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Kazuo Ishiguro: how I wrote The Remains of the Day in four weeks | Books | The Guardian -
Kazuo Ishiguro: how I wrote The Remains of the Day in four weeks | Books | The Guardian
"Many people have to work long hours. When it comes to the writing of novels, however, the consensus seems to be that after four hours or so of continuous writing, diminishing returns set in. I’d always more or less gone along with this view, but as the summer of 1987 approached I became convinced a drastic approach was needed. Lorna, my wife, agreed." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Until that point, since giving up the day job five years earlier, I’d managed reasonably well to maintain a steady rhythm of work and productivity. But my first flurry of public success following my second novel had brought with it many distractions. Potentially career-enhancing proposals, dinner and party invitations, alluring foreign trips and mountains of mail had all but put an end... more... - Maitani
Families in Literature: the Flytes in Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh | Books | The Guardian -
Families in Literature: the Flytes in Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh | Books | The Guardian
"If you read Brideshead Revisited for the first time in your teens (as so many of us do) you can come away with the idea of a Cinderella story: middle-class Charles is scooped up by the happy aristocracy – the deserving poor boy looking longingly through the window is allowed in, gawps at the magnificence, is grateful for the attention, and of course falls in love with Sebastian." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"But when you read it again, you see that Brideshead is not a book about Oxford, or homoerotic love, or social climbing: it’s a book about religion – and about families. It is Sebastian who is in love with Charles, jealously wanting to keep him to himself:" - Maitani
Facts about the winter solstice | OUPblog -
Facts about the winter solstice | OUPblog
"The winter solstice settles on 21 December this year, which means it’s the day with the least amount of sunlight. It’s the official first day of winter, although people have been braving the cold for weeks, huddled in coats and scarves and probably wool socks. It’s easy to pass over the winter solstice because of the holidays; however, many traditions center around the solstices and equinoxes, and even Christmas has borrowed some ideas from the midwinter celebration. Below are a few facts about the winter solstice and the influence it has had on religion." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
Thanks for sharing this, Maitani. :) - Jenny H. from Android
You're welcome, Jenny. It is beautiful, isn't it. :-) - Maitani
The Oxford Linguistic History of English series lives on - Christopher Culver -
"Back in 2006, Oxford University Press published Don Ringe’s From Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Germanic, which was billed as the first volume in a new OUP series called A Linguistic History of English. That particular book wasn’t so much a history of the English language that we know as a reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European. Don Ringe is a major figure in Indo-European studies (as well as historical linguistics in general), and it was great to get a state-of-the-art reconstruction from his perspective." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"After enjoying that first volume, I would impatiently check the new arrivals shelf at the university library so I could read the second volume straightaway. Years passed, however, and nothing ever appeared. I had wondered if the series had been canceled, but now Oxford University Press finally unveiled the second volume: The Development of Old English, this time by Don Ringe and Ann Taylor." - Maitani
Ancient, hydrogen-rich waters deep underground around the world: Waters could support isolated life -- ScienceDaily -
Ancient, hydrogen-rich waters deep underground around the world: Waters could support isolated life -- ScienceDaily
"A team of scientists, led by the University of Toronto's Barbara Sherwood Lollar, has mapped the location of hydrogen-rich waters found trapped kilometres beneath Earth's surface in rock fractures in Canada, South Africa and Scandinavia." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Common in Precambrian Shield rocks -- the oldest rocks on Earth -- the ancient waters have a chemistry similar to that found near deep sea vents, suggesting these waters can support microbes living in isolation from the surface." - Maitani
Volume of world's oldest water estimated - Maitani
10 quotes to inspire a love of winter | OUPblog -
10 quotes to inspire a love of winter | OUPblog
"Winter encourages a certain kind of idiosyncratic imagery not found during any other season: white, powdery snow, puffs of warm breath, be-scarfed holiday crowds. The following slideshow presents a lovely compilation of quotes from the eighth edition of our Oxford Dictionary of Quotations that will inspire a newfound love for winter, whether you’ve ever experienced snow or not!" - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"The first fall of snow is not only an event, but it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment, then where is it to be found?" It snowed here last night :) - Eivind
Language Log » Mother Tongue: lost and found -
"The idea of a "Mother Tongue" has long preoccupied me, and I once wrote a lengthy paper about the relationship between Taiwanese and Mandarin entitled "How to Forget Your Mother Tongue and Remember Your National Language"." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"The topic has now come back to me from a different angle, one that I might title "How to Remember your Mother Tongue and (Temporarily) Forget Your Global Language"." - Maitani
"The occasion for these reflections was a letter that I received from a Mexican scholar named Soledad Jimenez Tovar who spent the last five years in Germany at a Max Planck Institute and in Kazakhstan doing fieldwork. In Germany she spoke German and lots of English, and in Kazakhstan she spoke mostly Russian and some Mandarin which she used when trying to converse with the Dungans there." - Maitani
Tips from professional proofreaders | Sentence first -
"Proofreading is a recurring theme on Sentence first, with regular posts looking at particular items of usage and examples of where proofing fell short. But although it’s part of my day job, I haven’t written often about the act itself." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"I was recently approached by Maggie Biroscak at Jimdo for some thoughts on the subject. Maggie’s article has now been published, and offers great tips on proofreading your own text, while acknowledging the limitations of this approach. It features quotes from Dawn McIlvain Stahl, online editor of, and me." - Maitani
The strangest and least strange French words according to n-grams - Antoine Amarilli's blog -
"The (multi)set of (character-level) n-grams of a word consists of its sequences of n consecutive characters. For instance, the 2-grams of "gram" are "gr", "ra", and "am". Duplicates are counted, e.g., for "toto" the 2-grams are "to", "ot", "to". Given the dictionary of all words in a language, we can compute the multiset of all n-grams." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"It turns out that this multiset is quite characteristic of the language. For instance, to identify the language of a piece of text, it is often enough to compute its n-grams, normalize it as a frequency distribution, and compare it to the distribution of known languages: usually the closest distribution is that of the language in which the text is written." - Maitani
3quarksdaily: Ian McKellen analyzes Macbeth speech -
Why the ‘Coffee’ Words Are Not Cognates - Languages Of The World | Languages Of The World -
Why the ‘Coffee’ Words Are Not Cognates - Languages Of The World | Languages Of The World
"A former student of mine drew my attention to a recent article in Slate written by Alyssa Pelish and titled “The Stimulating History of Coffee: Why You Hear This Word Around the World” (the image on the left is reproduced from the article). Pelish starts with a little thought-experiment about how one would order a coffee while travelling around the world: Kaffee in Berlin, caffè in Rome, kofi in Lagos, Nigeria, kŏfī in Delhi, India, and кофе (pronounced /’kofè/) in St. Petersburg, Russia. She correctly points out that these words sound alike in many languages, describing these words very poetically as “the two reliable syllables, the seesaw of vowel sounds punctuated by velar stops and fricatives”. I am not sure about the reliability of syllables or how one would go about measuring it, or whether the alternating consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel (CVCV) pattern can be called a “seesaw”. But the explanation Pelish provides for why these ‘coffee’ words are so similar the world over is entirely wrong and ignorant." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
Interesting idea. Jynnan tonix all round while we discuss. - Technodad from iPhone
Distraction, if consistent, does not hinder learning -- ScienceDaily -
Distraction, if consistent, does not hinder learning -- ScienceDaily
"A new study challenges the idea that distraction is necessarily a problem for learning. Researchers found that if attention was as divided during recall of a motor task as it was during learning the task, people performed as if there were no distractions at either stage." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
AWOL - The Ancient World Online: New and Forthcoming from De Gruyter Open -
AWOL - The Ancient World Online: New and Forthcoming from De Gruyter Open
AWOL - The Ancient World Online: New and Forthcoming from De Gruyter Open
AWOL - The Ancient World Online: New and Forthcoming from De Gruyter Open
"New and Forthcoming from De Gruyter Open New in 2014 from De Gruyter Open" - Maitani from Bookmarklet
The Windcatchers of Persia ~ Kuriositas -
The Windcatchers of Persia ~ Kuriositas
The Windcatchers of Persia ~ Kuriositas
"They appear throughout the Middle East: Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan have these antique Persian designs dotted around their towns and cities. They are windcatchers, known in the area as Bâdgir. Serving as ventilation systems they have given the people of the Middle East air conditioning for thousands of years. Yet despite their antediluvian origin, windcatchers may even provide a solution for some very modern architectural problems." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Windcatchers come in a vast array of sizes and a number of different styles. They function in one of three ways. Some direct the airflow downwards and use direct wind entry. Others direct airflow up either using a temperature gradient assisted either by the sun or the wind. " - Maitani
'Fewer' Or 'Less?' The Express Lane Language Debate : NPR -
'Fewer' Or 'Less?' The Express Lane Language Debate : NPR
"You're ready to check out at the supermarket. There are only eight items in your cart, so you look for the express lane. The sign above says "10 items or less." Do you: — Head for the register without a second thought? — Rue the decline of the English language because you were taught that the sign should say "10 items or fewer?"" - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"This week's "Word Matters" conversation with Weekend Edition host Scott Simon explores the "less vs. fewer" debate." - Maitani
Rue. - bentley
^LOL - Eivind from Android
Both of the above choices. - m9m, Crone of FriendFeed
I'd do either, but mentally congratulate the store that uses "fewer." - Walt Crawford
Often times, the express lane takes longer... typical human conundrum. - Adriano
Why Save a Language? - -
Why Save a Language? -
"“TELL me, why should we care?” he asks." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"It’s a question I can expect whenever I do a lecture about the looming extinction of most of the world’s 6,000 languages, a great many of which are spoken by small groups of indigenous people. For some reason the question is almost always posed by a man seated in a row somewhere near the back." - Maitani
Zoe Williams: the madness of modern parenting | Books | The Guardian -
Zoe Williams: the madness of modern parenting | Books | The Guardian
"Plainly, something is up with the business of parenting, the way we parent, the things that are now perceived as minimum parenting standards. The fact that I’m conjugating the word at all, that it has become an activity rather than a relationship, indicates the extent to which it now amounts to a set of skills, techniques, rules; it has become something that one does well or badly, the judgment of which is determined by yardsticks that claim, via medicine or neuroscience, to be definitive, yet are one titchy study from the University of Utah away from refutation. The atmosphere is febrile with disapproval: all normal under–standing of acceptable risk, never mind the understanding that behaviour might reasonably differ from one individual to another, is suspended." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
Cobill Nuts, Christmastide, and The Cloisters | The Metropolitan Museum of Art -
Cobill Nuts, Christmastide, and The Cloisters | The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Cobill Nuts, Christmastide, and The Cloisters | The Metropolitan Museum of Art
"The hazelnut (or "cobill nut" as they were called in the fifteenth century) also appears in one of the mid-fourteenth-century mystery plays performed for the feast of Corpus Christi in York, designed to inspire the audience's direct involvement with salvation history. In the play The Offering of the Shepherds, the shepherds arrive at the site of the Nativity and lament the fact that they have only humble gifts for the baby Jesus. The second shepherd presents the infant with two hazelnuts, strung together as a bracelet:" - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Thou Sonne, that shall save bothe see and sande, Se to me sen I have thee soght, I am ovir poure to make presande Als myn harte wolde, and I had ought. Two cobill notis uppon a bande, Loo, litill babe, what I have broght, And whan ye sall be Lorde in lande, Dose goode agayne, forgete me noght, For I have herde declared Of connyng clerkis and clene That bountith askis rewarde, Nowe watte ye what I mene." - Maitani
Companions in Misery - -
Companions in Misery -
"I had just arrived home from my summer vacation — a week in a Minnesota cabin whose brochure warned “no crabbiness allowed” — when I came upon a study that declared New York the “unhappiest city in America.” I doubt many people were surprised by the results — New Yorkers, both in lore and reality, can be hard to please, and famously outspoken about their grievances — but as a born-and-raised New Yorker, and as a philosopher, I was suspicious of how the study defined happiness." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
Würzburger Weihnachtsmarkt mit Marienkapelle
Lovely :) - Eivind
Wurzburg ci ha donato Dirk Nowitzki, terra benedetta - oddbody from iPhone
Würzburg ove il divino Tiepolo ecc ecc., altro che mercatini di natale. - Duiglio
Scusa duiglio ma Nowitzki > Tiepolo - S. from iPhone
Inoltre, poiché il premio Nobel Conrad Roentgen insegnò per 12 anni all'Università di Wurzburg (anni in cui fece la sua scoperta più importante), la squadra di pallacanestro cittadina si chiama Wuerzburg X-Rays - oddbody from fftogo
Un frammento di intonaco sporco di colore per vaga ipotesi attribuibile a Tiepolo >>>>>>>>>>>>> tutto il cucuzzaro dello sport plutomediatico come lo propinano a voi PUPI, pfui. AUGH HO DETTO - Duiglio
A me la plutomediocrazia piace, che posso farci. - S. from iPhone
Nel 1994 a Schweinfurt si giocava Schweinfurt-Wurzburg. Tra gli spettatori c'era Holger Geschwindner, ex cestista tedesco che aveva imparato lo sport dai militari americani di stanza in Germania. Geschwindner arrivò puntualissimo come suo solito, ma la partita delle squadre giovanili che precedeva il match di cartello era ai supplementari, per cui Holger vide gli ultimi minuti della... more... - oddbody from fftogo
Ho scoperto quando vivevo a Norimberga, frequentando la casa di uno studente bassosassone che a sua volta viveva con un tizio che veniva da Würzburg, che in quell'angolo abbastanza remoto di Baviera, cioè nella parte di Franconia più distante da Monaco e affine semmai all'Assia e alla Germania centrale, esiste un movimento autonomista che propugna appunto il distacco dalla Baviera. Io,... more... - tamas
(giova dire che Geschwindner è uomo dalle visioni eterodosse: il suo metodo di allenamento è stato da lui stesso denominato "Institute of applied nonsense") - oddbody from fftogo
Like a tamas e al nome del metodo di allenamento. - S. from iPhone
La città di Würzburg è anche nota per essere stata distrutta quasi dalle fondamenta dai bombardamenti angloamericani nella seconda guerra mondiale, essendo stata colpita nelle ultime settimane del conflitto, quando le difese antiaeree tedesche non esistevano praticamente più e quando lo scopo delle incursioni era puramente terroristico. - tamas
tie' Duiglio, schifa mo' lo sport plutomediatico: - oddbody from fftogo
Grazie obbo, in effetti era una trap per ottenere un negrazzone bonazzone come solo tu sai scovare <3 - Duiglio
I want to add that Würzburg Residence and the Marienburg Fortress as well as the beautiful Alte Mainbrücke were used as filming locations for the 2011 movie The Three Musketeers. :-) - Maitani
Eurozine - Moving walls - Giovanni Cocco -
Eurozine - Moving walls - Giovanni Cocco
"Over the past 14 years, about 17,000 immigrants have perished in the Mediterranean, trying to overcome the material and virtual walls that surround the European Union today. That's 60 times the number of people who lost their lives attempting to cross the Berlin Wall in 28 years." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"The management of migration flows over the last ten years has created a vast laboratory of repression in Europe. Public opinion has always been encouraged to consider the European Union an expression of historical achievements: breaking down borders, freedom of movement and prosperity for everybody. In reality, these achievements are only valid for European citizens." - Maitani
"Today, Europe is a fortress that consists of laws, regulations and concrete walls designed to deny entry. I started this project in late 2010 in the region of Evros, Greece, with the journalist Fabrizo Gatti – on assignment for L'Espresso. There was talk of building a 12-kilometre-long fence, to block the migration flows at the only part of the border not on the River Evros, which... more... - Maitani
History will condemn us for this. #FestungEuropa - Eivind
(btw Fabrizio Gatti is an amazing journalist) - d☭snake
BBC - Future - Psychology: A simple trick to improve your memory -
BBC - Future - Psychology: A simple trick to improve your memory
"Researchers Jeffrey Karpicke and Henry Roediger III set out to look at one aspect: how testing can consolidate our memory of facts. In their experiment they asked college students to learn pairs of Swahili and English words. So, for example, they had to learn that if they were given the Swahili word 'mashua' the correct response was 'boat'. They could have used the sort of facts you might get on a high-school quiz (e.g. "Who wrote the first computer programs?"/"Ada Lovelace"), but the use of Swahili meant that there was little chance their participants could use any background knowledge to help them learn. After the pairs had all been learnt, there would be a final test a week later." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"...On the final exam differences between the groups were dramatic. While dropping items from study didn’t have much of an effect, the people who dropped items from testing performed relatively poorly: they could only remember about 35% of the word pairs, compared to 80% for people who kept testing items after they had learnt them." - Maitani
"It seems the effective way to learn is to practice retrieving items from memory, not trying to cement them in there by further study. Moreover, dropping items entirely from your revision, which is the advice given by many study guides, is wrong. You can stop studying them if you've learnt them, but you should keep testing what you've learnt if you want to remember them at the time of the final exam." - Maitani
I don't think this method is "counterintuitive". I have always felt that the best way to retrieve items from memory is to teach them to others. I am convinced that teaching as a means of learning is even more efficient than testing. - Maitani
A Weapon for Readers by Tim Parks | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books -
A Weapon for Readers by Tim Parks | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books
"Imagine you are asked what single alteration in people’s behavior might best improve the lot of mankind. How foolish would you have to be to reply: have them learn to read with a pen in their hands? But I firmly believe such a simple development would bring huge benefits." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"We have too much respect for the printed word, too little awareness of the power words hold over us. We allow worlds to be conjured up for us with very little concern for the implications. We overlook glaring incongruities. We are suckers for alliteration, assonance, and rhythm. We rejoice over stories, whether fiction or “documentary,” whose outcomes are flagrantly manipulative,... more... - Maitani
AWOL - The Ancient World Online: Greek and Latin in an Age of Open Data -- Conference on Google Hangout December 1-4, 17:00-c. 20:00 CET -
"At 5pm CET, we will begin broadcasting a conference on Greek and Latin in an Age of Open Data. The conference will run over four days for three hours each because we want to maximize the geographic range while reaching people in reasonable times of the day. (Not everyone is so lucky -- our colleagues Donald Sturgeon and John S. Y. Lee in Hong Kong are, for example, gamely preparing to present in the middle of the night)." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"We will post the final information about connecting on the following link: " - Maitani
Celtic and the History of the English Language | Arrant Pedantry -
Celtic and the History of the English Language | Arrant Pedantry
"A little while ago a link to this list of 23 maps and charts on language went around on Twitter. It’s full of interesting stuff on linguistic diversity and the genetic relationships among languages, but there was one chart that bothered me: this one on the history of the English language by Sabio Lantz." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"The first and largest problem is that the timeline makes it look as though English began with the Celts and then received later contributions from the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and so on. While this is a decent account of the migrations and conquests that have occurred in the last two thousand years, it’s not an accurate account of the history of the English language. (To be fair, the bar on the bottom gets it right, but it leaves out all the contributions from other languages.)" - Maitani
A Calendar Page for December 2014 - Medieval manuscripts blog -
A Calendar Page for December 2014 - Medieval manuscripts blog
A Calendar Page for December 2014 - Medieval manuscripts blog
"The slaughtering of animals and preparing of meat for the winter are the labours highlighted in these final calendar pages of the year.   On the opening folio can be found the beginning of the saints’ days for December.  Below, a roundel miniature shows two men in a barn; one has his hands firmly on the horns of a bull, holding him steady, while the other man is preparing to deliver the coup de grâce with a wooden mallet.   In the facing folio, another man is butchering a hog outdoors, wielding a long, sharp knife.  A bucket of blood is beneath the slaughtering table, and above, we can see a wooly ram (perhaps aghast at the carnage), for the zodiac sign Capricorn.  Surrounding this scene is another golden architectural frame, populated with angels playing musical instruments, and a kneeling monk above, perhaps in honour of the feast of the Nativity." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
Sheena Iyengar on Choice - Shunya's Notes -
"Sheena Iyengar's excellent anthropological survey of "choice" across cultures, with special focus on its meaning in the U.S. She "studies how we make choices—and how we feel about the choices we make", including "both trivial choices (Coke v. Pepsi) and profound ones" (18 mins)." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
Arachne - Reception of Antiquity in a Semantic Network: Digital Books, Images and Objects -
Arachne - Reception of Antiquity in a Semantic Network: Digital Books, Images and Objects
"The aim of the project is the reconstruction and online publication of about 1700 prints, which appeared between 1500 and 1900. In a next step forms of semantic networks are to be approached in separate subprojects. This is to be illustrated through the direct contextualisation of objects from Philipp von Stosch's Gem Collection." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"The aim of the project "Reception of Antiquity in a Semantic Network" within the Arachne database is the development and provision of web-based prints from the period between 1500 and 1830. The project’s basis is defined by engravings to classical, Near Eastern and Egyptian Archaeology of the 16th till the 19th century from the library of the Rome Department of the DAI. These early... more... - Maitani
Adoptees' 'lost language' from infancy triggers brain response - Technology & Science - CBC News -
Adoptees' 'lost language' from infancy triggers brain response - Technology & Science - CBC News
"You may not recall any memories from the first year of life, but if you were exposed to a different language at the time, your brain will still respond to it at some level, a new study suggests. Brain scans show that children adopted from China as babies into families that don't speak Chinese still unconsciously recognize Chinese sounds as language more than a decade later." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
""It was amazing to see evidence that such an early experience continued to have a lasting effect," said Lara Pierce, lead author of the study published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in an email to CBC News." - Maitani
It's incredible to think that at only 10-12 months, baby brains are already becoming bound to the language of their environment. - Ken Morley
The Dark & Light of Francisco Goya by Colm Tóibín | The New York Review of Books -
The Dark & Light of Francisco Goya by Colm Tóibín | The New York Review of Books
"There are two ways, perhaps, of looking at Goya, who was born near Zaragoza in 1746 and died in exile in France in 1828. In the first version, he was almost innocent, a serious and ambitious artist interested in mortality and beauty, but also playful and mischievous, until politics and history darkened his imagination. In this version, “history charged,” took him by surprise, and deepened his talent. In the second version, it is as though a war was going on within Goya’s psyche from the very start. While interested in many subjects, he was ready for violence and chaos, so that even if the war between French and Spanish forces between 1808 and 1814 and the insurrection in Madrid in 1808 had not happened, he would have found some other source and inspiration for the dark and violent images he needed to create. His imagination was ripe for horror." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
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