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Right-To-Left Override Twitter Name

2020 Oct 21, 3:50

Its rare to find devs anticipating Unicode control characters showing up in user input. And the most fun when unanticipated is the Right-To-Left Override character U+202E. Unicode characters have an implicit direction so that for example by default Hebrew characters are rendered from right to left, and English characters are rendered left to right. The override characters force an explicit direction for all the text that follows.

I chose my Twitter display name to include the HTML encoding of the Right-To-Left Override character #x202E; as a sort of joke or shout out to my favorite Unicode control character. I did not anticipate that some Twitter clients in some of their UI would fail to encode it correctly. There's no way I can remove that from my display name now.


Try it on Amazon.


How about pages that want to tell you about the U+202E. 


PermalinkCommentsUnicode

TLDRLegal - Software Licenses Summarized in Plain English

2012 Jul 3, 6:39

Lookup any software license shortly summarized in plain English.

PermalinkCommentstechnical legal law license software

English plainclothes police officer follows himself for 20 minutes

2012 Feb 8, 2:58PermalinkCommentshumor surveillance

Not your father's PageRank

2010 Feb 26, 10:12Interesting stuff about Google determining synonyms based on folks changing their search queries.PermalinkCommentsgoogle search synonym machine-learning english language technical

Post Position » A Note on the Word “Zork”

2010 Jan 15, 6:03The derivation of the word Zork.PermalinkCommentshistory language english game if interactive-fiction zork mit

Two Gentlemen of Lebowski

2010 Jan 8, 1:53Two Gentlemen of Lebowski, by Adam Bertocci: "Thou err’st; no man calls me Lebowski. Yet thou art man; neither spirit damned nor wandering shadow, thou art solid flesh, man of woman born. Hear rightly, man!—for thou hast got the wrong man. I am the Knave, man; Knave in nature as in name."PermalinkCommentshumor via:ethan_t_hein shakespeare the-big-lebowski play parody english

Gibberish rock song written by Italian composer to sound like English Boing Boing

2009 Dec 17, 6:13"In this remarkable and fully rockin' video, an Italian singer performs a rock piece whose lyrics are gibberish intended to sound like English"PermalinkCommentsvideo language english italian rock music

English Shellcode

2009 Nov 27, 6:10"What follows is a brief description of the method we have developed for encoding arbitrary shellcode as English text. This English shellcode is completely self-contained, i.e., it does not require an external loader, and executes as valid IA32 code."PermalinkCommentssecurity polyglot intel paper research programming hack obfuscation english language technical system:filetype:pdf system:media:document

Translation Party

2009 Aug 7, 7:03Starting with an English phrase, Translation Party converts back and forth between English and Japanese until the result no longer changes.PermalinkCommentshumor language google javascript english japanese translation via:waxy

Augmented Businesscard (English) | TOXIN LABS - weblog of a german design student from wuerzburg

2009 Jul 20, 11:40"My interactive media project this semester is about the augmentation of the classic communication medium business card... what came to my mind pretty quickly was Augmented Reality." Ever since I saw those AR things you print out I've wished they were based completely off of QR codes that would tell the client app where to download the 3D scene to project.PermalinkComments3d business-card qrcode qr augmented-reality research technical video

Who you calling boring?

2009 Jun 2, 4:00"A notice was sent out by the real estate department with the provocative subject line Campus notification - Building 7: Marking Boring Locations."PermalinkCommentshumor english language boring

308 - The Pop Vs Soda Map - Strange Maps

2009 May 31, 8:29"When on a hot summer's day you buy a carbonated beverage to quench your thirst, how do you order it? Do you ask for a soda, a pop or something else? That question lay at the basis of an article in the Journal of English Linguistics (Soda or Pop?, #24, 1996) and of a map, showing the regional variation in American English of the names given to that type of drink."PermalinkCommentsmap language visualization statistics english culture soda coke for:hellosarah

Platonic Ideals in Anathem and The Atrocity Archives

2009 Apr 7, 11:58
The Atrocity ArchivesThe Jennifer MorgueAnathem

This past week I finished Anathem and despite the intimidating physical size of the book (difficult to take and read on the bus) I became very engrossed and was able to finish it in several orders of magnitude less time than what I spent on the Baroque Cycle. Whereas reading the Baroque Cycle you can imagine Neal Stephenson sifting through giant economic tomes (or at least that's where my mind went whenever the characters began to explain macro-economics to one another), in Anathem you can see Neal Stephenson staying up late pouring over philosophy of mathematics. When not exploring philosophy, Anathem has an appropriate amount of humor, love interests, nuclear bombs, etc. as you might hope from reading Snow Crash or Diamond Age. I thoroughly enjoyed Anathem.

On the topic of made up words: I get made up words for made up things, but there's already a name for cell-phone in English: its "cell-phone". The narrator notes that the book has been translated into English so I guess I'll blame the fictional translator. Anyway, I wasn't bothered by the made up words nearly as much as some folk. Its a good thing I'm long out of college because I can easily imagine confusing the names of actual concepts and people with those from the book, like Hemn space for Hamming distance. Towards the beginning, the description of slines and the post-post-apocalyptic setting reminded me briefly of Idiocracy.

Recently, I've been reading everything of Charles Stross that I can, including about a month ago, The Jennifer Morgue from the surprisingly awesome amalgamation genre of spy thriller and Lovecraft horror. Its the second in a series set in a universe in which magic exists as a form of mathematics and follows Bob Howard programmer/hacker, cube dweller, and begrudging spy who works for a government agency tasked to suppress this knowledge and protect the world from its use. For a taste, try a short story from the series that's freely available on Tor's website, Down on the Farm.

Coincidentally, both Anathem and the Bob Howard series take an interest in the world of Platonic ideals. In the case of Anathem (without spoiling anything) the universe of Platonic ideals, under a different name of course, is debated by the characters to be either just a concept or an actual separate universe and later becomes the underpinning of major events in the book. In the Bob Howard series, magic is applied mathematics that through particular proofs or computations awakens/disturbs/provokes unnamed horrors in the universe of Platonic ideals to produce some desired effect in Bob's universe.

PermalinkCommentsatrocity archives neal stephenson jennifer morgue plato bob howard anathem

Language Log - Send a private message to

2009 Mar 16, 4:23The underwhelming answer to the question of "What are the commonest five-word sequences on the Web?"PermalinkCommentslanguagelog culture internet web research language english

LDC Catalog - Web 1T 5-gram Version 1

2009 Mar 16, 4:22"This data set, contributed by Google Inc., contains English word n-grams and their observed frequency counts. The length of the n-grams ranges from unigrams (single words) to five-grams. We expect this data will be useful for statistical language modeling, e.g., for machine translation or speech recognition, as well as for other uses." 6 DVDs for only $150 with licensing restri... ok nm.PermalinkCommentslanguage google statistics database text

World of Warcraft - English (NA) Forums -> I played WoW, I became a terrorist (story!)

2008 Dec 29, 12:22"This wasn't my fault. Anyone could have dropped his stupid iPod in the toilet. It's really the government here. I mean, at this point the building contained six customs officials, an army of policemen, people from various security agencies, a bomb squad, and a couple of detectives."PermalinkCommentsipod toilet humor airplane plane security terrorism wow

Danger to Life

2008 Dec 26, 12:27

sequelguy posted a photo:

Danger to Life

The English portions of the signs read "dangerous. Climbing on and over the balustrades and railings stictly prohibited. Daner to Life! Any violation will result in criminal prosecution!"

PermalinkCommentssign germany munich olympictower

Wondermark by David Malki ! - 434: In which there is Taunting

2008 Aug 19, 11:02In which Grumpy Grammar Gus is taunted with poor grammar.PermalinkCommentscomic language humor geek english grammar via:languagelog

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Your American accents

2008 Jul 23, 5:19"Everyone can do an American accent... at least everyone thinks they can. After the BBC's Stephen Robb took a lesson from one of the movie industry's top accent coaches, we asked readers to record their best US accents."PermalinkCommentsbbc audio accent language english

Language Log - Honest but unhelpful

2008 Jul 3, 11:50Another translation error. At least they're upfront about it though.PermalinkCommentshumor chinese china english language translation error
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