Sunday, November 23, 2014

Unspell gets a glowing review

How To Teach Your Kids To Read Good In Bad Sitchuwayshins by Don Feathers. Long but heartfelt.

Unspell Sound Charts

The Consonants
Here is a nifty interactive tool to help people with learning Unspell. Click on a shape, and hear my careful rendition of the associated sound.

It was put together with all free software: OfficeLibre for design, Audacity for audio, Aquamacs for coding and Mozilla for testing/debugging.

The Vowels
If you are on a slow internet connection, the sounds will take a little while to load the first time you click on them.

It was tested with Firefox, Chrome and Safari. It probably doesn't work with Internet Explorer because it uses Wave files for the sounds, which are originally a Microsoft standard, so it makes perfect sense that it works with every browser except Microsoft's.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Calling all English teachers!

It's been brought to my attention that English teachers are not immediately receptive to Unspell. When presented with a copy of Unspeller, they ask the rather obvious question: Why do my students need to learn this? And so here is the answer. If you are an English teacher, please read this. And if you know any English teachers, please send the link to them, and tell them that this is something they need to read. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It's official: US stole Ukraine's gold

This just in: it turns out that the rumors were right after all. At least part of the reason the US State Dept./CIA staged a coup in Ukraine that overthrew its democratically elected government and installed a neo-Nazi puppet regime was to steal Ukraine's gold. Rumor had it that shortly after the coup the gold was quietly loaded onto a plane that took it to the US. And now comes the official revelation: Ukraine has no gold reserves left. The gold was sold to pay for a failed military campaign in Eastern Ukraine, and to prop up the fake paper gold market for a little bit longer. One would expect that once the fix is off, the price of gold will skyrocket, the US dollar will drop like a rock, and Americans will need to add the word “hyperinflation” to their list of national woes.

Happy talk about the climate

[Update for the rest of you: I've had smarter insects go splat on my windshield than these climate denialists whose comments I don't even bother reading. Do your best to learn to ignore them.]

[Update for climate change denialists: please save me the trouble of marking your comments as spam. This blog is not for the willfully ignorant or the scientifically illiterate, so a hearty good-bye to you all.]

The non-binding climate deal which the US and China just signed will allow the Earth's atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration to go to 500ppm and beyond by the end of the century, far past the current concentration of 400ppm. Historically, this concentration was sufficient to produce an ice-free Arctic, significantly higher ocean levels, and an environment unlikely to be able to sustain large human populations.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Twilight of the Oligarchs

Michael Murph
Last week I published a brave prediction:

I see the political elites and their oligarch puppet-masters becoming endangered species in the United States before too long as the populace, including their own bodyguards, turns against them.

As usual, I made no attempt to specify what I mean by “before too long” because making predictions as to timing is a fool's game. And, as usual, I got a flurry of emails expressing a wide range of rationalizations but all adding up to the same sentiment: “not any time soon.”

Friday, November 07, 2014

Well that didn't take long...

Back in early August I made a very specific prediction as to the effect of US/EU sanctions against Russia:
I see tractors clogging the streets of Europe's capitals and dumptruck-loads of manure decorating the steps of government buildings before too long.
 Here's the photographic evidence from Toulouse, France: irate farmers fling poo.

In this case, ”before too long” = 3 months. But in other cases it may be a bit longer. This is, after all, only the beginning. Take this prediction, for example:
I see the political elites and their oligarch puppet-masters becoming endangered species in the United States before too long as the populace, including their own bodyguards, turns against them.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Odds and ends

The last post produced a few comments and quite a few emails that I would like to respond to.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Is unlearning harder than unschooling?

Patrick Desmet
This blog has developed something of a split personality. The bulk of the readership (well over 10,000 visitors on a typical day) is here to read about the unfolding geopolitical tragicomedy, and the various and assorted stages of collapse which are to follow. A much smaller group (under 10% so far) is also interested in my effort to single-handedly solve a certain well-defined problem with the English language. And an even smaller group, numbering in the hundreds, is actually participating and contributing to this effort. Now, the geopolitical tragicomedy is certainly fun to watch, sort of like watching icebergs capsize, but since there is not a lot any of us can do about it, it's something of a time-waster; whereas fixing an actual problem, and making many people's lives better as a result, seems like a worthwhile pursuit—at least it does to me.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Putin to Western elites: Play-time is over


Most people in the English-speaking parts of the world missed Putin's speech at the Valdai conference in Sochi a few days ago, and, chances are, those of you who have heard of the speech didn't get a chance to read it, and missed its importance. (For your convenience, I am pasting in the full transcript of his speech below.) Western media did their best to ignore it or to twist its meaning. Regardless of what you think or don't think of Putin (like the sun and the moon, he does not exist for you to cultivate an opinion) this is probably the most important political speech since Churchill's “Iron Curtain” speech of March 5, 1946.

In this speech, Putin abruptly changed the rules of the game. Previously, the game of international politics was played as follows: politicians made public pronouncements, for the sake of maintaining a pleasant fiction of national sovereignty, but they were strictly for show and had nothing to do with the substance of international politics; in the meantime, they engaged in secret back-room negotiations, in which the actual deals were hammered out. Previously, Putin tried to play this game, expecting only that Russia be treated as an equal. But these hopes have been dashed, and at this conference he declared the game to be over, explicitly violating Western taboo by speaking directly to the people over the heads of elite clans and political leaders.

The Russian blogger chipstone summarized the most salient points from Putin speech as follows: