Daily Happiness

Oct. 24th, 2014 09:37 pm
torachan: brandon flowers of the killers with the text "some beautiful boy to save you" (some beautiful boy to save you)
[personal profile] torachan
1. My work schedule is changing and I now have Mondays and Thursdays off instead of Sundays and Wednesdays. I'm really glad I was still (at least for now) able to keep the week divided pretty evenly (as evenly as you can get with a seven-day week), and although this means my next day off is pushed back a day, at least I'm working afternoons on Sundays so I can sleep in.

2. I can also sleep in tomorrow! Which I may need, considering I drank a lot of soda today. (I'm really tired right now, but that doesn't mean I'll actually be able to get to sleep, though I'm going to try.)

3. Today was my coworker's last day, so there was pizza at work. It's going to be weird without him there, though, as he's been working there since the store opened, same as me (and now we're down to only five people including me who have been there since the store opened).

4. We finished up watching Hataraku Maou-sama tonight, which made me want to get back to reading the books (I only read the first one before getting distracted by other stuff) and when I went to see how many there were now and saw that it was up to volume twelve, I was able to find the ones I was missing quite easily! (I still don't have volume twelve itself, but it was only released last month. I'm sure I'll be able to find it by the time I actually want to read it.)

5. Not only did I have pizza for lunch at work, but we got pizza for dinner, too. :D

Today's Ancillary Sword thought

Oct. 25th, 2014 03:16 pm
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
[personal profile] vass
mild, non-detailed spoilers )

"Cantonese" song

Oct. 25th, 2014 12:16 am
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

This hauntingly beautiful song is the unofficial anthem of the Hong Kong democracy protest movement:

The title of the song is "Boundless Oceans Vast Skies" (hoi2 fut3 tin1 hung1 海闊天空) (" as boundless as the sea and sky; unrestrained and far-ranging"). It is performed by the Hong Kong rock band Beyond.

This video brings tears to my eyes and sends chills up my spine every time I watch it, not only because of the sentiments it expresses and the pure emotion of the voices, but especially because of the knowledge that the lead singer, Wong Ka Kui, died in a tragic stage accident in Tokyo at the peak of his and the band's career. This happened on June 24, 1993, just a month after the release of this epochal song.

Along with umbrellas and yellow ribbons, "Boundless Oceans Vast Skies" (hoi2 fut3 tin1 hung1 海闊天空) has achieved iconic status within the democracy movement. (See: "Icons of protest: Hong Kong's new symbols of freedom.") Here are the lyrics.

Let us turn to some linguistic aspects of the song.

Of course, the pronunciation is Cantonese, but to what extent are the grammar and vocabulary of the song also Cantonese?

The answer is nil. The subtitles indicate the song's vocabulary and grammar are written in standard Chinese which is regarded as the appropriate high (poetic) register for some songs. The subtitles have included such standard Chinese characters as bat1 不 (negative particle), liu5 了 (particle of completed action), naa6 那 (distal demonstrative), ze3 這 (proximal demonstrative), all of which have corresponding Cantonese forms that are commonly used in colloquial or casual speech.

I'd like to focus on a particularly poignant line of the song which recurs at 2:22, 3:34, 3:46, and 4:12): bui3hei3 liu5 lei5soeng2 背棄了理想 ("abandoning [one's] ideals"). My attention was drawn to this line because I saw it translated in various places as something like "giving up one's dreams", which gets into a whole other realm, that of mung6[soeng2] (Cant.) / mèng[xiǎng] (Mand.) 夢[想]. See:

None of this dream talk has anything to do with what "Boundless Oceans Vast Skies" (hoi2 fut3 tin1 hung1 海闊天空) is about.

By the way, I noticed written on the wall behind the singers in the video the phrase ngo5 dei6 aa3 我哋呀 ("we / us!"). Now that is real Cantonese!

As a Hong Kong friend who grew up with Beyond puts it:

…not only is this a super famous HK song, it is also one of the all-time most requested songs in KTV all across China. Non-Cantonese speakers would sing this song in Cantonese (although the pronunciation isn't exact…)

The grammar and vocabulary of the song are not Cantonese, but standard shūmiàn / syu1min6 书面 ("book; written") Chinese, but may not be 100% "Mandarin" (I can't tell, some wordings might sound / feel "awkward" to a Mandarin speaker perhaps?).

"Boundless Oceans Vast Skies" (hoi2 fut3 tin1 hung1 海闊天空) speaks to the hearts of Hongkongers for all of the reasons mentioned above, but particularly because its pronunciation is in Cantonese. Yet the song also touches all Chinese because it is written in the standard book language shared by speakers of all the topolects.

In the context of the Hong Kong democracy protests, perhaps the most powerful phrase in the song is the repeated oi3 zi6jau4 愛自由 ("love freedom"). This resonates with the sentiments of the students at the barricades when they face tear gas and pepper spray. I suspect that it, and the song as a whole, will sustain them right to the end of the present confrontation.

[Thanks to Robert S. Bauer and Mandy Chan]

[syndicated profile] missmanners_feed

Posted by Miss Manners, Judith Martin

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was taken aback by my elders’ reactions to an anecdote about an encounter with a strange man who accosted me in a public place.

I have suddenly found myself to be a young lady, gradually achieving independence in the world, and, I am told, quite attractive. I have been approached by strangers with increasing frequency in the past few years, and as I am usually by myself and on foot, I have made it my policy that a brief exchange of polite conversation is acceptable, but as soon as a stranger calls me beautiful or makes a similar remark about my biology, the talk is over, and I quickly continue my prior business.

Read full article >>

[syndicated profile] icanhascheezburger_feed
After months in the care of the California Wildlife Center in Malibu, California, five orphaned fawns enjoy their first moments back in the wild where they belong.

Orphaned fawns are prevented from seeing human faces and forms during their time in the rehabilitation setting. In keeping with that policy, this video was filmed from behind a camouflage blind in the woods, by a volunteer.

Submitted by: (via kim barker)

Tagged: cute , deer , fawns , Video , orphan

Oh no!

Oct. 24th, 2014 06:04 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Mark Liberman

[h/t Amy de Buitléir]

[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Ben Zimmer

Frank Mankiewicz at DARE press conferenceFrom the New York Times obituary for Frank Mankiewicz (son of Herman, nephew of Joseph):

Frank Mankiewicz, a writer and Democratic political strategist who was Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s press secretary, directed Senator George S. McGovern’s losing 1972 presidential campaign and for six years was the president of National Public Radio, died Thursday at a hospital in Washington. He was 90.

Mankiewicz was also a bit of wordsmith and coined a useful word now found in many dictionaries: retronym, defined by the OED as "a neologism created for an existing object or concept because the exact meaning of the original term used for it has become ambiguous (usually as a result of a new development, technological advance, etc.)."

The first print appearance of retronym was in William Safire's July 27, 1980 "On Language" column in the New York Times Magazine:

A new form of compound word has been created to help old words avoid technological displacement.
Consider the word "guitar." In olden times, you could play a Spanish guitar or a Hawaiian guitar, but your instrument was accurately denoted by the single word "guitar."
Along came the electric guitar. No longer could you say, "He plays the guitar," for fear of being immediately asked, "What kind — the electric guitar or the old-fashioned guitar?" Since people do not like to be old-fashioned, especially in the music world, players of "regular," or nonelectric, guitars have come to call their instruments "acoustic guitars."
Similarly, "natural turf" is the phrase now being used by sportscasters to differentiate that old-fashioned field from "artificial turf." Another word for natural turf is "grass"; we can soon expect all signs to read: "Keep off the natural turf."
Frank Mankiewicz, president of National Public Radio, collects these terms and calls them "retronyms" — nouns that have taken an adjective to stay up-to-date and to fend off newer terms.

Safire was grateful for the coinage, though he couldn't resist a little dig at NPR: "Thank you, Mr. Mankiewicz; but I am still a devotee of private radio." He returned to the topic in a 2007 column after Merriam-Webster named retronym its Word of the Day and credited Mankiewicz. Safire wrote, "I'm glad Frank is getting mintage recognition on his word to illuminate social and fashion change because his father, Herman, never got the fame he deserved for co-writing the screenplay of 'Citizen Kane.'"

I had the opportunity to meet Mankiewicz in 2012 at the NEH press conference celebrating the completion of the Dictionary of American Regional English, at which I was privileged to speak alongside DARE editor Joan Houston Hall. He was invited to share the story about how, after his friend Safire introduced him to DARE, he used it to clear up some confusion about the word commode in a congressional investigation of government expenditures. It turned out the $1,200 that Stanford president Donald Kennedy spent on an "Italian fruitwood commode" was for a chest of drawers, not a toilet.

I spoke with him a bit about retronyms afterwards, and the first one that he recalled noticing was "natural grass" at the beginning of baseball's Astroturf era. (Safire mentioned "natural turf," but "natural grass" is indeed the more common retronym.)

On Facebook, Philip Frankenfeld shared another one of Mankiewicz's neologisms — less successful than retronym but no less creative:

He coined the term "klonk"–an unforeseen, negative, boomeranging consequence of a well-intended act. The type of thing that makes one say, "D'OH!!!!" A klonk wonk is one who tries to foresee klonks, and who tries to avoid them prospectively. A klonk wonk is one who practices "D'OH!!!!!" diligence.

[syndicated profile] thesartorialist_feed

Posted by The Sartorialist

I’m realizing now that The Reading List, might have been more aptly named The Viewing List, considering most of the books I love seem to contain more photos than actual words! (a shocking fact-I know)


In Conflict and Costume, Naughten photographs the Herero Tribe of Namibia in their native costume. This “costume” has evolved over the last 100+ years out of what Europeans left behind in South Africa, and what the Herero Tribe subsequently adopted. To see so many misplaced patterns, shapes, and colors set against an overwhelmingly serene backdrop, surprisingly creates a nice sense of harmony. It’s funny how two contrasting visuals can play off of eachother so nicely.


If you’re interested, the book is available for purchase on Amazon

[syndicated profile] webupd8_feed

ownCloud developer Lukas Reschke has sent an email to the Ubuntu Devel mailing list, requesting that ownCloud (server) is removed from the Ubuntu repositories because the package is old and there are multiple critical security bugs for which no fixes have been backported. He adds that:

"Those security bugs allows an unauthenticated attacker to gain complete control about the web server process".

However, packages can't be removed from the Ubuntu repositories for an Ubuntu version that was already released, that's why the package was removed from Ubuntu 14.10 (2 days before its release) but it's still available in the Ubuntu 14.04 and 12.04 repositories (ownCloud 6.0.1 for Ubuntu 14.04 and ownCloud 5.0.4 for Ubuntu 12.04, while the latest ownCloud version is 7.0.2).

Furthermore, the ownCloud package is in the universe repository and software in this repository "WILL NOT receive any review or updates from the Ubuntu security team" (you should see this if you take a look at your /etc/apt/sources.list file) so it's up to someone from the Ubuntu community to step up and fix it. "If nobody does that, then it unfortunately stays the way it is", says Marc Deslauriers, Security Tech Lead at Canonical.

You can follow the discussion @ Ubuntu Devel mailing list.

So, until (if) someone fixes this, if you're using ownCloud from the Ubuntu repositories, you should either remove it or upgrade to the latest ownCloud from its official repository, hosted by the openSUSE Build Service:

For Ubuntu 14.04:
sudo sh -c "echo 'deb http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/isv:/ownCloud:/community/xUbuntu_14.04/ /' >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/owncloud.list"
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install owncloud

For Ubuntu 12.04:
sudo sh -c "echo 'deb http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/isv:/ownCloud:/community/xUbuntu_12.04/ /' >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/owncloud.list"
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install owncloud


Oct. 24th, 2014 11:32 am
otw_staff: Janita OTW Communications Staffer (Janita OTW Communications Staffer)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
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[syndicated profile] webupd8_feed
If your laptop's brightness is not saved and is set to a very low value or to maximum, each time you reboot and / or when you log out, read on for a fix / workaround.

Ubuntu brightness

In both Ubuntu 14.04 and 14.10, my laptop's brightness is not saved between sessions and is reset to a very low value after every reboot or logout. I found a workaround (that works for both this issue as well as another issue which is basically the opposite: the brightness is set to maximum after restarting Ubuntu), but it was a bit confusing so I thought I'd improve the steps and share it with you.

Basically, the fix / workaround is to automatically set a custom brightness value each time you boot into Ubuntu. Let's proceed.

1. The first thing you need to do is to find out which ACPI interface (acpi_video) controls the brightness. This can be done by looking into your Xorg log file to see which acpi_video was loaded. To do this via command line, simply use the following command:
grep acpi_video /var/log/Xorg.0.log
The command above should display an output similar to this:
[     7.385] (--) intel(0): Found backlight control interface acpi_videoX (type 'firmware') for output LVDS1
where "acpi_videoX" is "acpi_video0" or "acpi_video1". This is the acpi_video that controls the brightness, so remember it for the next steps.

If the command above doesn't display any output and you have a folder called "intel_backlight" under "/sys/class/backlight/", then use "intel_backlight" as the ACPI interface for the next steps.

2. Next, set (via keyboard Fn + brightness keys) your laptop's brightness to the level you want Ubuntu to use after when it starts.

3. Now we'll have to get the actual brightness value you set under step 2. To do this, run the following command:
cat /sys/class/backlight/acpi_videoX/brightness
where "acpi_videoX" is the ACPI interface which controls your laptop's brightness, which you find out under step 1.

Remember this value for the next step.

4. The next step is to create a file (as root) called fixbrightness.conf in your /etc/init/ directory - I'll use Gedit below:
gksu gedit /etc/init/fixbrightness.conf

And in this file, paste this:
description "Sets brightness after graphics device is loaded"

start on graphics-device-added
exec /bin/echo BRIGHTNESS_VALUE > /sys/class/backlight/acpi_videoX/brightness
here, you need to:
  • replace BRIGHTNESS_VALUE with the brightness value you got under step 3;
  • replace acpi_videoX with the ACPI Interface that controls your laptop's brightness, which you found out under step 1.

Then save the file.

5. Reboot and the low or maximum brightness issue after reboot / logout should be fixed.

via AskUbuntu but I tried to improve the instructions


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