Monthly Archives: August 2021

  • Priti good new stencil art

    A new piece of stencil art has turned up on recent days on a wall at the junction of Russelltown Avenue and Whitehall Road in east Bristol on the building with the ever-changing messages (posts passim).

    Merely as a matter of coincidence, it depicts one of those residents of Whitehall, SW1, namely one Priti Patel, an Estuary English elocution expert inexplicably elevated to the position of Home Secretary by part-time alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, after she had previously been forced to resign in 2017 as International Development Minister for breaking the ministerial code by having secret meetings with Israeli officials while serving under Theresa May.

    stencil art of Priti Patel holding hammer with the word vandals and the Conservative Party oak tree logo beneath

    Since her return to high public office, the permanently smirking Patel has been accused of bullying her staff, resulting in the resignation of Home Office boss Sir Philip Putnam.

    I can’t help speculating if the hammer in Patel’s hand was one of the reasons for Sir Philip’s departure.

    At the foot of the stencil art the Tory Party oak tree logo and the word Vandals appear.

    I have lived most of my life under Tory governments and for the majority of that time, particularly with effect from the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979, the Conservatives have not conserved anything. Indeed they’ve destroyed important ones like manufacturing industry (which used to provide millions of skilled, well-paid jobs. Ed.) and the trade union movement, whilst flogging state assets to their rich friends and supporters.

    Given the party’s record of destruction, perhaps the claw hammer in Patel’s hand should have been replaced by a sledge hammer instead. πŸ˜€

  • Mail muddles linguists

    Members of the fourth estate being unable to distinguish the difference between translators and interpreters has a long history – one which has occasionally been highlighted by this blog.

    The latest publication’s staff to show their ignorance work – if that’s the correct term – for the Daily Mail which today published this report with the headline shown below.

    Headline reads Raab was 'too busy' on holiday to help brave translators

    The copy alternates between translators and interpreters when referring to the victims of alleged Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s lack compassion for people who’ve served this country at great risk to their own lives and those of their families – a clear sign that the author, John Stevens, the Mail’s deputy political editor is ignorant of their different skills.

    Should he happen to alight on this article, I can only recommend Mr Stevens extends his visit to this blog by following my recommendation that he reads this handy guide to the difference between translators and interpreters, which has some useful illustrations to explain the difference, as he clearly has difficulties in understanding words. πŸ˜€

  • Debian 11 bullseye released

    Debian logoYour ‘umble scribe has been using Debian GNU/Linux for the best part of 15 years now.

    Besides being a distribution in its own right, Debian is also used as the basis for many other Linux distros, such as the Ubuntu family and derivatives, as well as specialised distros like the security- and privacy-conscious Tails.

    Furthermore, Debian stable version releases don't occur very often, only every 2-3 years (unlike the Ubuntu family, which is on a rigid twice-yearly release cycle. Ed.).

    Consequently, a Debian stable version release is a major event and the latest release occurred on Friday, as announced in an email to the Debian Developer Announce mailing list

    The start of the email reads as follows:

    On 14th August 2021 we released Debian 11 “bullseye”.
    There are too many people who should be thanked for their work on getting us to this point to list them all individually, and we would be sure to miss some. Nevertheless, we would like to particularly thank the installer team, the buildd and ftp teams, the CD team, the publicity team, the webmasters, the Release Notes editors, porters and all the bug squashers, NMUers, package maintainers and translators who have contributed to making bullseye a great release of which we should all be proud.

    The email goes on the state that first point release for bullseye will take place about one month after the initial release.

    Testing will soon start for the next Debian stable release – Debian 12, codenamed bookworm.

    Finally, it’s worth noting that bullseye comes with 5 years’ support and an additional 10,000 software packages, as noted by ZDNet.

  • Celtic languages prove popular on Duolingo

    The pandemic and associated lockdowns have been good for online learning in general and for the online learning two Celtic languages in particular.

    Yesterday Welsh news site Nation Cymru reported that Welsh is one on the most popular languages on the Duolingo language learning platform. Duolingo logo

    Duolingo company boss Luis von Ahn remarked that Welsh was still the company’s fastest growing language in the UK on the learning app – which has over 40 million worldwide users.

    According to the 2020 Duolingo Language Report, the app’s new Welsh learners increased by 44 per cent – outstripping those learning French, Hindi, Japanese and Turkish.

    Interviewed by the BBC’s Today programme, von Ahn stated that 1.62 million people are using the app to learn Welsh – with 474,000 active learners.

    On St David’s Day earlier this year, Duolingo announced it would align its course content and share knowledge with the National Centre for Learning Welsh to help the Welsh Government reach its target of one million speakers by 2050.

    Furthermore, Scots Gaelic has also received a boost from Duolingo and these unusual times. There are currently some 400,000 people learning Scots Gaelic on the app – that’s 10 times the number of Scots Gaelic speakers.

  • How to confuse the reader

    The output of the English Empire’s free and fearless press has in recent decades undergone several changes: and so it should; they are working with something that is dynamic and ever-changing – language.

    One of the most recent of these changes appears to be to attempt to get all the salient facts of a story crammed into its headline. This could have the saving grace of readers being spared plodding through paragraphs of more dreadful prose.

    Which brings us neatly to yesterday’s Daily Mail and the fine example below of an overstuffed headline.

    Headline reads: Christine Lampard is left in hysterics as Dr Amir Khan's mother calls him while he's live on Lorraine... before a fly shoots up his nose as he drinks Victoria Beckham 'moon water'

    Are you sure you didn’t leave out any minor detail that could still have been crammed into the headline, Mail Online? πŸ˜‰

  • Trump in Bristol

    Yesterday while walking through Riverside Park into town, your ‘umble scribe encountered some street art which immediately reminded him of Donald J. Trump, a tax dodger and serial sexual predator who was inexplicably elected as 45th President of the United States of America.

    Grafitti on street furniture in Riverside Park

    Your correspondent believes it is flattering to its subject as is shown by a comparison with a photograph of the Orange One captured in a typical denigratory pose.

    The Orange One courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

    Do you agree? Have your say in the comments below.

  • Sprinter helped by Google Translate

    Krystsina_TsimanouskayaOne of the biggest dramas of the current Tokyo Olympics has taken place away from the competitive arena – the defiance of Belarusian athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya against the repressive actions of the authoritarian Belarus state.

    On 30 July 2021, Tsimanouskaya recorded video criticising officials from the Belarus Olympic Committee (headed by Viktor Lukashenko, son of Belarus’ authoritarian president, who was re-elected last year in an election widely regarded as fraudulent. Ed.), saying that they had forced her to run in the 4 Γ— 400 m relay race, a distance at which she had never competed, without her consent, after other athletes missed anti-doping tests and were not allowed to compete due to a lack of tests, a factor which she also blamed on the Belarus Olympic Committee.

    The following day Belarusian media reported the attempt to forcibly return Tsimanouskaya to Belarus, removing her from the Olympic village to Tokyo’s Narita airport. Tsimanouskaya’s grandmother warned her not to return while she was being transported to the airport in the company of Belarus Olympic officials. She said afterwards her family feared that she might be taken to a psychiatric facility if she returned to Belarus.

    She then decided not to return to her homeland; and took action to prevent it happening.

    In a video posted on Twitter by Bloomberg Quicktake, Tsimanouskaya drew the attention of police officers at the airport terminal with the aid of Google Translate stating:

    “When I arrived at the airport, I used the Google translator to translate in Japanese that I need help. I came to police and showed the translation.”

    The police then took her into protective custody at an airport hotel overnight.

    On 4th August, Tsimanouskaya flew to Vienna’s international airport from Narita International Airport from where she took a connecting flight to Poland.

    Since Tsimanouskaya’s flight from Tokyo, several other Belarusian athletes have spoken in support of her, whilst Amnesty International has reported that athletes are more likely to be targets of the Lukashenko government due to his the alleged president’s interest in sport.

    In further repercussions, the International Olympic Committee has expelled 2 Belarusian coaches (shouldn’t that be minders? Ed.) after stripping them of their accreditation.

  • Free online waste & recycling webinars

    Bristol Waste is organising a series of monthly webinars dealing with all you wanted to know about waste, reuse and recycling in Bristol but were afraid to ask!

    Visiting Bristol Waste
    Image courtesy of Bristol Waste

    People can sign up to learn from experts about what happens to their waste and recycling once it is put out for collection.

    Since lockdown Bristol Waste has been running these very popular online sessions so as to give residents the chance to ask questions, dispel any myths and find out how to be recycling and waste superstars!

    Every other month, there’s a general Q&A session, where people can ask about anything waste related, alternating with a specially themed webinar concentrating on a specific topic.

    There is a special recycling event planned for Recycle Week and people can also sign up for a β€˜festive special’ to learn how to be more sustainable over the holiday season.

    Follow this link to find out more.

    The next Q&A session takes place on Wednesday, 18th August between 6.30 and 7.30 pm. Sign up via Eventbrite.

  • Stormy afternoon

    Bristol suffered heavy rainfall and a thunderstorm yesterday afternoon, resulting in some local flooding and power outages according to the Bristol Post/Bristol Live.

    And guess who was out in it?

    Never mind. It resulted in a spectacularly atmospheric photograph taken a few minutes from home and shown below in glorious black and white for additional impact.

    The shot was taken looking westwards from the top of Eastbourne Road, Easton towards the higher ground of Cotham and Clifton.

    The view looking west from Eastbourne Road in Easton