May Day, May Day

New Whydontyou blog awards are due today. Blast. I even promised an improved cup award thing… (And I realise I didn’t even get round to adding any more about the blogs that got squeezed to the end of the original post.) But you contenders haven’t lived up to your side of the bargain. Admit it. No plain brown envelopes full of cash have arrived here to sway the judging panel. Remember. You get what you pay for.

Well, the original Top Ten list stilll pretty much stands, for start, except that Nullifidian’s latest blog entries read:

Couldn’t write to: /home/####/####/

(I’ve replaced the subdirectories and strings with # signs)

Maybe I’m too hard to please but this just doesn’t live up to the quality of his old content.

Here’s a few more award-winners anyway. (Feel free to thank God and your manager and anyone else who made this award possible.) With some hurriedly-put-together award modding.

Apathy sketchpad new coins Apathy sketchpad is funny, anyway, but something about this post and the one about the email scammers put the blog in the top rank. Shiny New Trophy

I hesitate to mention Alun’s Archaeoastronomy again, as he’s already in the Top Ten, for fear of this blog turning into a simpering Archaeoastronomy fan club – like this, for example – and it’s really a serious blog, but this is the favourite April 1 post ever.. ) Shiny New Trophy

News Biscuit can be entertaining. This is typical of its style. Shiny New Trophy

Shiny New TrophyThe Register is often great although you have to be too interested in tech for your sanity to really enjoy it. MY favourite bits are often the comments and the ongoing ROTM (Rise of the Machines strand) which is based on the premise that machines are about to wreak havoc on their fleshly masters. It reports on killbot research and Eye of Sauron anti-immigrant tech and so on. For example.

NASA to unleash ‘mind meld’ intelligent machines
All members of the neoLuddite Resistance Army are hereby ordered to go to Defcon “Armageddon”* and prepare to battle a new breed of mind-melding intelligent machines and systems under development by NASA’s Ames Research Center and the Machine-to-Machine Intelligence Corporation (M2Mi).

Grumpy Lion is always amazingly good. Not to mention very generous in his allotment of comment space for mini-blog-skirmishes over nothing …. Shiny New Trophy

Psycho Atheist This blog somehow coincidentally picks up on the exact same stories as PsychoAtheist at the same time. And says pretty much the same things about them. Shiny New Trophy

An Apostate’s Chapel is always measured and wise. I am ashamed to admit that I’ve never listened to the podcast created by the Chaplain and the Exterminator PhillyChief and others. That’s not going to stop me recommending it as a Good Thing. Shiny New Trophy

(It’s not that I don’t want to. I just don’t listen to podcasts. My PC speakers are for listening to (what the Register would characterise as freetard) music. Or they aren’t switched on. That sounds so lame that I suppose I’ll listen to it now….)

There were several blogs I meant to add but these are the only ones that made it through the “Remembering the URL of a good post” filter. Happy May Day.

Who is stealing my life?

Idly browsing HJhop’s blog, I looked at the post What the critics are saying about HJHop.

As funny as ever, a mixture of plaudits and insults.

I was pleased to see this blog was in there, and even our uber-prestigious silver cup thing award was proudly displayed.  Idly thinking, “it’s about time I posted some new favourites. I might even Photoshop a novel silver cup” and ….

Oh shit. The date on his post was May 5, 2007….. Even assuming that this was somehow posted the day after he got the award, that means almost a year – a year – has passed. My life is circling the event horizon….

So, I suspect it’s taken me a year to even notice that HJHop post. It’s obviously taken me even longer to pick a new Top Ten, because I haven’t decided on one yet. I’ll set a new Top Ten date for this year’s, then, and pretend it’s an annual award.

Ah, I’ve just found my old top ten post, “October 27th, 2007” Phew. I’ve snatched half a year back.

Still, I’ve committed myself now.   I’m going to choose 1 May, because that is the day I always wash my face in the dew to stay beautiful forever.   Old English superstition folk custom. As far as I can tell, it works 🙂 (Rain usually has to stand in for dew.  Even suspected dog-piss at a push. OK, I’m not 100% sure that I can recognise dew, but it’s the thought that counts.)

So, 1 May it is.   If anyone wants to corrupt the judging panel – by offering cash incentives or posting brilliant blogs – you have  a couple of weeks or so left to try.   There may even be an updated award icon but that isn’t a promise.

Failed election rigging

The Cambridge Online Dictionary has a monthly Top 40 words list.

Don’t assume that it’s the editor’s favourite words. Sadly, it isn’t. It’s the words people have searched for most. Which seem a bit odd. I could count down from 40, like the way they do Music Charts on the radio or all those TV programmes called things like “100 best movies about stale bread” I’ll spare you that agony of expectation.

The top 5, with last month’s placings in brackets are:
1 advice (1)
2 regard (2)
3 comply (3)
4 effect (5)
5 assess (4)

What! What! Are many people looking up these words? Why? Can you think of any reason why a native English speaker would look up the meaning of “advice”? It can’t even be a spelling check thing, surely. These words aren’t exactly spelling bee material. This suggests that there may be only a handful of people using the resource and/or getting counted. A word could probably make the top ten with half a dozen hits.

Hence, a co-worker and I hatched a demonic and pointless plan to juke the stats (phrase courtesy of the Wire) and boost our own current favourite words to star status. We picked “discombobulate” and “swarf.” The plan was to search for them, in the Cambridge Online Dictionary whenever we found ourselves near anyone’s PC, so there would be a reasonable spread of IP addresses, just in case the supporters of “advice” questioned the legitimacy of their boy losing top spot.

Bah. The plan failed at the first hurdle. Neither word is actually in the Cambridge Online Dictionary, so neither word can get boosted into the top ten, no matter how cunning the click pattern.

(There would be no pleasure in playing this game at the boring level of feloniously shifting “aware” February’s (highest unplaced mover) from its current 36 placing to, say, 31. Where’s the challenge in that?)

An old-style hardback copy of the Concise Oxford Dictionarycontained both words and provided definitions. (Concise, it isn’t. It’s only “concise” when considered next to the full versions of the OED, which seems capable of giving a definition for almost any imaginable combination of letters) Sadly, there is no word league table in the Concise Oxford. Just a staid list of words.

What’s going to happen to the words that are too eccentric to fit into online dictionaries? I hope they don’t die out because no one can be sure what they mean.

(Just in case you too are equally bored at work and/or nerdy (which possibly means you too spent a fair time today reading tributes to Gary Gygax,) you probably also need to know if there are online definitions of discombobulate and swarf. Yes and yes.

The Free Online Dictionary came top in Google search for a swarf definition and a discombobulate definition)