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Woolly Days
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Language Log
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Dinosaur Comics


"horrible, neutered"Washington Post
"Sauber, aber seelenlos" (clean, but soulless)Frankfurter Allgemeine
"lacks elegance"flex941 on Slashdot
"simply garbage"Daring Fireball
"resembles a pre-school's [logo]"Business Insider

Today's topic is Google's new sans-serif logo.

The double-loop g is a highlight of most serif (and some sans) fonts. I wish there were a g in Tommyjournal to grace the top of this page. Google had a proper g, but now they are yet another company to have boiled the taste out of their logo to make it legible on tiny screens.

Google trots out another rationale: the new logo is concisely expressible in SVG, saving bandwidth. Well, music played with sine waves and no vibrato can be encoded concisely too. By executive branch prerogative, Mt. McKinley reverts to its Athabaskan name: Denali. (No "Mount".) When Alaska was Russian, it was Большая Гора ("big mountain").

Mt. Whitney was Tumanguya ("very old man") to the natives. In 1965, Congressman Charles Teague proposed renaming it Mt. Churchill, after the late Sir William. Among those who wrote to the Department of the Interior to protest was one Arthur J. Imm of Los Angeles, who said
I'm a great admirer of both Churchill and Kennedy (though I don't think they were gods), but I think we become a bit silly in naming places after them.
My father, my brother, and I never stopped calling Idlewild Idlewild. I remember a teacher trying to explain map projections, either in elementary school or junior high. She told us what map distortions were but said they were only a characteristic of maps of large areas; town maps had no distortion. I said no, maps of small areas have negligible distortion—but the teacher wouldn't budge.

Mercator projection was the classic example for illustrating distortion. "It makes Greenland look bigger than South America." My brother liked Mercator projection and would tell you Greenland really was bigger than South America.
rhino Dürer's Rhinoceros is 500 years old this year.

Dürer had not seen a rhino and based his woodcut on a written description and another artist's sketch. I wonder if he had any idea how influential his rendering would become. I prefer to imagine that he didn't labor under the knowledge of its legacy to be.

I imagine Dürer would have been pleased, though, to know that a copy of his woodcut would hang on the wall of Salvador Dalí's childhood home and would inspire his 1956 sculpture.
I've been resisting the occasional temptation to blog about Donald Trump and the election season in general. There is no shortage of material with entertainment value and/or appallment value. But to say something both new and insightful while thousands of other commentators are trying to do the same: Ay, there's the rub.

If only we had real activism along with the circus. I miss the 1960s, when public demonstrations were both deadly serious and seriously silly. When have we since seen anything like the Yippies being arrested in Chicago for nominating a pig for President? From Phil Ochs' testimony at the Chicago Seven trial:

Mr. Kunstler:
What were you doing when you were arrested?
Phil Ochs:
We were arrested announcing the pig's candidacy for President.
Mr. Kunstler:
Did Jerry Rubin speak?
Phil Ochs:
Yes, Jerry Rubin was reading a prepared speech for the pig—the opening sentence was something like, "I, Pigasus, hereby announce my candidacy for the Presidency of the United States." He was interrupted in his talk by the police who arrested us. ...
Mr. Kunstler:
What was the pig doing during this announcement?
Mr. Foran:
Mr. Kunstler:
Do you remember what you were charged with?
Phil Ochs:
I believe the original charge mentioned was something about an old Chicago law about bringing livestock into the city, or disturbing the peace, or disorderly conduct, and when it came time for the trial, I believe the charge was disorderly conduct.
Mr. Kunstler:
Were you informed by an officer that the pig had squealed on you?
Mr. Foran:
Objection. I ask that it be stricken.
Phil Ochs:
The Court:
I sustain the objection. When an objection is made do not answer until the Court has ruled.
In a dream last night, I called 911 to report that a bunch of people came to my house with guns and were threatening me. I told the operator I had fled to the house next door but it didn't look like the house next door so that part must be a dream. But the guns they pointed at me were real, I said.

Happy nineteenth, everyone. How would you express calm in a photograph? And how would you do it if you lived in the desert? When I search for calm on, the first 20 pics all feature water.

Placid, traced back through a few intermediate words, comes from a Greek root meaning flat. Applying for a permit to buy a transformer in Texas entails giving a "Complete description of how requested controlled items will to be [sic] used". It's tempting to request a permit just to see whether applying AC to the primary and connecting a load to the secondary would suffice.

This reminds me of back when Intel said they'd replace Pentium CPUs that exhibited the FDIV bug only if you could tell them what application you were running that would be affected. How about I'm dividing 4195835 by 3145727. Intel ultimately caved and offered to replace any defective Pentium.

In case you're wondering, the law in question controls the sale of stuff that Texas is afraid you'll use to make drugs. A forest fire about 60km southwest of here has made the air in my valley pretty grim for the past few days. But hey, this happens in summer. I'm just glad it's not as bad as some fires we've seen in previous years.