One-Pot Pumpkin & Cabbage Stew

Oct. 13th, 2015 04:49 am
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Posted by Green Kitchen Stories


Hi, this is David! Luise will soon tell you about this recipe of hers and we also have a little quick video where we demonstrate it, but I just wanted to mention one thing before we get all warm and cosy. If you are reading this on an Apple device, our typography has probably turned all bold and ugly on you. I am so sorry for this! It really hurts my design soul to see our site like that. During our six years of blogging, we have never changed the design of this blog. We have always loved the design and felt like it has become part of our blogs identity, but the theme that we built our site on has been outdated for a very long time and we have managed to keep it alive with band-aids and chewing gum. However, I am not sure if we can keep this design much longer; the typography is acting like a confused teenager, the site loads slowly, is not very mobile or printer friendly and my web skills can’t seem to fix all this. So bare with us while we are figuring out how this blog should transform into a more user friendly version. It will probably look ugly for a while but change is on its way. (And if you are a super-talented and design minded web wizard, feel free to shoot me an email: Over to you Luise!


The first morning frost has arrived and Stockholm has turned into a beautiful multi coloured Autumn city. It is cold and sunny but daylight hours are quickly slipping away. The shorter days mean more time inside with warming teas, candle lights and large batches of slow-cooking food with hearty flavors, nourishing ingredients and lots of herbs.

This dish embraces Autumn ingredients like pumpkin, cabbage and apples, and the combination of rice and beans gives you a complete source of protein. If you live in a different climate or time-zone, you can combine any kind of grains and legumes with whatever vegetables the season is offering.

Comforting one-pot meals are cheap, no fuss-family dinners that often last for a couple of days. Not to mention how easy they are. With only one-pot simmering on the stove, you both save dishes and don’t have to focus on keeping track of several pots with different cooking times. If you soak the grains and beans in the morning, you’re set to cook everything for dinner. Apart from the general health aspects of pre-soaking grains, I have found that it’s extra important in one-pot meals, since the rice don’t dilute the colour of the stew as much when it is pre-soaked.

Here is a little one-minute video that we created to show you how easily this dish is assembled. Hope you like it. Remember to subscribe to our youtube channel for more recipe videos.


One-Pot Pumpkin, Cabbage & Rice Stew
Serves 4–6

We have kept the flavours quite simple in this stew and instead add extra herbs and diced apple as a fresh twist right before serving it. I imagine mushrooms and tomatoes would be a delicious addition in this stew too. You can also try a bolder choice of spices or other type of grains and legumes. You can even throw in a piece of parmesan rind as it simmers to add a nice umami flavour to the stew (just remember to remove it before serving).

1 large onion
4 garlic cloves
1 tbsp coconut oil, ghee or olive oil
1 butternut squash or pumpkin of any kind
3 sprigs rosemary, mash them a few times with the end of a knife
zest of 1 organic lemon, grated
1 small head of cabbage
1 cup uncooked whole grain rice, pre-soaked
1 cup uncooked black eyed peas, pre-soaked
water to cover, approx. 6 cups / 1 1/2 liter
1 tbsp vegetable bouillon powder (with no added MSG)
3 dried bay leaves
sea salt and pepper, to taste

To serve
plain yogurt of your choice
fresh parsley, chopped
fresh apples, chopped
grated parmesan, optional

In the morning: Place whole grain rice and black eyed peas in two separate bowls, cover with (filtered) water and let soak for 8-12 hours. Then drain and rinse and they are ready to be used in the recipe.

Peel and finely chop onion and garlic. Prepare the pumpkin; peel it, divide it in half and scoop out the seeds. Then chop it into cubes. Heat oil in a large pot, add onion, garlic and rosemary sprigs, let fry for a minute or so, stirring occasionally. Add the cubed pumpkin and lemon zest and stir to combine. Slice the cabbage, discard the stem. Now add cabbage, soaked and rinsed whole grain rice and black eyed peas, water, bouillon, bay leaves, salt and pepper and stir around to combine everything. Cover with a lid and bring to the boil, then lower the heat and let cook for 45-60 minutes. Check every now and then to see if more water is needed and gently stir around. It is ready to serve when the rice and peas are very tender. Serve in bowls with a dollop of yogurt, fresh parsley and chopped apples.

[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

Of the many websites dealing with contemporary Chinese language and culture, chinaSMACK is one of the best.  So eye-popping is chinaSMACK's content that I could very easily spend nearly all of my time immersed in it.

One chinaSMACK feature that undoubtedly will be of considerable interest to Language Log readers is this glossary of terms frequently encountered on the Chinese internet.

What is striking about these Chinese internet memes is that roughly a third of them utilize the roman alphabet and / or English words.  This shows the extent to which the alphabet has been absorbed into Chinese writing.  See, for example, "The Roman Alphabet in Cantonese"

The subject of romanization of and in Chinese has also been discussed extensively in "Chinese Character Amnesia" and in the comments to that post, as well as in many other Language Log posts, especially this comment to the post on Jackie Chan's sensational "Duang" (3/1/15).

I believe that this phenomenon ("creeping romanization") is a natural consequence of the fact that all Chinese school children learn English and, perhaps more importantly, because of the fact that the vast majority of computer inputting and short text messaging is done via pinyin (romanization).  As Chinese writers become increasingly dependent on pinyin to write characters, they because ever more familiar with the former and estranged from active production of the latter.  Contrary to the early expectation that electronic information processing would be the salvation of the Chinese writing system, it is possible that it might lead to its gradual demise.

[A tip of the hat to Tansen Sen]

Fandom is Ageless

Oct. 12th, 2015 11:14 am
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news

Different Tropes for Different Folks – OTW Membership Drive October 2015

Fandom & fanworks aren’t new, as many families know. Help us preserve these experiences for new generations:

No No, Thank YOU, Canada

Oct. 12th, 2015 01:00 pm
[syndicated profile] cakewrecks2_feed

Posted by Jen

Today may be Columbus Day here in the U.S., but it's also Canadian Thanksgiving, so....


I kid, I kid.

After all, there's so much more to Canada's day of thanks than just drippy poo wangs.

There are also HUUUGE... tracts of pumpkins.


And Turkey Castles!


And... dead... scarecrows?

Whoa. Little dark, there, Canada.


Anyway, I just wanted to say how thankful *I* am for you, Canada, with your sweet people, your incredibly tolerant and forgiving sense of humor, and, of course, that adorable Canadian accent:

Now go gooble 'til ya wooble, you crazy kids.


Thanks to Steve G., Courtney W., Katheleine G., Michelle D., & Kyle S. for bringing their "eh" game.


Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

Hakka: "Guest families"

Oct. 12th, 2015 12:40 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

Hakka (Kèjiā 客家 ["guest families"]) is the name of a Chinese ethnic group and their language.  Their name refers to the fact that, although they came from the north centuries ago, they are now scattered in various locations throughout South China and, indeed, the world.

Although the Hakka amount to approximately only 4% of the total population of China, their influence on politics, the military, culture, and other spheres of life in the past two centuries has been disproportionately large

The Hakka have assumed positions of leadership not only in China, but in Southeast Asia, South Asia, and the New World.  To name only a few of the important Hakka statesmen, revolutionaries, and cultural leaders of the last century and a half, we may list the following:

For several decades, I have been deeply intrigued by this phenomenon of Hakka dominance, but could never quite comprehend how it transpired.  Consequently, I was pleased when two American scholars carried out serious research on the Hakkas and their impact on modern China.  See the fascinating studies by Mary Erbaugh ("The Secret History of the Hakkas:  the Chinese Revolution as a Hakka Enterprise" in China Quarterly, 132 [December, 1992], 937-968) and Nicole Constable (Guest People:  Hakka Identity In China and Abroad [University of Washington Press, 2005]).

To turn our focus to their language, Hakka is one of the ten or so major branches within the Sinitic family.  Despite their outstanding political and cultural achievements, the language of the Hakka was gradually dying out until around the turn of the millennium when advocates for the mother tongue began to take steps to preserve it.

Rosalie Chan, who is herself of Filipino and Hakka extraction, has written a lengthy article describing what happened:

"How to Save an Ancient Language Before It Disappears Forever"

For decades, Taiwan’s minority Hakka people were banned from teaching their native language. Now an unlikely coalition of aging academics and millennial radio DJs are doing all they can to keep it alive.

This article, which describes the efforts of a small but energetic group of devotees to preserve Hakka language as it exists in Taiwan, is itself an act of love.  In it, the author tells how Hakka culture and language are being rescued and revived by the likes of female DJ, Yin Chang, 36, and male Henung Zhang, 90, a retired principal.  I was especially interested that their work was foreshadowed by the grass roots Return Our Mother Tongue Movement, which was founded in 1988, and enabled by the 2001 government initiative requiring primary schools to teach mother languages, including Hakka.

I still remember clearly when the move to require schools on Taiwan to teach mother languages was announced.  That was a moment of jubilation for me.  I gave a lot of credit for this enlightened move to the Taiwanese president at the time, Chen Shui-bian.  Colloquially referred to as A-Bian (Mandarin Ābiǎn 阿扁; Taiwanese 阿扁仔 A-píⁿ-à), Chen Shui-bian served as President from 2000 to 2008 when he was removed from office on bribery charges and imprisoned for the next seven years.  Many observers believe that the charges against A-Bian were trumped up by the KMT (Nationalist) Party which, before him, had ruled Taiwan for half a century, from the time when Chiang Kai-shek occupied the island with his legions of Nationalist soldiers.  Be it noted that the leadership of the KMT consists primarily of Mainland Mandarin speakers.

I should mention that Rosalie Chan's absorbing piece appears in the interesting online magazine "Narratively", which is self-described as "a platform devoted to untold human stories".

Rosalie Chan's article complements well my own "How to Forget Your Mother Tongue and Remember Your National Language", which was written in 2003, although my focus is primarily on Taiwanese.

A word to the wise among the supporters of Hakka language.  If you are really concerned about the long-term survival of your mother tongue, you need to develop a standardized orthography for transcribing it.

[h.t. Norman Leung]


Daily Happiness

Oct. 12th, 2015 12:46 am
[personal profile] torachan
1. There was no power outage at work tonight! And the power came back on last night after a few more hours, apparently, so all the merchandise was okay still.

2. It was slightly less hot today than yesterday. Not the ten degrees cooler that they were predicting, but I think it was about five degrees cooler, so better than nothing.

3. I have tomorrow off. I'll miss the air conditioning, but am looking forward to a restful day at home (and hopefully a productive day, but we'll see).

4. Longcat.

[syndicated profile] deardesigner_feed

Posted by deardesigner

What is the fascination of looking around someone else’s home? For me it’s usually an exercise in looking at how other people live and often imagining myself living that lifestyle. It’s a form of escapism from the reality of everyday life. The chores, the mundane daily tasks, and the little jobs that always need doing with very little time to do them. It’s even better if the house you are having a nosy round is a holiday home. Every day would surely be a dream existence of long lie-ins, a dip in the pool, a leisurely lunch and endless afternoons? Followed of course by moonlit dinners and friendly conversation.


This house situated in Californian wine country is the weekend residence of architect Gustave Carlson and his family. It might be a quintessential modern Californian design but there are certainly elements of Gustave’s Swedish genes coming through too.


It’s a new structure spanning around 2,400 square feet and is basically a big rectangular floor plan with an open plan kitchen and a great room.  Bedrooms lead off a hallway down the house and all rooms open onto the wraparound veranda.


The white structure (below) is an adjacent art studio for wife Caroline (who is artist Caroline Seckinger), which also connects to the veranda, pool and lawn.  The property is surrounded by vineyards and in the spring, wild mustard fields.  While the exteriors fit with the vernacular architecture of rural Sonoma County, the interiors are light-filled, and modern.


How lovely to have a dedicated studio to spread out, make mess and be creative.


What I especially love about the house though, is it’s simplicity. It’s freshness. The kitchen has a large table that looks as if it would stand up to the knocks of family life. The chairs are mis-matched, the crockery is neatly stacked on open shelves. The sitting room is warm and welcoming with furs and a woodburner and everywhere there is evidence of Caroline’s art.


Bright splashes of colour on the rug and the bright yellow bowl make this hallway especially welcoming.


And out of every window is that view!


Photographs: Laure Joliet

Tunes for a Monday Morning

Oct. 12th, 2015 06:30 am
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Posted by Terri Windling

I've chosen the music of Scottish singer/songwriter Karine Polwart this week, simply because her albums have been in heavy rotation in my studio lately. I love her blend of original and traditional tunes, the political and social concerns she brings to her work, and the way that even her most contemporary songs contain the old rhythms of folk poetry. 

Above: "Cover Your Eyes," a beautiful and heart-breaking piece performed by Polwart and her band at the Shrewbury Folk Festival in 2012. The song comes from her fifth album, Traces, and she explains its genesis in the video above.

Below: a performance of "Sorry," a song she wrote for her fourth album, An Earthly Spell. Polwart is accompanied here by her usual touring partners: Steven Polwart (her brother) and Inge Thomson, as well as Signy Jakobsdottir on percussion. The video is taken from her DVD, Here's Where Tomorrow Starts, filmed on the Scottish Borders in 2011.

Karine Polwart

Above: "The Fire Thief," written for the BBC Radio Ballads project in 2006 and performed on Scottish television in 2010. Though steeped in the language of old folk balladry and changeling tales, it's a song about the AIDs virus -- a haunting melding of past and present.

Below: an impromptu performance of her lovely song "River's Run" (which appeared in a previous post in 2013. It brought back sweet memories to revisit it this morning.) Polwart is accompanied by Steve and Inge once again, filmed in Surrey in 2009.

Tilly by the River Teign

One last piece:

The Cairn String Quartet, from Glasgow, perform their version of Polwart's "Tears For Lot's Wife," in 2013.  The song comes from her fifth album, Traces, and you can hear the original here.

If you'd like a little more music this morning, try Polwart's "The Tongue That Cannot Lie" (a song that always reminds me of the fate of Thomas the Rhymer); and her rendition of The Wife of Usher's Well, a ghostly Child Ballad from the Scottish Borders. The latter piece is on Polwart's third album, Fairest Floo'er, consisting primarily of traditional songs and ballads, and absolutely splendid.

[personal profile] delphi posting in [community profile] agonyaunt
DEAR ABBY: I am 50, own my home and am debt-free. I have friends but have never dated anyone. This doesn't bother me, although many of my close friends joke with me about being a "50-year-old virgin."

My problem is, four years ago I lost my job. I have a few investments and a small inheritance that, when combined, give me an income of $60,000 a year. So I don't need more money.

Although I did look for another job for two years, I haven't tried for the past two. I tell my friends I've decided to retire. They keep telling me I need to find a job because I need something to keep me busy. I remind them that I have enough money for everything I need.

Friends have started telling me I may have a "problem" and should think about counseling. I see no need for it, but have decided to get an outside opinion. So, Abby, should I see a counselor about my lack of interest in finding a new job? -- OUT OF WORK IN TEXAS

DEAR OUT OF WORK: There are reasons people work besides the financial one. Social stimulation is important, too. I am glad you have the money to support yourself now, but what if something unplanned or catastrophic happens in the future that jeopardizes your nest egg?

Fifty is young to "retire." The counseling you're considering should be used to determine why you lack the motivation to continue being a contributing member of society. (This may be the "problem" your friends are hinting at.)

Dear Abby: Naked Husband Woes

Oct. 11th, 2015 08:53 pm
[personal profile] amadi posting in [community profile] agonyaunt
Dear Abby: My husband enjoys sitting around (among other activities) naked )
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news

Banner by Erin of a spotlight on an OTW logo with the words 'Spotlight on Board'

The OTW's Board of Directors has released a statement regarding the budget for the coming year.

[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

Until two days ago, I had never heard of this word — even though I knew about Punch and Judy shows.

From Wikipedia:

A swazzle is a device made of two strips of metal bound around a cotton tape reed. The device is used to produce the distinctive harsh, rasping voice of Punch and is held in the mouth by the Professor (performer) in a Punch and Judy show.

Swazzle can also be pronounced or spelled Schwazzle or swatchel.

I like the fact that the performer is called "Professor"!

Here are three recordings of Punch talking via the swazzle:  one, two, three.

I can understand the first one, but can't make much of the latter two.

The description of the swazzle on World Wide Words:  Investigating the English language across the globe is so fascinating that I quote it entire:

In the traditional Punch-and-Judy show, Mr Punch speaks with a high squeaky, rasping voice, interspersed with ear-splitting cries when he perpetrates some piece of devilry or is thwarted. The showman makes these noises by means of a device in his mouth, these days usually called a swazzle.

This has taken various forms but in essence is a small pair of bowed plates with tape across the middle. The Punch-and-Judy man holds it near the back of his mouth and blows through it, much as a clarinet player does with the reeds in his instrument. It takes a lot of practice to make recognisable words and to swap between Punch’s swazzled rasp and the unswazzled voices of the other characters.

Swazzle is a modified form of the older swatchel; this might be a variant of swatch but is more probably from German schwätzeln, taken in turn from schwatzen, to chatter or tattle. One reason that experts think this is the source is that the very earliest example, dated 1854, spells the word schwassle. In the latter part of that century, the swatchel-cove was the Punch-and-Judy man or his assistant who did the supporting patter and who interpreted Punch’s less intelligible squawks, and the swatchel-box was the booth in which the Punchman stood.

Incidentally, there are some risks attached to using the swazzle: tradition requires that the performer shall swallow it at least twice before he can call himself a Punch-and-Judy man.

For additional information, see "The Punch Call, Swazzle or Swatchel".

N.B.: "Swatchel" is completely unrelated to "Swatch", the trendy Swiss wristwatch.

Keith Rawlings, who has been studying the history of the shadow play and similar types of puppet performances worldwide for decades, sent me the following notes:

I read that swazzles (or like voice modifiers) are used in Asian performances, but often in a limited way. In Karagoz it was used as a sound effect or instrument. Here’s a quote from a website: “When the play begins, the göstermelik* vanishes to the shrill sound of a whistle called 'narake’”. Metin And mentions this too in his book on Karagoz. From descriptions the narake seems to be a sort of swazzle. In tholpakoothu, a similar item is used also in a limited way; not for voices, but I believe for sound effects.

[*VHM:  inanimate object — e.g., a house or a tree {the Tree of Life} — without any direct connection to the shadow play, but shown at the beginning to establish a kind of background setting]

I quote from your Painting and Performance: “In China, from at least the eleventh century, performers who worked articulated puppets made them speak in a shrill, nasal voice.” In a footnote to this on page 211, you mention “In the T’ang-yin pi-shih [Parallel cases from under the pear tree] there is a particular legal case that cites Shen Kua (1030-1094), Meng-hsi pi-t’an [Dream pool essays] fascicle 13, for this information about the whining, nasal quality of puppets.” I suspect these were swazzles being used, or at least they show an influence of the swazzle device. If so, it’s very early evidence of a swazzle device in puppetry, much earlier than in Europe.

However, in India, in their kathputli shows in Rajasthan, a swazzle is used exclusively for all the puppets’ voices. But here, the words are not articulated, and the puppeteers imitate the cadence of speaking voices, but no actual words are spoken.

I think in China in modern performances they use the swazzle at times, but this needs more research.

I was amazed that Keith had read my monograph so carefully and could make sense of that obscure reference and footnote.

What makes Keith's discoveries all the more fascinating to me is that they help to explain the electronic manipulation of the voice to which I referred in "Royal language" (9/29/15).  Vocal modulation, whether electronic or mechanical, serves to enhance the other-worldly effect of the characters in the performance being transported to the here and now before the audience.  A similar transformative quality is imparted by careful attention to the optical phenomena surrounding the performance.

On the one hand, the intent of the performance is create an atmosphere that is separate from the audience who are seated or standing outside the booth in which the puppets and puppeteer are housed.  The manipulation of the voice by means of the swazzle is a key element in establishing that atmosphere.  On the other hand, it would obviously not do to lose the audience altogether in the ethereal ambiance of the presentation.  To ensure that the onlookers are able to follow the drama, there is often an assistant standing outside the booth who joins the puppets in patter and may invite the audience to participate as well.

The show is performed by a single puppeteer inside the booth, known since Victorian times as a "professor" or "punchman", and assisted sometimes by a "bottler", who corrals the audience outside the booth, introduces the performance and collects the money ("the bottle"). The bottler might also play accompanying music or sound effects on a drum or guitar and engage in back chat with the puppets, sometimes repeating the same or the copied lines that may have been difficult for the audience to understand.

[emphasis added]


To sum up, the Punch and Judy show  — like all puppet plays and shadow plays — is a combination of otherworldliness and immediacy.  The swazzle and other techniques for voice modulation are essential components of enhancing the ethereality of the play.  Yet, in the Punch and Judy show, the bottler served as an active translator of the not fully intelligible proceedings onstage for the audience in front of the dividing line between the two realms:  the mundane and the spiritual.

Lights, Camera, Translation!

Oct. 11th, 2015 09:15 am
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news

Different Tropes for Different Folks – OTW Membership Drive October 2015

Our Translation Committee takes you through some flashbacks & hopes the present day will end with your donation!
[syndicated profile] cakewrecks2_feed

Posted by Jen

Last weekend I experienced something wondrous and oh-so-rare for a Floridian: I got a little chilly outside. That's right, my friends, it got down to almost 74 degrees. Granted, it was nearly midnight at the time, but I'LL TAKE IT.

So this is me officially welcoming Fall, the Sweetest way I know how:

(By Marion's Vintage Bakery)


And also the sparkliest way I know how:

(By Albena's Custom Cakes)


Orange and teal is my favorite color combo, so I'm over the harvest moon for this stained glass beauty:

(By Sweet Art of Mine)


And this ruffly ombré reminds me of a crackling fire on a cold Autumn's night:

(By Karina Golovin)


Rustic wood planks are the perfect contrast to these gorgeous flowers:

(By Daantjes Taarten)


And this soft stenciling reminds me of aged plaster, with the perfect golden tone:

(By Mama Nena's Bakery)


The doorway in this stone tower is a brilliant use of trompe l'oeil:

(By Torty Viz)

Like peeking into another world!


I've never seen ruffles quite like the ones on this middle tier:

(By Dorty Havelkova)

They're like giant rose petals, but with a crisp modern flair. Love it.


More of my favorite colors - and a gorgeous reminder that Fall cakes can have cool colors, too!

(By Odry Cakes)

The teal is the perfect backdrop for all those turning leaves!


And finally, a Fall stunner with the most amazing topper and art:

(By Pasticci di Molly)

The umbrella, the falling leaves, those beautiful swirls of red hair... ah! That's it, I'm ready for sweater weather now.


Happy Sunday, everyone!


Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

[personal profile] cimorene
The other day I tried a stew recipe that I concluded was too spicy for my wife, and at the spicy end for me. The day after I tried a milder soup for her and then today I mixed the leftovers together for lunch, and found out that I liked that even better, so I'm going to try combining the recipes next time like this: Read more... )

Linguistic joke of the week

Oct. 11th, 2015 12:47 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Mark Liberman

The first two panels of today's SMBC:

The third panel:

The aftercomic:

The mouseover text: "10 points to anyone who tries this".

I'm not sure that there's a good term for this specific type of pun. Another example, in the form of a riddle:

Q: Why is milk fast?

A: Because it's usually pasteurized before you even see it.


Denying that the earth is not flat

Oct. 11th, 2015 11:44 am
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Mark Liberman

M.S. wrote to contribute an item for our misnegation collection — Liel Leibovitz, "‘The New York Times’ Goes Truther on the Temple Mount", Tablet 10/9/2015 [emphasis added]:

And so, because the paper of record won’t put it clearly, permit me the pleasure: Denying that a Jewish temple stood on the Temple Mount is not a form of historical argument. It is akin to denying that the earth is not flat. Or denying that global warming is real. Or that the evidence of human evolution is widely accepted by scholars.

But this example illustrates how hard — even unnatural — it is to process phrases with multiple negations, because in fact the example is semantically correct.

The author is giving a list of what he takes to be self-evident truths, where the typical journalistic "on one hand but on the other hand" treatment is inappropriate: Global Warming is real; the evidence of human evolution is widely accepted by scholars; the earth is not flat; a Jewish temple stood on the Temple Mount. Denying any of these is "not a form of historical argument".

However, all of these example are positive statements except for "the earth is not flat". And adding the lexical negation of matrix-clause "denying that __", and wrapping the whole thing in "It is akin to __", stretches our poor monkey brains near to (or beyond) the breaking point. At least, speaking for myself, it took me a second reading, and a bit of scrutiny, to decide that the passage is really OK.

This reminds me of the work of Bela Julesz on visual texture perception — thus the abstract from "Textons, the elements of texture perception, and their interactions", Nature 1981:

Research with texture pairs having identical second-order statistics has revealed that the pre-attentive texture discrimination system cannot globally process third- and higher-order statistics, and that discrimination is the result of a few local conspicuous features, called textons. It seems that only the first-order statistics of these textons have perceptual significance, and the relative phase between textons cannot be perceived without detailed scrutiny by focal attention.

Some examples from that paper of textures that can be discriminated by pre-attentive vision:

And in contrast, some that cannot be discriminated with "focal attention":

It seems to me that there's an analogous issue with semantic processing — there are some things that we can understand through the linguistic equivalent of "pre-attentive vision", and other things we can only work out by engaging in the linguistic equivalent of "focal scrutiny".


Culture Consumed Sunday

Oct. 11th, 2015 11:17 pm
[personal profile] vass

Read Ursula Vernon's Jackalope Wives. Yeah, I'm a little slow. That had authority.

Read Ann Leckie's Ancillary Mercy. Kind of a lot. You might have heard the screaming from wherever you are. ♥_______♥

TV and Movies

Watched the first episode of Leverage with friends. Not as anxiety-inducing as I was expecting (I have a problem with heist plots) but still some. And [personal profile] fasangel noticed that the DVD rip we were watching was heavily cut. She compared it to her own copy and it was missing like 5 minutes.


More Pokemon: LeafGreen. Still levelling up my six so they're ready for five high-level fights in a row.

Finished playing Hatoful Boyfriend. All of it.

That game is a fucking inspiration. It is SO WEIRD. So devotedly, committedly weird. You think it's just going to be a normal Japanese dating sim about a human girl looking for love at a high school where all the other students are birds, and then suddenly it gets... Okay, no, I couldn't finish that sentence without cracking up laughing. But seriously, the premise is the LEAST WEIRD thing about this game.

It manages to be moving, creepy, hilarious, really scary, and have way, way more story and worldbuilding than you would imagine. Like, lots.

BTW, if you're not a gamer because not coordinated enough to navigate, or your computer can't cope with a lot of graphics, this is more like a novel with a lot of multiple-choice, and might appeal to you. If you just want the story and don't care about figuring it out for yourself, there's a minimally spoilery walkthrough here that tells you which choices to make to get each ending. You need to get all the other endings first to get the last one, which is REALLY REALLY LONG so maybe don't start it right before bedtime, you'll be up all night. The entire game, with all the endings, is about 7 hours if you fast-forward over the bits that are the same.

Some (as non-spoilery as I can manage while still being useful) content notes:

cut )


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October 2015


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