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MetaFilter posts by languagehat

MetaFilter posts by languagehat


Look at all those books!

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 05:40:09 -0800

Fully (sic): linguists down under.

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 07:03:52 -0800

Dreaming Walls.

Thu, 03 Feb 2011 07:11:37 -0800

Electing the Doge.

Fri, 21 Jan 2011 06:06:16 -0800

The Doge was the leader of the Venetian Republic, which lasted for over a thousand years, so they must have been doing something right. Here's Wikipedia's concise description of the selection process: "Thirty members of the Great Council, chosen by lot, were reduced by lot to nine; the nine chose forty and the forty were reduced by lot to twelve, who chose twenty-five. The twenty-five were reduced by lot to nine and the nine elected forty-five. Then the forty-five were once more reduced by lot to eleven, and the eleven finally chose the forty-one who actually elected the doge." Sounds crazy, but Miranda Mowbray and Dieter Gollmann wrote a paper, "Electing the Doge of Venice: Analysis of a 13th Century Protocol" (pdf) explaining its virtues in terms that should warm the cockles of MetaFilter's collective geeky heart. From the abstract: "We will show that it has some useful properties that in addition to being interesting in themselves, also suggest that its fundamental design principle is worth investigating for application to leader election protocols in computer science." Interesting sidelight: "security theater" can be a good thing.

Following the Reindeer

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 11:26:10 -0800

Integrating the Negro Leagues.

Tue, 07 Dec 2010 08:33:20 -0800

Funky Ukraine

Fri, 03 Dec 2010 11:38:27 -0800

A great and unprecedented rage

Fri, 06 Aug 2010 10:50:44 -0800

Life in a dying village.

Tue, 27 Jul 2010 06:48:21 -0800

The maven is dead, long live the maven.

Fri, 12 Mar 2010 07:38:56 -0800

The late William Safire left behind a language-column vacancy that the NY Times has been filling with a rotating crew of language experts, some better than others. Now they've announced their choice for a permanent replacement, and it could hardly be better: Ben Zimmer, an actual linguist. Reading "On Language" will be slightly less enjoyable for us nitpickers but a lot more informative.