Sunday, February 29, 2004

Hmm, films on too late are very bad. Especially when you end up watching them anyway. For instance, Apocalypse Now was on last night. I think it was good film, but it's one of those were you never really know. Basically war is odd, even for President Bartlett. Though at several points I found myself thinking about how something was made to happen, or watching how the smoke passes through the helicopter produced vortices. I think it was me not being too tired to cope with the continuous chaotic noise and light, losing track of the plot, and so distracting myself from the mindless violence. And as for the ending - would someone mind teaching Marlon Brando to enunciate. It's quite annoying when the plot obviously rests on what he says and the guy's mumbling.
The number of palm trees they must have got through though...

So anyway, film: good, war: bad, surfing under bombardment: different.

And did I see in the titles the name Larry Fishburne? That as in Laurence, as in the "I have sun glasses and a deep voice, and shall be all enigmatic" guy? Mr Morpheus? I suppose he had to be younger at some point in the past.

Which strangely reminds me (see if you can figure out why), those Alan Whicker adverts. Well now they've got them on the radio as well, and there's one that plays the backing music, and then asks you what you're thinking of. To which the advertisers hope the reply is Only it didn't work very well with me, as my brain got as far as going, travel agenty thing, on the internet, um, Eh-er. Adverts that make you think of the I wonder why those haven't caught on.

Now what link can I make between Mr Whicker and the Guardian's new mini-magazine celebrating good things [their website is dead at the mo, so I can't tell you where the article is]. Which consists of pretty architecture, odd architecture, organic farming, and renewable energy (them: tidal good - except then you wreck the estuary where it's built, which then reaps havoc on breeding and many food webs, and so various fish populations slump. But hey Cardiff doesn't get smelly mud, so it's all ok). And on the last page is an article about the link between gay people and creative geographical areas. Which the G argues as meaning as [paraphrased] "gay people are more creative" (despite the guy they're summarising trying to avoid saying this). Not necessarily. The presence of gay people may be indicative of inherent creativity within a community, but that's not the same as them being the creative ones (but neither does it preclude them though).

Somewhere in the archives (I think, though I may have merely intended to write about it, and not done so), is a paper illustrating that diversity breeds creativity. In communities where there are a variety of ideas, these combine more often and more unexpectedly than in more homogenous areas (that's homogenous as in uniform, and not necessarily in the stricter sense, although that might be inferred as well).

And now I've got to dig out this paper to back this up.

Continuing on this theme of the influence (or not) of gay people on society, Douwe Osinga links to this Economist article arguing the case for gay marriage. Which is a quite rare stance in most of the press.

Douwe Osinga also explores the phenomenon of Google becoming a verb, whilst Yahoo fails to become one despite the intentions of the company. He argues that: Google wants to be one thing and wants to be unique and therefore doesn't want to be a general term like a verb. But a verb isn't a general term. The verb "to Google" in this instance means to stick whatever into Google and see what comes up. Whether or not "G/google" as a verb might diversify to mean "to search", regardless of mechanism, isn't really the point. The reason the term "G/google" is popular is that it has a known meaning: to search the internet, probably with Google. The reason "to Yahoo" did not flourish is that the meaning is unclear. It probably means to use Yahoo, but beyond that the meaning is unknown. Does sending email via Yahoo count, does chatting, does searching the internet or searching its directories? Does looking up how many Tanzanian Shillings there currently are to the Pound count?

It's not to do with popularity of the roots, it's the fact that one is defined or definable and one is vague. Without being able to fix a meaning (for the time being) people won't use the word. What exactly do brillig, slithy and toves mean? Beyond being able to describe the latter as a noun, probably plural, and the other two as probably adjectives, and not very nice adjectives at that, I can't say. But what do webspeak, blogerati[1] or netiquette mean? And the answer is pretty obvious, mainly because the words are compounded from others or slight variations of pre-existing words.

[1] Feel free to add more g’s, r’s and t’s as needed. Though bloggerratti is overdoing it a bit.

It's the lack of definability that made Yahoo's attempted spread of Yahooing worthless, and conversely it is because "to Google" does exactly what it says on the tin, that the latter verb spread. Whether this will survive Google's attempts to diversify (see their labs for more info), Google's attempts to block Hooverisation, or Google's impending slump in popularity, I cannot say.

And somehow in attempting to correct DO's assertions I manage to repeat most of them. Oh well.

Anyhoo, enough of this meme, I'm going to viddy me some ludge [yes, I did just make up that last word].

PS. To the nice people at Google: Please don't sue me. For a start I have no money, and the Student Loan Company has called first dibs on all future earnings.
PPS. Why does it feel like DO has already done verbalising internet brands? Or more specifically that I've already made the same arguements?

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