious discussion on this topic, try IRISH LOCAL NAMES EXPLAINED. Me, I'm just being a smartarse as usual.)
waider: (Default)
"Trial halted for legal reasons"

I imagine there are few other types of reasons that would halt a trial, really. There's a sort of coals-to-Newcastle feel about it.
waider: (Default)
Actually, I can't claim to have originated this. Somewhere along the line I picked up the word "fishslap", as in whacking someone across the face with a fish, a notional punishment applied via IM or other online chat for bad jokes, etc. When I wrote the office IRC bot for the company I worked for before my current employment, I included the following in its configuration:
   # the classics
   [ '^%b: slap\s+(.+)', '/me slaps %1 with a fish.' ],
Which, translated from my hacky Perl to english, says "if someone says, "bot: slap waider", display a message reading, "bot slaps waider with a fish". (%b was replaced with the bot's name, allowing you to have a bot named whatever you liked; the rest is just a combination of Perl-like back-references to identify the target, and IRC shorthand to denote an action performed rather than a statement made.)

The reason I mention this is that I recently saw a hotmail email which ended with the following:
Get fish-slapping on Messenger
waider: (Default)
Jurys Inn, Limerick, guarantees me that their website's price is the lowest.
We guarantee that for any hotel reservation made on jurysinns.com, you will not find a lower room rate publicly available on the Internet for that same room type in the same Jurys Inn on the same date requested!
If, having made a booking on a Jurys Inns branded website, you should find a lower publicay available price, for the same room at the same hotel, elsewhere on the internet within 24 hours of booking, we will honour that rate. (link)
The terms and conditions are interesting, but I am amused by this gem:
The availability of the competing rate must be proved by an acceptable form of evidence.  An "acceptable" form of evidence will be the forwarding to us of an official print screen or email confirming a reservation... (my emphasis)
What's an official print screen? That aside, if I'm reading this right, it seems I need to book through the Jurys Inns website, then book through the competing website as well.

Oh yeah. It also tells me how to "challange" the Jurys Inns Price Guarantees. I found a better way to "challange" it: look up cheaper hotels on Booking.com. Booyah.
waider: (Default)
Saw a promo for this on one of the big screens at the gym tonight: "America's Most Smartest Model". Actually, from that link I get the impression that the grammatical error is intentional (the "Most" is made to look like it's a pencilled-in correction, which isn't how it was shown on the promo I saw), but it's like the kid says on the Simpsons: "are you being sarcastic, dude?" "I don't even know anymore."
waider: (Default)
"The translations below are shown using both the Latin alphabet and the modern Irish script." (link)
Apparently "modern Irish script" still features the séimhiú (that would be a dot over a letter indicating it is followed by H), the ornate no-lowercase-for-us A, and a somewhat germanic-looking long S with no tail. I think someone needs to revise their sources, although I must admit this could plausibly be the "offical" script in some random corner of our legislature.
waider: (Default)
As linked to by [livejournal.com profile] waidesworld, Wikipedia's page on "Hiberno-English". The glossary is an odd mish-mash of slang (some of which I've never encountered) and more "normally"-used words. This one in particular made me laugh (knowingly):
Scoop is used to describe an alcoholic beverage i.e. "Going for a few scoops". It is rarely, if ever, used in the singular (for example "I left my scoop on the table" is not a phrase that would ever be used). Also used is the word Jars (giving rise to the expression to be intoxicated jarred). Both terms usually describe pints.
Of course it's never used in the singular. A bird doesn't fly on one wing, does it?
waider: (Default)
I wonder if there's a term for English words incorrectly back-formed from their plurals? Just now I came across an otherwise well-written geometry article which used the word "vertice" where "vertex" was intended; the author evidently assumed "vertice" to be the singular of "vertices".
waider: (Default)
Just now on TV I see some guy captioned as being from the "Irish Association of Suicidology". I am appalled to discover this is actually a real word.
waider: (Default)
From the previously-cited Drummond piece, I find an example of something I've found both increasingly prevalent and increasingly annoying: the Spurious Comma.
I do not want to spend every November, for the rest of my life, trying to breathe new life into a concept, that should have been left alone years ago.
Please tell me why there is a comma after "concept" in the above sentence. Arguably the rest of 'em should go, too, but that one is the biggest offender. This, as I say, appears to be gaining in popularity: the placement of a comma where not only is there no need for one, but the insertion of which messes up the flow of the sentence. Where do people learn this stuff? Is it the same school where they teach misuse of apostrophes?
waider: (Default)
Actually, not king, but editor: if an article makes some reference to its own length (case in point: Bill Drummond's No Music Day piece[1]), I would discount that from the actual article length and chastise the author accordingly (and possibly even edit it out of the finished piece). Same goes for any filler paragraphs describing the writing process of said article, unless of course the article is actually about the writing process. I really don't care that it's hard to write about subject X, that's why you're a writing producer and I'm a writing consumer.

[1] Yes, I realise this is a blog, not an article. Don't care. I'm being curmudgeonly, I can make up the rules.
waider: (Default)
I skimmed through yet another attempt to explain Google's PageRank system (summary: "we trawled everyone else's documents and glommed them into ours, producing zero new information in the process") and found, right near the start, the statement that "not all links weight the same". Personally if I'd been asked to proof the article I'd have flagged this as a typo for "weigh", but I guess in the context in which it's used it's actually a valid if annoying use of "weight".

I still think the article as a whole is pointless, though.
waider: (Default)
It's not "an issue" or "a challenge" or even "an opportunity"; it's a problem, and it needs to be fixed.
waider: (Default)
I occasionally find things on my fridge that I don't recall composing. There are a few things that I'm pretty certain other people did, and a few I've done while drunk and forgotten about, but just now I found "dating lies" and I have NO idea where it came from. Or when it appeared there.

This is why the top of the fridge declares, "I never did say all beneath".
waider: (Default)
fascinating article about a guy who tries speaking solely Irish to people in Ireland. Comes with bonus Irish phrase guide at the end.


waider: (Default)

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