Tuesday, January 31, 2006
I painted the white spots on the soccer ball:
Saturday, January 28, 2006
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This week I am in Venezuela and experiencing a revolution in process. In fact, that is what the Venezuelans call it: el processo. But capturing it in words (its energy, its successes, its weaknesses, its strengths and its precariousness) just isn't going to work. I can (and probably will) write reports about the "missions" that are improving the lives of workers and the poor, essays about the use of state power to foster people's organizations, and leaflets about how it is important to prevent the Bush Administration from engineering a "regime change." But none of that will capture what is going on here. Even my experience here can't capture what's going on, because I'm not making the revolution with.
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Gödel, Escher, Bach, a book about thinking that I read in college, makes the point that translators are faced with all kinds of choices about what "level" to translate — a word-for-word translation of "he sees white mice" from German might be better translated as "he's got a screw loose" for English readers unfamiliar with the German idiom. At the highest "level," he says, you could argue that the best way to translate a Tolstoy novel is to simply read a Dickens novel. That's the level I want to bring my experiences of Venezuela back on.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
So I haven't been posting very much recently ... here's what I've been doing:
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Perl, which stands for "Practical Extraction and Reporting Language" (or "Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister," depending on who you're talking to), is one of the more popular languages for writing web applications. It is particularly well-adapted for web applications because it has very powerful tools for dealing with text(s), which is, after all, what the internet is made up of.
Perl scripts include a lot of slashes (and hash-marks, and other punctuation used in strange ways). Most often, these are to denote "regular expressions."
While regular expressions are indeed a thing of sublime beauty, I have to say I find the punctuational thrift of Perl terribly confusing.