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Messages - Calilasseia

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Words / Re: Aptly named Challenge game (Lubricate)
« on: September 22, 2020, 07:07:38 AM »

I suspect I'm having a greater effect here than I thought :D

Words / Re: Random puzzle spoiler
« on: September 09, 2020, 11:26:02 AM »
Donít know if you can have a spoiler for a random puzzle

Actually, I'd be interested to know if there exists a rule to this effect extant here!

Words / Re: Word suggestion: summons
« on: September 07, 2020, 11:28:20 AM »
Hence my reference to "rococo bureaucracy" ... :D

Words / Re: Word suggestion: summons
« on: September 05, 2020, 12:12:35 PM »
One outstanding issue is that some words excluded on the basis of being a plural ending in 's', are not just nouns. The words in question have verb forms with the same spelling. A simple example is star, which can either be a noun (namely, any of a huge number of objects of interest to astronomers), or a verb (namely, to be among the most important performers in a play, film or TV show). Consequently, stars can either be a noun plural (as in "there are numerous bright stars in the constellation Orion"), or a verb form (as in "he stars in the new Broadway musical that's just opened"). The fun part being, of course, that the verb form "stars" in that latter sentence, is third person singular.

Quite a few words that would readily come to mind to the regular players, are excluded on the basis that the verb forms have identical spelling to plural noun forms.

The problem we face here is that the website, and the associated database, are all maintained and run by one individual, and consequently, the manpower to implement the rococo bureaucracy that would be needed to solve this problem is lacking. Alan would need to be working something like 1,000 hour days to handle such issues, which of course, is not going to happen because it's a physical impossibility. :)

Handing the project over to a large number of developers is also a non-starter, because that option would require Alan to pony up for their salaries. Given that decent full stack developers command salaries of £50,000 per annum or more here in the UK, I suspect that even if Alan did have the multi million pound budget required to make this a reality, he has more important uses to put the money to. :)

So, unless Alan wins the lottery, or secures venture capital funding for such a project, we have to live with the site's quirks. Sometimes, the regulars exhibit some frustration over this, but at others, they admit that the quirks are part of the charm here. :)

Rather more irksome from my standpoint, is when I alight upon a word that's missing from the database, but that's another story entirely. ;)

Words / Re: I'm curious
« on: September 02, 2020, 03:27:50 PM »
Here in the UK, I'm more familiar with dago being used to refer to people of Spanish or Portuguese origin, rather than Italian. In the past, if memory serves, the epithet of choice for people of Italian origin here was spick. But you'll have to go back a long time to find this word being conversational.

Words / Re: Snogger
« on: September 02, 2020, 03:24:44 PM »
"Snogger" sounds like a word that would be chosen as a NATO reporting name for a Warsaw Pact surface to surface missile ... :)

Words / Re: Omicron
« on: August 31, 2020, 04:56:14 PM »
It's not merely students of Classical Greek that will regard these letters as familiar, but astronomers. The first 26 stars in a constellation are assigned Greek letters, followed by the genitive form of the containing constellation, in order of magnitude (with a few historical errors persisting).

For example, in the constellation Orion, the star Betelgeuse is Alpha Orionis, and Rigel is Beta Orionis. When these were named for their status in the constellation in the Bayer Catalogue, Betelgeuse was visibly brighter than Rigel, but of course, Betelgeuse has since been found to be a variable star whose magnitude fluctuates over long periods of time.

Among the notable 'omicrons' are:

Omicron Cephei - close binary star system

Omicron Persei - triple star system

Omicron Ursae Majoris - star with an exoplanet known to be orbiting it

Omicron1 Eridani - variable star of the Delta Scuti class, with rapid rotation and large equatorial bulge

Omicron1 Canis Majoris  - distant red supergiant and irregular variable star

Incidentally, returning to Classical Greek for a moment, omicron and omega, the two letters for o-type vowel sounds in Greek words, are named appropriately for the type of vowel sound - omicron (o-micron) is for short (small) o-vowel sounds, and omega (o-mega) for long (large) o-vowel sounds.

For those who love minutiae of this sort, these two vowels can also be found written with what is known as the 'iota subscript' directly underneath. The use of an iota subscript to denote a following iota has had numerous hilarious consequences, courtesy of the fact that an iota subscript can be mistaken for a dirt mark on a papyrus, resulting in translation controversies.

Whatever / Re: dago & nigger
« on: August 31, 2020, 09:00:02 AM »
The issues in question have even led to the naming of butterflies.

There are a brace of butterflies, most of them Nymphalids, that were given common names reflecting the concerns of Empire, such as the Commodore, the Colour Sergeant and the Nawab native to the Indian Subcontinent, and the majority of these names persist. Here, for example, is the Gaudy Commodore:

Here is the Colour Sergeant:

Meanwhile, here is the Jewelled Nawab:

Then we have this little beastie, Orsotriaena medus:

That butterfly was originally saddled with the name of "nigger", but has since been re-named to "Smooth-Eyed Bush-Brown". Given its appearance in the photo, I'd have called it the Mahogany Owl-Eye, which I commend as a far better choice than any of its past or present names. :)

Words / Re: Selfie
« on: August 31, 2020, 08:40:50 AM »
It wasn't that long ago, that taking a self-portrait with a camera required planning and effort. Usually involving a tripod and a timer on the camera. A process that I and many others only bothered with, either for experimental purposes while learning to use an SLR (ah, fond memories of the venerable OM30!) or because we needed passport photos.

Usually, those of us who exerted the effort to master SLR usage, had other subjects in mind - landscapes, architecture, wildlife, etc.

Quite simply, I've never felt the urge to exhibit my face photographically, unless there's been a reason for my face being in the photo, such as the time I was photographed with a South American swallowtail butterfly sitting on my hand, and I assumed that most people would be more interested in the swallowtail butterfly than me. :)

I might be a little unusual in this respect, but the photos of me on my hard drive over the past decade or so number fewer than 20, while I have 60,000 photos of insects. :)

As for a visit to Kenya, I'd use up several gigabytes of storage on the local butterflies alone, before I moved on to the other insects, and probably erase odd photos of me to make room for more entomology images :)

Words / A little question ...
« on: August 29, 2020, 11:18:04 AM »
Several of the puzzles here have had an interesting phenomenon associated therewith.

Namely, if you find, say, a five letter word from the puzzle letters, the remaining letters are found to form at least one four letter word, and combining the two resulting words into one results in a nonsense nine letter word that you wish was a real word. :)

One recent example from two days ago, was insertion, which gave iron and stein, which when combined, might be a suitable word for a Bavarian lager tankard made of metal. :D

Wonder if anyone else here has been taking note of instances thereof?

Whatever / Re: At last - some good news
« on: August 14, 2020, 12:11:29 PM »
Since Les mentioned Koalas, it's apposite for me to mention a recent discovery related thereto.

Namely, that there exists an Australian moth whose larvae feed on ... wait for it ... Koala dung.

Say hello to Telanepsia stockeri.

Just when you thought invertebrate zoology had finished serving up weirdness for you to savour ...

Words / Re: Pauraque
« on: June 26, 2020, 11:02:05 AM »
Speaking of moths, I had this turn up at a trap a few days ago ...

Words / Re: Vesper
« on: June 26, 2020, 10:58:49 AM »
I encountered vespers via a roundabout route involving the musical work of that name by Rachmaninov ...

Which is actually a mis-name ó Rachmaninoff (his preferred spelling in Latin characters) wrote the All-Night Vigil. Unfortunately, too many places it is misidentified as 'Vespers'.

The full work is indeed the All Night Chant, and is in fifteen parts. However, the first six parts thereof contain the Russian Orthodox text for Vespers in that denomination. Hence the frequent reference to the work via that name.

One fact that I was blissfully unaware of until now, is that Part Six of the All Night Vigil (the last part of the Vespers proper, if you will), was reworked into an anti-Putin protest song by the Russian punk group Pussy Riot.

Whatever / Re: Bird names in America and Britain
« on: June 24, 2020, 06:47:43 PM »
While entertaining this tangential diversion, there's actually a brand of swimwear called "Budgy Smuggler" ...  ;D

In the meantime, I never understood why Americans chose 'parakeet' over 'budgie', given that there are numerous species of parakeet, but only one budgie ...

Whatever / Re: Living in Australia?
« on: June 24, 2020, 06:43:44 PM »
I shall now sit here and wait for the Dropbears to put in an appearance ...  ;D

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