[links] Link salad winds on down the road

Patent No. 5,443,036: Method of Exercising a Cat

Broken Letters: A Typogeography of Europe — Fascinating reading if you’re either a typeface geek or a history geek.

Which profession drinks the most coffee?

Roundhouse Foundations — Mmm. Trains.

Video urges Singapore couples to make babies – like, now — (Thanks to David Goldman.)

Neanderthals did not interbreed with humans, scientists findThe genetic traits between humans and Neanderthals are more likely from a shared ancestry rather than interbreeding, a British study has suggested.

Study: Japan nuclear disaster caused mutated butterflies — “Power was to be cheap and clean; grimy faces were never seen”

Researchers find some of the world’s earliest (pre-Cambrian) armorSpecimens hint that protective organic skeletons predate the Cambrian explosion.

Into the Uncanny ValleyCentauri Dreams on extra-terrestrial intelligence.

Obama Calls Mars Rover Team, Considers Mohawk — Heh.

Arctic ocean losing 50% more summer ice than predicted — Facts not valid in conservative America and other places outside the reality-based community.

Isolated Incidents (Completely Unrelated To All The Others Just Like It) — Sexual morality at a Christianist bible “college”. Proving once again that atheists are moral monsters without Christian principles to guide them. Or something. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

My Sister Paid Progressive Insurance to Defend Her Killer In Court — A classic example of why people hate both insurance companies and attorneys. This also clearly illustrates the fundamental conflict of for-profit insurance companies. Unlike almost any other business sector, their profit model relies on them not fulfilling their contracts. That problem is most obvious in health insurance companies, but applies across the board. Which is why I sometimes think all insurance companies should either be co-ops or publicly owned. As for the attorneys involved on the Progressive insurance side, I hope the crypts they sleep in are comfortably chilled.

The Certainty of Even More Shootings — Because this is America, where your theoretical defense of essential liberties is worth more than my actual life. But only under the Second Amendment. Thanks to the justly famed intellectual consistency of the conservative movement, we’ve already traded away all those other pesky amendments and their essential liberties for the illusion of a little temporary safety.

Your Election is being Bought by 47 Billionaires (and they are Buying War, Climate Change)[N]early 60% of the almost quarter of a billion dollars raised by Super PACs from individuals derived from just 47 people, who gave at least $1 million each (obviously some gave much more). Remember, kids, according to the conservative-dominated Supreme Court, money is speech, so if you don’t like this, put up your own millions.

Mitt Romney Denies Freedom of ReligionDo you believe in freedom of religion? President Obama does, and he is defending Americans’ freedom of religion against Mitt Romney and Fox News.

Paul Ryan already benefited from the Social Security fund he now wants to gut — When a conservative needs something from the government, it’s an essential Federal program. (See highway bills and farm price supports.) When anyone that conservative disapproves of needs something from the government, it’s wasteful socialism. (See Aid to Families with Dependent Children.)

The Ryan Role — Paul Krugman on Paul Ryan. Interesting what the facts tell you, which is very different from what Your Liberal Media tells you.

Wonkbook: Everything you need to know about Paul Ryan — Paul Ryan’s number one qualification for Romney’s VP slot? He’s not Sarah Palin.

?otD: Is your shadow taller than your soul?

Writing time yesterday: 0.25 hours (WRPA)
Body movement: 60 minute suburban walk
Hours slept: 6.0 (solid)
Weight: 238.4
Currently reading: The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems by Henry Petroski

3 thoughts on “[links] Link salad winds on down the road

  1. Cora says:

    The typogeography article is a pretty good overview, though there are some inaccuracies. First of all, while Hitler made a turnaround regarding the use of Fraktur and Sütterlin in the early 1940s, it didn’t have that much of an effect, simply because there are other priorities during a war. What really killed off both post 1945 was the fact that the allies were unable to make sense of either.

    I’d also question that only five percent of all books were printed in Fraktur prior to the Nazis coming to power in 1933. In my experience, well over fifty percent of German books printed before 1945 are in Fraktur and for the 19th and 18th and 17th centuries the percentage rises to nigh on one hundred percent. Newspapers and pulp magazines printed pre-1945 are usually in Fraktur as well. In fact, it is a pleasant surprise to open a German pre-WWII book and find it is printed in Antiqua. Non-fiction is more likely to be set in Antiqua BTW. Hence, encyclopedias or e.g. a psychology book from the early 20th century are set in Antiqua, while fiction and newspapers are set almost exclusively in Fraktur.

    But the practice of setting foreign words in Antiqua definitely existed. I came across it while doing a paper on a magazine of “true” ghost stories from the late 17th century, where all foreign words and names were set in Antiqua, while the text was in Fraktur and a particularly hard to read variation compared to the Fraktur types from the 19th and early 20th century that I was used to.

    Most Germans nowadays (at least up to my generation, I can’t speak for those that are younger) can read Fraktur, often because we came across it in books inherited from our parents and grandparents and later at university, though I read Fraktur a lot slower than regular Antiqua. However, Fraktur sometimes causes a problem for foreign exchange students who have no experience with that sort of thing.

    As for Sütterlin (which is a cursive handwriting script) my parents (born in 1938 and 1942 respectively) both report being taught how to read and write Sütterlin script (alongside with regular longhand Latin cursive) at school and are also able to decipher it. Whereas I (born in 1973) can’t make heads nor tails out of Sütterlin, even though I was taught Sütterlin script for exactly one lesson in elementary school, probably to satisfy some kind of curriculum requirement. There are occasional attempts to revive Sütterlin or at least a simplified variation thereof, but they never come to anything.

    The fact that fewer and fewer people are able to read Sütterlin is also causing a problem for historians and archivists, because most handwritten documents written in the first half of the 20th century are written in Sütterlin, which hardly anybody under 70 can read. Universities are offering classes in Sütterlin for students of history and sometimes German. Some university history departments also offer a “translation service” for old family letters and diaries written in Sütterlin.

    I’ve come up against the Sütterlin problem myself, when trying to decipher old letters by my grandparents or just the names written on the backs of photos. When my grandma died and we cleared out her apartment, I came across a pile of old letters and postcards written during WWII by my grandfather. My mother and my aunt wanted to throw the letters away immediately, but I said, “I want to read this”, took out a random letter from WWII and found myself faced with Sütterlin. So I asked my mother to read it out to me, only to have my mother and aunt promptly dissolve into tears (my grandfather was more than ten years dead by that point), so I reluctantly agreed to let them throw the letters away. I still think I should have stuck to my guns and kept the letters and maybe took them to a historian. I also wonder why my mother and aunt were so eager to throw them away and what they didn’t want me to see.

    I have no emotional attachment to Sütterlin script, but it does make me sad that I can’t even read letters written by my own grandparents without help.

    1. Jay says:

      Cora, I’m sorry you cannot read your family letters, but at the same time, that is a fascinating cultural problem when seen from the outside. Thank you for the detailed explanation.

      1. Cora says:

        Growing up with these issues simmering in the background, it’s easy to forget that most people outside Germany have no idea that something like Sütterlin script even exists or that they have never seen a whole book printed in Fraktur.

        As for the letters, I’m mainly angry at myself for letting myself be persuaded to throw the letters away by a relative I knew to be a emotional manipulator (the aunt, not my mother).

        And Sütterlin most likely couldn’t have survived in the more globalized world after WWII anyway, because having a cursive script which no one outside a single language community can read is rather impractical. Though there are Sütterlin fonts available for computers nowadays as well as plenty of Fraktur fonts.

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