Tea Time With Jesse

Six of One, Half Dozen the Other

Archive for February, 2012

Kung Fu Privacy

Posted by middlerage on February 29, 2012

I dunno how accurate this is, but I once heard that Kung Fu isn’t about throwing punches, like an offensive martial art such as Tae Kwon Do. Rather, Kung Fu uses the attacker’s moves against him/her, drawing a thrown punch in and using the momentum to throw the attacker off balance.

In my thread on Microsoft Bing and (do no evil, ha!) Google aggregating all of its products into a big data suck, Mark L alluded to an idea I’ve already been forming. If we can’t hide, then throw them off balance by giving them what they want – data. Lots of yummy, gooey data. Silly data. Inaccurate data. Make shit up. In honor of the Leap Day, I am re-joining Facebook, but this time my profile will reflect that I live in London and design jet skis for a living.

Actually, Kung Fu is a poor analogy, especially for a child of the Cold War. What I really mean is that Middlerage is setting up a Ministry of Disinformation. If I had the appropriate entrepreneurial spirit (I don’t) this could be a business!

Time to start searching for information on Rolex watches, battling Tse-Tse flies, Haitian lesbian genre fiction, and camel training.  And I need to send off for catalogs. Smiley needs catalogs.

Posted in Privacy Issues | 9 Comments »

A Quick Frenemies Update

Posted by middlerage on February 25, 2012

Via the NYTimes: Traveling Light in a Time of Digital Thievery.

Visiting China? Use a disposable cell phone, a loaner laptop, disable wireless AND the microphone AND the camera. But be sure to get a number six with extra shrimp sauce.

Posted in observations, Politicks, short ones, wtf | Leave a Comment »

The Word(s) of the Day is “Pedantic Karma”

Posted by middlerage on February 24, 2012

I had intended the word of the day to be Barbicide, but…

I got schooled in Latin.

I went for a haircut today, and as I pushed open the door, I snickered at the decal advertising “Barbicide,” letting me know I was in safe hands with a thoroughly disinfected barber shop.  I know Barbicide is a product for killing germs, but it’s advertising the murder of Barbers*. Poor barbers. Hah! This could be a fun blog post, I said to myself. It made sense by inductive reasoning – if fungicide, insecticide, and parricide all mean killing fungus, bugs, and dad, then it seemed they were offering to snuff Barbers. Hopefully not in mid-snip.

So my newly trimmed self came home and fired up Google Translator just to be sure my pedantic snickering was on firm footing (I know, I’ve recently railed against the Goog, but Babelfish doesn’t do Latin, and I found nobody on the web does Latin translation for free except Google).

I know Barbi is just a trade name, but I was curious to see if it had a meaning in Latin…and it does. It means “beard.” Ohh. That kinda puts the kibosh on my snickering. Not only that, but when I ran cide through the translator it came out as meaning “cut.” Double Ohh.

“Beard cut” is not nearly so unintended and hilarious as “kill Barbers.” Sure, the “cide” in fungicide must come from somewhere, and running “kill” backwards through the translator produces “occidere.” If you are expert in Latin and do some second, third or fourth declensions, on a full moon, on a Tuesday, I imagine you get to “cide.” But I ain’t. And I won’t.

Let me assuage my pedant self by opining that “decimate” doesn’t mean “wipe out,” and the plural of “Octopus” isn’t Octopi. (Answer: tithe or kill every tenth, and octopodes, because octopus has Greek roots, not Latin).

So there.

However, modern dictionaries will counsel that decimate does mean to wipe out, and the plural of octopus is octopuses. Anything else is just pedantry.

*I belatedly realize Barbicide could also be a threat to Barbie dolls.

Posted in observations | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

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