See the nearest stars (within 16 light years) to the Solar System in 3D

Monday, May 31, 2010

You can see them here, though you'll need to have Silverlight installed. The reason for the 16 light year boundary is that's when parallax begins to become inaccurate and distances become much more approximate, and the list of stars nearest to the Earth on Wikipedia also states this. The 3D graph also shows the colours of the nearby stars, which makes it easy to note just how many red dwarfs there are compared to the rest, and since theory dictates that smaller objects are more common there are certainly even more brown dwarfs than that, possibly even closer to us than Alpha Centauri (closest but also almost directly south in comparison to the Earth).

It would have been nice to also have the radial velocity (the velocity that shows whether a star is approaching or moving away from the Earth), but no big deal.

And now that we're on the subject of parallax I can finally share this link I've been meaning to show for quite some time, on some of the immediate benefits an interstellar probe would bring. Parallax in astronomy basically means the ability to accurately judge the distance from one object to another by comparing views from different locations, and the farther out a probe gets the more accurate parallax becomes.

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What a pan-Turkic auxiliary language might look like

There are probably two reasons why a pan-Turkic auxiliary language hasn't been created:

1) Independent and stable Turkic-speaking countries are a relatively recent phenomenon in modern times. Incorporation in the Soviet Union, very short periods of independence etc. didn't bode well for the fostering of a pan-Turkic language, and
2) Turkey has a much, much larger population and cultural influence than the rest of the Turkic languages put together. Compared to this, Slavic and Romance languages in particular are on a much more equal footing.

But let's say a pan-Turkic language were to be created. The general concept behind these types of languages is that they should be 1) immediately comprehensible to native speakers of the source languages, but also 2) fairly easy for others to learn as well. They would also rely on vocabulary common to as many of these languages as possible. Siberian Turkic languages would have to be removed from this as they are very different from the others...except for perhaps the odd time when reference to one could serve to break a stalemate over which word to use. Persian could also be referenced from time to time given the vocabulary they share. Grammar would probably resemble a mix between Turkish and Uzbek, and since the latter has no vowel harmony that could be taken out of the pan-Turkic IAL as well.

So here's a quick and very incomplete overview (basically thinking out loud) what one might look like. It's a pretty bare outline but if anyone has any questions I'll be happy to do some more thinking out loud and perhaps fill it out a bit.

First of all, pronouns are pretty easy:

men - I
sen - you
on - he/she/it
biz - we
siz - you (plural/polite)
onlar - they

Plural would always be -lar, as in Uzbek.

A lot of Turkish words with v would become b as this is seen often in Turkic languages and b is easier to pronounce for most than v. Var thus becomes bar.

Ready for the first sentence? Here it is:

Bu yerda su bar mi? - Is there water here? In Turkish this is burada su var mı? Burada (here) is bu yerdä / bu yärdá / bū yerde in Uzbek/Uyghur/Turkmen, and using a construction with yer (place) makes it easier to understand as it literally means "in this place".

Da means in. Now we're on that subject, let's look at the other cases.

ni - accusative
da - locative
ga - dative (showing movement towards)
dan - "from"

i vs. ni will be explained in a bit, but first let's show how to show possession. In Turkish you can indicate it with just a suffix, or with a pronoun plus the suffix, so it's redundant. In this IAL it would probably be either or. For example:

Turkish araba + m = arabam, but ben + im also means mine, so benim arabam just means my car, and benim araba is wrong. In this language it would be:

my = menim (noun) or noun + im
your = senin (noun) or noun + in
his/her/its = onin (noun) or noun + i/si
our = bizim (noun) or noun + imiz
your = sizin (noun) or noun + iniz
their = onlarin (noun) or noun + ilar / silar

Some examples:

dost = friend

dostim or menim dost = my friend
Onin dost bar mi? - does he/she/it have a friend?
Dostiniz yok. - You don't have a friend.
Sizin dost yok. - You don't have a friend.
Dostlarinizga ket - (imperative) go to your friends. To go might be getmek or ketmek, not sure.
The i/si there depends on whether it ends with a vowel or not. Araba (car) would then become arabasi (his/her/its car).

Examples of the accusative mentioned above:

Bu yerda su bar. - There is water here.
Bu yerda dost bar. - There is a friend here.
Menga suni ber. - Give me water.
Menga sunizni ber. - Give me your water.
Onga dosti ber. - Give him/her/it a friend.
Onga dostinni ber. - Give him/her/it your friend.

Present tense would be the verb minus -mek and then the following endings added:

-irim
-irin
-ir
-iriz
-iriniz
-irlar

So ketmek (or getmek), to go, would be:

getirim - I go, getirin, you go, getir - he/she/it goes, etc.

Progressive would be:

-iyorim
-iyorin
-iyor
-iyorimiz
-iyoriniz
-iyorlar

So "they are going" is getiyorlar. Dostlarimiz getiyorlar mi? - Are our friends going?

Future tense would be a bit different from these (pretty much just vowel harmony-free Turkish) as Turkish has the acak/ecek suffix where the k turns into ğ (unpronounced, just lengthens the preceding vowel) and an IAL shouldn't have that complication. Luckily Uzbek has a nice system so it would look like this:

-aman
-asan
-adi
-amiz
-asiz
-adilar

Nice and easy. So Dostlari getadilar means "their friends will go". Okulima getasan? - Will you go to my school?

This word for school (okul, same as Turkish) shows where a lot of difficulty might be in this language, as the word for school in other Turkic languages sounds like the Turkish word for letter (a letter you send through the mail), mektup, and okul is a more 'international' word. The biggest area of contention might end up being whether this is a Turkic-based international language, or a pure Turkic constructed language.

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TV Brasil Internacional, Brazil's new international station for Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa

A new channel was launched just a few days ago by Brazil for Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa, and the official site is here. The channel is rebroadcast via Maputo in Mozambique (where Portuguese is the official language and also continuing to grow) to 49 African nations, and the main target nations are Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and Sao Tome and Principe.

A quick scan of the site doesn't seem to turn up anything specifically geared for students of Portuguese, though if you're lucky you'll come across a subtitled video, like this one.

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Suggestion: rename the Large Zenith Telescope

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Large Zenith Telescope near Vancouver is a monumental creation, a telescope a full six metres in diameter with a mirror composed of liquid mercury instead of a solid mirror like others. As a result it cost less than a single million dollars to construct, about 1% of what it would cost to build a solid mirror of the same size.


Its location near Vancouver is far from ideal but it was built more as a demonstration of concept so this was unavoidable (the people that built it all live in the area), but the name isn't ideal. Liquid telescopes are not an entirely new concept but their construction and demonstration at this scale certainly is, and the fact that telescope mirrors can be created with liquids instead of just solid materials needs to be given more exposure...and the name Large Zenith Telescope just doesn't do it. Zenith refers to the fact that liquid telescopes look straight up (at the zenith), but looking at the zenith isn't what makes this telescope special, nor is it even a commonly used word outside of astronomy (I suspect many would think it has something to do with zirconium).

So let's change the name. The new name is easy: the Large Liquid Telescope. Easy to remember, and now the name itself promotes the concept of a telescope with a mirror made out of liquid.

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WISE has discovered two brown dwarfs and 11,000 new asteroids so far

WISE hasn't issued a press release on this but I found two articles yesterday on what WISE has been up to recently, and according to this one it has discovered two brown dwarfs so far and from this article the total number of new asteroids it has discovered is at about 11,000 with the number discovered per day at about 100.

First the brown dwarfs: one reason why a big deal has not yet been made of this discovery is that the distance to them is not yet known. WISE is scanning the whole sky a bit at a time, and thus is only able to take quick snapshots of the regions of the sky it observes which are then followed up by observations by other telescopes which then confirm the discoveries and find out more about them. The big discovery we are all hoping WISE will make is the presence of a brown dwarf at about just one or two light years away, so if that happens then expect to hear all about it. According to the article it's looking at many more possible brown dwarf candidates so we simply have to wait for other telescopes to find out more about these possible discoveries before we know for sure what they are. Thus far we just know that their names are WISE 1 and WISE 2 and one has a temperature of about 800 Kelvin, the other somewhat cooler.

The second article on the asteroid discoveries also includes this video (that I would have embedded into the post but it seems to want to auto-start) on the types of asteroids that have been discovered.

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Slowly spoken news (Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten) on Deutsche Welle now available in two speeds

This may not exactly be news as I haven't checked Deutsche Welle's Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten page for a while now (half a year, perhaps?) but I noticed yesterday that the daily news one can hear in German there while reading the transcript is now available in two languages: slow (langsam) and normal (Echtzeit). This is a nice addition as sometimes the slow speed can be a bit too slow unless you are getting used to reading and hearing German for the very first time, and the more normal (but still relatively slow) speed is more similar to what one hears when listening to actual news. It was always possible to take the slowly spoken podcasts and lower the frequency then play them at a higher speed, but that takes a bit of time and always comes out sounding a bit unnatural.

Norway's Klar Tale has the same thing but only at slow speed, and so do a number of other languages like Finnish with Selkouutiset.

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Latin Wikipedia should reach 40,000 articles in about a week

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Current article count is 39665:


and the Latin Wikipedia reached 39000 just 23 days ago, so that gives a rate of just under 30 new articles a day. Add to that the excitement of reaching the 40000 milestone and the rate should pick up a bit, so it should surpass 40000 in about a week. There's always a message on the Taberna whenever they pass another 1000 articles so it's likely that there will be some sort of celebration (i.e. a special Wiki.png symbol on the top left to mark the occasion) when it happens.

By that time it will be June, and it's not yet certain what the article of the month will be. This month's article has been De vita Caesarum.

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Sofia airplane-mounted near-infrared telescope achieves first light

I first wrote about Sofia here last month, and just a few days ago the flying near-infrared telescope achieved first light. The best way to explain how the telescope works is to just view this:



Sofia is a joint US-German collaboration, with Germany investing 80 million euros and the US 700 million, and the telescope itself is German-built. For an article in English see here, which shows the first image it took of Jupiter on the right:

And for a photo gallery with 13 images see here.

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More Afghanistan nostalgia, this time from Foreign Policy magazine

A few months back I wrote here on a picture of Pahgman Gardens in Kabul in the 1960s compared to today (it's now a wasteland), and Foreign Policy has something similar to that today here in a set of 24 images of Afghanistan in the 1950s and 1960, such as this one from Kabul University:

Similar images of Iran in the 1970s can be seen here, though the situation in Iran is quite different: Iran forcibly removed a bad government it had at the time and ended up with a worse one and then was invaded by Iraq but began to improve after the war had ended, whereas Afghanistan was invaded by the Soviets in the 1970s, then had a long civil war, then the Taliban, and finally the current ongoing conflict.

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What we knew about the Moon in March 1958

Friday, May 28, 2010

This is what we knew about the Moon in 1958:

A CLOSE-UP OF THE MOON

While these satellite observations are in progress, other rockets will be striking out for the moon with other kinds of instruments. Photographs of the back or hidden side of the moon may prove quite unexiting, or they may reveal some spectacular new feature now unguessed. Of greater scientific interest is the question whether or not the moon has a magnetic field. Since no one knows for sure why the earth has such a field, the presence or absence of one on the moon should throw some light on the mystery.

But what scientists would most like to learn from a close-up study of the moon is somehing of its origin and history. Was it originally molten? Does it now have a fluid core, similar to the earth's? And just what is the nature of the lunar surface? The answer to these and many other questions should shed light, directly or indirectly, on the origin and history of the earth and the surrounding solar system.

While the moon is believed to be devoid of life, even the simplest and most primitive, this cannot be taken for granted. Some scientists have suggested that small particles with the properties of life -- germs or spores -- could exist in space and could have drifted on to the moon. If we are to test this intriguing hypothesis we must be careful not to contaminate the moon's surface, in the biological sense, beforehand. There are strong scientific reasons, too, for avoiding radioactive contamination of the moon until its naturally acquired radioactivity can be measured.
Where does this come from? From here, containing a scan of a statement prepared by the president's science advisory committee at the time for public consumption, price 15 cents. At the time, mankind had as yet only launched a grand total of four satellites - Sputnik 1 and 2, Explorer 1, and Vanguard-1. The first spacecraft to the Moon (the Soviet Luna 1) would happen ten months from then.

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No burka and nikab ban for Norway

From NRK here: Parliament today voted down a proposal from the Fremskrittspartiet (Progress Party) to ban the full burka in public areas as was done last month in Belgium. The actual proposal was that people wearing them should be denied public services, so not a bill that would ban them from being out in public. There doesn't seem to be anything new to the debate here either: one side says that it separates women from the rest of society while the other said that enacting a ban would simply shift the burden to the weakest party, the women who have to wear them.

One big difference between Belgium and Norway in this is that in Norway the Muslim population is still just in the 3-4% range, while Belgium is at 5 - 10% so in Norway it's still more of an academic issue.

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On Japan's plans to create a robot-operated moon base by 2020

Today's news here in English and here in Japanese relates to what I've been saying about how the US should eventually have no choice but to begin concentrating on the Moon again (though the manned asteroid visit should be no problem), simply because the Moon is at just the right location whereby other nations (Japan, China, Russia, India) and private industry are able to explore it and I doubt that the US will be content to simply sit by and wait an extra 15 years for a single manned Mars flyby while the rest of the world is constructing and operating bases on the Moon. Wait for it...

As for the plan itself, it would involve sending robots to the south pole where solar energy is plentiful (24 days of light followed by 4 days of darkness) whereby they would then begin constructing a base. Recent experiences with the Mars rovers may lead one to believe that robots are incapable of doing work with any haste, but that is simply due to the large communication delay between here and Mars. On the Moon there is almost no delay at all (about 2.5 seconds there and back) so robots can easily be controlled from Earth, and in fact the Lunokhod rover drove a total of 37 km on the Moon back in 1973.


According to the proposal, the first robots would begin in 2015 by landing on the Moon, investigating and sending high-res images of the surface, as well as using seismometers to determine the interior composition of the Moon. After that in 2020 it would involve setting up a self-sufficient base through these robots which could move about in a 100 km radius, as well as sending back lunar rocks to Earth for analysis.

None of this is actually that difficult to accomplish, since the entire operation would be done robotically and these robots are extremely easy to control from Earth. Not only that, but setting up in the first place is not too difficult either. The rovers sent to Mars for example landed by using an interesting air bag system (inflate to encompass the rover, bounce bounce bounce bounce...then come to a stop, deflate and let the rover out) that would be impossible to use for humans due to the g-forces involved. Also note that since the Moon has (pretty much) no atmosphere any construction done on the Moon by these robots would be permanent. If part of setting up the base involved construction of a flat area for future landings, it would then remain as a permanent structure that anyone could use later on. Construct a habitation suitable for protecting humans from radiation and that would be there forever too.

Expected cost for the base: $2 billion, or less than one-eighth NASA's yearly budget. Or Canada's pitiful CSA budget (double it and I'll stop calling it pitiful) over 6 years.

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Using VASIMR for trips to the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and other locations

Thursday, May 27, 2010

VASIMR is often seen in the news as the next generation of propulsion that will be able to bring trip times to Mars down from six months to about 40 days (though this also requires a large power source in order to happen), but little is said about its application on other destinations as well. This pdf is a good overview of some of the missions in which VASIMR would bring an efficiency not present now. Since VASIMR is a type of ion engine it has a much lower thrust than a chemical engine but much higher efficiency, resulting in much higher velocities over the long term than a traditional rocket. As the pdf shows though, when sending cargo to the Moon its greater efficiency can also be used to save a lot of space and increase the amount of payload that can be sent, as long as there is no need for haste. A trip to the Moon using VASIMR in this way would take six months (with a chemical rocket it's only about three days), in a trip that involves an ever-expanding orbit around Earth, then finally breaking orbit and heading to the Moon, entering orbit there and slowly moving into a closer and closer orbit after which it can be considered to have arrived.

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Should be a new Kepler update in about a week...

Manager updates for Kepler occur about once a month, at the beginning of the month after the science download which takes place right about this time, around the 20th or so every month. According to the last update Kepler has now identified 200 so-called "interesting candidates", which are followed up by ground-based observations...and after final confirmation of these they expect to make an announcement by the winter, a relatively short time in reality but pretty much an eternity in impatient waiting guy years.

At least SpaceX's Falcon 9 should be launching soon, perhaps around June 3rd or so.

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Price of the Nissan Leaf and other electric cars in Europe

Here are a few numbers from an article here in Norwegian a week ago on the price of the upcoming Nissan Lief in various European countries, compared to some other electric vehicles.

Nissan International SA announced Tuesday that its fully electric Nissan Leaf will be priced under 30,000 euros after incentives in most markets in Europe where the Leaf will first be launched, putting pressure on Mitsubishi which announced that the price of their electric i-Miev would be 33,699 pounds in the UK, before incentives. The Think City in Norway costs 285,000 krone, including batteries.

Converting to USD:
Nissan Leaf $36,000 after incentives
Mitsubishi i-Miev $48,600 before incentives
Think City $43,480

The price of the Leaf in the UK after incentives would be 27,471 euros ($33,500), 32,839 euros ($40,000) in the Netherlands, and somewhere under 30,000 euros in Portugal and Ireland. All these prices include batteries.

Compared to this, the most expensive version of the Toyota Prius is 22,000 pounds ($31,700).

Sales of the Nissan Leaf in the UK should start in February 2011, so just eight months and a bit from now.
And in other news from today, the Nissan Leaf is already sold out for 2011. That was quick.

A range of 160 km per charge looks something like this:


View Larger Map

Looks a bit small on a map like that but for daily commuting it's more than enough, and sales are pretty clear that there is a huge interest in them. But the final victory for electric cars should come when the average range reaches something around 300 - 600 km, after which they will become usable for everything but the longest road trips, and people begin seeing cars like they do their cellphones - something you use during the day and plug in at night.

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George W. Bush says his grandchildren will be driving electric cars powered by renewable energy

George W. Bush was a fairly decent governor, a terrible president, and has been quite a good ex-president. Since leaving office he has not only been low-key and quite classy, and yesterday gave a talk about why the US needs to diversify away from oil and that he believes his grandchildren will be driving electric cars powered by renewable energy. Since one of his daughters is now married (both of them are 28) the timeframe he's talking about is probably about 20 years.

The article also mentions that Texas leads the US in wind energy, though this is in terms of total capacity and not energy per capita or compared to other sources of energy, and so in this case Texas is a bit like China whereas Iowa would be Denmark, where the former generates more energy in total but the latter much more per capita. Personally I prefer the latter number as using the former countries like Iceland could never hope to compete, with countries with massive populations producing much more than them even if they rely 99% on fossil fuels.

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Somebody else thinks Papiamentu would make a good world language

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I often write posts on subjects that I may not entirely support or be currently working towards, but would like to elaborate upon for others to view and comment on. Such was this post from last year on why Papiamentu might be a good solution as a worldwide auxlang. Slightly more difficult than a constructed IAL but still fairly simple, and with a population large enough that there is a body of speakers that can aid new students, but not large enough that it gives a huge group of people an advantage who use it as their L1. That was the general gist of that post.

A year later, it turns out that a group of people have had the same idea. Written in German, this page talks about how Papiamentu would make a good world language, and even gets a dig in at Esperanto (something most new IAL projects just don't see to be able to resist). It alternates between calling it Papiamentu and Papiamundu, but they seem to be the same thing and Papiamundu is just the name for this project here where the language is supposed to be promoted through some method I don't quite follow using four dice over three months, but no information beyond the first page.

So yeah...in spite of the disorderly and scant presentation on the page it's still interesting to see Papiamentu presented as an IAL in this way.

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Ion engine lifetime could be doubled thanks to genetic algorithm

This article probably qualifies as the most interesting space-related article this week, as it directly relates to our ability to our ability to propel probes. Apparently using a genetic algorithm has resulted in a (theoretical) marked improvement in the lifetime of the grid an ion engine uses, from an average of 2.8 years to 5.1. Genetic algorithms are a nice way to carry out fine tuning that the human mind otherwise might not be able to accomplish, by creating an algorithm that modifies itself slightly at random, running it through a test a bazillion times, taking the winners of these tests on to the next stage where they are run through the test again, and repeated again and again until no more improvements are forthcoming. Now all that needs to be done is submit this improved design to some real-world testing to see how it works in practice, and if everything goes right we will have an improved ion engine design for practical use.

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25 May 2010: Turkish President Abdullah Gul in Kazakhstan

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Turkish President Abdullah Gül is in Kazakhstan today and the two leaders of their respective companies opened a few new buildings at Ahmet Yesevi University. This article has some information worth translating on these two Turkic-speaking countries, so here it is.

Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev said that "Turkey and Kazakhstan are brothers with a single origin" at a press conference, after welcoming President Abdullah Gül to the presidential palace.

Regarding the opening of the new departments of Hoca Ahmet Yesevi University, Nazarbayev said "We opened the new department of this university together. This is an important university, opened under the initiative of Kazakhstan and Turkey, where over 20,000 students study. Here we have not only Kazakh and Turkish students, but students from over 20 Turkic countries as well."

(Note: that doesn't mean 20 independent countries, but both countries and autonomous regions such as Gagauzia, Tatarstan, etc.)

Nazarbayev mentioned that trade between the two countries had dropped slightly as a result of the worldwide economic crisis, but said that "In spite of these negatives we have a trade volume of 3 billion dollars between Turkey and Kazakhstan, which we hope to increase to 10 billion."

(No mention of the time frame for this)

Nazarbayev said that the businesspeople that had come to Kazakhstan with President Abdullah Gül had signed $300 million worth of short-term economic protocols, and that "These negotiations will end up with a total value of $1 billion, which is the most concrete benefit of this visit."



The university mentioned in the article is this one, the home page of which is in Turkish, Kazakh, English, and Russian.

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First update to the Idiom Neutral - English dictionary

I've been writing some content in Idiom Neutral over the past few days (more about that when I'm done) and have been updating the dictionary as I go along. Some of the updates are really easy such as updating salon by adding the term living room to the existing drawing-room, others are just about as easy as they are just obvious derivations (-ar to -asion), and one I've added tentatively as I needed a word and would like to see some input from the community before proceeding. The new and certain words are marked with (N), and the tentative ones are marked with (P) - proposed.

The proposed word is marvel, and the derivative marvelos. IN already has mirakl and miraklos under marvelous and wonderful, but spanning three words (miraculous, wonderful, marvelous) seems like too much of a responsibility for one word, and miraculous seems a little out of place anyway considering how often the word wondrous is used in daily conversation. Miraklos! Vo et av album nov? Miraklos? Ist kaf et es miraklos!

I also missed two pages from the dictionary for some reason (Lance let me know about that), so that was about another 100 - 200 free words in one go. Total word count is probably now about 7600.

Download the latest version of the dictionary here.

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Uh no, Google, that isn't what I meant.

This is by far Google's most annoying attempt at interpreting a search request I've seen for a while.

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Saturn transiting the Sun as seen from Neptune in 2061, and David Letterman's first Shuttle launch

Monday, May 24, 2010

Crazy cat day here is finally over (MB's hurt toe is a bit gangrenous but the vets think they should be able to keep him from losing half of it by keeping him there for a week and Windy is back to normal after freaking out at the new cat in the apartment), so let's wrap it up with a quick two videos to share.

The first is this one, showing Saturn transiting the Sun in 2061 as seen from Neptune. Transits are opportunities that you never want to miss since they're free data about the atmospheric makeup of a planet or body as the Sun begins to become obscured by the atmosphere first, but not so valuable that one would want to send a probe to somewhere like Neptune just because of it. But if we have a probe around Neptune at the time, this is what we'll see:



A much sooner transit is the 2012 transit of Venus, as seen from Earth.

And in This Week in Space for this week (which I haven't watched yet), the most interesting parts seem to be David Letterman recounting his first Shuttle launch watched in person, and an interview with Elon Musk.

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Secrat X-37B shuttle-like spaceplane was easy to spot

Well, that was easy, and also answers the question I had about how the U.S. military intended to keep the mission secret, given how easy the ISS, satellites and just about everything else are to spot. It's beginning to look like making the mission a classified one was just a decision based on convenience than anything particularly secret it might be doing. Well, except for what it has in the cargo hold. That can't be spotted by amateur astronomers.

The group that spotted it is pretty impressive, however: apparently they've spotted every single object launched by anyone over the past five years, including this one. Not bad at all.

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24 May 2010: Bulgarian Wikipedia should reach 100,000 articles today or tomorrow

Probably today, as right now they are already at 99,936 articles:

The best source to learn Bulgarian is probably this one, certainly a bit dated (it's from the 1960s) but very thorough and I doubt there is a more detailed course that can be obtained for free. And of course Bulgarian continues to do a phenomenal job on Ted.com with a whopping 536 videos for a language only spoken by 10 million people, more than any language except for Spanish.

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Idiom Neutral output may slow in the next few days due to cats

Sunday, May 23, 2010

When I went to the temple today it turned out that MB had cut his foot somehow and was limping about, so off we went to the animal hospital for a checkup. He'll be going back tomorrow and in the meantime is at the apartment, and since Windy (the cat that lives here) doesn't like anybody he hides under the bed, comes out and hisses, goes back under the bed, etc. Last time MB was here he got bored at night and began yowling at 2 am, and if the same thing happens this time all the cat commotion will make it tough to write much in Idiom Neutral and/or work on the Idiom Neutral - German dictionary. Depending on the cat situation (whether they get along, MB hates the apartment or not, and how long it'll take for his leg to heal) the next few days might be a bit sparse in terms of Idiom Neutral content.

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Turkish Ministry of Education adds Arabic to foreign languages

Here's an article in Turkish from eight days ago, on how the Ministry of Education in Turkey has added Arabic to the list of languages that can be learned in schools. Part of the article:

The Ministry of Education has added Arabic to the list of foreign languages to be learned in schools after the removal of travel visas between Turkey and its neighboring countries. Right now the foreign languages that can be selected in schools are English, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese and Russian, to which Arabic has now been added.

Since a cabinet decision is needed in order for a language to be taught in schools, the Ministry of Education made a request to the cabinet on the 24th of March, which it then approved on 8 April. The decision of the cabinet went into effect yesterday with an issuance in the Official Gazette (Resmi Gazete).

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Boston.com's The Big Picture this week is on Saturn

Boston.com has decided to make Saturn the subject of this week's The Big Picture, and as always the images are phenomenal. And not only that, but also in hi-res and on one page as well, unlike many sites that require a reload for each image and usually quite low resolution as well (you know who you are).

To scroll up and down you can also hit j and k which will go up/down image by image.

The best ones are those that provide a scale, like this one of Dione:



Since the scale is 15 metres per pixel, we can put a rough approximation of the Empire State Building and the nearby skyline next to the crater to get an idea of the size of the moon:

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Dawn is now closer to Vesta than Mars

I missed the exact date on this one, but it was probably about five or so days ago. Looking at Dawn's current position, it's finally now closer to Vesta than to Mars. Dawn made a flyby of Mars over a year ago (February 2009) and since it's using an ion engine it has an extremely gentle trajectory where it simply matches its orbit over time with the object it intends to approach as opposed to a regular probe that will go directly to an object, fire its engines at full blast and drastically change its trajectory in order to go into orbit and not go flying by.

So here's where it is now:

Vesta is now 0.4272 AU away, and Mars 0.4556 AU. Dawn is now the first probe to be closer to Vesta than any other major object...unless by chance it's Rosetta, as you can see here. It's a bit hard to tell as Vesta being an asteroid isn't quite as aligned to the orbital plane as the rest of the planets, and thus is off by seven degrees. With every major planet (IOW not Ceres or Pluto) you can more or less calculate their orbits as if they were on a two-dimensional surface, but since Vesta looks like this:

and thus Dawn is actually moving to go under the orbital plane a bit, as that area on the right in darker blue is where Vesta will be when they meet:

Anyway, it's now just 64 million km away, or 166 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon. In contrast, Earth is 317 million km away from Vesta now which is 825 times.

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What happens when you're Dutch and spend three years in Korea in the 17th century?

I'm glad you asked, because once again Gutenberg has just the book on this. All in Dutch, it's about a crew that spent three years unwillingly on Korea's largest island Jeju-do, which was then known as Quelpart. I haven't read it, but have known about it for a few years and it's high time I shared it here. Keep in mind though that Jeju-do is the least Korea-like part of the whole country, as it used to be its own kingdom (Tamna) with its own language, and also spent a century or so under Mongolian dominion and even now has a number of Mongolian loanwords that aren't present in the standard language.

Also, Jeju is rainy. Just last week when Seoul received 40 mm of rain, Jeju got 400+. Rainy, rocky (the island is centered around a volcano), yet much warmer than the rest of Korea in the winter.

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New efficiency standards in the US for medium- and heavy-duty trucks

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Yesterday's political news seemed to be all about Rand Paul, so you'd be forgiven for not noticing that the White House adopted a new fuel efficiency standard yesterday for medium- and heavy-duty trucks.



Info from the speech:

Previous recently enacted efficiency memorandum:

Increases efficiency for cars and light trucks to 35.5 mpg over five years
Saves $3000 over life of vehicle
Reduces dependence by 1.8 billion barrels
Equivalent of taking 50 million cars off the road

Today's announced memorandum:

Will apply to medium and heavy-duty trucks
Starts in 2014
First time to have such a standard

Standard from before goes until 2016, today's announcement goes from 2017 and beyond
Eventual goal: to have vehicles use half the fuel in 20 years compared to today


This article has a lot of info on what yesterday's announcement means, including the fact that Canada will be following along, important because not only is it essential to have a national standard in order to avoid differing rules by state but also one between the US and Canada as well. The more unified the standard, the easier it is for car manufacturers to comply.

It also mentioned a bit about improving infrastructure for electric cars, but details are a bit short on that. More interesting in the electric car world is probably this announcement that Toyota will invest $50 million in Tesla.

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Link roundup for 22 May, 2010: Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson and Nynorsk, giant liquid telescopes, parallax, etc.

Time to get rid of some tabs that have been open for a long while but have never been turned into full-fledged posts. Here goes:

An article here in Norwegian on how Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (Norwegian writer, composer of the national anthem) hated Nynorsk. The director of the språkrådet thinks Nynorsk would have been in a much stronger position today if it wasn't for him.

Giant liquid telescopes: apparently the two methods whereby a liquid telescope could be tilted a bit would be either through a fake tilt simply involving moving the collecting area to a different spot (effectively reducing the size of the collecting area but still not too bad a technique), as well as using magnets (and probably a more viscous liquid too) to actually tilt it.

On parallax, one of the first benefits in an interstellar mission as it speeds away from the Solar System. In essence, the farther away a mission is the more accurate our estimates of the distance, location etc. to other stars become.

Robot blimps on other worlds - comparing the challenges involved in sending a blimp to Venus, Titan, and Mars. One on Venus would be easy to fly and the only issue would be avoiding corrosion and the high wind speeds, on Titan it would need to be protected against the extreme cold, and on Mars with the thin atmosphere you'd need a much larger blimp, and even then it would only be able to carry a much smaller payload than the others.

High speed rail in Canada and the United States, and the irony of a high-speed rail company (Bombardier) being located in a country that doesn't have it.

This person doesn't like French immersion, in a largely fact-free op-ed.

Offshore energy in the UK could result in the equivalent of a billion barrels of oil annually, matching that produced in the North Sea.

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How was French pronounced in 1583?

Friday, May 21, 2010

I'm glad you asked, because I have just the book for you if you can read Latin. This book will tell you all you want to know about that subject.

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A few more examples of Idiom Neutral from the original grammar

11 days ago I finished typing the English grammar of Idiom Neutral and the German grammar is also pretty much the same, but the Dutch grammar I found yesterday (see the files section in the Idiom Neutral group to read it yourself) is written a few years later and has added a number of examples to some of the sections which is a nice surprise as actual content in the language in these grammars is fairly sparse.

30.

Felix am sue soror - Felix loves (his own) sister.
Felix am sie soror - Felix lover (his/her) sister, i.e. the sister of another.

31.

Using possessives as stand-alone words: el libr es mie (that book is mine).

32.

Ekse du ofisiri; ist es kolonel, el es leutenant. - Here are two officers; this one is a colonel, that one is a lieutenant.

Ist kaval - this horse.

El kaval - that horse.

Eske vo konos ist du personi? - Do you know these two people?

Si, ist es patr de ela. - Yes, this is the father of her (this is her father).

Ist sinior e el siniora. - This gentleman and that lady.

Ist siniori e el siniorai. - These gentlemen and those ladies.

Tel, kel av diked it, es mentiator. - That (person) who has said it is a liar.

Tel radik es leplu bon, kel... - The best root is one that... (lit. That kind of root is best, which...)

Tel land es leplu salubr, kel... - The healthiest land is that which...

Ist libr es tel de mie kamarad. - This book is my friend's. (lit. This book is that of my comrade.)

El sem polka. - The same polka.

Yuste el sem polka. - Just the same polka.

El sem pulvr. - The same powder.

Yuste el sem pulvr. - Just the same powder.

El person es el sem, kel mi av vised ya. - That person is the same (one) that I have already seen.

Karl av libr bel, mi av it sem. - Karl has a nice book, I have the same one (the same book).


33.

Ki av fasied it? - Who has done it?

Mi desir konosar, ki av fasied it. - I want to know who has done it.

Kekos il dik? - What is he saying?

Kekos es diked, no es ver. - What is said is not true.

Mie fili es malad, kekos no es agreabl. - My child is sick, a terrible thing.

Kel de ist siniori vo konos? - Which of these gentlemen do you know?

Kel de el siniorai veniero? - Which of those ladies would come?

Kel dom? - Which house?

Amik, kel am noi. - The friend that loves us.

Amik, kel noi am. - The friend that we love.

Siniora, kel mi am. - The lady that I love.

No oblivia soror de ist hom, a kela vo debt omni-kos. - Don't forget this man's sister, to whom (the sister) you owe everything.

Siniorai, a keli vo skrib. - The ladies to whom you write.

Ekse kaval, kes mi volu donar a vo. - Here is the horse that I want to give to you.

Mi loji in hotel, in kel vo av lojied anteriore. - I'm staying at the hotel where you stayed before.

Kel de el tabli vo selekt? - Which of those tables do you choose?

Stul, in kel vo sed. - The chair where you sit.

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21 May 2010: Successful launch for Japan's Akatsuki and Ikaros

Awesome, it looks like the launch (50 minutes ago as I write this) went off without a hitch and now it's time to get excited about the two probes launched this morning, Akatsuki (heading to Venus) and Icarus, a solar sail.

Akatsuki costs $157 million (about a third or quarter what a similar probe from NASA would likely cost) and will be arriving at Venus December 7th this year, so a total of six months and two weeks from now. Venus has a probe orbiting it at the moment, the impressive but nearly completely silent to the media Venus Express from Europe, and having the two orbiting the planet will enable some pretty impressive observations that couldn't happen otherwise. Hopefully Akatsuki will be able to determine the origin of the superrotation in the high atmosphere of Venus, which is the part of the planet where humans could conceivably live (breathable air floats on Venus, and the temperature and atmospheric pressure there is similar to Earth at sea level).

More interesting in the short term will be Ikaros, as its mission is interesting from a technological standpoint due to being the first solar sail successfully launched, and after a few weeks will unfurl and begin showing results. It's similar to Deep Space 1 in being more interesting from a technological standpoint than any expected scientific return from its destination. It will be passing by Venus but its real goal is to just fly around and demonstrate how a solar sail works. For some reason solar sails up to now have been cursed with failure, from Cosmos 1 lost in 2005 to NanoSail-D lost in 2008 on a failed Falcon 1 flight, so Ikaros will be testing out a technology that we should have been able to test a number of times before now if it wasn't for such bad luck.

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Idiom Neutral - English dictionary now finished

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I spent most of today in a flurry of typing and managed to finish the Idiom Neutral - English part of the dictionary, for a grand total of 7325 words. My estimate at the beginning was that there would be about 5000 words, so having a larger total than that is a nice surprise. In spite of this, the dictionary is still lacking in a lot of words which will need to be supplemented over the next few months.

The easiest words to supplement are those that are obvious, like:

* provokar = v., to challenge; to provoke.

There's no term for provocation in the dictionary but it's obviously provokasion. So the first order of the day will be to make a quick search through the dictionary per suffix and prefix in order to find any obvious words that need to be added and don't require consent (i.e. the approval of new words) to do so.

But the most important task for now will be to create some lessons, in order to make the language easier to learn. The plan for the moment is to create lessons that are entirely in spoken Idiom Neutral (my voice), uploaded to YouTube and then with English subtitles which will let it be translated into the 56 other languages Google Translate offers so as to maximize the audience. More on that later though.

On the language itself: it resembles other IALs quite a bit, but Idiom Neutral sometimes surprises you with an unexpectedly quirky or interesting word. I wrote a few of the ones down that I particularly liked, and there are many more besides this. Here are a few:

rapiator - thief

bas-bot - shoe, literally "under-boot"

florotemp, termotemp, fruktotemp, frigotemp - Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. I think I particularly like these because I've always wished English stuck with the traditional names for months instead of importing boring Roman numbers and emperors. They're also pretty easy to learn.

hort --> garden. Cognate with horticulture, and taken directly from Latin.

sagit --> arrow, as in Sagittarius. Same as Latin.

sepult --> grave.

sub-ridar --> to smile, lit. to sub-laugh.

trembl --> aspen. To tremble is tremblar, so an aspen is literally a 'tremble'.

ur --> auroch. Aurochs are one of my favourite ancient animals and ur sounds like a really old word given that it's the same as the Babylonian city.

veras, verase --> true, truly.

verdikt (ver + dikt) --> verdict. Spelled almost the same as in English but in IN it literally means true-dict(ate).

vigilesk(ar) --> (to) wake.



To get the dictionary, go to the new group for Idiom Neutral I just created here. It also includes the pdfs for each language except German, as it's over 10 MB (the maximum file size) and I'll have to find a way to shrink it down.



I've also almost gotten to E on the Idiom Neutral - German dictionary, which is going quite a bit faster as I'm not using any formatting for that one. Since German isn't my mother tongue I don't know which words look strange and which don't (besides some obvious ancient spellings) and speed is of the essence so I'll just type it up as a .txt file that German speakers can then do with as they see fit.

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Idiom Neutral grammar and dictionary available in Dutch as well

I just noticed that the Idiom Neutral grammar and dictionary from 1903 is also available in Dutch in addition to German and English. Here it is at Google Books, as well as here at archive.org. So that' s one less translation that needs to be done, and an Afrikaans version will be that much easier to do as well.

It's a tiny bit different from the other versions in a few areas, such as this portion written in IN:

Resolusion 11.

Tel radik es leplu bon, kel eksist kuale parol nasional u kuale parol eksotik in lingui prinsipal leplu mult de Europ.
That's the IN version of this:

"That word is most suitable for an international language, which already exists as a national word or as a foreign word in most of the leading languages of Europe."

And:
Resolusion 84.

a) Adyektivi es plased sempre po substantiv, p.e. dom grand, lingu universal.
b) Pronomi, adyunkted a substantivi, es plased sempre ante substantiv, p.e. mie dom, ist sirkular, kel tabl? kuant homi? kelk paroli, omni lingui.
c) Numerativi kardinal e fraksioni es plased sempre ante substantiv, p.e. du kavali, mil oktsent anui, tri kuarti metr.
d) Numerativi ordinal, multiplikativ e iterativ es plased sempre po substantiv, p.e. paragraf sekund, pagin trisent dudeskuinkim, plesir dupl.
e) Adverbi determinant verb es plased sempre po verb, ekseptu adverb ne, kel es plased sempre ante verb, p.e. skribar korekte, mi skrib korekte, mi no skrib. Adverbi determinant parol parol de otr parolsort es plased ante it, p.e. multe grand, no ankor, yuste ist.
That's the IN version of this:

"An adverb used to modify a verb is always placed after it, e.g. skribar korekte to write correctly, mi skrib korekte I write correctly. The adverb no forms an exception to this rule and is always placed before the verb, e.g. mi no skrib I do not write. -- An adverb used to modify any other part of speech than the verb is placed before this word, e.g. multe grand very great, no ankor not yet, yuste ist just this."

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Cassini has just flown by Enceladus; on its way to Titan

As mentioned before, Cassini is now in the process of completing its double flyby of the two most interesting moons in the Saturn system (and possibly the Solar System as well). Right now it's 2:00 am UTC, and you can see Cassini's current position here. You'll notice an area in the url that says hour=02, so depending on the time when you view it you can change it to the current UTC time to see Cassini's position at the time you check out the link for yourself too. The second flyby will occur in just about 24 hours from now.

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Idiom Neutral needs a flag...and now might already have one

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Every major IAL has a flag or logo, a symbol by which it can be recognized in an instant. Esperanto has its trademark green flag:


Ido has a blue one:


Interlingua is a bit of an exception in just having a kind of logo which is clearly not a flag as flags should ideally be able to be drawn in a short time:


Lingua Franca Nova has a flag:


which is based on the flag of the Seychelles,


a nice match because a creole is spoken in the Seychelles, the flag is quite colourful reflecting its light and somewhat exotic nature, and has five rays which represent each of the source languages (Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, French, Italian).

Idiom Neutral, as far as I know, never had a flag. On the front of the Idiom Neutral grammar is this:

But that's Volapük, and it's not the symbol or flag of the language either.

So Idiom Neutral needs a flag, and I mentioned that the other day. I also mentioned that I've found it easy to explain the language here in Korea as it can be easily translated as 중립어 (literally Neutral Language or Neutralese) and Japan and China use the same construction too: 中立語 and 中立语. The first character (中) is one of the first kanji/hanja/hanzi students ever learn, and it is seen everywhere. It can mean China (middle kingdom), but the meaning of the character itself is middle, and that's where the word for neutrality comes from, using the characters for middle and stand. So after writing that post I scribbled out a few ideas of a possible flag, but didn't try all that hard to come up with one.

A few hours later, lo and behold Lance sent me a design for the language that I think is perfect. It's strong but very easy to remember and copy, incorporates the I and N in Idiom Neutral, and also the neutrality symbol just mentioned.

Ready?

Here it is:




The two with the bars are flag designs, and the two without are simple logos. The very last one for example would be best to go on a t-shirt, a good way to show one's support without being too obvious, as most people aren't comfortable with being a walking ad but don't mind something that isn't too obvious but may be asked about by anyone you have a conversation with.

If it were a tiny t-shirt logo it would actually look almost like the Chinese symbol, as you can see when you zoom out.

I would wear a polo shirt with that symbol embroidered on the left breast. Oh yeah.



The black is, of course, because black is the colour of neutrality.

So I'm a big fan of the symbol and will certainly begin using it here and there. Whether others like it we'll find out soon enough, but I certainly don't see any downside to it.


Edit: ha! If you look at the comments below it looks like most people think the symbol resembles the swastika or Iron Cross. I still think it just looks like 中, but then again I've been in Asia for ten years and see swastikas at the temple all the time so the symbol doesn't really mean all that much to me unless it's obviously one from Nazi Germany. Some have said that a simple change in coloring might do the trick, so Lance has obliged with the following:



And shrunk down, as it might be seen on a polo shirt or side of a book:

So what's the verdict now?

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German police in Kreuzberg and Neukölln learning Turkish

From here on Deutsche Welle in Turkish. A summary of the article:

Some police in the neighborhoods of Kreuzberg and Neukölln, areas with a large Turkish population, have begun learning Turkish. There are 14 police enrolled in the Turkish courses organized by the Berlin Turkish Community (Türkische Gemeinde zu Berlin, Berlin Türk Cemaati in Turkish).

Then a bit about the people taking the courses, still quite basic but they can give their names and say where they work...then mentions that there are about 450,000 immigrants in Berlin, and that police who take courses like this often do so in order to give the message that "we want to understand you" to them.

One of the policemen interviewed said that the opportunity to learn the language was given to him by the police authority itself, and that he thought it would be interesting and decided to start learning it. Another policeman said that he wanted to learn it for personal reasons first as he has Turkish friends and visits Turkey quite often, so when the police announced that they were looking for people who wanted to learn the language he jumped at the opportunity. A third policeman works in Neukölln taking care of incidents such as traffic accidents and theft, and believes knowing Turkish would be a help to his work.

Difficulty: according to the article Turkish is a difficult language for them, not so much grammar as pronunciation, but doesn't go into too much detail. For a beginning student Turkish is actually quite easy to pronounce, except for when you get into words that seem to go on forever and don't resemble anything familiar, like değerlendirdiğimizden, arkadaşlarınızla, or kullanamayacağım, so I assume it's these intimidating words that are difficult to pronounce moreso than the language itself being particularly difficult in that area, as pretty much every sound in Turkish is present in German. The ö and ü that English speakers often have difficulty with are no problem at all for Germans.

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Learn German through astronomy podcasts

Last week I wrote about a podcast in Afrikaans on astronomy called Sterre en Planete, a podcast of at least a few years that is released about twice a week, though without a transcript. German with its much larger population has better online resources such as Deutsche Welle's Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten (daily news spoken slowly for German learners), but one focused entirely on astronomy would even be better.

Good news: a bit of searching turned up this excellent podcast, complete with a transcript that either entirely or almost entirely matches the mp3, and a lot of daily news as well. One quick example: an article from 2006 on the launch of COROT, and the corresponding mp3. Just type out the transcript in Google Translate, look up the words you don't know and how they work in the sentence (since the gender, case, etc. isn't given by Google), and then listen to the mp3 a few times, then repeat.

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Get ready for more flyby photos of both Enceladus and Titan

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cassini will be making a flyby of Saturn's two most interesting moons today and tomorrow, and possibly the most interesting moons in the Solar System as well (whether that's true or not really depends on what's inside Enceladus vs. Europa around Jupiter), so getting both of them together like this is about as good as it gets. First Cassini will fly by Enceladus:

Then it will move away and toward Titan:


which it will then fly by at this point:



Apparently the trajectory is so perfect there won't even be a need for a course correction in between the two. Flyby distance: 435 km from Enceladus, 1400 km from Titan.

By the way, Japan's probe to Venus (Akatsuki) will be launching on Friday (Thursday in North America). Today's launch attempt was cancelled due to bad weather just a few minutes before it was scheduled to go ahead.

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Hear what Idiom Neutral sounds like sung

Now that you've heard what Idiom Neutral sounds like when spoken (also here):



you can also hear what it sounds like when sung:



Lord of the Rings fans should recognize the song right away. The translation is more of a faithful than a literal translation, so it differs in some areas but is probably more like something Pippin would have composed himself if he had been fluent in Idiom Neutral.

Dictionary progress: now that I have an English scan without errors I've changed the order again. It will go like this:

1) Finish Idiom Neutral - English part
2) Type up Idiom Neutral - German part, without formatting. There are some obvious areas where the German spelling differs from that of today but since it's not by mother tongue I'll just leave it alone and once I'm done let those that speak German do whatever they want with it.
3) Type up English - Idiom Neutral part
4) Type up grammar in German.
5) Type up German - Idiom Neutral part


I might go with step 4 before 3 as the most important material to have is a grammar and dictionary, though admittedly a dictionary is much more crucial as searching takes a long time when using a pdf whereas a grammar is more for slower and more thoughtful perusal.

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How Michael Collins felt as he circled the Moon out of radio contact with Earth

Today's quote of the day comes from here, the Wikipedia page on Michael Collins (the third astronaut on Apollo 11 who went with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

During his day of solo flying around the Moon, Collins never felt lonely. Although it has been said that "not since Adam has any human known such solitude", Collins felt very much a part of the mission...During the 48 minutes of each orbit that he was out of radio contact with Earth, the feeling he reported was not loneliness, but rather "awareness, anticipation, satisfaction, confidence, almost exultation".
At the time when the US was just beginning to take its first steps on the Moon it probably felt almost as if one were founding something akin to the United Federation of Planets (not in scope, but coolness) and if there's one part of the White House's new plan for space that needs to be criticized it's that not only does it ignore the Moon but also is a bit too nuanced and uninspirational to give astronauts and supporters of space exploration that kind of feeling.

Mind you, I've said before that I don't think the US will seriously be able to ignore the Moon for too long, as nations from Russia to China and others begin to explore the Moon and NASA's mission for just a flyby to Mars is still two decades away. One event that could serve as a wake up call for this would be a launch by China of astronauts to the Moon and back (i.e. to the Moon, one or more orbits around it and then back home), which would be a distance the US hasn't achieved since the early 1970s, in spite of the fact that technically missions like that have been done before. Eventually the US will have no choice but to make a decision to either continue toward a path that will eventually lead to a Mars flyby (20 years away), or join with the rest of the world in exploring the Moon.

An op-ed from yesterday here talks about the same subject.

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Slight change in plans for the Idiom Neutral dictionaries

Monday, May 17, 2010

I'm up to O right now in the Idiom Neutral - English dictionary and after this part I'll be typing up the remaining dictionaries in a bit of a different manner than I said before. The reason for this is the quality of the scans on the English side compared to the German - the English scans are pretty bad with parts cut off here and there, and since the IN - English and IN - German parts are in more or less the same order, supplementing the missing parts with the corresponding German pages hasn't been too hard. On the other hand, after I reach the English - IN part I'll be dealing with pages that look like this:

Some words there are pretty easy to guess at: diurnal is journal, voyaj is journey, voyajar is journey (verb), yovial is juvial, etc. But yok...well, before that is yunkte which seems to be joined, so yok is...maybe joke? Go a bit above and there's yokos and yukund, hmm...maksil inferior and superior I recognize from the other part, and they mean lower and upper jawbone.

And even after that there are some scans that look like this:

Hmm, no Idiom Neutral terms at all on the right column there. But page 241 I think is my favourite. Ready for the best one?


Argh...have fun deciphering that. I love Google for scanning the book and putting it up for free, but they could have done a bit better job with the scan of the English version.

So due to this I think it'll be best to use the English - IN part of the dictionary as a supplement to the IN - English part, where I'll go through the words one by one and check to see if they are in the IN - English part, and if not then add them. The IN - English dictionary alone looks like it'll end up being around 7000 entries, and then these will be added.

Before that though I think I'll type up the German pdf as I intend to do that without any formatting (like nopudik), as the IN - English dictionary already indicates the derivation, and the work goes much, much faster when I don't have to change from italics and back then to bold and back and then to italics and back and then finally type up the word and then bold and back again...plus, my Dvorak-trained fingers are longing for a big swath of straight typing without formatting and squinting at badly scanned pdfs, and with the bit of German practice it'll give me on top of everything it'll be a nice break before I begin going through the English - IN part of the dictionary for extra terms. And in the meantime the IN - English dictionary is certainly large enough for me and others to begin writing some real content in the language.

And of course it will give German speakers a much quicker dictionary to work with when writing content in Idiom Neutral.

If tomorrow's session at Starbucks is productive enough I should have the IN - English part finished in about two or three days, and then I'll announce it here and on auxlang and send them out to anyone I believe to be interested (Igor, Lance, nov_ialist, Olivier, etc., etc.).

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Latin, Idiom Neutral and English companed: Latona et Ranae


Two years ago I compared a number of IALs to Latin using a very simply told fable from a textbook about Latona who turned a group of farmers into frogs. The comparisons I made were: Ido and Latin, Interlingua and Latin, Latino sine Flexione and Latin, and Occidental and Latin. The point was to be able to show Latin revivalists that these IALs resemble Latin more than the current status quo auxiliary language (English) and that thus they should give IALs at least moral support, since a stronger IAL community = more indirect knowledge of the language they like the most and want to see revived.

So now that the dictionary is over half done (finished N yesterday) it's not so hard to look up words and it's time for my first Idiom Neutral translation. Out of the four above Latino sine Flexione is naturally the most similar to Latin (since it's basically just modified Latin), but Idiom Neutral is interesting compared to the other three as those use articles but IN doesn't, and so it feels structurally more like Latin. IN doesn't have a flag yet, so I just snuck in a quick 中 symbol into the picture there (can you find it?). Which reminds me, here's what I think will happen with Idiom Neutral:

- English and other speakers will call it Idiom Neutral but will often refer to it just as Idiom, kind of in the same way that Bahasa Indonesia is often called Bahasa even though technically that just means 'language', not necessarily Indonesian. But take a long term and people will almost always prefer brevity to perfect accuracy.

- In Japanese, Korean and Chinese it may begin to be called 中立語 / 중립어 / 中立语, which just means neutral language. When explaining the language to some people I know here I've actually found it easier to just call it 중립어 as saying Idiom Neutral once again is a bit too long. But then again it could easily be called Idiom over here too, as that doesn't sound too bad and idiom is a fairly well-known English word.

And now the translation:

Latin Idiom Neutral
English
In scholā nostrā linguam Latīnam discimus. Nunc in fābulā Latīnā dē rānīs discimus.
In nostr skol noi aprend lingu latin. Sitempe noi aprend di rani in fabl latin.
In our school we learn Latin. Now we learn about frogs in a Latin fable.
Incolae Graeciae saepe deās vident, quod deae saepe in silvīs Graeciae ambulant. Interdum Lātōna in silvīs ambulat. Fēminae Graeciae Lātōnam, deam pulchram, amant, quod Lātōna est fēminīs benigna. Habitanti gres frekuente vis deai, kause deai frekuente ambul in foresti gres. Kelkfoa Latona ambul in forest. Femini gres am Latona, dea bel, kause Latona es belevolent a femini.
Greek inhabitants often see goddesses, because goddesses often walk in Greek forests. Sometimes Latona walks in forests. Greek women love Latona, the beautiful goddess, because Latona is kind to women.
Nunc Lātōna in silvā ambulat. Cum Lātōnā sunt īnfantēs Diāna et Apollō.Sitempe Latona ambul in forest. Ko Latona es infanti Diana e Apollo.
Now Latona walks in the forest. With Latona are the infants Diana and Apollo.
Agricolae Látōnam et īnfantēs spectant; deam timent. Dea agricolās videt; itaque agricolās vocat. Aquam ōrat. Lātōna aquam nōn dēsīderat; sed īnfantēs aquam dēsīderant.Farmeri vis Latona e infanti; ili tim dea. Dea vis farmeri; ergo ila vok farmeri. Ila preg akua. Latona no desir akua; ma infanti desir akua.
Farmers see Latona and the infants; they fear the goddess. The goddess sees the farmers; therefore she calls the farmers. She asks for water. Latona doesn't want the water; but the infants want the water.
Est aqua in lacūnā, sed agricolae Lātōnae aquam dare nōn dēsīderant. Itaque in lacūnā ambulant; nunc aqua nōn est bona. Lātōna est īrāta quod agricolae sunt in aquā.Es akua in lag, ma farmeri no desir donar akua a Latona. Ergo ili ambul in akua; sitempe akua no es bon. Latona es furios kause farmeri es in akua.
There is water in the lake, but the farmers don't want to give the water to Latona. Therefore they walk in the lake; now the water is not good. Latona is angry because the farmers are in the water.
Dea īrāta clāmat.Dea furios klam.
The angry goddess shouts.
Nunc agricolae sunt rānae. Nunc agricolae in casīs nōn habitant; in lacūnā habitant, quod sunt rānae.Sitempe farmeri es rani. Sitempe ili no habit in domi; ili habit in lag, kause ili es rani.
Now the farmers are frogs. Now the farmers do not live in houses; they live in the lake, because they are frogs.

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