Caveat: Not Just America

In fact, the incarceration of children whose parents are in violation of rules about migration is a global problem. I was recently impressed by some discussion of the growing problem in my erstwhile home, South Korea, where it is normally an untouchable subject.

You can read about it here. The below video is included on that site.

irreversible effects of immigration detention on children (full version) from APIL Korea on Vimeo.

My important point is that the recent outrage among some parts of the US population about this issue is in fact quite narrow and parochial. This is a global problem and the US is at best a minor violator. That doesn’t excuse it. Rather, I think this core problem of child punishment for parental behavior is key to understanding why migration restriction regimes are on par with chattel slavery in ethical terms.

Caveat: what spills out?

Below is a story circulating as a meme online – attribution is unclear to me.

You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere.

Why did you spill the coffee?

“Well, because someone bumped into me, of course!”

Wrong answer – you spilled your coffee because there was coffee in your cup. Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.

“Whatever is inside the cup is what will spill out.”

Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled.

“So, we ask ourselves…., “What’s inside my cup?”

When life gets tough, what spills over?

Joy, gratefulness, peace, and humility?

Or, anger, bitterness, harsh words, and reactions.

You choose!

Today, let’s work towards filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation, kindness, gentleness, and love for others!

Caveat: There, in the calm of some Platonic dream

This poem, below, was not written by a human being, as best I understand. It was written by one of those new “learning algorithm” AIs (Artificial Intelligences), where you give the AI a large pile of “training data” (i.e. in this case, a vast corpus of human-written poetry) and then say, more or less, “OK, give me a new one like that.” It works similarly to the way google-translate manages to make sense out of changing one language to another, without actually understanding a damn thing. It’s statistics, writ large.

Methinks I see her in her blissful dreams:
Or, fancy-like, in some mirage she lies,
Majestic yet majestic, and of seems
The image of the unconquerable skies.

Methinks I see her in her blissful dreams:
—Or, fancy-like, in some majestic cell,
Where lordly seraphs strew their balmy dreams
On the still night, or in their golden shell.

There, in the calm of some Platonic dream,
Sits she, and views the unclouded moon arise
Like a fair lady full of realms divine;

And, all at once, a stony face and bright
Glittering in moonlight, like the noon-tints of a night.

I found it, and other AI-generated poetry, on the slatestarcodex blog.

All very interesting.

 

Caveat: from aboard the M/V Malaspina

Here I am, sailing from Ketchikan to Prince Rupert.

I’m on a phone signal… between mountains drifting down among islands.

Pictures from earlier in the day (mostly from the Hollis-to-Ketchikan ferry).

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Here is a somewhat random quote that struck me as relevant to my new lifestyle among many retirees on Prince of Wales Island:

One way to find out if you’re old is to fall down in front of a lot of people. If they laugh, you’re still young. If they panic and start running toward you, you’re old.

[daily log: walking, 2km]

Caveat: a big solving, indeed

It is reported that Seoul has been saved from anihilation. The below is apparently an utterly true transcript.

Dramatis personae: the new space emperor, Kanye West, Jim Brown.

"MR. BROWN: And I like North Korea.

THE PRESIDENT: I like North Korea too.

MR. BROWN: (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah. Yeah. Well, he’s — turned out to be good. Dialogue. We had a little dialogue. And Secretary of State just came back — Mike. He just came back from North Korea. We had very good meetings, and we’ll meet again. But we’re doing good. No more nuclear testing. No more missiles going up. No more nothing. And it’s — that was headed to war. That was headed to war.

MR. BROWN: Yeah. I mean, it was — to me, it seemed like that.

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah. It was so close. We spoke — I spoke to President Obama. I will tell you, that was headed to war. And now it’s going to be — I believe it’s going to work out very well.

MR. WEST: You stopped the war —

THE PRESIDENT: We really stopped the war. Saved millions of lives. You know, Seoul has 30 million people. You don’t realize how big. Thirty million people who are right near the border; 30 miles off the border. Millions of people would have been killed. And I will say, Chairman Kim has been really good. Really good. And we’ve made a lot of progress.

That’s nice that you say that, because that’s a big — that’s a big thing. These folks were covering — they were covering North Korea not — I think not very promisingly. And there were a lot of problems. President Obama said that was his biggest problem. And I don’t say anything is solved —

MR. WEST: You, day one, solved one of the biggest problems.

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah.

MR. WEST: We solved one of the biggest problems.

THE PRESIDENT: It was a big solving. And not solved yet, but I think we’re along — I think we’re on the way."

(h/t The Rude Pundit)

[daily log: walking, 4km; tromping, 350m]

Caveat: Oh deer, a drum solo

This made me laugh a lot. Plus, I like that old song.


Arthur and I went shopping in town today. I also made progress on constructing my storage facility. Finally, we saw a bear cross the road during our afternoon walk.

The bear did not play a drum solo, however. Sometimes the wildlife lets you down, I guess.

[daily log: walking, 4km]

Caveat: A Cube For Me

I had trouble with Rubik's Cubes, when I was young and they first appeared.

I felt I should be good at doing one – it was my teenage ego, maybe, thinking, "I'm smart, I should do this."

But I didn't enjoy trying to solve it. It's not that different from my relationship with all kinds of puzzles and intellectually demanding games, like sudoku or chess. I feel like I should like them, but I really don't like them at all.

Eventually, I successfully solved a Rubik's Cube. Once.

I considered that I'd done my duty, and haven't touched one since.

Here, finally, is a Rubik's Cube that I can fully enjoy and support.

[daily log: walking, 4km]


Caveat: Rrrr rr rrrrr!

There is a thing called "International Talk Like a Pirate Day" (ITLAP Day), on September 18th each year.

It's not even a new thing – I remember hearing it discussed on the radio when I was still living and working in L.A. in the 2000s.

I saw this image, a while back, and thought – I should post it for ITLAP Day! So here it is.

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[daily log: walking, 4km; tromping, 300m]

Caveat: A photogenic bumblebee

I keep intending to write something longer. But then I lose myself in some other undertaking, and I don't get around to it. I'm trying to keep up the discipline of regular blog-posting, but it feels a bit low-quality lately, to be honest. Not that it's that great to begin with.

Meanwhile, here's a joke:

'i' before 'e' except after 'c' – disproved by science!

And here is a picture I took of a photogenic bumblebee this morning. It's a bit blurry, though.

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[daily log: walking, 4km]

Caveat: Sometimes I lay Under the moon

This heartwarming little video appeared in my facebook feed the other day (h/t my own dad – heh). Given that I'm recently returned to facebookland, despite ambivalences, right?

I was curious about the song's provenance, because it seemed a good, positive song for my CC classes at Karma. So I did some google-fu, and found it.

What I'm listening to right now.

Matisyahu, "One Day."

Lyrics.

Sometimes I lay
Under the moon
And thank God I'm breathing
Then I pray
Don't take me soon
'Cause I am here for a reason

Sometimes in my tears I drown
But I never let it get me down
So when negativity surrounds
I know some day it'll all turn around

Because
All my life I've been waiting for
I've been praying for
For the people to say
That we don't wanna fight no more
There will be no more wars
And our children will play
One day (one day), One day (one day)
One day (one day), One day (one day)
One day (one day), One day (one day)

It's not about
Win or lose
'Cause we all lose
When they feed on the souls of the innocent
Blood-drenched pavement
Keep on moving though the waters stay raging

In this maze you can lose your way (your way)
It might drive you crazy but don't let it faze you, no way (no way)

Sometimes in my tears I drown
But I never let it get me down
So when negativity surrounds
I know some day it'll all turn around

Because
All my life I've been waiting for
I've been praying for
For the people to say
That we don't wanna fight no more
They'll be no more wars
And our children will play
One day (one day), One day (one day)
One day (one day), One day (one day)
One day (one day), One day (one day)

One day this all will change
Treat people the same
Stop with the violence
Down with the hate
One day we'll all be free
And proud to be
Under the same sun
Singing songs of freedom like

One day (one day), One day (one day)
One day (one day), One day (one day)

All my life I've been waiting for
I've been praying for
For the people to say
That we don't wanna fight no more
They'll be no more wars
And our children will play
One day (one day), One day (one day)
One day (one day), One day (one day)
One day (one day), One day (one day)

[daily log: walking, 7.5km; carrying heavy box to post office, 0.5km]

Caveat: Actually not paper

This is a giant paper airplane. But it's not actually paper, but rather, styrofoam, I think.

Mostly I liked it because I thought some of my students would find it cool.

[daily log: walking, 7.5km; carrying heavy box to post office, 0.5km]

Caveat: nosostres…

This video (in the embedded tweet, below) is interesting to me, not because I necessarily would want to make any kind of linguistic prescription vis-a-vis the Spanish language, but rather because it represents a spontaneous, "folk-linguistic" solution to the the perceived need for truly gender-neutral language in Spanish, which makes the non-gender-neutral aspects of English look pretty minor by comparison. 

I think the substitution of "-e" for "-o/a" is perfect, and much more natural than the annoying, text-based substitutions I've seen before, like -@ or -x, which are unpronounceable and unnatural.

As a linguist, I retain my skepticism about the need for these kinds of solutions, but I nevertheless understand why people want them. I would only point out, by way of semantic counter-example, that the Korean language has a complete lack of gender markers (nouns, pronouns, etc.): it is literally impossible to know the gender of someone out of context, on linguistic cues alone. Yet this fact has hardly managed to create or support a gender-neutral culture. The belief that such is true (or necessary) is just a sort of naive and unscientific Sapirwhorfism.

[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: Foki Afa Galande

What I'm listening to right now.

Heilung, "Krigsgaldr." This looks like part of some weird Scandinavian neo-Paganist thing. But it is interesting. I find these "back-to-roots" European nativist movements culturally intriguing, but feel it's regrettable the way they get coopted by various racist and authoritarianist ideologues. I have no idea what specific ideologies are associated with this Danish group, but if they turn out to be offensive, I offer my apologies in advance. I mostly just find it linguistically and culturally interesting, and would remark on the interesting coincidences with ancient cultures all over the world – these performers are not that different from e.g. efforts to recover or reconstruct Native American pre-contact cultures. I think the non-English parts, below, are no variety of modern Scandinavian, but rather intended to be some kind of "proto-Nordic" as recovered from some ancient runic inscriptions – that's what is linguistically interesting to me.

Lyrics.

Min Warb Naseu
Wilr Made Thaim
I Bormotha Hauni

Hu War
Hu War Opkam Har a Hit Lot

Got Nafiskr Orf
Auim Suimade
Foki Afa Galande

What am I supposed to do
If I want to talk about peace and understanding
But you only understand the language of the sword
What if I want to make you understand that the path you chose leads to downfall
But you only understand the language of the sword
What if I want to tell you to leave me and my beloved ones in peace
But you only understand the language of the sword

I let the blade do the talking…
So my tongue shall become iron
And my words the mighty roar of war
Revealing my divine anger´s arrow shall strike

All action for the good of all
I see my reflection in your eyes
But my new age has just begun

The sword is soft
In the fire of the furnace
It hungers to be hit
And wants to have a hundred sisters
In the coldest state of their existence
They may dance the maddest
In the morass of the red rain

Beloved brother enemy
I sing my sword song for you
The lullaby of obliteration
So I can wake up with a smile
And bliss in my heart
And bliss in my heart
And bliss in my heart

Coexistence, Conflict, combat
Devastation, regeneration, transformation
That is the best I can do for you

I see a grey gloom on the horizon
That promises a powerful sun to rise
To melt away all moons
It will make the old fires of purification
Look like dying embers
Look like dying embers
Look like dying embers

Min Warb Naseu
Wilr Made Thaim
I Bormotha Hauni

Hu War
Hu War Opkam Har a Hit Lot

Got Nafiskr Orf
Auim Suimade
Foki Afa Galande

Hu War
Hu War Opkam Har a Hit Lot

Ylir Men Aero Their
Era Mela Os

I found some vague gestures at translation, and will only offer that the part I used as this blog post's title, "Foki Afa Galande", seems to correspond to a meaning "land of shining meadows".

The official video of the same song released by the group is interesting, too.

Heilung, "Krigsgaldr."

[daily log: walking, 7km; children herded, ~∞]