Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Giant Squid!

Has everyone seen the pictures of the giant squid (25 ft/8m)?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Maine Marathon

This coming Sunday (Oct. 2) is the Maine Marathon. I'll be running it with Jessica, and my Dad (a vetran of several marathons) is flying in to run it as well. I certainly won't be going fast, but hope to make it in under 5 hours.

According to the race info, there will be a "Medical tent located at finish line, with additional medical personnel patrolling the course". Here's hoping we won't need that! :)

Monday, September 19, 2005


Ahoy, today is talk like a pirate day! Savvy, ye scallywag!?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

One Find, Two Astronomers: An Ethical Brawl

Evidently, the second hand rumors among astronomers have now become such a well known secret that they've made the New York Times. One Find, Two Astronomers: An Ethical Brawl

Sunday, September 11, 2005

What's the deal with l'Academie française?

I was looking over this article in Wikipedia when I came across the entry for "diaeresis", which makes reference to a 1990 reform that changed the spelling of the feminine form aiguë to aigüe. In a way, I've always thought that the old form made little sense orthographically, but I didn't know that the official spelling had changed.

The website for l'Academie française makes reference to some of the changes implented in 1990 on this page (français, see Transformations et "réformes" de l'orthographe). But what were they thinking? While I suppose dropping the circumflex in words like traitre and paraitre is a minor change, the rule for pluralization of compound nouns just seems totally wrong. And why did they violate the letter e? Sècheresse? Cèleri? They're joking, right?

My Larousse (printed in 1996) reflects almost none of these changes (although it lists évènement as an acceptable alternate spelling). Most of the changes look positively alien compared to what I've seen in common usage (charriot? relai?).

My question for someone who speaks French natively (probably finou): Have any of the 1990 changes been adopted into common usage in France, or have they all been (rightfully) ignored?

Saturday, September 03, 2005

If you thought the Roberts nomination was interesting

Chief Justice William Rehnquist has tied. A New York Times article has been rushed online-- there are some really awful typos. Confirmation hearings for John Rberts are scheduled to start in less than 72 hours.

Brasserie Le Pi 3.14

Pi Bar
Originally uploaded by eford.
Recently, I was in Avignon, France and happened upon a bar/small restaurant with an unusual name. I would have liked to ask for an explanation. But they were closed. That makes this an opportunity to amuse oursevles with wild speculations.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Regenerative mice

Not sure how many people saw this on Slashdot, but apparently all those biologists may have some use after all (even the French PhD's with biology leanings). A group at Penn State has apparently created mice that can regenerate limbs and internal organs and even have even found ways to pass this ability on to other mice via cell transfer. Maybe one day I'll be able to have a couple of extra hands grown so I can type twice as fast-- think of the productivity gains.