Category Archives: random

The Year of Reading Differently

Edward Stourton on the travails of reading in the digital age.

I wish I got more time to read.


Two spaces after a period …

From Farhad Manjoo at Slate.

Do you use one space or two after a period?  Typographers recommend a single space.  I confess that I use two.

The reason for the two-space convention is an interesting example of how technology changes behavior.

The problem with typewriters was that they used monospaced type—that is, every character occupied an equal amount of horizontal space. This bucked a long tradition of proportional typesetting, in which skinny characters (like I or 1) were given less space than fat ones (like W or M). Monospaced type gives you text that looks “loose” and uneven; there’s a lot of white space between characters and words, so it’s more difficult to spot the spaces between sentences immediately. Hence the adoption of the two-space rule—on a typewriter, an extra space after a sentence makes text easier to read.

xkcd: Hotels

I don’t quite get the Tragedy of the Commons analogy, but it’s funny nevertheless.    For more xkcd, the website is here.


Military Nomenclature

From the Johnson blog at The Economist.

it once bugged me that in British and American officer ranks, a lieutenant general outranked a major general, while by contrast a major outranks a lieutenant. (Plain “general” outranks both.)  Only later did I learn: major general is shortened from sergeant-major-general. So just as ranks proceed upwards as sergeant-major, lieutenant, captain, so do (sergeant-)major-general, lieutenant-general and (captain-)general.

Never thought about it, but it is interesting.


I always knew of David Byrne as the singer in The Talking Heads.  I never knew he also wrote so well.

Here, he writes an interesting piece on the color pink.  I never knew that

pink was actually considered a color best suited to boys until as late as the 1950s. Blue was the girlie color.

But I do disagree with Diana Vreeland’s assertion that pink is the navy blue of India.  By which she means that

just as navy blue in our culture tends to signify conservative respectability, pink exemplifies tradition and balance in India.

It is only in religious contexts in which I remember seeing significant quantities of pink in India and there too, the colour primarily appears on flowers.

Tuscany Trembling

A panther terrorizing the Tuscan countryside.  The panther must be more surprised than anyone else about what it’s doing 4000 kilometers away from its natural habitat.  Details here.

Soul To Squeeze

Was listening to this after years.  It’s still a great song.  I can’t believe that they left it off BloodSugarSexMagik.  Perhaps it shows that sometimes the artist does not know his own work best.